Today we start our spring book: What Women Fear by Angie Smith. Lest that title make you roll your eyes and die a little bit on the inside, I get it. The only reason I bought the book was because it was on sale at the library for $2.00. In general, I’m not drawn to books that are marketed to Christian women, even though I am one. But most of this book is worth your time (we’ll get to the parts I think she sells the subject a bit short).
Here’s the thing, do you think of yourself as someone who fears? I’ll be honest, for the most part, I think we are a very brave group. Not in the ways folks back home may think we are brave or people in our church may tell us we are brave, that kind of bravery can be self-inflating. My hope is that we are brave in the ways God defines bravery. So why then a book on fears?
Fears disintegrate us.
Fears take parts of ourselves and keep it in the shadows and we get so used to it in the shadows, we don’t even realize it was meant to be a part of us. Fears keep us living parts of our lives in one space and parts in another. I’m not talking about the “what do we share publicly and what do we keep private.” Out of fear you may share something that was to be private or out of fear you may be reluctant to share a part of yourself.
Instead, God wants to transform us back into our true, integrated selves. Fear divides and is the native tongue of the enemy of our souls. The problem is, we forget that Fear isn’t OUR native tongue. The language of Eden is.
This weekend I was at a conference and the speaker showed a scene from Dead Poet’s Society. The speaker said that God is calling us out of the shadows and to watch the scene as if we were Todd Anderson (played by Ethan Hawk) and the Holy Spirit was the teacher (played by Robin Williams). I’m going to ask you to do the same. Here is the scene:
In light of thinking about fears, isn’t that powerful? When the boys laughed, what did Robin Williams say? “Forget them. Forget them.” Those laughing boys are our fears. They watch our lives and through their laughter try to get us to be ashamed, to be small, to be invisible in our own lives.
But what does the Spirit say to us? Forget them. Forget them. Listen to me.
If you’ve looked through the Table of Contents you’ve seen we’re going to be exploring the fear of:
- What if
- Rejection, Abandonment, and Betrayal
- Being found out
- My past catching up with me
- Not being significant
- God’s plan for my life
- That God isn’t real
Today we’re discussing the introduction and the question “Did God really say that?”
This is what stood out to me:
“Scripture repeatedly shows us how God uses questions to reveal something about the heart of the person he is speaking to. Each question was for their benefit so they could be aware of a lesson he was teaching them. There is accountability and forced recognition of the words we have in response to these questions, and I believe there is great wisdom to be gained by considering them.
“Interestingly, the very first question posed in the Bible is not spoken by God, but rather by Satan himself disguised as a snake. It is a simple, profound sentence that changes everything. We learn that Satan doesn’t have to force us to do anything sinful; he merely needs to plant a seed of doubt and let us tangle ourselves up in it.”
“Fundamentally, every single fear comes from the lies spoken by the enemy in a garden designed to be a haven: Are you sure? Are you really, really sure because you were staking your life on the claim that you might have misunderstood. God says he is good … Is he? He tells you he has your best mind … Does he? He boasts that he is Almighty, all-knowing, altogether trustworthy … is he?
“What a powerful way to get us to fall into the trap. He doesn’t quite push us in, but he doesn’t have to. We do a pretty good job of jumping once the doubt is there.”
Isn’t that a helpful question to ask ourselves when it comes to fear? Did God really say that?
There were other places I marked too :). What stood out to you as you read the intro? Do you tend to think of yourself as fearful or brave? What do you think of the title?
See you in the comments!
P.S. Next week we’ll discuss chapter 1.
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