About the Author

Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive, and blogs on The Mom Creative. Every day is a juggling act as she balances working full-time, making memories with her family, photographing the every day and trying to be...

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  1. You mentioned Moses and I didn’t hear all of it but it means to me that it’s ok to “fail”in certain areas because God made our mouths that way. Or what ever our weakness may be. It really applies to so much and this I feel is something a friend and I have needed to hear for a while. So thank you for what you’re doing, your tenderness and vulnerability. I appreciate it very much.

  2. Loving these “table talks”. I don’t yet have the book but am already relating and being impacted on many levels. Thank you!

  3. I laugh. A lot. Sometimes at the wrong times. Sometimes at the things no one else finds funny. And by sometimes, I really mean most of the time. When I was in college, people would tell me all that I laughed a lot. And they didn’t always mean it as a good thing. So one day I decided to go a whole day without laughing, just to prove that I could. I lasted maybe a couple of hours. Your story about wanting to limit yourself to a hundred words a day reminded me of this.

    Even now, I sometimes find myself secretly wishing that I could be the quiet girl, the one that seems to not struggle with being quiet, the one people look at and say, “She has a gentle and quiet spirit.” I forget that God made me the way He made me for a reason. I think that I fail every time I don’t measure up to what I think a good Christian woman should be. I’m so thankful for the reminder that the real thing that matters is what God says.

    • This is where I struggle too. I am an open book, talk real kind of gal. Lately I have been longing for a quiet voice. Longing to be a woman who can just chit chat about the weather and never talk of deep stuff of parenting, faith and life. It would make my heart hurt so less, or would it? I would then be stuffing who God made me. WHERE IS THE BALANCE???

      • Daphne and Steph,

        WOW! I can relate to both of you. People made fun of me when I was younger about how much I talked or laughing at the wrong time. I had a hard time dealing with my emotions, so laughing is just what I did at times. Sometimes people get annoyed that I am so positive and that hurts me.
        When I was young I remember one of my dad’s friends pointed out that I just talked SO much and I just wanted to die! I felt so ashamed.
        My husband told me that I can often take over the conversation, so I TRY so hard to just listen to people and make them feel loved by my listening.
        I struggle with this SO much. It makes me emotional just writing about it.
        Another time that came to mind (and I think I need to share this, just for me) was when I was in a Mending the Soul Group (a support group for people who have been abused) and I was REALLY conscious about not taking up the talk time and one night I just pour my heart out…stuff that I was holding in forever. After the group, the leader told me that I should try to not take up so much time talking.
        Oh it hurt me SO bad. I kept asking God for forgiveness. But what I realized that this is just TOXIC SHAME, it’s from Satan, not from the Lord. I ask God to help me when I speak to others and not over step my bounds. It’s something I work on so much.
        I am like you Steph, I want to go deep, I want to know how people are REALLY doing and I don’t like surfacy conversations. It’s so hard to find a balance. I actually now struggle with the fear of failing in this area. The fear that I’ll talk too much!

        • Melanie,
          I am sorry someone was that course with you at such a tender moment when you needed affirmation and comfort and most of all safety. How sad. Even if someone has feedback like that in a group setting, it would be nice if they had the sensitivity to know not to share constructive criticism right after a vulnerable sharing. She sure could have waited until another time and even reminded the group as a whole to watch their length in sharing rather than singling you out. Those kinds of mis-steps sure are hurtful! I hope you found other safe places to heal from the abuses you endured. Wanting to go deep is so important. When you find people who are mature in Christ, they won’t mind you talking at all. They will appreciate you for all that God made you to be.

    • Daphne, as one of the quiet people I SO appreciate the ones who laugh out loud and express joy! And I think that you can have a gentle and quiet spirit even in that.

    • Wow I too relate to you ladies! As a kid I talked and laughed loud, normally at “inappropriate” times by “someone’s” standard. One time I was laughing at something ridiculous and a girl told me, “be quiet because you are busting my eardrum”. After that I spent most of my time being quiet. Even though I still laugh a lot, slightly more quiet, I’m still the quiet one in new or uncomfortable situations. You talkers keep right on talking! I love it!

    • Ok, we need to start a club! So often, I’ve reflected on my day and WISHED that I hadn’t been as loud, or as jokey. or as friendly as I have been.
      Sometimes as I’m driving out for the day, I will repeat to myself ‘self-contained, self-contained, self-contained’ in the hope that I will behave so. Sadly, when I try that I just come off as surley. Oh for the fine line between puppy-dog over-friendly-ness and grumpy aloofness!

  4. Wow, this chapter really resonated with me! I’m very much like Jessica, in that I don’t consider myself being too fearful…except about “measuring up” to others…I’ve been struggling with this lately, and this chapter & the discussion above really gave me a “lightbulb” moment. I do not need to be fearful of measuring up to others’ expectations, I need to measure up to what HE is calling me to do/be. What great wisdom here, about listening to that small, still voice & being obedient to it! By doing that, we cannot fail!! 🙂

    FABULOUS, ladies!! GREAT chapter, Angie!! Can’t wait to read the next chapter!! 🙂

    • I’ve been hearing that voice lately…telling me to stop an think about what I”m about to say…if I don’t obey, I regret my words. When I do I understand it was Him. So powerful when we listen and obey!

      My biggest sin is I tend to (with kind words) try to put my lifestyle choices higher than others so as to combat that they are any better than me…

      for example a friend who has her house perfect and makes all her own food, and folds her laundry straight away etc etc, I would say “well she must not play with her kids like I do, or she’s wearing herself down so much with perfection she doesn’t have the time to blog and read and do fun things like I do. ”

      Or with homeschooling “she is so structured and does her schooling everyday, but we don’t, we leave room for creativity and life relationships.”

