I’m fine…really.

How hard is it for you to let people know how you’re doing? I mean how you’re really doing.

From reading your thoughts  in the comments on Monday’s post, I think we can all realize it’s hard for most of us to keep our guard up and shy away from lettings others in – especially when we need their help, prayers or encouragement.

As I shared in Chapter 2, “Sometimes I think we tell people we’re fine even when we’re not, because we want to beOr we hope that by saying we are fine, eventually we will be. Other times we act like we’re fine because others expect us to be. And I love how so many of you admitted you also have days when hormones or grumpy-ness trump all good manners and anyone within ten feet knows you are not fine. In fact, what you really meant in code is that you are Frazzled, Irritated, Neurotic, and Exhausted!”

Today, I want you to meet and hear from my friend, Melanie from Only a Breath. She’s the one who created our really cute Online Study blog button (see my sidebar if you want one)!  In it she challenges us to take off the “I’m Fine” mask and be real with God, each other and especially ourselves about how we’re really doing.


… She walks the hallway, fighting back tears that threaten to well up again. It’s been a long night, filled with betrayal and disappointment. Her future is uncertain. Back at the office, she tries to maintain normalcy. When eyes met, she is faced with another routine, “How are you?”

“I’m fine”, she answers, with a plastic smile that hides her pain.

… Across town, a young father shakes hands with the fourth interviewer that month. “Thank you for your time.”he says. On the way home, his wife calls to see if there’ s any hope for the job they’ve been praying for…for so long. They have mouths to feed, children to raise, a car on its last miles… “It will be fine”, he assures her. As he hangs up, he hangs his head in despair.

… A young, single mom cuddles her baby on the park bench. She holds her boy close, surrounded by happy couples with smiling children. She never expected to raise her child alone. The pain is sometimes too much to bear. Will she ever feel that she belongs? That she is wanted? Loved? Beautiful?

We will be fine she whispers into his soft ear, surrounded by whisps of fine, brown hair.

“I’m fine…”

“We’re fine…”

“Doing great…”

In Chapter 2, Renee invites us to take off the “I’m fine” mask. But she also acknowledges just how scary it is to expose the pain that keeps us up, haunts us like nightmares, and threatens each breath of hope.

… but we’re fine.

Or are we?

Could we take off the mask that we, especially as Christians, live the “fairy tale”? We are certainly blessed, in every circumstance guarded by the Father, but honestly, in the deepest parts, we aren’t fine.

I’m not fine.

If I took off the “I’m fine” mask, would you think less of me, or would you think I’m … human?

We don’t have it all under control, and I can’t help but think that when we act like we do, we basically tell God that we don’t need him.

We’ve got this.

By pretending we’re “fine” we tell others something must be wrong with them if they are hurting… because we certainly are not hurting.

We’re fine.

What if we let someone else in? What if we said, “I’m hurting, and the details aren’t important, but would you please pray for me? I would really appreciate that.” Could that help them, in return, reach out to someone else when they are hurting?

Do we need to grant one another permission to not be fine?

Could we come broken before the Father, and cry out for His mercy and strength? He did promise to never leave us or forsake us. Even when we don’t feel it, could we still cling to His promise and claim it?

He knows we’re not fine.

Could the trials be the very thing that break the strings holding on our mask, allowing it to fall to the ground so we cling to Him a little tighter?

The truth is…

We aren’t fine… We are forgiven.

We aren’t in control… We are held by the hands that control our very heartbeat.

We aren’t invincible… We are made to look to the only One who can heal the broken.

As a sisterhood of hearts seeking our confidence in HIM, let’s take off our masks today. At least here with each other. And maybe with just one other person we meet this week. I have a feeling someone needs to see the battle wounds and scars we carry in order for them to stop pretending and seek His help too.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9


Thank you so much Melanie, for reminding me and all of us again today that God’s grace is sufficient.  God’s grace can be my sufficient… if I let it be.

Today’s Assignment:

  • Continue or finish reading chapter 2 and answer end of chapter questions. Then come back and share with us what God is showing you about how His perfect love changes everything – especially the pressure to be it all, do it all and know it all – all at the same time.

Connect in Community:

  • Please “Share Your Thoughts” below this post. Just click those words and do just that. (Remember if you are reading this in an email, click on the title “I’m Fine…really”  at the top of the post to visit my website and connect with our ACH community! (This is such a valuable part of this study. My favorite part!!)


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About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.


  1. What a wonderful lesson. What a wonderful chapter.
    One time someone showed me an acronym for FINE….I could not remember so after reading this I looked for it on Google.
    FINE = Feelings Inside Not Expressed,
    FINE = Frustrated Insecure Neurotic Emotional,
    FINE = Feeling Inadequate, Needing Encouragement,
    FINE = Feeling Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.
    I used to say “FINE” a lot. The truth is, in Christ I am safe and secure….but in fact there are many things in life that make me feel the other sort of FINE mainly for me, “Feelings Inside Not Expressed”. I am learning to own my emotions, feel them and go to God for healing.
    God bless each of us and those we love.

    • Julie S from Colorado says:

      The FINE acronym that stood out the most for me was:
      FINE=Feeling Inadequate, Needing Encouragement
      Thank you for sharing!!!!

