“You must feel like you’re only living half a life,” the man said. It was my first visit with a Christian counselor, and ten minutes into our 50-minute session, he’d hit the nail on the head.
I nodded as my eyes blurred with tears. A box of Kleenex sat on the coffee table between us, and he nudged it toward me with a smile. “Free with the price of the session.”
Only living half a life! Why? Jesus came to give me a rich, full life—not a half-life. I’ve tasted His abundance before, so why don’t I walk in it?
I see the counselor for help with paralyzing fear and insecurity. I long to be set free. To be confident—bold, even! I want to stand on a firm foundation of faith, instead of doubting “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).
But the enemy—the thief who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy—wreaks his havoc on me. He leaves no area untouched—my faith, my relationships, even my identity. He steals every confidence and security he can get his hands on, and he leaves me literally shaking with fear.
He leaves me living only half a life.
The enemy won’t have the final say, though, thanks to God’s Spirit in me. “Free with the price” of Christ’s death, the Holy Spirit gives me three things — three keys to living a full life in Jesus. Paul wrote about them in his second letter to Timothy: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Nothing leaves me feeling more powerless than insecurity.
I hear God’s call to obedience, and I respond with a nervous, “I can’t! I’m not capable! I’m not sure…” But God says otherwise. He says that, in Christ, I can.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). In other words, the same power that raised Christ from the dead is within me, empowering me to accomplish all God intends. With Him, I can obey. I can forgive. I can take risks.
God also says that, in Christ, I have a “sure foundation”—a tried and true cornerstone. He says that if I believe on Him, I’ll never be shaken (Isaiah 28:16).
With such a rock beneath me, why feel insecure? No obstacle or conflict—no relationship struggle and certainly no calling from God that I’m afraid to obey—could rattle a life built on Him. Really, what is there to fear? I have a spirit of power!
Love used to be easy. I met my husband in college when dates were plenty and kids were not. Love then was exciting and secure. Today, though, dates come less frequently, and I’m literally twice as old as I was then. Other changes, too — changes in our roles and careers — often leave me feeling insecure about “us.”
Loving my friends isn’t always easy, either. Just this week, I’ve been nursing a few wounds from a friend who hurt me. When trust is broken and my heart stings, I’m honestly afraid to love people again. Love is risky business!
Years ago, when I found out I was pregnant with our son, I was terrified — and not just at the prospect of raising him and being responsible for the life of another person. I was scared of all the risks that love brings. I was scared of a broken heart.
In tears, I told my husband how scared I was. I’ll never forget how confident I felt when he tenderly said, “Amy, you are capable of much love. Just let it out, even if it’s risky.” That’s what Paul advised Timothy, too. The fear you feel doesn’t come from God, he said.
God gives you a spirit of love. You are capable—by His Spirit within you—to love others.
And with love, comes security.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: “I think I’m crazy.” I’ve had days and seasons—some in the not-so-distant past—when I’ve honestly worried that I was losing my mind. Early in our marriage, when I’d confess this fear to my husband, he’d respond simply, “You’re not crazy.” Lately, though, he has changed his tune. Instead, he just smiles, “Well … everybody’s crazy!”
In 15 years of marriage, I’ve talked him down from, “You’re not crazy, dear,” to a diplomatic, “Okay, maybe you are … but so is everyone else.”
The truth is, though, that I’m not crazy. I have a good mind, and I can use it to make wise decisions.
But, the enemy knows just what to whisper to keep me feeling insecure. If he can make me doubt my own sanity, he wins.
I am learning—with the help of my counselor—to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). To guard against the enemy’s attacks, and to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Ultimately, I’m learning that a sound mind is a secure mind.
I want—oh, Lord! How much I want!— the abundant life that is mine in Christ.
Enough with the half life! I want to breathe deeply, and laugh heartily, and live boldly.
After all, my God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. What, then, is there to fear? In Christ, I stand secure.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
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-- Emily P. Freeman, author of Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
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