"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what He has done, collecting a following for Him" (1 Corinthians 1:17)

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

She’s Got Issues Week 1

let's get crazy

“Crazy people are no stranger to the bible.” (Nicole Unice, She’s Got Issues, page 24)

Chapter 1: Cheap Plastic Souls

Ouch! Those may seem like harsh words, but how many of us read this chapter and thought, “Wow, she gets me?” Or, “How did she know what I’m feeling?” I know that when I first read this chapter, I was astonished to learn that I wasn’t alone in this feeling of wanting and needing more of that “abundant life” Christ spoke about.

Let’s ask ourselves a few questions:
  • How long have you been a Christian? Were you raised a Christian, or did you have a life-altering experience through Jesus?
  • Have you lost your zeal for Christ? Are you merely walking in a Christian haze, wondering what this is all about?
  • Have you found yourself in situations like Nicole, experiencing the 3 symptoms of “issues”: blindness, lack of compassion, and convoluted conflict?

Nicole speaks often about the person who has been infused by God, asking us if we’ve ever known anyone like that. Is your confession like mine in admitting that you were once “infused by God,” but now that seems like a lifetime ago?

I started drinking and doing drugs at the age of 12. I had two abortions by the age of 23. I lived a wild life of rock n roll as a music journalist, and was addicted to cocaine by the age of 21. When I entered my first career and traveled around the country, I was nicknamed Trouble, because I usually took the large groups out for a very good time out on the town. Most memorable indeed…of what I could remember.

By the age of 29 I accepted Jesus into my life. Cried out for Him, as a matter of fact, and He was faithful to transform my life. Mind you, I had no clue about what the Bible said about being saved, born again, or being made a new creation. No one told me what it would be like.

Upon being saved, I was on fire for Jesus—a genuine Jesus Freak. No matter what life threw at me, I somehow found comfort in God and in my faith. Even what seemed like bad things happening in my life, I still felt the joy of the Lord. I sadly confess I no longer feel that. I no longer know what any of that means, and have no idea how it can relate to my life today.

I ache for it. I long to return to that place and feel that joy again…but I have issues! And that’s why I felt immediately relieved to read Nicole’s words:
“Our ordinary issues may seem so commonplace that we stay blind to the truth of our own condition.” (pg. 9)
“Contact with Christians should be an experience that proves to people that the gospel is a power that transforms the whole of life.” (pg. 6)
When I read that last statement, I truly had to ask myself if contact with me is a fireworks, lights-go-off, revelation experience, or an opening-of-Al-Capone’s-safe experience—all the hype leads up to an empty vault. Sadly I had to admit…it’s empty in there.

At that moment I knew this book was for me. I anxiously read on and I’m eagerly anticipating sharing this journey with all of you. My hope is to fill that vault again with the jewels and inheritance of my salvation.

Our 5 Issues

So here are the five “issues” we’ll be discussing over the next seven weeks:
  1. Control
  2. Insecurity
  3. Comparisons
  4. Fear
  5. Anger (and its cousin, Unforgiveness)
My name is Tristine, and I have issues. My biggest struggle is comparison, mixed in with control, which of course makes me angry, and then I'm fearful everyone will hate me and I become a bit insecure.

Yikes...I've got some serious issues!!

As you enrolled in this study, all of us identified with one or more of these issues. How exciting to know that very soon we can start overcoming them.

As we move on, let’s consider what Nicole says about our group environment and experience:
“A place where you can be a cheerleader—encouraging and affirming one another as you peel back some layers of plastic and ultimately discover the beautiful, authentic women God has made.”

Chapter 2: More Than Mediocre

“To follow Jesus is to agree to change.” (pg. 22)


I resisted change before giving my life to Christ. I didn’t want to stop drinking, or sleeping around. I just wanted God in my life without having to give up the seemingly “fun” stuff. But when we truly surrender to God and ache to know Him in a real, honest way, crying out for His Son’s saving power, Jesus is faithful to change us--our hearts and our lives.

I left work on Friday the party girl (a.k.a. Trouble), and came back to work Monday morning a new creation. Nothing I ever could have done to change myself would have happened that quickly, or that dramatically. To say that people were shocked was an understatement. Some thought I just lost my mind, others began going to church again, and some even surrendered their own lives to Jesus and experienced that same infusion of God! One of those women is in our study. She’s the one who inspired many of you to enroll.

Are we agreeing to change?

I’d say that we are, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this study together. Most of us are eager for it, but there are three premises of change, according to Nicole, that we first need to recognize as “foundational truths” to help us get where we want to be in our lives (again).
  1. You are crazy (at least a little bit): but that’s okay, because we know for a fact that “crazy people are no strangers to the Bible.”
  2. You can’t fix yourself: so don’t buy into the world’s idea of the “God helps those who help themselves” theory.
  3. God can transform you: isn’t that really the Good News of Jesus?
Nicole challenges us on page 29 when she asks, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how willing are you to let God be in charge of this process?” And I loved how she explained about what it’s like in hoping our prayers will be answered:
“Praying for God to change specific things is like signaling a spaceship from your yard with a miniflashlight.” (pg. 30)
Are we merely asking God for what we want rather than His will for us?  We may say, “O, God, Your will, not my own.” But in our hearts we are saying, “But only if Your will is in alignment with what I want.” 
“God is not interested in transforming us because he needs us to be shiny, happy people who robotically do His will. He’s interested because He loves us too much to leave us wallowing in our issues, mired in the everyday and missing out on His presence and peace!” (pg. 30)

To Do This Week:

  • Answer the journaling exercises for Chapters 1 & 2
  • Watch Nicole’s videos discussing Chapters 1 & 2: http://www.shesgotissuesbook.com/
  • Start a daily journal, contemplating and “writing on the why” (pg. 16) throughout the study


Online Discussion

On page 18, Nicole asks if we have a faith testimony worth sharing? I’ve shared a bit of my personal experience and we’d love to hear more about yours.

In the comment box below, answer these questions:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how willing are you to let God be in charge of this process?
How did Christ change your life?

Let’s Get Virtual

This Thursday at 8 PM EST/7 PM CST, we will get virtual. We’ll explore the group discussion questions from Chapter 2 as a virtual group. Join me on Google+, add me to your friends circle, and then I’ll add you to my circle, She’s Got Issues. Make sure to be online a few minutes before we start so I get us set up for a Hangout.

This week we’ll introduce ourselves, talk about the study/book, and explore the group discussions in depth.

365107: She"s Got Issues: Seriously Good News for Stressed-Out, Secretly Scared Control Freaks Like Us She's Got Issues: Seriously Good News for Stressed-Out, Secretly Scared Control Freaks Like Us
By Nicole Unice

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