    • I love the acronyms! Thank you. I try to say “I am well,thank you.” — referring to my physical well-being.
      I try not to ask anyone how they are unless I am ready and willing to take the time to truly listen to how they really are, and will often follow a “Fine” answer with, “Now tell me how you really are.”. Usually the mask comes off, especially with those who know I will pray for them.
      As Ruth Graham so aptly titled her book, “in Every Pew Sits A Broken Heart”. God sees our hearts, and comes to bind them up and heal them with His love.

    • Joan,
      Boy this one really defines me! “Feelings Inside Not Expressed” My husband would agree with that too 🙂 Fine is used WAY too much and I am guilty of it too. It’s easier and more time efficient to say FINE. I’m not willing to share with everyone that asks so it just becomes the easiest answer. I also usually think that’s the answer they are looking for anyway??
      I would like to be a more approachable person that others would feel comfortable talking with me. I am a good listener!
      And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
      Thanks Melanie for that reminder that His grace is sufficient.

    • That’s a great set of acronyms! Thanks for sharing them!

      • This one is me a LOT of the time. FINE = Feelings Inside Not Expressed. I was taught to never cry. Never let anyone see if/when you are hurting. But God is healing me from the inside out.

    • I can SO relate to “FINE = Feelings Inside Not Expressed” — because “what will people thin” 🙂 I’m so thankful that God is working in my heart to not be fine. 😉 He knows it already. Hope your day is wonderful!

    • Dr. Glennell Conaway says:

      Hi Sister Renee,
      We are a sisterhood who prays everyday at 5:30am from various states such as Kansas, illinois, Minnesota etc. We have chosen to begin our online study with your book this coming Thurday May 3, 2012 at 8:00pm over the next 9 weeks. We have invited over 100 women to join us in this spiritual journey. I would like to post some of our thoughts each week and keep you abreast of our study from the book “A Confident Heart.” Our spirtual leader is Sister Cathy from Kansas City and I am from Chicago we both will provide weekly updates. We thank you for this opportunity to share this read with our sisters.
      God Bless!
      Dr. Glennell Conaway

      • What a blessing to have your group united together. Enjoy the study and keep us posted!

      • I love that Dr. Conaway. How exciting and oh so encouraging!!1 Thank you for letting us know you are all joining us in this special way. Feel free to use or download anything you find here. Praying for you all and thanking God in advance for how HE’s going to minister to your hearts in powerful ways!!

    • Wow, what candid insight and conviction. I am so wanting to be able to take off my masks and share at a heart level. To stop being FINE….Feelings inside not expressed. Lord help me to be the Strong, confident, caring, compassionate, fun loving woman you have designed me to be!

    • I particularly like the Feelings Inside Not Expressed. Probably because I wonder if I truly expressed them would anybody care? Then would anybody be willing to accept me as I am and encourage me to be my best and go before the throne of God for healing? Americans live such a fast paced, on the go life; we truly need to make an appointment to be still and be with God. Well, at least I do and when I do, it is so rewarding.

    • Wow, what a GREAT way to look at FINE! I agree with all the comments, Fine is used to often, and I am guilty of this too, because I do not want to show that I am hurt, for this shows I am not strong. I too feel at times, inadequate (especially at work at times), I feel that at times when I need support or encouragement, others do not see it, cause I show my self as someone who can encourage/inspire others and positive mainly. I do know that I have a great ear for listening (especially with my friends/children/and there friends) for they will call me, and the extended family of children all refer to me as “Mom 2”, I find comfort in this for they know I will not judge them but I will tell the truth and give them options for which they must choose the path they take, while I can share my experiences and testify to Gods love. I do know that I will be coping FINE, and placing it everywhere till it is in bedded in my soul. God Bless and THANK YOU for sharing, 🙂

    • joycelyn springer says:

      feeling insecure needing encouragement and feelings inside not expressed…thank you for putting so succinctly into words exactly what I am experiencing. Now may God by his grace help and strengthen me out of this falsehood and deceptive lifestyle… In Jesus’ Name Amen

  2. Kimberly Miramontes says:

    I absolutely love the acronym, Feeling Insecure, Needing Encouragement. l have a feeling that explains most of us, when we say “fine,” whether we admit it or not! While I wish more people would really listen to me, I will honestly try to listen more to others, and given encouragement wherever I can.

    • Yes! It’s so true that we also need to be good listeners as well as transparent friends. Great point!


    • Lydia G says:

      Yes- If we want this culture of pretending to change… especially among Christian women… may it start with us being listeners who care about each other, becoming safe places for others to be vulnerable.

  3. Wow…I am constantly saying fine. I don’t think there is one person, other than God, who really knows how I am feeling. Most think I am so put together, strong, composed, everything is on the right track. When in reality, I am frazzled, falling apart, floundering, hurting, lost, and so much more. Most of the time I feel as if if I let someone know what is really going on then I will be weak in their eyes. I have realized in the last few weeks that I just want someone to talk to , really talk to. I am struggling to cast all my cares to the Lord, give Him all my worries. I know He is here for me, I know He will help me, but I have a really hard time turning everything over to Him and living by faith. Once, again thanks for hitting it home to me and giving me encouragement and food for thought.