      It is so well said to the normal ear it may not seem as insult, but it is. I am insulting her to make me feel better. To make who I am and what I choose to do ok in my own eyes, in the eyes of the innocent person who is in this conversation with me and in the eyes of God. Only God sees right through it! I do this with homeschooling, child raising, homemaking….It is never a good thing. I feel worse after and feel regret rise up all the time. I am better than noone. This article really hit my heart, maybe it can help another.

      http://shineliketheson-mymotherhoodtrail.blogspot.com/2011/10/31-days-day16-all-equally-deserving-of.html

      Now that I am aware of what I’m doing, how I am sinning and why, I am trying to work through of my fear of failing to be who God wants me to be, of never accepting who I am, and that others can be different and it’s is ok and God created variety and I don’t have to compare or be who she is or who anyone else is…, I must let God tame my tongue and heal my self condemning heart.

      http://shineliketheson-mymotherhoodtrail.blogspot.com/2011/10/31-days-day-18-taming-tongue.html

  5. Wow! This chapter was such an encouragement to me. There were several “sweet reminders” here that helped me so much:

    1. “The Lord may use our failures for a greater cause” (pp. 68-69). — I must remember that God is not finished writing my story just yet.
    2. “What I perceived as a weakness was going to be my glory-gift” (page 71). — I was a chatterbox in school, too, Angie, and I ended up being a teacher! God is so the King of irony sometimes.
    3. “The situations where I was the most ill-equipped were the ones that not only strengthened my faith but also the faith of those around me” (p. 78). — Sometimes, I feel like I am just treading water in certain tough situations — it’s so great to be reminded that God is using it despite my inadequacy.

    I loved the verse from Judges 8 — “exhausted yet pursuring.” Praying, praying, praying that God will help me to become “consumed with the obedient pursuit” of Him as Angie challenged on page 81.

    • That number 1. Lyli, that one is powerful! “I must remember that God is not finished writing my story just yet.” I didn’t think about it that way! What will he do with this voice and these opinions he gave me. I’m only 30, I have many more moons left for Him to use them to glorify Himself!

  6. Angie said, “I failed because it wasn’t in His will for me to succeed at pretending.”

    Most of my adult life, I’ve pretended to be non-opinionated, soft-spoken, somewhat submissive :), not so smart, and QUIET. When, in truth, I am extraordinarily opinionated, forthright in speaking, a loud laugh-er, intellectually gifted, and an independent thinking wife – NOT that I defy my husband, but he credits me my brain.

    The saddest part of the pretending? I do it with other women – trying to get them to like me. I haven’t had a truly close girl-friend since I “grew up” – other church ladies aren’t like me, and DON’T like me. Sad, but true.

    Men are usually fine with me – I’m up-front the way they are, and don’t play games the way lots of women do.

    But I’ve failed miserably at pretending – either I slip up & speak my mind, or something else.

    I’m just tired of feeling lonely while surrounded by a church full of people.

    • Elaine: And I”m on the flip side! I’m tired of being the one putting it all out there and getting burned in return by their abuse of my words or by their not going deep which makes me feel one sided in the relationship. I don’t pretend..but sometimes I wish I would, could. It would make things easier, but it wouldn’t be easier on my heart in the long run I”m sure. I too long for that close friend…but if they aren’t willing to go deep, how can a good relationship exist for me? This line got me so good “I’m just tired of feeling lonely while surrounded by a church full of people.” I feel this. I hear your heart. (((HUGS)))

      • Steph and Elaine,

        I so relate to both of you! It is hard to be in church and feel that a part of you is rejected there — in what should be the loving body of Christ. I have been hurt, like you, Steph, by people not going as deep as I would like or by people not wanting me to speak the truth (and I do it in love) and then rejecting me. It is hard to have these pains in church where we should be living out the “One Anothers” which God has for us. I have had to go to God about these friendships and ask Him to help me focus on my side and not the other person and what they did to me. Sometimes it is time to graciously move on. Other times, I have to extend love (by His power) despite how I have been treated. Jesus did that and I can love Him by loving someone who has been ugly to me if that is what He leads me to do.

        I have actually fasted from words in a good way … not to make myself silent when I am a born speaker/talker, but to give myself silence and to focus on listening instead of speaking. I have days every so often (especially when I’ve been edgy or impatient at home) where I just fast from any “unnecessary words” which means I only speak to answer my children. Otherwise, I am quiet. It is a hard discipline, but, like any fast it is very cleansing and causes me to lean on God and seek Him more that day. Usually it “cures” my edginess. Fasting from words is different than the self-rejecting that Angie was referring to — I’ve done that too. Whenever we try to reject something He has created, we are working against Him. He wants us as He made us and if some of those qualities are skewed by sin, He wants to redeem them and make them a true reflection of Him.

        I LOVE the phrase, “glory-gift.” It’s my take-away from this chapter. What I might disdain in myself may be the very thing He uses to glorify Himself in my life to others. My messy home (if it is that way because my priorities are straight somewhere else) might make someone feel comfortable rather than making them feel intimidated by my perfectly clean home, or whatever. I never know how He will use things.

  7. Angie said, “I failed because it wasn’t in His will for me to succeed at pretending.”

    Most of my adult life, I’ve pretended to be non-opinionated, soft-spoken, somewhat submissive :), not so smart, and QUIET. When, in truth, I am extraordinarily opinionated, forthright in speaking, a loud laugh-er, intellectually gifted, and an independent thinking wife – NOT that I defy my husband, but he credits me my brain.

