Bet I’ve read this chapter twice since it’s been so long since I’ve picked up our She’s Got Issues study. So here goes third time. I hear it’s a charm!
Throughout Scripture, storms are used to display God’s power… In a way this is uniquely God’s, He can create, use, and shelter us from every storm we might face.
Storms. What a perfect metaphor for how we feel when our insecurities rise to the surface. They overwhelm us just like a storm can. Especially a storm at sea.
I happened to be listening more closely to the lyrics of a song as I drove through town the other day, and the word insecurity caught my attention – I’m sure because this chapter has been with me for quite some time now.
I forget the last time I felt brave, I just recall insecurity
Cause it came down like a tidal wave and sorrow swept over me.
Owl City, in their song, “Tidal Wave,” captures this imagery — how much insecurity is like a storm at sea with huge tidal waves sweeping over us, pulling us under.
Shall we deal with insecurity at last? You bet! And we can…because God is bigger and stronger than any storm or wave of insecurity!
Nicole Unice (our author) carries out this storm imagery further. She says the storm may rage outside of us or it may rage inside of us.
What storms of insecurity rage outside of you in this season? What pulls at you to make you want to hide or escape or cling to anything that might protect you?
What storms of insecurity rage inside of you right now? What wounds or feelings or needs keep you seeking approval or pouring into work in order to cope?
In our humanness we put our hope (as we try to cope) into things that are not permanent, shaky, undependable. “We are quick to put our security in our appearance, approval, performance, or achievement.”
What’s a girl to do?
The good news…and there is GOOD NEWS…we have a God who can “provide refuge in the storm.” When we let go of the imitation shelters and put our hope in God, we can find true shelter — the kind that withstands storms. ALL storms.
We have a choice! We can choose to turn from these imitations, toward God. We can choose Him as we make that turn. Nicole points out that the concept of repentance that Jesus teaches has this same notion of “turning from one thing to pursue another.”
When she breaks down the meaning of the word “repent” in Greek, we discover it implies the “act of changing the condition of the mind.”
Here’s the kicker — this is mind over emotions! We really have the choice, the ability, the power to choose to turn from those things that don’t really offer security and turn toward the God who actually does…no matter how we FEEL.
This is huge for a girl like me who is so emotion-based. Can’t tell you how much of my life I’ve let emotions make these choices for me. When all along, God equipped me with a mind that is more than capable of focusing on Jesus in the middle of the storm and choose to look away from “earthly security.”
And it is a discipline. This just doesn’t happen. After all, we have a lifetime of bad habits to overcome. But we CAN and WILL overcome with Jesus at our side.
Scripture is key — it is our “sword of the Spirit” (see Ephesians 6). God has given us His Word to use as a weapon against lies and false hopes. When we speak the truth of the Word, of God, over our lives and situations, we’re empowered to see the truth and move forward in Christ.
When we run to Christ for security, we find a hope that is ‘a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.’ (Hebrews 6:19)
Even though she’s right, we can’t just take Nicole’s word for it. Try it for yourself. I have, and it’s life-changing. To learn how to make this turn from the thoughts and feelings that come from insecurity will change your life. Putting our hope in Christ instead of the things of the world gives us the security we seek.
I’m still a work in progress…probably always will be. But I am learning, through the discipline of my mind, to recognize when insecurity is creeping in, and I turn my focus away from it and to the Lord.
An example, you say? So many to choose from…
So last year I was incredibly blessed with an opportunity to travel to Nashville twice to be part of a leadership training group for women in ministry. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to go. It was a fast and furious week leading up to my trip (you know all the preparations it takes to leave family and job for a few days), so when I found myself sitting in a hotel room by myself, hundreds of miles from home, hours to kill before I met the women I DIDN’T KNOW, my emotions and my racing mind took over.
What am I doing here?
What if I didn’t bring the right clothes?
What if I don’t fit in with these ladies?
What if they don’t like me?
Who am I to be at a group like this? I’m just a girl from a small town in Oklahoma — I haven’t written any books or spoken at conferences or led other women in big ways…
See what I do to myself? I was uptight and totally panicked. Before I got on that plane I hadn’t had time to have doubts like these. And when they hit, I wanted to BOLT.
I didn’t. Instead I got out my Bible and journal and intentionally focused myself on God. I breathed Him in. I started saying His promises aloud so I’d hear them, believe them.
And guess what I did next?