    • Oh Paula, I could have written this. You say exactly how I am feeling. Everything and everyday seems so hard, but I just smile and go on. But, when I’m alone I feel so lost, I spend a lot of time crying. I too try to turn everything over to the Lord. Like you, I know he loves me but it seems like I don’t know how to let everything go. I am so hopeful that this book and the study will help.
      Love to you.

      • ME too! This is a beautiful way to describe how many are feeling! I’m praying that God will work in your heart through this study in the same way in has encouraged my heart!

        with love,

        • Love seeing your pretty smile and face here Melanie. Thank you for your post and for spending time with us here too!! {{hugs}}}

  4. I’m learning not to always say “fine” when asked how life’s going. The honest answer is usually just “OK” which always seems to prompt the question “what’s wrong?” That can open some significant communication and some sharing from the heart!

    I’ve been a leader for many years and have struggled with needing to put on the “happy face” at all times. I think this study is showing that I’ve come to the end of me and that I need Jesus to draw me close to him; to drink that living water He talked about with Sam.

    So, thank you Renee, for this wonderful study. I click on the “Song of Prayer” link and allow the music to minister to my soul as I read the lesson and reflect on His love FOR ME!

    • I was just thinking of that same thing- maybe I shouldn’t use the word “fine” since it has a doubtful vibe. 🙂 Think of all the adjectives we can use as substitutes! 🙂 Good. Great. Rough, but hanging on. Fabulous. Terrible but loving God’s work in my life. 🙂 And the list goes on.

  5. I have been so blessed from the reading of this chapter and the reassurance that I don’t have to be perfect or “fine” in God’s eyes… he loves me even when I’m a mess (which is the majority of the time)!!!

    Some of the powerful points that stirred me up in chapter 2:

    “Pretending leads to hiding and isolation”. Boy is that ever true, but I am so rejoicing in the fact that I don’t have to hide anymore. Jesus already knows,and even with all the dirty-rotten things I’ve done, he has given me atonement. He doesn’t hold any of that against me. He doesn’t see me for the lowly sinner that I am!! Wow!! He’s such a loving God!!!

    “Jesus asked Sam the questions so she would see the pattern of her life and what it was doing to her”. Another WOW!! because for me, that just shows me AGAIN, how much He loves me. He doesn’t reveal these things to us to humiliate us or bring us shame, he reveals these things because He loves us and wants to set us free from the chains of our sins, shame and guilt.

    “Jesus is the one One who can meet our deepest needs to be accepted…” I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve had to learn this one the hard way, many times… still do!! I’ve put myself in this position so many times with people, only to be rejected and disappointed. But, with God, I find unconditional love and acceptance and He NEVER disappoints me!!!

    “My image of Him conjured up feelings of fear and judgment instead of protection and acceptance”. I can so relate to this. As a kid, I had an almost paralyzing fear of God and what He would “DO” to me if I messed up and sinned. It caused me to feel a lot of shame when I made the wrong choices. I was always second-guessing myself. I still do that sometimes, but My GOD is not a God of shame and guilt. He is a God of love, forgiveness, patience and kindness. I fear Him but I don’t have to be afraid of Him. Thank you God for revealing that to me!!

    The last point and probably my favorite: “He notices and cares enough to tell us that our hearts need repair”. I can definitely attest to that!! A few years ago, I was going through a really difficult and dark time in my life. I had distanced myself from God and frankly, I was a complete mess. I felt like there was no hope for me anymore… that I was too damaged, too broken. One Sunday, I decided to visit church with my parents and there was a guest speaker that day. I had never seen this man before. I noticed he kept glancing over at me and finally he came down from the platform and walked straight over to me, right in the middle of his message. He said, “Lady, I don’t know you or what you are going through, but God does and he wants you to know that He knows and that He loves you”. God does notice folks, and he cares. He speaks to us in so many ways, we just have to listen and open our hearts to His messages. That was His love note to me that day and I will never forget it and how much He loves me and wants me to know Him. That, my friends is blessed assurance right there!!!

  6. Stephanie says:

    I am constantly hiding behind the mask of “fine.” I can’t remember the last time I answered the question “how are you” from a friend with anything other than the words “fine” or “good” even when I was not!! It is so reassuring to know that God loves us even when we’re a mess… and He doesn’t expect us to pretend for Him – he knows the heart, the mind, the soul – everything that has happened and everything that is to come. I need to remember that – He knows everything about me, my every thought, the number of hairs on my head! I don’t need to wear the mask of “fine” with God! Thank you for this encouragement.

    • He knows and He’s there to hold your chin up and say ” I know you’re not fine but you’re in my care and I’m watching over you. You’re covered in my grace and love. ” Praying that He’ll make us the women that create a safe place for those around us to take off their mask and feel secure enough to be real and ask for prayer or just a listening ear. We long for change – but maybe God will start by making us the “change” we are waiting to see!! :0)

  7. I am so not fine, but rather than going out and putting on a happy face for others, I tend to hide out and avoid people as much as possible. That way I don’t have to answer the “how are you doing?” question. I’m OK sharing how I feel with God (He’s used to my tears!), but I have a hard time sharing with people. This is one of the reasons I love this study. I feel like I can share my feelings with all of you, and none of you will judge or condemn me. Just knowing you’re out there, sharing in this study, and reading all your comments about the study and to each other helps me to feel a little more…fine! 🙂

    • Seclusion seems to be a solution at times, but I’m so glad to see that you recognize it is not a permanent solution! Praying for a more than “fine” day for you today!