    The saddest part of the pretending? I do it with other women – trying to get them to like me. I haven’t had a truly close girl-friend since I “grew up” – other church ladies aren’t like me, and DON’T like me. Sad, but true.

    Men are usually fine with me – I’m up-front the way they are, and don’t play games the way lots of women do.

    But I’ve failed miserably at pretending – either I slip up & speak my mind, or something else.

    I’m just tired of feeling lonely while surrounded by a church full of people.

    • I hear you. I am what most people looking at me from the outside would see as a traditional, conservative Christian woman. However, we don’t have children which sets me apart from many my age (early/mid 30s). Also, my husband has kind of a sensitive job and some of the precautions that go with that (not putting photos of us online, can’t talk a lot about his day to day work, etc..) can be a little isolating. So I know how it feels to be lonely in a church full of people.

      That’s part of why I like blogland. I find some of the most interesting people here. And I’m glad to “meet” you!

  8. I cried the other night. It is amazing how the blog posts I’m reading lately and the blogs I”m writing is so inline with what I’m reading in this book. I read those posts and it fits in my heart and my struggle and then I read a chapter of this “fear book” at night and God wraps it all up for me so I seek Him. I cried at this one:

    ” I”m not going to give you some trite quote about this because anything I say will pale in comparison to the truth, which is that God loves and forgives us because once we have trusted in Christ for salvation, ultimately He does not see our sin when He looks at us. He sees Jesus’ perfection. …You will continue to sin but you don’t have to believe you are one big epic flop. Instead of spending your time lamenting your errors, pray about why those patterns of sin are present….”

    I cried out to Him because He does see Jesus. He doesn’t condemn me. I do. He doesn’t say “if I’ve told you a thousand times, Steph, tame that tongue” I do. He doles out love and grace. I choose not to take it. Oh Lord, help me take it!!! I don’t want to keep seeing myself as not good enough, as an epic flop because of my retched repeating of the same darn sin! Lord I want to see me how you see me! Please Please help me see!!!!!

    • Steph, that’s absolutely wonderful! I’m praying God gives you eyes to see His grace in all it’s fullness! I struggle with this too. I can believe all day long that God love YOU, that He thinks about YOU with love and grace, but I can’t seem to wrap my mind around all that for myself. But that doesn’t change the fact that He sees me through the eyes of grace!

    • Steph,
      Thanks for your openness here. I feel it with you. I’ve been there, crying out and missing the grace; knowing it in my head, but doubting the reality of how He could really, really love me as I am. I am so glad you shared this here. I know it is hard to live in it.

      I’m a few days behind in catching up with bookclub, so I hope you read my response here. We are ALL epic flops! That’s why Psalm 103 reminds us that He is mindful of our frame. He doesn’t expect more of us than we are capable of doing. He knew before time began that we would need Jesus to come because we couldn’t work our way to Him. The problem is that we grow up with people around us who either overtly or subtly send us the message that we need to be good. It is a great idea, but we just can’t do it. We see ourselves as failing and deserving rejection, but we don’t always see that God doesn’t expect us to “do good.” He knows that without Him we can do NOTHING. He expects us to need Him. Flopping in His view is failing to come to Him and lean on Him. All the flops of the Israelites were when they left the Lord and leaned on themselves or idols. Even then if they would turn (He promised) He would have mercy and give them blessing.

      He doesn’t say, “Steph, tame that tongue!” He says, “No one can tame the tongue” (or “Who can tame it?” — see James). He knows we can’t. He can and will when we turn to Him. Not once and for all, but as we do, He is there with us in our day and He makes our tongue useful and self-controlled. Not perfectly (which I loved in the book too — don’t expect to be a perfect Christian) but relationally … as we lean and draw near and abide, He provides.

      So with you in this. Thanks again for posting your raw, real, beautiful heart here. Praying you will find people right where you are who can appreciate you for you and walk with you as you walk with Him.

  9. Monday, Wednesday and Friday have become very special for me to watch your videos and read what others are saying about the fears that are discussed in this wonderful book. I have been overwhelmed with fears which have crippled my life and my relationship with my children, in-laws and with others. Angie, thank you so much for writing this book! The insight that you have written has come straight from God. To know that others have fears and that I am not the only one out there with fears, is a huge relief to me.

  10. I guess, I fear that people will not see my good intentions and focus on the bad parts of me. Like my husband. He says that I spend all this time at church and reading books and yet there are things that are wrong in me. He sees the negative of me and not the positive. And that is why I stress out because I’m trying to put my best in everything I do for the good of all of us. Is hard for me to explain this. Does anyone understand me?

    • Rosario
      As hard as it is…please try to remember the way that God see’s you and THAT is important. No one here is perfect – not even your husband (don’t tell him I said so! 🙂 ) But because of Christ we can be perfected and that is such amazing grace!!

      • Thanks Kristin,

        I understand what you are saying. And yes, there are things in me that need to change, and I am going to keep doing things to honor God in all I do. If others do not see it because they are blind or they just do not want to see it, I will not feel bad or think I was the one who failed.

    • “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” 1 Peter 3:1-2
      I think of this verse every time I read your posts Rosario. I pray that your husband would see your commitment to the Lord, your obedience to God’s word, and that as you walk with Christ your husband would be drawn to Him too. And that one day we all may be rejoicing with you in that!!!

