It's amazing! The book takes you on a journey straight through your fears and out the other side to your faith. It's very inspiring to me because of the absolute honesty of the author. She has been through it all and God has transformed her into something beautiful. Angie has a definite strength in her that leaves you desiring to follow her path. I have been motivated to seek the same strength so that I too can face my fears and walk by faith.
Standing in Lifeway, as I read the back of the book, and part of the introduction, I was hooked. I had to use it for the next study with my friends. The only conflict, there was no workbook to go through. We were going to be on our own studying, and discussing the chapters of the book. This posed a bit of a challenge.
As I read along in my book, I try to jot down thoughts and questions for the study. I also mentally mark how I came up with the question so I can justify asking it later when I'm with my friends. We meet at a local coffee shop for discussion and to build up our friendship.
I thought I would share the questions with you. Maybe it will give you a chance to dig a little deeper. I know I'm sometimes guilty of reading a book without putting myself into the picture. You really need to purchase the book for yourself! These questions are only to be used a supplement, not to take the place of reading the book. Feel free to use them yourself, or use them as a discussion starter with friends.
The book is ten chapters long, along with an introduction. Today, I will post questions for the first five chapters. Once I am finished with the study, I will post the second half of my questions.
"Many times God responds to someone struggling with fear by asking a question of them. When He's wrestling with Jacob, God asks him what his name is. Of course He knows Jacob's name. What He wants from this interaction is a confession of sorts; an acknowledgement of who Jacob is in his own eyes" (Smith 1-2).
Who do you think you are? In your own eyes?
Angie shares a story about Santa coming to her house. She lies in her bed terrified that she wasn't good enough for Santa. She must be on the naughty list and everyone will see her shame in receiving a lump of coal.
Have you ever felt not good enough...even for God? If so, why do you think so?
Do you feel like you are in bondage to your fears?
"Yes the Lord desires for you to be free from the bondage of fear, but it isn't reasonable to say you will never have fear in your life again if you are a good Christian" (Smith 12).
Have you ever felt like you weren't a good enough Christian because of the fear in your life?
"I heard You say that, God, but it seems like maybe You have forgotten that You did. It seems like maybe I need to do this in order for it to all fall into place, so I'm going to move on ahead of You and You can catch up to me at the next stop. Sound good?" (Smith 16).
Have you ever reminded God of His promises? Or tried to help Him out?
"Scripture tells us that God opens Hagar's eyes and she sees a well of water. Take note of the fact that it doesn't say He dropped a well of water right next to her, but rather He opened her eyes to see it" (Smith 27).
Looking back at a hard time, find where God was at. What "well" did He open your eyes to?
"I believe that Satan preys on these moments, taunting us with our own self-doubt, rejoicing as we replay things over and over, desperate for a different outcome. Scripture gives us powerful words about these thoughts and I encourage you to find strength in them when you begin to wonder" (Smith 25).
What scripture verse can you grab a hold of today for your life?
"In a sea of chaos and destruction, Job faces the fear that threatens to destroy him. Has my God abandoned me?" (Smith 32).
Have you ever been really angry at God before? What was the outcome of it?
"As I go through seasons of my life where others have hurt me and let me down, I can see the way my image of God was affected. It all lends to that overarching sense that you are your only ally, and anyone else (including Him) will fail you" (Smith 33).
Why do you think our image of God changes when it's other people who are hurting us?
"There was no ballet school" (Smith 36).
Can you relate to feeling like an outsider of the group, wishing and wanting to belong? What advice would you give to someone struggling with this?
"Leah can't win Jacob over with looks, so she comes up with another plan to make him love her. Despite the fact that she bore Jacob six sons and a daughter, he hated her" (Smith 39).
Have you ever feared rejection so badly that you were willing to do anything to be accepted? Why do you think we do that?
"When we depend on others to be our God, we strike out on a couple different levels. We burden them with blame for their lack of ability and we forfeit what God could have done if we would have honored Him the way we should have" (Smith 41).
When you are feeling alone, do you look to God for your fulfillment or man? What one step can you take to make Him (God) your sole provider?
"She just wants to touch Him from the shadows, all the while keeping her secret to herself. It was shameful, and she couldn't bear the thought of everyone knowing she wasn't what she seemed" (Smith 47).
Why do you try to hide your weaknesses?
"I think one of the reasons we, as Christians, fear baring our souls for each other is that we know the person may try to play God instead of trying to love us the way God commands" (Smith 53).
Have you ever experienced this? How has it changed you? Or has it changed you?
What "labels" have you created for yourself to live up to? What will happen if you don't measure up to it?
What gifts and talents has God given you?
"Immediately after Jacob says his name, the Lord replies, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel... Genesis 32:28. Israel. Contender. Soldier of God. God prevails" (Smith 60).
What does your name mean? Who are you now? Who do you want to become?
"You're so worried about failing that you're going to read yourself right into oblivion. You're not ever going to actually do anything with all this knowledge you're gaining, so it's kind of useless, don't you think?" (Smith 67).
Is there anything you need to "pick" back up again? Are you still in the reading about it stage? Or are you ready to dive right in?
What do you need to take a step of action in? Is fear of failure holding you back?
How does your definition of failure differ from God's definition?
What are the things in which you fear you might fail?
Are you afraid of success? Or the pressure of continuing to be successful?
"Fear of death"
How do you go on believing in a God who allows such bad things to happen?
"Satan delights in our sleepless nights and our doubts in God's sovereignty. We must continually turn it over to the Lord and surround ourselves with people who urge us to trust His goodness" (Smith 92).
Can you identify areas where you are giving the enemy a foothold?
Are you able to trust God to work miracles for others more than for yourself? Why do you think that happens?
"But I am little in the hand of a big God and I fear He will not be able to make His fingers small enough to hold onto me.... It's as if I believe that He might be busy with something more important and then look up and poof, my plane has crashed..." (Smith 102).
Do you ever feel that you have slipped off of God's radar? How do you encourage yourself if that feeling comes?
"Jesus does calm the storm, but He also poses a question to His disciples. This question falls squarely on our shoulders as we experience the same fear they did" (Smith 103).
Where is your faith? What does it lie in?
I strongly encourage you; get a copy of What Women Fear by Angie Smith. You won't be sorry you did!
I will post the second half of my questions next month.
Questions Over Chapters Six Through Ten
All quotes taken from: Smith, Angie. (2011). What Women Fear. Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group