A few weeks ago, someone from our area came to buy a washer and dryer, and I was already nervous about being the only one home. My nerves upped a notch when a man came alone. It was going fairly well until he mentioned he is a pastor, and my body responses kicked into panic mode – like an automatic switch kicks into high gear – “Run for your life!” My insides shook like a frightened puppy, and I wanted to cry.
Deep breaths… Get yourself together. God can protect you. Be strong in Jesus. This is not the same man who hurt you many years ago. As I zoned out and talked myself through it in a matter of seconds, I calmed down. In fact, I can sometimes hide it so well that another person doesn’t even notice my fear, except for my perceptive husband.
Isn’t it weird how our bodies naturally kick into reflex mode influenced by past experiences instead of present reality? We think we have worked through the pain and are well on the way to healing, but our bodies involuntarily respond to memory triggers.
What helps me work through these situations? Jesus and His promises. But I need to be active in claiming them. So often I get weary and forget to look up. I grovel in the mud of my insecurities. Why would Jesus even want to help me? Then I have to remind myself that in Him we are precious. We are so special to Him that He even died in our place. He treasures us as His own, dries our tears, and cuddles us to His beating heart of infinite, unconditional love.
A book God has used to help me be more confident and secure in Jesus is A Confident Heart by Renee Swope. Renee offers free print-outs to help us remember Scriptures that refute the negative voices that come up within us. An example in one of my favorites, “Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence,” is: When I say, “I am nothing special,” God says, “You are My masterpiece.” The proof is in Ephesians 2:10, “For we (you) are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (NLT)
God is faithful. Through Jesus we can and will overcome and press on into a more freeing future. He freed me from fear and shame that day with the pastor who bought our appliances. A mysterious power rose within me and propelled a searching question out of my mouth. I asked him, “So if someone would come to you and tell you he/she was abused by one of the pastors, what would you do?” Gulp! Did I really just say that?
But I’m glad now that I did. Though I felt my question was dodged a bit, it hopefully planted a seed of awareness in his heart. It ended in a discussion of how church is not about denominations. There is one church, the church of Christ.
I just know the power came from my Jesus, because it was so unlike my timid self. Yes, I still felt shaken, but also empowered. In Jesus my voice does count. I had every right to ask that question. I have every right to be bold and brave in what I believe.
You do, too, my friend. In Jesus, you are a masterpiece of His own making. You are special to Him. Your voice counts, and He wants you to be empowered in Him and use the voice He has given you. He empathizes with your fears and says, “Come, My child, you can do all things through ME.”
What Scriptures make you feel empowered in Jesus?