      • Thanks so much Emily for that bible verse, I will write it down in my journal and recite it everyday. That is my prayer, that my husband will see the positive in me and block out the negative. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

    • Rosario, I understand you, alot. We are striving to be who God intended us to be, we are striving to get ‘a little closer to him’ and that is such a good place to be. I will pray your husband will see that also and he will desire to come closer to the one who fullfills us. In God’s love, sheila

  11. I know you have already video’d all the chapter discussions, but just some feedback for the future. Let your guest talk more. Have the guest face the camera so we can better understand what they are saying. Let your guest talk more. And let your guest talk more. Thanks.

  12. I know you have already video’d all the chapter discussions, but just some feedback for the future. Let your guest talk more. Have the guest face the camera so we can better understand what they are saying. Let your guest talk more. And let your guest talk more. Thanks.

  13. I guess maybe I fear opening myself up too much! On Wednesday mornings, I go to a women’s Bible study. At the end of each video we talk. I sometimes have a response to a question the person who wrote the book that goes with the video says. I don’t want to be the one who exposes herself but everyone else refuses to open themselves up to that same..level..

  14. I also fear not being a good enough mother. I feel almost as if I have to ‘make up’ for the daughter I lost. I feel like if I am a good mother to the child I have now, somehow I am honoring my first daughter’s memory and if I lose my temper or have an off day..somehow that is damaging to my baby Ella’s memory

    • Ashley – I am so sorry about Ella and I am praying that you can feel peace that just because you have a ‘bad” parenting day doesn’t mean you are damaging the memory of your precious girl.

    • So hard. We put such pressure on ourselves and then we fall because the expectation was so high. I do it all the time. I promise myself I will never raise my voice at my children ever ever again. As if. I have grown so much in this area because I have turned to God and He is healing roots so that the branches bear fruit, but still, I am human and I will fail. I will yell at my kids on occasion. It will happen. Maybe one miraculous day it never will. I have a friend who never does. She is amazing, but she isn’t like me in many other ways. She is very quiet and calm and even-keel. She’s like a cup of herbal tea. My personality is something like a spiced-latte. There is some smooth in there, but definitely some spice and a shot of espresso to boot. So, a girl like me isn’t going to be naturally calm and quiet like my dear friend. I have to realize God doesn’t intend for me to be HER. He wants to refine me to be what He intended me to be. I’m not saying He wants me to yell at my kids, of course He doesn’t. But, He understands and is patient and has a plan for redemption in all our failings.

      He is the answer to sin. He loves us despite it. When we were His enemies He died for us so we could draw near to Him. If He did all that, He isn’t going to leave me here. And He isn’t going to leave you either.

      Don’t let Satan lie to you about having to be a perfect mommy. You will never be the one to make up for this horrendous loss. What could “make up” for it? Nothing on earth. Being the balm in this situation is God’s job. Healing you and your family is His job too. Take yourself off that hook and find rest in Him. He wants to be the One to do the healing and for you to come to Him and to take His yoke — to curl up in His lap and let Him be your Abba. Bet finding rest in Him makes you a better mommy than TRYING to BE the perfect mommy 🙂 And, I’m going to take my own advice here too.

  15. I fear I will quit having any expectations at all one day. During a long season of grief for many reasons, I read books and then get very upset that the author had so much sympathy and help during her needy time. Not you, Angie, but several others. Friends take them to Europe, come live with them for years (!), make meals, etc. etc. I’d be happy with a card. After having my church pastor ignore me for 9 months after my husband’s death (then want to counsel me with another person present in a restaurant!) and have friends walk away, I am so hurt. I have reached out to people, had them to my house…I don’t know what else I can do. The most recent death I told about on email (myfather) – and 2 people said “sorry.” How can I not be so sensitive about this? I have tried being stoic and also cried at church. It seems to make no difference. Fear of failure? Oh, yeh.

    • I’m sorry your feeling this way. It’s understandable, your feelings. Hang in there and I am praying that God will bring just one special person in your life that you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with. This is the real church that God intends us to be, Jesus in the flesh, reaching out to others that are hurting and scared, lonely or stressed. Lord help me to reach out to other women in my church, open my eyes to see what you see. There is a hurt in every pew. In God’s love, sheila

    • Ann,
      This is AWFUL! I just feel heartbroken for you about all this rejection, loss and abandonment. I too will be praying that God will bring caring Christians in the flesh into your life to minister to you and walk with you as you grieve and to be His extended hands of love to you. The reaction of people has just been salt in an already deep wound. I wish it weren’t this way. It is so hard to know that God really, really cares about your pain when the people who are supposed to be His body are not living out the call and love that He has given them. I hope you are able to bring this deep need to Him and to ask Him to meet it for you. Loneliness is an awful experience. I pray it will be soon that you have a good, godly friend near you who will be mutual and trustworthy (you share care with them and they with you). These are rare and precious friendships.

  16. My biggest fear in life right now is that I will fail as a mother! I feel like I need to be the perfect mom and wife and have the perfect house that I am letting it over run me! I feel so stressed all of the time! Right now my house is a disaster and I feel as though I am failing my family! I do daycare in my home so I don’t just have the mess of my family I have the mess of about 4 extra kids. I wish I could relax and just tell myself it will get done! I know that I am where God wants me to be right now. My calling right now is to be a mom, childcare provider, and a wife! I am so thankful for this book. It is making me realize that my fears are ok and God is here to help me get through them. And if I fail somebody God is always here for me!

    • I’m right there with you! I have a huge fear of failure, and it is currently focused on my marriage, parenting and homemaking. My house is a mess, I stay home with my 2 kids and watch my niece and nephew every day, and I am afraid of how my kids are going to remember these times. Are they going to remember having lots of fun, memorable experiences, or are they going to remember that their mom was a spastic mess most days?

