When I first saw Nicole Unice’s book on the Tyndale’s Blogger program, the words that caught my eye were “control freak” in the subtitle.
This must be a book for me, I thought. I even went as far as writing the release date on my calendar. However, as I started to read through the few chapters, I didn’t connect with the book. I put it on the dresser and forgot about it.
Late one night, a few weeks later, I was spending an inordinate amount of time sitting in my 2 year old’s room, waiting for her to fall asleep. I grabbed what I thought was Spiritual Parenting off my dresser and started reading. The book was great. It was encouraging, inspirational, and convicting. Imagine my surprise when I realized I wasn’t reading Spiritual Parenting at all! I was reading She’s Got Issues and it was resonating with my heart. What happened?
Even though I wanted to read Nicole Unice’s book, I didn’t REALLY want to admit that I “had issues”. Sure, I could comfortably admit I was a “control freak” but when the book encouraged me to examine WHY I’m so attached to control, I disengaged. I dismissed the book as trite and ineffective when in reality, I didn’t want to examine my heart.
When I picked the book up again, I had a new attitude. I started praying the prayers at the end of each chapter and thinking about truly surrendering to God. I had a new motivation to work on “my issues”. Nicole explains,
“God isn’t working on our issues to make us need him less. He’s interested in moving through our issues so we can understand just how desperate we are for a constant inflow of his love into our hearts.” (p29)
Apparently pride is a common problem for control freaks. This paragraph in chapter three really hit home:
“Pride is a secretive force behind so many of our control issues and it’s a chameleon. Pride disguises itself as common sense and knowledge and hard work. But it’s a dangerous creature because of the insidious way it penetrates our heart and attempts to keep us king in our [own] lives.”
In the next few chapters, Nicole encouraged readers to truly think about the things they have control over. One thing is our attitude towards God. A surrendered heart is the only way to truly live the plan God has designed for you, but Nicole warns, “A surrendered heart and life require constant upkeep” (p52).
I’m not good at “upkeep”. That’s why I don’t garden. It’s why the hanging plant Mike bought me for Mother’s day is already dead. It’s why I can’t just tidy up the house on a regular basis; I have to devise a project and make it some kind of production. My spiritual life struggles in the same way. When I was in college, my spiritual life flourished. I had no responsibilities besides my studies (which I loved) and my part time job (which I loved). I met with God every morning at 10:00 in the school library. As Jon Acuff writes, I was wildly inflexible about my quiet times. Nowadays, with two young children, a husband, a house, three part time jobs, and a whole bunch of other things, I don’t have the luxury of 10AM devotions every day. The stellar upkeep I had in college simply is no more.
In theory, I want to be surrendered to God, but it’s hard to move from intellectual assent to getting the job done. As Nicole says, “every morning, I need to check my heart to see who’s ruling”, but too often I move through the day as if I’m the boss, ignoring God’s leading.
This is not good.
So what’s holding me back? Nicole addressed a few key reasons which I’ll highlight with quotes from the book. Be sure to pick up your own copy for the full scoop and encouragement to allow God to free you from these issues.
- “To this day, the temptation to place my worth in achievement plagues me. It wasn’t until I stayed home with my children that I realized how deeply connected my identity was with achievement” (p86)
- “As a mother myself, I know that this role is consuming, often demanding our all. How difficult it can be not to base our purpose and identity in whatever consumes our time and energy. Yet there is a core of us that isn’t about motherhood or even womanhood. It’s part of our soul that is created to find rest in God alone. And that part remains restless until it finds the deep rest of security in Christ.” (p90)
- “The writer of Hebrews says we can ‘approach the throne of grace with confidence’ (4:16). Confidence. We walk into the presence of our powerful God because he allows us to do so! (p100)
- God doesn’t look at us and say, “Oh — compared to other women, she’s really not measuring up.” Instead, He looks right into my own heart and says, “I know you. I know when you are giving me the real deal and when you are putting up a smoke screen. Let’s get real, and don’t worry about anyone else.”
- There’s nothing like comparison to keep us distracted from our own gifts (p122).
- It may be time to go to God to fix your sight — to makes sure you see your gifts as he provided them, rather than pining over what you think they should be. What happens next is almost magical. You will begin to feel grateful for things you ignored. You heart will begin to expand as you welcome other’s blessings into your life, rather than simmering and stewing about them having it better than you. (p139)
- Sometimes, we retreat to the very small area where we feel safe. We may choose to expose only certain parts of ourselves that we deem acceptable, parts of us that haven’t been rejected. We stake our identity on the power of our intelligence or the shape of our body or our ability to be “the life of the party”. In doing so, we begin to actually reject par of ourselves — the parts that feel needy or unfinished. (p154)
- My guess is that Pilate had staked his whole identity on obtaining power and position, and because he feared losing that approval, he refused to make the right choice, even when standing before God himself (p163).
- Friend, there is no other issue that will draw you as close to God, so often in your day, as the trouble of anxiety.
- Your job isn’t to make everyone like you. It’s to glorify God with your life. That requires quieting your spirit so you can hear from God and be obedient when he speaks (p170).
There’s a ton more great stuff in this book, so I would really encourage you to make the investment. If you want, you can grab the first chapter (free) here! Also, be sure to check out Nicole’s website!
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Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are my own.