  8. The sting of rejection effects all of us. We all feel as if we don’t measure up. Because we tend to get our acceptance from others and not from God. I like the comment, “we should go beneath the surface with Jesus so He can show us places in our hearts that need His repair.” To rest in the confidence that God KNOWS me, only then can I feel secure from rejection of others.

  9. Man, talk about NOT being fine. I am going through issues with my daughter and her education and she is special needs. Trying to get someone, anyone, on my side, it all seems like it won’t happen.
    However, I have to remember that in all this, God is still God and that has to remain my peace..
    I just want this to be used to help others and give God the glory when I get through it.
    I know I will get through it, but if I didn’t have God, I would be even more of a wreck than I already am 🙂

    • Erica, I am going through the same thing with my daughter. It is a huge burden and very frustrating at times but God is walking by our side the whole way and I trust in Him. I will be praying for you and your family.

    • Julie…don’t ever give up or think there is no one on your side. I have been fighting with the school system since my son was in grade school as he is special needs also. I have felt like giving up many times and felt like it was a losing battle, but with GOD no battle is to hard!!! Our children are the most precious thing that God has given us to look after. He gave you your daughter because he knew you would take great care of her and do whatever was necessary. We were told my son would not be able to graduate from high school as it would be to difficult for him and the school system wanted to “push” him through the system so he could earn his certificate that he completed high school. After many nights of tears, anger, frustration, confusion and the feeling of complete hopelessness…..my son who is now 17, a soon to be Junior and is right on track to graduate with his high school diploma. I know 100% that we would not have made it through this without the support of our amazing Father in Heaven. Pray is everything!!!!
      I will be praying for you and your daughter 🙂

      • Thank you Missy, for those words of encouragement. Through all of this, I have never given up on her and I will never give up on God’s promise. He has and will continue to sustain us through our struggles and I trust in Him completely!!!! So happy to hear of your son’s success. I will also be praying for you and your family that God will continue to flood you with His blessings!!

  10. Millicent says:

    This was great encouragement, I am dealing with something right now and keep saying I am fine, and I am not. But after reading this post today I am freed by God to share my feelings and let God be the guide of the outcome of the situation. I am strengthen by God’s word and he is my light in darkness. So yes there is no need to wear the mask of “I’m fine” when I am not. Thank you for this encouraging message for I have gained spiritual strength from it today. God Bless!

  11. Julie S from Colorado says:

    It’s so comforting to know that Jesus meets us where we’re at and accepts us for who we are our messes, imperfections, insecurities, doubts, etc and all! I consistently struggle with the fact that when I’m troubled in any capacity I am because I deserve what is happening to me….now I know that that is NOT how our Lord and Saviour works and it has gotten so much better with lots of prayer and surrounding myself with people who are honest with me and whom I can be honest with!

    I work hard at not telling people I’m fine because of acronyms associated with it and I have about 3 girlfriends that I can be completely transparent with. As I was reading Chapter 2 a song by Casting Crowns came to mind called Stained Glass Masquerade. If you havent heard this song plug into youtube and listen it fits so well with this chapter!

    I continue to be lifted up and encourged by this Bible Study! Thank you Renee and ladies!!!!

  12. I have to say that since I read the acronyms for the word fine I rarely use it anymore. It feels like a lie now.
    There are some people that can see right through me and even fewer that I am comfortable talking about trials and such with.
    I know God is always there and fond myself talking to him frequently when things are “FINE.”
    This study has been a blessing and has been helping me find time to read God’s word more. I am blessed to have a kindle that is easy to take with me whereever I go.

  13. I loved what was shared about Feeling Indadequte Needing Encouragement. I think that sums up my fine every day. My strength comes from God and I am enough through Him. Praise the Lord.

  14. Kyrie Eléison says:

    I actually have the opposite problem. I seem to find people who I think are friends and am honest about my hurting, but give a pat answer, and go on to talk about their stuff. Or, one girl even told me, “I really would rather have fun with my friends. I already have enough to worry about in my life.” Or, they have used my past problems against me when we have gotten in an argument. And I am going to say something here that could be pretty controversial, or taken the wrong way, but I have found church ladies to be the most fake as far as caring about my problems, or being willing to help out, etc. The girl I quoted goes to my church, and most of the others I am referring to have been the same way as well. I have gone to many churches thinking it is just this or that church, but it’s not. I have reviewed the way I say things, said them to others, and they have responded differently than “the church ladies”. I now avoid women at church sadly 🙁 I don’t want to, but I am afraid of the hurt and pain of pouring out my heart only to have it smashed. So I am open, I don’t pretend to be OK, but I honestly am starting to think that would be better, at least I would fit in. That is what I have seen at churches, the happy smiling, “God bless you hon” lady, who if you become friends with her will stomp on your heart. I know that happens in the “world” too, but I think it hurts even more when you see one side of someone, and they are acting like the picture of Godly living, and then they hurt you. At least with “non-church” people, who don’t have this facade (and sorry, that is how I see it when they are two faced), you know what you are getting. They are who they seem to be.

