Security, safety, and self-preservation often drive our actions and inactions daily. What constitutes security, safety, and self-preservation (at least in the western culture) often include money, home, loving spouse, and good friends. Earthquakes can wipe out all of this—leaving us jittery and searching for the security we had.
Our parents’ divorce was an earthquake in our childhood. For most of us, things were secure, safe, and then, boom! The earth shook and our world was wiped out. Our family fell apart. We may have “lost” loved ones, and financial security often became a guessing game. As kids, it was a very traumatic experience for most of us. So we clung to whatever we could for security. Too often, In lieu of the feelings of safety we craved, people, drugs, perfectionism, alcohol, shopping, lust, anorexia, anger, were used as a substitute.
Unfortunately, years later, when adult children of divorce feel “tremors” (threats to our receiving love, physical well-being, or reputation), we can revert back to those coping behaviors without thinking about it. For example, when our spouse says something that makes us feel insecure, or there’s a drain on our finances (or our ability to make finances,) we automatically “reach” for what has always made us feel secure—even if it goes against what we believe (sinful behaviors), or is destructive to us or others—like lying, withdrawing, or lashing out in anger.
Think about what is worrying you right now. What is causing you stress because your “security” is threatened? During times like this, it is important to take your eyes off the issue, and put them onto Jesus. Jesus knows we have bouts of fear and insecurity. He said “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”1 Take heart! Jesus can help us overcome our fears when we lean on Him for our security.
- Write down three things that are causing you to feel insecure.
- Read Matthew chapter 6 verses 19-34.
- Pray to God and ask Him to help you overcome the things on your list.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3.
For adults with divorced parents, “tremors” will come and go, but we can greatly reduce our negative response to those triggers by “giving all our worries and cares to God.”2
1John 16:33, New Living Translation
21 Peter 5:7, ibid