Those who are faithful to A Sista’s Journey know that Nicole Unice is a friend to this blog. For Natasha’s Study, I previously recommended her bible study, The Divine Pursuit: A Study of Jonah. We also had a lively discussion about racial reconciliation surrounding the book and movie, The Help. Today, I am honored to interview Nicole concerning her newly released book, She’s Got Issues: Seriously Good News for the Stressed-out, Secretly Scared Control Freaks Like Us (book review to follow).
1. I am beginning “She’s Got Issues” where you highlight the top five issues—control, insecurity, comparisons, fear, and anger (which includes unforgiveness)—in women, through living, ministry, and counseling. I have read of authors who want to add one more thing to the book after it is officially published. Of course you can’t spend the entire book simply talking about endless issues because we would never confront them, but is there an issue or point that you wished you would have addressed that didn’t quite make the cut? If so, what is it and why?
As I began writing the book, I realized how I wished this was a trilogy, not just a single volume! Each of the issues has so many layers behind them. For instance, as I wrote about control, I dove into this concept of independence and pride and how that plays out in women. That could have been a book in itself! So I almost wished I had more time with each issue, rather than more space for another issue. However, if I was to write She’s Got More Issues, I would include all issues regarding boundaries: limits, busyness, the ability to say “no”, overcommitment. These are things that women speak about frequently with me.
2. The issues you confront in the book are common to all people. After reading the preface and introduction, however, it appears to me that you are addressing a particular type of woman—the woman living the suburban, middleclass, cookie-cutter life. Understanding and ministering in that context puts you in a prime position to see the deception of keeping up outward appearances instead of confronting our heart issues. Why do you think God is concerned with our messy heart issues while we prefer putting bandages on deep wounds?
I don’t just think God is concerned with our heart issues–I know he is. I think that the deceiver will use any method to keep us from experiencing real freedom in Christ, because without that freedom, we aren’t very effective for the kingdom. And one of those methods is to keep us thinking our issues are really unimportant—that in the grand scheme of life, surely my petty insecurities or comparisons don’t really matter to God. But because God is deeply concerned with our heart–he says it repeatedly in scripture–it doesn’t matter what gets our heart into a crippled, wounded or prideful place. It just matters that he get us out, and that we trust him to set us free. Whether our deep wounds are because of a middle school bully or because of tragic abuse–the way out is still the same–surrendering to God’s way and to embracing his healing power.
3. What message do you share through this book? Why should women read it? What do you hope they get out of it?
The message of She’s Got Issues is pretty simple. We’ve all got issues. We are all kind of messed up inside. Whether you appear to have it all together or not, God knows how wacky we all can be. I learned that from counseling and ministering to women who, by all worldly accounts, have everything going for them. Yet they would sit across from me in my counseling office, talking about their insecurities, their deep resentments, or crippling anxiety. We are all kind of crazy.
The second point is that we can’t change ourselves. If we could change ourselves, if we could harness some kind of inner power to be healed, we just would! We have more education, more information, more resources than ever before at our fingertips. Yet just gaining knowledge doesn’t actually change us. I could read 20 articles and blog posts and 12-step plans to be free of worry today–and still worry. We can’t change ourselves. And the hopeful part is this: God can change us. God sent his Holy Spirit into the world to lead us into truth. To comfort us, challenge us, correct us, and to strengthen us with his power to actually be transformed. That’s the kind of power we talk about in the book. The rest of the message is geared toward surrendering our own way and quieting ourselves to actually begin to be changed in this way.
4. What has living and writing through these issues taught you about God’s grace and mercy?
Wow, that’s another book. 🙂 I think that actually believing the three points I just mentioned has taught me so much about grace. I find myself, every day, defaulting toward independence. Wanting to do life myself, wanting to fix myself, not wanting to be desperate for God’s direction and provision. I constantly fight against needing him, which is why those truths, although simple, are something I always need to hear about and think about. Because at the end of the day, the way I try to live life on my own never turns out that well. So it’s an adventure in believing God is who he says he is. It’s a quest to understand him better in the way he expresses himself in the world and in my life. And when I do that, I experience the glorious truth of his character, that his mercy for me is truly new every morning, and that a taste of God’s grace is better than an ocean of empty self-help promises.
Sometimes, I’m stressed out, secretly scared, and a control freak but the issue I’m struggling with lately is patience. Are you brave enough to own your issue(s)? What is one issue where you struggle and want God to redeem in your life? We can pray for that issue together.
Check out the She’s Got Issues website: http://www.shesgotissuesbook.com/
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2012