By Alicia Michelle
God's Brave Women - Alicia's Story
When we don’t pay attention to God's whispers He'll start to shout. And if shouting still doesn’t work, then—in His immense kindness and compassionate love—God will throw a massive semi-truck our way to derail us from the destructive path we are on.
For me, that “semi-truck” came in late July 2017. But first, let’s talk about why God sent the semi-truck.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with a very vocal inner critic that kept me racing on a treadmill to prove my worth.
I spent my academic life hustling for a 4.0 GPA, frustrated I could never get a 4.6 like others in my class. I killed myself to become captain of this team and president of that group, yet I was disillusioned because I still wasn’t popular “enough.”
There was always someone who’d done it better (“if only I could be like THEM…”). There was always a flaw in what I’d accomplished (“if only I’d done THAT instead…”).
As a mom, this mindset kept me constantly judging my kids’ behavior and my own: What behavior modification did I need to implement to improve how they were acting?
As a wife it kept me scrutinizing my husband’s behavior and equating it to my actions: What do I need to change about myself to please him and keep him loving me?
As an online writer and coach my confidence in my abilities were under constant scrutiny: What was the next career achievement I needed to finally feel good enough about my work?
I worked every day until midnight and got up at four a.m. While simultaneously begging God for replenishment because of my exhaustion, I pushed myself harder, certain that hard work must be where transformation was found.
But every day felt like a cruel reenactment of the day before, leaving me confused as to how I could have such a full, happy life and enjoy none of it.
"While simultaneously begging God for replenishment because of my exhaustion, I pushed myself harder, certain that hard work must be where transformation was found... How I could have such a full, happy life and enjoy none of it."
The irony was I believed Jesus died for me. I knew I had a new identity as His daughter and was supposed to be filled with the joy of the Lord. But like so many of us stuck in “core broken soundtracks” about our identity, I only believed God’s promises in my head. Those truths had yet to transform my heart, my mindset and my way of life.
"I only believed God’s promises in my head. Those truths had yet to transform my heart, my mindset and my way of life."
That’s when the semi-truck of July 2017 happened.
I’d been battling an agonizing headache for about a week and, despite my inner critic’s protests, I obeyed God’s call to return home early from a mission’s trip to seek medical care.
I’ll never forget to the look of controlled calm on the ER doctor’s face when he said, “Um… you have a vertebral artery dissection and you’re at high risk for a stroke or death. We’re rushing you immediately to the ICU of a specialty hospital.”
The doctors couldn’t explain why this was happening to an otherwise healthy 42-year-old.
But God gave me an answer: “You know why you’re here.”
His conviction hit like a tidal wave. "For years you've been running from me, ignoring my reminders to slow down. Now do I have your attention?”
“I’m giving you a second chance to rebuild your life. Will you take it?”
“I’m giving you a second chance to rebuild your life. Will you take it?”
Yes, God. I’m so sorry.
The next eight months were some of the toughest I’ve ever endured. My life was about sleeping 16 hours a day, waking only to eat and to take my meds (three blood thinner shots a day plus pain killers that only took a dent out of my throbbing headaches). Several days a week, we’d drive to the hospital for more tests and scary procedures I hope I never have to do again.
God stripped away everything in my life that had given a false sense of worth: my ability to homeschool, to cook, to take care of my family, to write and work online, and even to sit up in bed.
Complete and total surrender. It was excruciating but what I truly needed.
Like Saul (Acts 9:1-19), I’d needed to be blinded so I could find my true identity and build my life on the light of Christ.
"God stripped away everything in my life that had given a false sense of worth... Complete and total surrender. It was excruciating but what I truly needed. Like Saul, I’d needed to be blinded so I could find my true identity and build my life on the light of Christ."
As I slowly recuperated, God shared that sure I could create new healthy rhythms in my life to sleep more and work less, but if I wanted lasting change, I needed to get to the root of my behavior.
And that meant I needed to bravely confront and reject any thought in me that didn’t obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
My thoughts needed to echo the truth that only God’s approval mattered (Galatians 1:10), and I didn’t need to perform to be accepted by Him (Galatians 3:13).
I needed to live from the promise that that there was nothing I could do to stop God from loving me (Romans 8:38-39) or from fulfilling His good plans for my future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Changing my life required I first change my thoughts. Only then could I cultivate the security of Christ-centered confidence.
"Changing my life required I first change my thoughts. Only then could I cultivate the security of Christ-centered confidence."
So maybe I’m a bit hard-headed and needed a semi-truck to help me discover the freedom (and pure joy!) of godly confidence. But Sister, if my story resonates with you, can I encourage you to take a less painful route?
Start by gently asking yourself, “What is my inner thought life like? Am I stuck feeling like I’m never enough, even though I know God’s promises for me?” This isn’t meant to invoke more self-judgement (“I know… I’m so bad… my thought life is awful…”). It’s simply sitting before God and becoming curious about what He reveals.
God is right there, not wanting to condemn you but to lovingly hold you in His arms (Isaiah 40:11) as you explore what’s inside. Dear Sister, I’m praying right now you’ll find the healing you need to rebuild your thought life on the firm foundation of God’s promises.
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.
AS A BONUS… Subscribers will also be the first to receive news regarding the BRAVE WOMEN BIBLE STUDY! SIGN UP for more info on the study’s release and availability.
Alicia Michelle is a Bible teacher, podcaster, certified NeuroCoach, wife of 20 years, mom of four kids, and lover of Christ. Known as the Mindset Makeover Coach, she equips Christian women with practical brain-and-biblically-based tools to overcome self-sabotage and cultivate godly confidence.
Listen to her every week on the Vibrant Christian Living Podcast, get free training on how to overcome negative thoughts, and learn more about her signature course the Christian Mindset Makeover™ at VibrantChristianLiving.com.