    • Failure as a mother hit hard last week when my first grader got 2 right (out of 11) on his spelling test then I found out that he is in remedial reading. UGH. I’ve failed him, I ruined his education, I’ve ruined his self-esteem….oh the list went on and on. And then I did what I always do, looked for a solution, and we have been working and working so very hard and he’s getting so much better, BUT, it wasn’t failure. I didn’t fail him. We are back on track now, but with the separation and turmoil my family was in, I couldn’t do everything and I have prayed and asked God for help through this time and he has been so merciful to me and my children. And I think this is teaching my son about making mistakes and we all do them, but there is a way to get back on track. In God’s Love, sheila

  17. I so relate to what Jess was saying at the end about being with her kids, not getting things done and then feeling like she failed her husband. I feel like since I am a stay-at-home mom my house should be spotless, there should never be a laundry pile, the fridge should always be perfectly stocked, and I should meet him at the door with a pearl necklace and apron on and carrying a silver platter in my hand while my squeaky clean and quiet child waits patiently at the table. This is NOT my husband’s expectation but I still feel like I fail in this most days. I just have a hard time being a stay-at-home mom and a housewife. I feel like I could be really good at one or the other, but I don’t do both very well at the moment!

    • Me too, you are not alone! I feel so scattered during the day, and the moments before my husband gets home are so stressful for me. Before I had kids, I wondered why a mom would need/want to stay home all day with the kids…I also wondered what they did all day, because there are many, many hours in the day. What could they possibly fill their days with? And the ones with kids going to school…what was the point of the mom still staying home? I don’t think like that anymore. Now I just wonder how they do it, because I am having such a hard time being a homemaker and a mom at the same time!

  18. I just wanted to also suggest to the book club if you could add a like button to our replies. I love what everyone has been writing in the comments, but sometimes I do not find the right words. The like button will be much easier. I also agree with one of the comments regarding the guest speaker not talking much on the videos. Other than that this has been an awesome experience for me.

  19. Hi everyone,

    I FINALLY received my copy of What Women Fear from Amazon Canada today! Hoping to read through chapters 1-4 and catch up in time for chapter 5 on Friday. Just wanted to say hi and that I look forward to joining you all 🙂

    Lyn

  20. I agree that this was a great chapter!! I think what I liked the best was the stories of Gideon and Moses. Angie – I love how you find a way to make an “old” story new and fresh! I am seeing the Bible through different eyes and it is beautiful.

    Fear of failure is HUGE for me. I have been employed with the same company for 13 yrs and recently moved to another state. My (then) boss made me promises for a year that I could work FT from home. 2 weeks before we closed on our new and old house he was fired and I was told that my company didn’t know oif the promises he had made to me.

    They decided to give me a 90 day trial period and the whole time all I could think was – what if they let me go…what does that say about me? But we prayed and we trusted…sometimes it was a struggle but we made it to the 90 days…and although I don’t have a complete assurance that at any moment the rug wont be pulled from under me I do believe that IF that happens God has something better planned for me.

    That may sound trite but I have to believe this really for my sanity!! If I go around worried about and questioning every little thing…never trusting God then I am an insane crazy person!

    I love when Angie said “The situations where I was the most ill-equipped were the ones that not only strengthened my faith but also the faith of those around me. He used those times very powerfully to teach me that as long as I am listening and obedient, I will bring Him the glory.”

    That is really my hearts prayer. That my life might bring God glory. That in my weakness I show His strength and that I might be an example or a witness to others.

    On the opposite end of that I also have to remember that I don’t have to have a “big experience” or a huge crisis happen to let God work in my life. Sometimes I compare myself to others that have walked through awful trials and think that something bad either has to happen or will happen if I am going to be useful to God. I need to be praising God in the “mundane” so that IF a crisis happens I will have already prepared my heart to praise Him.

    I don’t know that any of that makes sense….but this chapter was huge to me! And I am SOOOOOO excited to hear Angie speak in person in St Paul in a few days at WOF!! Anyone else here going?

  21. One of the big parts of fearing failure or success for me is the approval or disapproval of others. Why does what others think often become such a huge stumbling block? I know that ultimately I am responsible to God alone. The other perspective is that this brings a call for us to encourage others to pursue God and support them in that walk – rather than projecting our list of opinions/advice, etc. Reminds me of Job’s friends – they weren’t all that helpful.

  22. Is it possible to allow the guests to speak a little more? I have really enjoyed this series and feel like having more of their input would make for a better chat around the table. Thank you.

  23. There are so many things in this chapter that spoke to my life and my heart. It would take a long time to list it all… Whenever I’m asked the question, “What is your greatest fear?” I always say that failure is my all-time greatest fear. I fear not doing “it” right or not being smart enough to do what I’m asked to do or failing at it all. I constantly wonder if I’m doing the right thing? Am I suppose to be doing something else? It’s become my nature, not something I give thought to. I procrastinate thinking that I don’t have all the information yet. Like your dad I always feel like I need to read up on something before I give it a whirl. Funny thing is I haven’t given much thought to that being me dragging my feet. My prayer is that God would give me the boldness to step out in obedience and the wisdom to know when.

  24. As page 75 says, I’m learning to walk humbly, bodly, and gratefully in the direction that God is leading me, and trusting that He will never let me fail. I’m doing things the Lord’s way now, even though some of it was terrifying for me, but the comfort and grace on this road is so real. Thank you Father for revealing yourself to me through my faith in You.

  25. Oh My…. don’t worry about people not liking you ladies! Love you all much! So good to see Jenny again and to hear her input and see her smiling face! : ) You all blessed me today.