    I know, these are probably people who are hurting themselves, who are doing what you say in Ch.2, hiding behind a mask, lashing out because they are hurting. However, how I am supposed to feel good about opening up to those people anymore?

    Please know I am not insulting “church ladies” I am one myself (although I don’t attend women’s groups anymore after what I’ve been through). I am just sad, angry, and confused as to why when you do admit you’re not feeling fine to these women they attack (not all of course, but some, and I must always pick the wrong ones). Believe me I am trying to find out what I am doing wrong too. I know I trust too quickly, too easily. I know I fall for an act or facade, and think they would be a good mentor. Also, something about me must bring out the ugly in women. I have never found it easy to be friends with women. All of my life I have had male friends, great ones. I could tell them anything. They were always there for me. However when I got married I didn’t think that was appropriate, so I sought out female friends again, (after betrayals in school, and one VERY bad one in particular in high school), and found them, and again was hurt. So I know I am not without fault here, but I wish I knew what my fault was. One woman complained that, “I thought I was better than everyone else, putting on my lipstick during snack time”. HUH?! I have never thought that of another woman putting on lipstick! Others have flat out told me I just look like a bee (I said bee here, but you ladies know the vulgar word that starts with B that I was called. I would never say that word here though, and try not to curse at all). I just don’t get it! 🙁

    I have really enjoyed saying what I like to the women here without judgement, and wish life could be that way…

    • Kandise says:


      I’ve discovered that it’s better to allow the discernment of the Holy Spirit to reveal those with whom your heart is safe. It’s easy to close up when hurts have invaded our ranks, however, being sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He instructs us to keep things to ourselves is critical. I no longer feel it’s fake to tell people “I’m Fine” if they are not a valuable asset in my circle. Sometimes the storms of life can last longer than OTHERS would like to help us through. And sadly, some don’t want to see you come through, therefore it is critical to have that prayer warrior come by God.

      What we have to UNDERSTAND is OUR HEART is NOT safe with EVERYone! So, follow God’s steps to HIM first, then to the physical person He desires for you to open your heart. And that does include those who are active in church because they can be the WRONG person that has been called to walk with you in the situation. It’s just not wise (as I say that to MYself too).

      Be who you are and remain in His purpose…When betrayal comes…acknowledge it for what it is – MORE importantly – when a person shows you how they are – BELIEVE THEM! Acknowledge the pain and hurt but quickly brush it off of your feet & move fast to God and continue to live your life in His purpose.

      You are not alone in this walk. I am so sorry for the pain and self doubt that has come from the betrayal. I pray this study brings us all to a place better than before we begin.

      In His richest blessings….

      • Kandise

        Thanks for the wisdom you share. The Holy Spirit is faithful to lead us to safe people and away from those who are dangerous. The tricky part is remembering to listen to Him ! It’s not dishonest to hold back from those who would hurt us. For the longest time I just didn’t answer people when they asked how I was, because I didn’t want to say I wasn’t fine; I’ve learned that most of the time people don’t really want to know what’s really going on with you, and to respond with a smile is enough.

        I especially appreciate what you say about believing someone who shows who s/he is and keeping your distance and running to God. :O)

    • Lori Dean says:

      Sweet Kyrie,
      What a treasure you are!! I too have stumbled through “girl friendships”….finding the most sympathetic and empathetic ears in men. Truth be told…We ladies need each other. Satan is a liar. My life was transformed by delightful (& some not so delightful) female friends.The discernment of the Holy Spirit….#1 , ABSOLUTELY!! Lots of prayer, yep, that too. But I also became a expert listener,saying little (I seemed to drive people away with my mouth…or brought out the worst “advice” in them…)I became a quiet, peaceful, “student of people”. I asked questions…so others knew I had been listening to them. I wanted so badly to be “Cared for” SOMEBODY listen to me!!!!!”….but I found that by caring for others by listening, I became a better communicator, I was not so abrasive, and defensive…I became TEACHABLE. No, not everyone hit the nail on the head when I finally began feeling as though I could share wisely, but I had heard enough to know that , well, there were ALOT of broken people out there.. and they spoke out of that brokenness .(that WAS me!!) I could discern the ones who were speaking Gods truth into my life,and I could receive it without an attitude…(So it turns out, I needed alot of “Renewing of my mind”) God is so Good, and you are so loved by Him. And Me! Know You Are Prayed For.. This Is Important!! Good Night, my Sister!

