Stability does not result from your circumstances. Circumstances change. It is the inside of a person that is carried through the circumstances of life. Our inner selves being the common denominator in all our experiences. When you proactively change your circumstances for the better, this only leads to temporary feelings of security, it does not lead to long term inner stability. The lasting stability we seek comes from being rooted in God’s perfect love.
Many people are resistant to changing their circumstances, because they become comfortable in what they know, and the same is true about our behaviour. We get comfortable being a certain way, and so the patterns that were set when we were young often become the biggest barrier to change.
We can also become superstitious about change, because how we learn is all about association. Then we link circumstances or what we do in the present with emotional outcomes we have experienced in the past. So when we employ strategies to help us survive difficult situations, we go on to associate them with erroneous beliefs and behaviours that are unhelpful to us. Most of the time resistance to change is a form of denial. It can be painful to deal with our emotions so we avoid it. Being comfortable is not the friend of progress!
When we follow and commit to learning from Jesus, He opens our minds and hearts to change that fixes unhelpful habits we have on the inside. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESV.
I learned from a young age to survive by hiding the real me and pretending everything was okay. I was often overwhelmed by people seeking closeness. I remember one time in my late teens, sitting with friends in McDonalds’ when someone came in and told me that a boy I liked was about to come in and talk to me, so I bolted out the back door to avoid him!
I did not have the skills I needed to form relationships, I wasn’t even aware of my own emotions and had no idea how to ask for what I needed. I found developing relationships through activities, such as work, the most non-threatening way to build closeness with others.
The truth is that developing intimacy is scary for everyone! Every chance you take has an element of risk, so it is important to be discerning about the people we attempt to build relationships with.
“Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23. “
Having developed an avoidant attachment style, I sought similar personality types to be in relationship with, believing subconsciously this would be the ‘safe’ option. Seeking someone who understands you because they are the same way, is a sure fire way not to be successful unless one or both are committed to change!
When a person pushes you away, because they too have an insecure attachment style, or someone challenges you in a way that feels overwhelming – this simply reinforces the negative beliefs you have and your maladaptive thinking and behaviour continue. So we look at the world from the point of view that what we have learned is correct, and subconsciously seek people who will confirm these beliefs. That is why what we think often becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy!
Unlearning what I have learned, has come from being secured in God’s love. God’s love is perfect, and in it is freedom from the chains that have held us back. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7 NIV.
Think of a boat floating on the ocean. With no anchor it drifts from place to place through the storms and times of tranquillity. In this analogy, I am the vessel, the sea is my circumstance, but now God is my anchor. I need security, love and stability – I now have all these in God; the good Father! Every need is met in and through Him. The fruits of the spirit grow in me from loving and being loved by Him.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12 NIV. What Paul writes here is what we all want – to be content in all circumstances!
Breaking down the barriers and taking the time to build intimacy with Jesus, through prayer, hearing God’s word and meditating on scriptures removes all fear. But simply knowing is not enough, we must believe what He tells us and live with Him in our hearts.
“I am strong and of good courage, I do not fear nor am I afraid, for the Lord my God, He is the one who goes with me. He will not leave me nor forsake me.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV.
Loving Father, thank You for Your everlasting love, guidance and protection. Thank You Jesus for loving us so much You gave up Your life on the cross! Strengthen us Lord so that we may break down the barriers to our hearts and become rooted and built up in You. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.