    I guess I could say the fear of people misunderstanding my motives and misunderstanding me in general as Jess stated, is a fear of mine. I have been a pastor’s wife for many years and have felt the scorch of betrayal many times. It hurts still….

    As a result, I find myself fearful of relationships. I walk on egg shells trying my hardest to not offend, etc. But let me tell you, most of the time, it’s just too hard living like that and have found myself withdrawing. I know that isn’t the answer or the most healthy thing to do but it is a natural thing to do when you are misunderstood and maligned.

    I am learning to deal with it and this book and you ladies are helping with the process!

    God Bless what you are doing.

    • I have been prone to withdrawing too. So relate to that. Easier (sort of) to back off and be a bit lonely than to be rejected or hurt again. But, it doesn’t pan out to withdraw either (when you are a social person) because it isn’t what God wants. When we walk in our own will we are away from what He wants for us. I just wanted to say I really relate to the urge to be like a turtle and withdraw into a protective shell instead of remaining vulnerable. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Like others have said, I was struck by the way the “fear of success” resonated with me. I’ve always thought I feared failure; I want to get life “right”, be it as a mother, a wife, a lawyer, a friend, a child — I feel a burden to take control and make things happen. But, the fear of success hit shockingly close to home.
    I was also struck by the imagery Angie uses of Moses’s staff. The fact that it is from God, but is a thing that is powerless in and of itself, it’s dead, presumably just a piece of wood. But God uses it to make His might and glory known. Not just in the hands of Moses, but when you look at Numbers 17, God shows his power when the staffs of Moses and Aaron sprout buds.
    He can bring life from the seemingly dead things; and He can bring glory out of all that He’s placed in us.
    This was a good chapter for me; I’ve gone back to several places to read and re-read to see where God is leading me in this area.

  27. Wow, every chapter has been a huge eye opener for me so far! Initially (before starting the book) I though my greatest fear was of failure. That is still mostly true, but it goes so much deeper. I don’t fear the failure itself. I fear being a dissapointment to others. If I try something and fail, I’m okay with that. I just wouldn’t want anyone else to know. I am probably more critical on myself than others, and I know God will catch me if I fall, but it’s so hard to attempt things when you want to please others too. The fear of success touched a nerve too. Before offically becoming a stay at home mom this past March, I had a meeting with a company owner in my field. She had a great business proposition for me. I was excited, because it was very promising, and right up my alley. I started writing out a business plan, marketing ideas…it looked like it would work out really well. I freaked out a little, and…here I am, a stay at home mom. I was afraid that taking her up on the business idea she had would take too much time away from my family. It would take too much money in daycare, assuming the business idea did really well. I would have no one to watch my kids while I was at the office. Looking back, it seems silly. There are a million things I could have done to get the business going, even with me staying home with the kids. I was just too afraid to get started.

  28. Wow, every chapter has been a huge eye opener for me so far! Initially (before starting the book) I though my greatest fear was of failure. That is still mostly true, but it goes so much deeper. I don’t fear the failure itself. I fear being a dissapointment to others. If I try something and fail, I’m okay with that. I just wouldn’t want anyone else to know. I am probably more critical on myself than others, and I know God will catch me if I fall, but it’s so hard to attempt things when you want to please others too. The fear of success touched a nerve too. Before officially becoming a stay at home mom this past March, I had a meeting with a company owner in my field. She had a great business proposition for me. I was excited, because it was very promising, and right up my alley. I started writing out a business plan, marketing ideas…it looked like it would work out really well. I freaked out a little, and…here I am, a stay at home mom. I was afraid that taking her up on the business idea she had would take too much time away from my family. It would take too much money in daycare, assuming the business idea did really well. I would have no one to watch my kids while I was at the office. Looking back, it seems silly. There are a million things I could have done to get the business going, even with me staying home with the kids. I was just too afraid to get started.

  29. This was one of my favorite chapters in the book. Hit me square between the eyes on so many levels (as did chapter 5!!! but more on that next time). There are so many parts of this chapter that I underlined in the book.

    1. “To me, failure means it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. To God, it means I didn’t pick up the brush.” That whole concept on our definition of failure being different than God’s was powerful! (pg 68)

    2. And how often has this truth played out in my life…. “So maybe the success wasn’t in the job working out the way they anticipated, but rather in actions that continue to obey despite the fear.” (pg 69)

    3. I am from Texas (born and raised) and I have a very outgoing personality that often makes a joke to lighten up a boring tupperware party, or allow myself to be foolish to put everyone at ease in an uptight situation. Anyway, God moved me up to the Northeast nearly 8 years ago to marry my husband. Everyone is a bit more reserved up here in Connecticut. And I often find myself feeling self-conscious that I’m a little more wacky in my personality than everyone else is. As a wife and a mom, I feel like I should now act a certain way…. but that mindset isn’t natural to my personality (if that makes sense). The portion of this chapter on pages 70-71 really encouraged me. God made me. He knew the personality I would have. And when I said, “I’m completely anal about stuff like that.” In front of a bunch of older Conservative Connecticut Christian women and I stopped them in their tracks for saying the word “anal”. He’s still okay with me. And maybe through this wacky nature of mine, He’s showing those around me that it’s okay to lighten up. So instead of being self-conscious about hiding the parts of me that might stand out more than they do with someone else, this portion of the chapter really helped me to feel comfortable in being the unique creature God created.

    4. And how about page 77! “Our natural reaction when we fear failure is either to hightail it out of that situation, or perhaps more likely, to procrastinate. We don’t want to admit we are avoiding doing something God commanded us to do (even to ourselves!), so we simply keep saying we will get to it eventually.” Yeah. Right between the eyes.

