Who Touched Me? {Book Club]

Today we are in Chapter 3 of What Women Fear by Angie Smith and are discussing the chapter on the fear of being found out. I loved how right near the beginning of the chapter, Jesus turned to the woman who touched him and asked, “Who touched me?” Because he’s asking us the same question today reading this chapter. Who touched me? As Angie wrote, “He wanted her to speak up to identify herself in spite of her fear.” Isn’t that a beautiful message? Jesus is asking us the same question. As I thought about this fear, the fear of being found out, I realized this is a fear we are very familiar with.

I believe that this is one of the greatest fears for people in our line of work. In other posts we have talked about the pedestal that many people back home put us up on.  The challenge it can be to get them to knock us off of; but sometimes it’s equally hard for us to step down off of it and to be found out. There’s so many areas we fear judgement. How is your language ability? How are your children adjusting to the culture? How many converts do you have? How many people have you baptized? The list could go on and on.

It’s funny, just last night I was spending some time with very dear friends, and they introduced me to someone else. They told him,  “This is our friend who lived in China for years. We’ve told you all about her.” He said to me, (you probably get the exact same comment), “Oh, I bet you’re fluent in Chinese then.” Once again I had to say, “No, I’m not really fluent in Chinese. I’m adequate, but I’m not very good.” It was another moment of feeling found out.

It was too much to go into with him—especially since this was a teenage boy!  He doesn’t care to know God did not call me to be really great at Chinese. God called me to be adequate. He called me to be really good at other things. As I said, that dear, sweet young man did not care to know all the other things I’m actually good at, but I felt found out. I had to lean into that and to say to myself, “That’s actually not the truth. I have not been found out because this doesn’t need to be a point of shame for me.”

This chapter raised this question for me: what’s the difference between “being found” and “being found out”?  What a difference a preposition makes, eh? Between being found and found out. If you’re lost there’s nothing better than that sense when you realize, “Oh, I know where I am.” Or when someone gives you clear directions and helps you to be found. That sense of being found is such a relief.

But if you’re found out, if you’re afraid that something is going to be found out about your family or your finances or any other number of things, there’s fear there. That, to me, is the root difference between being found and being found out. The root of one is relief, and the root of other is fear. Does that encourage you? God is in the business of helping us be found, not found out.

Near the end of the chapter, I loved when she talked about the original meaning for the word “name” in the passage with Jacob could be translated as “reputation.” How often do we confuse our name for our reputation. There is power in realizing that even if maybe your reputation is undesirable, even if it’s undesirable in a very “Christian-appropriate way” (but you know it’s not really who you are or who you want to be), that God can rename you. Not only can he, God wants to rename you to the reputation he has for you.  Your greatest fear of being found out doesn’t have to be your greatest fear.

Wasn’t this an appropriate chapter to read during Holy Week? Remembering how Jesus came that we may be found and never fear being found out!

I enjoyed the thoughts this chapter provoked and I look forward to the comments and hearing what stood out to you.

Amy

P.S. Next week we’ll discuss chapter 4.

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15 Comments

  1. Sarah Hilkemann March 21, 2016

    Amy, I loved how you brought out the distinction of being found versus being found out in this chapter! When I think about the story of the woman with the issue of blood, I cringe with shame which must have rested heavy on her. I think about the ways that I feel like I don’t “measure up” in this overseas life, having to admit that I’m struggling or that I’m only okay with language (even after almost 3 years here), or that I don’t have any “success” stories to point to. I loved what Angie Smith wrote toward the end of the chapter (I’m reading on Kindle so not sure exactly what page), about Jesus’ heart communicated in His response to the woman, “You are the one I stop for. You are the one I long to heal. I know your name. I know your heart. I know everything about you, including that we would meet here today”. It is incredible to think that Jesus would say those same things to me. That he would stop for me. That he knows my name, since most people don’t and I’m normally in the background. Such an amazing thought!

    1. Amy Young March 22, 2016

      Sarah, I love hearing your thoughts! As much as we long to have friends come to know him, even if you are in Cambodia for 20 more years and (from your perspective) see no one come to Him, he would still say, “You are the one I stop for” because his delight in you is not in what you do, but who you are. You are a faithful daughter of the King!

  2. M'Lynn March 22, 2016

    So I’m pretty sure I needed this on more levels than I know right now. I read and journaled on Mark 5:25-34 just this morning. Then I glanced at this and realized it matched up. I love it when God does that, so I was getting excited. Then I read it and I can totally relate to the whole “oh, you’ve lived in China for a really long time. you and your kids and your husband and your dog (we don’t really have a dog but…haha) must all speak fluent Chinese. What an amazing opportunity!” So…there we go. None of us are fluent. My Chinese is adequate (like your “called to be adequate” thing there) and the kids aren’t even close. We’ll let my husband speak for himself. And then…they’ve already jumped ahead to the “amazing opportunity” so I feel like admitting that I’m not fluent means admitting we’re all hopelessly missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime and why are we living in China anyway if we aren’t fluent by now??? Like I said…lots to process.