    • Oh sweet friend, I understand completely where you’re coming from! It is so hard to open up, and then to be treated poorly. It’s such an important reminder to my heart to ask how someone is doing and really CARE about their answer.

      love to you,

    • Nancy T says:

      Kyrie.. Place your hurts and concerns at Jesus’s feet and leave them there! I also have the unique inability of having more male friends than female friends..but I grew up with lots of brothers! (not an excuse!) God knows your heart..knows who will be there to encourage you. My husband and I recently joined a small church, lots of cliques, relatives, etc. so I understand where you’re coming from.. But I know God’s purpose for my life, and will follow His will for my life too! He has your back! The song “I am Loved, You are Loved” comes to mind that we are free to love each other, no matter what! Keep Christ first in your life always! I am praying for you and the people you meet that will encourage you and not step on you! These people need prayers too! Love in Christ!

      • Kyrie Eléison says:

        Thanks Nancy T. Good to know you can empathize. I really could use the prayer as well! I will be praying for you too! God Bless you!

        • Thank you all so much for sharing. I have not read the book yet, but plan to get it now. I can relate to alot of you. I mainly poor my heart out to God, because I feel like I don’t have anyone I can reaaly tell how I feel. I put a smile on my face and then cry in pray time with God. Some women look at me and have said I think I’m better than others. Most of the time when I try to be close to females, I find that they usually become more interested in being friends with me and my husband. It seems like they like him and his company more than just being a true friend to me. My husband is a people person and I used to be, but I have gone through so much that I have been hurt and hurt others. I have prayed and asked God to help me. I love the Lord and people. By the grace of God I love and enjoy blessings others, so this pain is so hard for me. I have asked myself what am I doing so wrong. I have gone through being misunderstood and feeling inadequate.
          Kyrie, I can relate to you and I thank God for your honesty. I love the Lord and thank Him for keeping us all. I spite of, God is so faithful..

          • Kyrie Eléison says:

            Pam, I can truly feel your pain, and I think back to the times when I just couldn’t be comfortable with the ladies of a group, so I started talking to their husbands (like in a group Bible study). I have always gotten along better with men. It’s not that I don’t like the ladies, but I feel rejected by them 🙁 So I am sure the women that speak with your husband more, don’t like him more, it’s more about their comfort level with women. They are probably like us, and have been hurt by other women, or in my case are more comfortable with men. I have tried not to go to the husbands anymore however, as I suspected that made me even more of an outsider with the women, and I didn’t want to hurt anyone, like I see that you’ve been hurt 🙁

            I too have gotten the response from women that I act as if I am better than them, and they site examples to prove that fact that range from me putting on lipstick at snack time, to my silence (It doesn’t matter if I am hurting that day, don’t know others in the group, etc.) at times, or on the flip side, I talk too much, and am a know it all. The list is endless . I have even been boldly told, “I never talked with you before because you looked like a bee (I use the insect here, but it is also the first letter of a word I don’t want to say.). I really can’t seem to win.

            However I have been thinking about it, and just like the Samaritan woman at the well, because of all of my hurt I have experienced, I’ve shut myself off in many ways. I can see now that like “Sam”, as Renee calls the Samaritan woman in the book, I have avoided encountering other women, and acted as if I was fine, when everyone could tell that I wasn’t (probably). Jesus is trying to take down my walls though, to take off the “fine” mask I wear. I think it is maybe even through this brokenness and loneliness in my life (I have no friends at this point in my life, but am blessed to have God, and my husband as my best friends, and a beautiful child in my life) to help me. I think I am in the refiners fire right now, and it burns, it is hard to be changed, but in the end I hope to be the beautiful new creation he has planned for me to be. God has blueprints He has had since before I was born (just like our verse of the week this week (“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart… Jeremiah 1:5, NIV). I am sure it is that way for you too Pam, and in time we will both find the true friend we long for. But first remember, (I never really got this before I read Renee’s book) God’s promises are for you, they are true, and they are more than words (as I always unconsciously though of them). I made the Bible more of a study, like I was reading something I needed to learn as a good Christian girl and student of his word, and I forgot it was something to put into my heart. They are a love letter to us. He is your best friend, He will fill you up, friends can’t be expected to fill us the way Christ can, and that is another one of my problems with regard to expectations of friends. It’s comes from a broken childhood, and I need to remember to keep filling my cup at the well where Jesus is. I’ve gotten the living water, and now I just need to keep going to it’s source! I think in His time He will bring the right people into our lives 🙂 I know you don’t have the book yet, but feel free to stay here as long as you want and talk with me and the other ladies here. I have gained great insight through Renee’s book, but also through the great women here. Welcome to the board! I hope you get the book soon too, it will change your relationship with Christ, change your heart, and change your relationship with others. I am amazed at all I am learning. I was highly doubtful in the beginning, but have absolutely changed my mind! 🙂

    • Wow. I too know where you are coming from. In fact, if I had to choose one word to describe me it would be “numb”. The few times that I have opened up to people, I too have been stabbed in the back and, sadly, by family members. I have just shut myself down. I refuse to feel the hurt of their words any more. I have had family members tell me they do not wish to hear my problems or feelings so I no longer correspond or call them and they obviously do not miss me since they do not call or correspond with me either. Today my family consists of my two horses and my two dogs. I can go weeks without speaking to or hearing another human’s voice. My comfort is in knowing that God is always with me. So this chapter has been really hard for me because I think most people don’t want to hear anything but the word “fine” when they ask how you are doing?

