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