    I could go on and on….. the focus on lamenting our errors instead of praying for God to redeem us one day at a time, the focus on how easy it is to believe the fears and stop trying, being one step away from being banned from God’s presence thus fearing that we’re running out of chances….. all of it was so so so good.

    I appreciate God using Angie’s honesty about her own fears because it helps those like me to understand that we’re normal and also helps us climb the ladder out of the patters of fears that pull us down.

    • oh yes, I forgot about lamenting our errors….how many times I can go over the same scenario thinking of different endings….I need to remember to give it to God and ask him to redeem it. Thanks for the reminder. In God’s love, sheila

      • I had forgotten that gem too! Thanks for reminding me not to lament my errors. This is why I love doing this as a group. I get more from what you share and the online fellowship than I would just reading the book on my own — way more.

  30. Wow! I had to step away for a day and really think about this – because I’m Angie’s Dad. A blank canvas staring at me – so many ideas in my head – and afraid to take the first baby step. This relocation has been so amazing in so many ways – and I really feel that we are meant to be here – in many ways its an answer to my prayers in my previous lifestyle – too much excess – success perhaps in the eyes of the world – but a fear of failing God because of the way I was living in the world – so my prayer was for a quieter, simpler life – which is what I have here. But I don’t have the job, the house, the friends – and I’m struggling to find my place without re-creating what I left – because I feel that we needed to leave it – to grow, to be what God created us to be.

    It’s unfortunate that we never feel we’re ‘enough’ – it’s something I see through all the replies – but that’s the voice of the evil one in our minds – the voice that reverberates from the past – be it the mean girl in grade school telling you your voice hurts her ears – or the parent that said “Why can’t you be neat (smart, pretty, talented, etc., etc.) like (your sister, brother, girl in your class, etc., etc., etc.). Or sometimes its the husband who’s speaking the truth – but not in love the way Angie did with her father – we are waiting, wasting God’s precious time because we fear to take the first step – but belittling, berating, criticizing results in us stepping backward instead of those faltering baby steps we need to move forward on our journey.

    Today, please, all of us, do one little thing – for you, for Jesus – pick up the cross that is our fear and take one baby step with Him.

    Praying in love for all of you. God bless.

  31. Wow – this is the reason I have parenting books, marriage books, etc. Yet, in the end, I’m not the best parent, my marriage has failed and my finances are not rock-solid.
    I love the line on page 68, ‘you will fail by being disobedient, not by a lack of success at the task’. That’s what I so need to remember, God is not asking me to be perfect or even for ‘it’ to turn out the way I think it should. God can/will use it, if I am obedient to him.
    Pg. 71, What I saw as a character flaw, God saw as potential.
    What I perceived as weakness was going to be my glory-gift.
    What I was sure was failure was actually the heart of my success.
    There is so much in these three sentences, I need to re-read them again and again.
    I never wanted to separate from my husband, in fact I did all in MY power to hold us together. I forgave, I gave chance after chance, I was disobedient to God, for fear of failure. Ii was disobedient to God for fear of failure. There were so many people praying for us and then there was a Chrstian Rehab that had an opening, so on and so on……But it didn’t work. I felt the same way that we were setup to fail. How, why didn’t this work out.
    What I am realizing is that, it’s between my husband and God. It’s not about me. It’s not about what I want. I am giving my husband up, I am taking my grip off of his life in order to do what God is asking me to. This is not been easy. I’m so encouraged by the line on Pg 73, ‘ You didn’t fail Me. You did what I asked you do to and just because it didn’t work out the way you wanted doesn’t mean it surprised Me.’ Now go get ready for what’s next, because I’m not done with you’. This gives me so much hope and encouragement.
    Pg. 74, what is my staff? I pray God will help me to hold my staff awaiting your instruction and not run ahead out of fear in the wrong direction.
    Pg. 77: Then to go in confidence, even if it seems like failure. This is where I am right now, walking away from my marriage FAILURE but I truly believe and have gotten wise counsel that this is the right move at this moment. But oh how scary, how terrifying and scary. But those moments when fear creeps in I am reminded that I am walking the path God wants me on at this very moment. It looks impossible, the odds of my marriage being restored, impossible. But, this is what God is asking, and believe me I’ve tried every other way. Forgive me, for it has taken me too many years to finally heed to you and your will for not only my life but my husbands and onto my children. May your favor rest on my family.
    ps: New fear: host an (in)RL event. I want to, it’s what my gf and I have talked about (for 2 yrs now, lol), but could I??? God do you even want me to??? Help me Lord to set aside my fear and be obedient to you. I know you will make it clear to me.

    • Sheila,
      I’d come to your (in)RL event if I were near you 🙂
      I am so sorry to hear about the pain you went through with your marriage. It is so natural to try to make it work. You really painted a picture of what we all do. We get in the middle of situations and try to make the outcome go as we think it should. But, sometimes we aren’t even in tune with what God is doing in the other people, or our eyes are on the other people instead of ourselves and our part in the situation. So hard. I am so glad you have gotten wise counsel. Mostly, I admire your humble and repentant heart about your situation. I think of the verse, “A broken and contrite heart you will not despise” and “God gives grace to the humble.” He will answer this attitude of your heart with the greatest of blessings: Himself.