    • Hannah says:

      Hi Kyrie

      I can relate to you in so many ways. It can be so hard to open up to females and be honest about how you’re truly feeling. I’ve been really hurt by women before, especially ones I thought I could trust at church. I’ve learned a few things along the way…

      1) You don’t have to trust everybody. Ask Jesus to bring good and loving female friends into your life, he’ll answer that. He doesn’t want you to go on life’s journey alone. When I was in University, I went to a christian counselor who I learned to trust deeply. Through her, God brought so much healing to my heart, and I learned to slowly trust other women too. It was one of the best things I’ve done!

      2) The women that you’re talking to are most likely hiding behind their masks too. Deep down, they probably want to open up, but are too afraid to do it. God honors your openness and most of all loves you through it.

      I hope this helps! Know I’ll be praying for you!

  15. Shannon says:

    I just e-mail some friends of the previous job I had but due to the stress of not controlling the children it was literally affecting my health and I had to leave it. I wanted to be honest and these are the friends that I have prayed so hard for me. As I have mentioned before, the enemy wants me to feel like I let them down. However, down deep I know they understand.This is very hard to show your true colors of who you really are due to fear of rejection. My life right now is Frazzled, Irritated, Nutty, Exhausted. But I remember in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

    • God is going to turn your fine around Girl!! Just wait and see. He wants it Fantastic, Incredible, Noteworthy, and Exhilarating!! Love your claim to His promise!

      • Shannon says:

        Thank Rachel. Well, I opened up my feelings with my situation trying not to think of the worse but some how I always do. Oh wow, I am so blessed to open up and I realized the true friends that I have met. I have another met friend so supportive, encouraging, prayerful. It’s amazing. I’m so glad I found this Study. It has been an eye opening experience

        Ps 146:5-10 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth,The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever, Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.

        8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down. 10 The Lord shall reign forever — Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! NKJV

  16. This chapter was probably the most eye opening for me. I struggle with opening up. God knows my story & that I have no doubt, however, I have not found that special Christian sister(s) to just lay it out to. I have 2 lady friends that know my story, but don’t feel they know the Lord.

    My prayer thru this book is that God reveal that person(s) to me & let me say ‘i am not fine’

  17. Jesus meets us right where we are at. And He is always there for us in our hot messes. It is very comforting to know that we are not alone, and to know that Jesus loves us for who we are in Him. This chapter is a very encouraging one and really made me look at how many times I’ve been asked how are you and said.” I’m good or I’m fine” and really have not been. Alot of times I feel like do they really want to know. Or do they have time, or feeling like im taking time away from them. But this has really opened up my eyes to stop and say how I am really doing {Lord-led of course}. There also has been times where I really have been fine and just answered I am fine and didn’t go further. I think next time I need to share what the Lord has done to bless me instead of just saying good or fine. It’s another opportunity to share with them God’s blesses, not only the times when we are not fine. We need to share the good times too.

    This part was very convicting to me in the devotion today….We don’t have it all under control, and I can’t help but think that when we act like we do, we basically tell God that we don’t need him. Ouch…..Its’ rare that i do have anything under control. This just reminds me of how much more I need Jesus to be the center of everything. This is soo freeing!!!! Thank you for this Renee!

  18. Melissa says:

    As I continue to read this chapter, I see myself struggling with the “I’m fine” answers that I hear or that I give to others, and the dramatic, woe-is-me answers that I hear or that I give to others. For me, there is a fine line between both and it is very easy to slip from one to the other. To be honest, I sometimes would rather hear “I’m fine” as opposed to what is really going on — my human-ness kicks in and I easily get tired of the drama that follows.

    When I find myself slipping into these moments, I remind myself of God’s grace that He shows me on a daily basis, and I continue to strive to be more like Christ in these moments by showing grace and mercy to others as well.

    • Brenda says:

      Your blog really touched a place in my heart. This is why I don’t share my honest feelings with anyone, especially women. I am so afraid of opening up to someone who feels the way you do. It is a horrible feeling to make oneself vulnerable and to have someone “too busy” or “tired of the drama” make me feel worthless once more. Don’t get me wrong, I thank you for your honesty however I think we can all learn to show people the same grace and love that the Lord has shown to us. There are alot of people hurting out there!

  19. Shanna says:

    For so long I pretended everything was fine, when inside everything had crumbled. I read the book during the first online study. I realized that even though the book is wonderful I need more help eith my struggles. Through the help of a counselor I realized that God gave us one another to help bear our burdens. So be open not only to sharing, but to listening if someone needs you to. It has helped me to share, many of my close friends had no idea how Imwas feeling or what I was dealing with.

    • Lydia G says:

      That’s great that you saw the need to deal further with your struggles- I am finding this book brings a lot to light that I think many of us women have pushed down deep or been numb to in ourselves for years… and it can be quite painful to face it all again! I think Christian counseling is so valuable as a tool to help any of us with deep hurts to process and heal.

  20. Jackie says:

    For the longest time I “was fine.” Nothing could have been far from the truth. Thankfully, Jesus helped me to see my need to be honest, and open with others. It was difficult at first, but the more open I was about how I was doing, the more God showed me how I could Improve my situation, whether it was encouragement from others, a hug, a prayer, or words of wisdom and advice, God blessed me as I was honest and open with Him and others. This is, in a way, relying on Him and depending on Him……which, as it says in Chapter 2, the only way we will have a confident heart!