It was great rest. I didn’t even realize how tired I was. By the time the other ladies started arriving I was refreshed and ready. Nervous? A little. But more, I was excited, anticipating what God had in store.
And it was good. Oh so good.
If I’d given in to my emotions, had I not TURNED from those insecure thoughts, I would have missed out on one of the most significant spiritual experiences of my life.
Thank you, Lord!
You can do this too! This chapter really helps gives us ways to turn from insecurity to Our Hope and King.
Without understanding the benefits of our relationship with Jesus, we are fundamentally insecure. Our lives are built on shifty substitutes. When we discover places of insecurity, we must return to the fundamental promises of Christ.
Romans 12:2 is one of those promises, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
Just like I did that afternoon in the Nashville hotel, fix your mind on God’s promises. “Every time you feel ashamed, unforgiven, or not worthy, repeat a verse” that captures the promise of God that overcomes those thoughts and feelings. I love what Nicole says,
God’s Word is a healer, a transformer, and a re-creator of our hearts and minds. We just have to do the work of getting that Word in. (with my emphasis)
So here are some truths we have to know and believe if we’re going to successfully claim the power of these promises over our lives:
- Christ offers forgiveness from sin (see Romans 7:15).
- Christ offers freedom from guilt (see Galatians 5:1).
- Christ offers eternal life (see John 17:3). To elaborate, “Everything on earth–every joy, every pain, the mundane and the magnificent–is put in proper perspective when considered in light of eternity.”
- Christ offers a continual relationship with God. It’s the basic truth that Jesus is always with us, giving us grace, understanding us in a way no one else can. We can be ourselves, “free and flawed,” because He loves us.
- Christ leaves the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:13). Let the truth that the Spirit of God dwells within you give you perspective and power!
When we “flee from and repent of our own shaky securities,” we can take hold of the hope that there is a choice, and that choice is Christ. Choosing His promises over the world’s options for “security” is something we have to do every day. Ask yourself, where am I seeking an anchor for my soul? If it’s not Jesus, you’re settling for a sham – that “faulty shelter.”
Nicole is wise — she knows that only knowing these truths is not enough. We need to know HOW to put them into practice. Here are her suggestions:
- Take a break from the fashion magazines, reality shows, and pop music. Consider adding some spiritual reading or worship music to your daily life instead. Try it every day for two weeks and see what happens!
- When you find yourself dwelling on your insecurities, recite your ABCs. Starting with A, fix your mind on praising God from Scripture. It might go something like this. “A: God you say you are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. B: Jesus, you are the Bread of Life. C: Thank you for giving us your Spirit as our Counselor. D:….”
- Memorize a verse of Scripture to repeat in your mind whenever you need to “turn” your thoughts. Accentuate a different word with each recitation: IF anyone is in Christ, she is a new creation… If ANYONE is in Christ, she is a new creation… if anyone IS in Christ, she is a new creation…
Here’s another great list she offers…it helps me see what it looks like to be secure. I hope it does for you:
- Secure women know their strengths and aren’t afraid to own them.
- Secure women know their weaknesses and aren’t scared by them.
- Secure women can easily admit when they’re wrong but don’t beat themselves up about it.
- Secure women take risks.
- Secure women fail but try again.
- Secure women can be vulnerable with their friends.
- Secure women don’t have to know all the answers.
- Secure women can say no.
- Secure women believe that love multiplies and that they can give lavish love and affection away because there will always be an abundance for them.
- Truly secure women find their worth and their strength in Christ.
Here’s a great promise to tuck away as we wrap up this discussion of our insecurity issues: “We are loved by a perfect God who will equip us with all we need for doing His will (Hebrews 13:21).”
And here are some verses Nicole offers for us to look at — choose one to be that verse that’s at the ready each time insecurity tries to take over:
“We who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence.” Hebrews 6:18
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1
“Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16
“I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
“This is the way to have eternal life–to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” John 17:3
“No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:20
“When you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.” Ephesians 1:13
“What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. The new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Go back over those five promises of security in Christ. Put them to memory along with your “mantra” verse. Practice them. Make them ready so that you can truly TURN from insecurity when you recognize it creeping in…or overtaking you.
Don’t forget you have a choice. You can choose your thoughts no matter how you feel.
And never, ever take your eyes off Jesus. He is our anchor in all of life’s storms.
Anchoring myself in Jesus,