She stood out like a sore thumb. And she didn’t mind it one bit.
Emily was a new student in our senior year of high school. From out of state, she came to live with her mom for a year. Right off the bat, we became friends through the high school play.
But whereas I was a little shy and quiet, Emily was the opposite. She had opinions about everything, and she didn’t mind sharing them or care what people thought about them.
She also loved Jesus. This was obvious. When she saw someone in the hallway who she thought needed Jesus, she would just walk up and say, “You know, Jesus loves you.” Some days, she would sing: “Jesus Loves Me” as we were walking to our next class (loudly, mind you). Sometimes I would try and shush her... I just wanted her to fit in and be liked.
But at the same time, I admired her—her gusto! Her bravery to embrace who she was and what she thought. Her security.
Where can we get that kind of security? The kind that can make us stand out sometimes and not care what the world thinks?
The world promises security in almost every commercial or ad you see. But there’s only one real place that it comes from: God’s love. Knowing He loves us, deep in our souls, will ground us. That will shield us from worrying about other people not liking us or misunderstanding our intentions. It will shield us from melting down when we make a mistake or say the wrong thing.
But how? As the New Year begins, many of us are re-evaluating ourselves. If becoming a more secure person is a goal of yours, here are 3 ways to do just that. And (hint, hint) it’s all about getting--and staying--grounded in God’s love.
1. Memorize scripture that shows God’s love for you.
There are so many different scriptures I could write here, but it’s really a personal thing. As you study the Bible, write down the ones that speak of God’s love to you. Here are a couple of mine:
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)
2. Think more about what God thinks than what people think.
Now we do want to be considerate people, but we don’t want to cross the line and become worriers of what other people might be thinking about our choices. This gets us into trouble because we start to make our next move based on pleasing others instead of pleasing God. Ask the question, "What does God ask of me in this situation?"
3. Look for “Joy Bombs” to recognize God loving on you.
Taken from Margaret Feinberg’s book, Fight Back With Joy, we can look for the little ways that God shows His love to us throughout the day. Like a water balloon splashes you on a hot summer day, Joy Bombs refresh you by knowing God sees you--it could be a beautiful sunrise or a text from a friend, right when you needed it. When you start to pay attention, you will see them (and feel God’s love more) every day.
So, maybe you'll never see me belting out a song while walking down a crowded hallway, but I am growing toward my own version of boldness, being grounded in who He made me and how much He loves me.