    1. Amy Young March 22, 2016

      Oh M’Lynn, so much shame in language, isn’t there? I believe that God gives each of us at least one area where we are to get our validation only from Him (or mainly!). For me (and you?), it’s language. No one who really knows Chinese has ever praised me for how adequate I am . . . but those who know no Chinese have commented how good it is. I just have to keep my eyes on Jesus and as much as I DEEPLY value language learning, he repeatedly made it clear that wasn’t the path for me. I still, at times, wish it would so I could feel better about myself :). AH, and there is the problem with that motive!!

  3. Sarah Hilkemann March 22, 2016

    I just listened to this song and it seemed to fit so well with the theme of this chapter and being found. It is called “Even Me” by I Am They. Here is one version I found on YouTube but it is also on Amazon and iTunes. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P3p3ZFbIZ9s
    It really spoke to my heart!

    1. Jennifer Ott March 22, 2016

      That whole album (especially “Even Me”, “Make a Way”, and “Amen” ) is kinda my theme music right now!

      1. Sarah Hilkemann March 22, 2016

        Yeah, I’ve had “Make a Way” and “King of Love” on repeat lately, but am just discovering the rest of the album. 🙂 So good!!

        1. Hadassah March 23, 2016

          Thanks for sharing!  Absolutely love this group:)  All the songs you mentioned, I really liked!

    2. Amy Young March 22, 2016

      Thank you! I hadn’t heard of this album and I loved that song! Off to listen to the others listed 🙂

    3. Brittany March 27, 2016

      Ooh, so true! Love it!

  4. Phyllis March 22, 2016

    This week’s chapter didn’t really come close for me right now. I can see how it is one that often hits the M community, though. I am naturally a pretty open person, and I don’t have much fear of people finding out who I really am. I have learned to censor what I say, though, over the years, and it is kind of related to my life as a M. We have had people tell us that we shouldn’t say certain things, or that we shouldn’t say them that way, and so we don’t. But, at least for me, it’s not fear that keeps me from saying them. I just would rather not have pointless conflict with the people who don’t want me to say those things. And sometimes I’ll write something, and then not send it, but not from fear; just because I don’t want to hurt someone.

    There was this quote: “‘It isn’t what it looks like, and if people only knew the real story…’ I think that one of the ways we combat this fear is by allowing ourselves to continue the thought to the end.” And, often for many of us, that might look like, “If only they knew, they would stop supporting us!” I have felt that fear in the past, but the reality is that I’d rather be me and be accepted as I am, than have supporters who are supporting someone they don’t know. And our own supporters are wonderful! So, that’s probably one of the main reasons I don’t struggle with this particular fear… and yet, I sympathise with those who do.


    (Okay, I wrote that^ and then I read the comments already here. Wow. “Even Me” must have been written for me. Thank you for giving me the gift of that song!)

    1. Amy Young March 22, 2016

      Thanks for your thoughts … I would also say that I don’t tend to wrestle in this area. UNLESS IT IS MY LANGUAGE ability and then a side of me that rarely comes out (and honestly, I do not like my response because my head knows it is not true). I think God had that dear young man ask me about my language one day before I wrote this post to remind me of the truth about me 🙂

  5. Hadassah March 22, 2016

    Amy, thanks for sharing the difference between being found and being found out.  But, I think sometimes the two go hand in hand.  Adam and Eve were more afraid of being found out than being found in the garden of Eden.  That’s why they hid.  Jonah also hid.  He didn’t want to be found, but ultimately, he didn’t want to be found out.  None of them, I believe were relieved at being found.  They felt too much shame.  And each had to go through hard times before understanding what being found out by God was really going to mean in their lives.  And yet, God searched them out.  I sometimes forget that God is searching me out, too.  He knows what I’m hiding.  He knows what I don’t want others to know.  And, He loves me still. He knows too that others will love me still, because He’s searching them out.  And, it’s wonderful when He puts into our lives friends who understand, friends who care, and friends who love us in spite of what we are trying to hide.  Just like Angie continued to love Jenny.  I’ve got a friend like that now.  The more I open up to her, the more I realize how much our stories are alike.

    Angie’s right!  “We spend more time ‘presenting’ ourselves rather than being present,” and it’s in those times of presenting ourselves that we feel the loneliest, like I’m sure Jonah did in the belly of the whale.  We miss out on the genuine community (Nineveh) that God is wanting us to have.  I hate to think of all the other women whose hearts I’ve missed seeing because I’m too busy hiding…in the belly of my own shame.

     

     

    1. Amy Young March 22, 2016

      I can see your point! In reading this chapter as Angie kept talking about being “found out” I wondered about being “found” (since we often talk of being “the lost” and “the found.”) — you’ve helped to push these ideas a bit further still! I love book club!

    2. Jodie March 22, 2016

      Hadassah, the line about spending more time presenting ourselves than being present really struck me too. I appreciate your thoughts about other Bible characters who didn’t want to be found out, and how isolating that can be (like Jonah) so that we end up missing other people who are trying to hide, but who actually really need a friend they can feel safe with. I want to have my eyes open so that I don’t miss those people God is putting in my life or have my focus in the wrong place.

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