  32. This chapter resonated so deeply with me. I have very few actual fears, but of those I do have, “failure” is at the top of the list. It’s not actual FAILURE so much as me failing at being the image of myself I’m projecting to the world. Miss Has-It-All-Together. Miss Too-Smart-For-Her-Own-Good. You get the picture.
    What struck me most about this was how much this chapter lined up with what God is teaching me elsewhere about being obedient. I fear risk because I fear that sense of failure, but if I’m stepping out in obedience it doesn’t matter what other people think or how they perceive me, it just matters that I’m obedient.

  33. As you three are talking I am laughing out loud and saying “mmm hmm” in agreement, like you can hear me too!!
    I loved this chapter and really appreciate they way you developed the idea that each of us has a staff and that “I did not create the staff, nor give it any power. I merely hold it, waiting for further instruction”.
    I stopped right there to prayerfully consider what was my staff?!
    It helped change my perspective from feeling that sense of failure when I didn’t achieve everything on the to-do list, to a feeling that I was obedient to the staff given to me and the other things were important , but the staff was entrusted.
    Angie, each chapter is just better than the one before!!
    Praise the One who inspired you to be so bold!

  34. When I started this book, I had an idea of what my biggest fears are and WOW a major life event in the past week and a half has completely shifted my perspective. I think it’s amazing how God open our eyes to ourselves, our thinking, and what is important even through tragedy. Life is truly a VAPOR . . . FLEETING! I am tired of wasting hours of my life anxious about things I never had control over anyways. I want to spend my life trusting my great God with all of the things that belong to Him already, remembering that He is God and I am not, and He does as he pleases and it is always GOOD. . and fight the good fight in the battle when I don’t believe it.

  35. Wow what a chapter! Thank-you ladies for the video!
    I didn’t think of myself as having a fear of failure but a fear of disappointment. But then realized I tend to intertwine the two. Like in my job situation. I am so afraid of disappointing my boss and the people around me that I do tend to sabotage. I do struggle to fear that I don’t deserve it. pg.75-76 “Another side of the fear of success comes from the feeling that we don’t deserve whatever it is we have been given….Those of us who have thoughts like this may self-sabotage so we don’t ever make it high enough up to be ‘evaluated’.” I pray that God helps me see what Angie quoted at the end, “What is your highest calling in this moment in time? Are you being obedient to that? If yes – then you are not failing!”. I am a mom but struggle more to prove to my parents I’m not a failure as a parent. And I feel like a failure as a wife because my husband is struggling with depression and addictions but can’t overcome. I have so many areas to pray through and see where God is working.

  36. Biggest fear: failing as a mom and my boys grow up to hate me and never speak to me again. It can rule my days. I don’t come across as a fearful person. I truly will speak when others won’t. I take risks. I trust God. But, in this area, I’ve had to lay my Isaacs down so many times. I can’t be perfect and I can’t go on fearing their rejection. I do meet with a wonderful mentor (she is like my Christian mom since my own mom is not a Christian) and she helps me walk through the pain as I try to overcome this fear with God’s help. Thanks so much for this chapter, Angie. I needed so many of the little bits of wisdom it contains

    I do fear the rejection of other women and have withdrawn from a lot of women and women’s groups because of hurts I have endured, but bit by bit God is drawing me back and I am obedient to go if I sense He is the one calling me. He’s recently (in the past few years) given me some good, godly friends who are trustworthy and great encouragers. What gifts! I waited for these types of friendships for my whole life. If someone here doesn’t have that kind of friendship, hang in there, it can happen.

  37. What a gracious God to allow us to fail over and over again and love us anyways….
    Amazing chapter, Angie…
    I fear failing at being a good Christian. I struggle with the way I am wired. I can be on the defensive side a lot. I’m working through my past in which I know has effected the person I am today. I know I am Gods masterpiece but its so hard to remember that when i can be so angry at people so much. I am told to seek a grief counselor to work through the trauma of my past. Since my behavior tends to coincide with my losses. But I think I need to seek Him out way more than I’m doing. I’m so caught up in parenting my 3 children and theyre all so small. I barely have time to take a shower. I do hope he’s waiting on me to come closer. I really am trying but I fear I am failing. I need to listen more because I dont hear him yet. I’m uncertain and doubtful just as the chapter mentions. It has connected for me. I know its time.
    Thank you!!

  38. Wow, what Jenny said about her husband’s fear of success really hit home for me – that if he was successful in what he did, then he wouldn’t be able to surprise people with how good he was at something. That is me all over. There is this sin of pride hidden in this fear – a pridefulness that comes off as humility because I’m trying so hard not to put myself first and to serve others.

    I’m dating a man right now who desires success and is drawn to the stories of successful people. This has been a real struggle for me because I want to run away from the spotlight, not towards it. I don’t want anyone to know that I’m good at what I do (if I even am…) because then they will start expecting it of me. I place so many expectations on myself to begin with that the thought of others’ expectations is absolutely crushing. This fear of success is something that has dogged me for years. I want to live free of it.

  39. This is a HUGE one for me. I struggle with fear of failure in a plethora of ways and right now I just graduated college, didn’t get into grad school, and can’t find a job. It’s SOOOO easy to declare myself a failure and mope all day. And while that’s tempting it’s not what I should be doing. These rejection letters aren’t a surprise from God. Years from now I’m going to look back and ask, “What was God teaching me through that time?” I think the clear answer is obedience. Was I obedient to Him even when I didn’t know what that looked like? Was I obedient to trusting His faithfulness? In the margin of my book I wrote, “God wasn’t setting up Moses for failure; He was teaching him obedience.”

    Thank you for this chapter and video because it has helped reinforce the idea that sink or swim, I need to be obedient to wherever God leads me next. Things going well is not necessarily a sign that I am in His will.
    Katie