    Every day is a battle, but I remind myself how being open and honest is a great thing. Will be praying for all of us, that we can strive to open our hearts and be open and honest with God and others, no matter how we are doing. As a parent, it also reminds me what a valuable lesson I am teaching my children as well, when I am doing this…..because, as they get older, I want them to be open and honest with me!

  21. Jennifer Robinson says:

    Dear Renee,

    This morning I was finally caught by my emotions. I have just gotten away from an abusive relationship after twenty plus years, and still feel great guilt that I am abandoned my spouse. i have lived most of my sixty five years within the veil of, ” Oh my goodness, of course I am fine. You look like something is bothering you, what’s wrong, how can I help?”

    It is a trait that I assumed from my Mom, as I am sure many of us did. I nursed her through a horrid cancer that took her life after many torturous years. She virtually never shared the pain with anyone (except with me sometimes) and kept a smile on her face through most everything. Of course that is the way one is supposed to be!

    I am making due in a tiny studio that is living, working, and existing space with pretty much no income at thisw point. My survival and joy has always been to know that our Dear Lord is there with me. But……….at times I just want to let my guard down.

    You started it today. For the first time in I don’t know how many years, I sat here reading and my eyes started to fill up”out of nowhere”. I also, first first time in as many years am not trying to push them back. It has caught me a bit off guard, and know that I do have to push them back to go to an interview for a very needed job.

    It feels a little awkward to let myself feel a tear roll down my cheek as I write this, but I know that many more must follow to begin to feel and know some sense of healing and peace. I never been in a position of be able to afford to buy your book, but I have saved everyone of your emails since I started receiving them as little jewels to be savored.

    Thank you for opening your heart and the hearts of so many of us that have never been able to find the key ~ the key that has always been with us and just not known about.

    Blessings, hugs and love,


  22. Courtney says:

    FINE – What a joke, that we all try to pull off.
    I notice my extended family does this at big family gatherings. I have 13 aunts/uncles, 36 cousins, etc. and my Grandfather recently died so we were all together to celebrate his life and mourn his death and the masks in that room were a plenty. I know that we are all dealing with the daily life struggles and in addition to that I have family members who are dealing with serious illness, family issues, finanicial struggles in addition to losing the leader of our family.

    Yet when asked how are you, I would venture to guess that question was answered with a FINE 9 out of 10 times.

    And we accepted that answer, seems less messy to wear our masks, accept others masks then to know how others are really doing.

    I am not only going to work hard to rip my mask off but I also want to help others feel safe in taking their masks off in my presence. It doesn’t have to be messy when we accept God’s Love for us!

  23. Beatriz says:

    This was great encouragement, I am dealing with something now my husband was diagnostic with cancer in 2008 and he is going through chemo for the second time. I tell people we are FINE because I do not want them to keep asking. But for sure after this chapter when ask how are you doing I can say FINE=Feeling Inadequate, Needing Encouragement I think when we humble and share our feelings the Lord will get all the glory!God Bless!

  24. CHASITY says:


  25. In reading through all the above posts I see that even when we say we are “fine” it really means that we are not fine, as noted by the acronyms. I too have had simliar experiences with ladies from our church, one of which is a next door neighbor. I have come to realize that her question “How ya doing?” is not mean’t to elicit a discussion from me, it’s simply a greeting. So I respond with the answer she wants to hear. It’s easier and I know that she isn’t prepared or interested in dealing with a lengthy discussion should I choose to share my circumstances. It is probably likely that she isn’t “fine” either but she is always so busy there isn’t time for a discussion anyway. I think people in general are glad to be “let of the hook” and not have to listen to our problems or concerns. Then too, there are so many people with really difficult problems in their lives that I often feel guilty not being “fine”, because I should be, my life is pretty good.
    Likewise, at work with secular folks, they too, want to share a simple greeting and get on with their day.
    There aren’t many people that truly want to listen to the concerns of others.
    What I’ve begun to do, is to ask people more specific questions, such as “How was your day?” “How are your classes going?” More open-ended questions to elicit responses, and then I just listen. And you know, listening helps me put my “feelings of inadequacy and need of encouragement in perspective” (FINE) And I thank God that he’s shown me that even if others don’t have time to listen to me, I need to take time to listen to them.

  26. Wow! This is such a great post. I have to go read the chapter now (busy week). I feel everyone’s struggles as I read through the comments. My heart goes out to all of you. May God comfort you in the midst of your trials and tribulations, times of grief and heartache. Know that He is with you, will never leave you or forsake you, and that He holds every tear in a bottle. Jesus understands our suffering and knows our hearts even when we say, “I’m fine.” God will use you to minister through your pain. Be open to opportunities He sends your way.

    I thought of men and women in ministry as I read this post. My husband and I are in ministry, and we travel because of his job. We just spent six months apart as he worked in another state. Before he left, we were leading intercessory prayer, teaching a blended family class, and serving the Pastor and his wife at the church we attended. After he left, I felt called to step down from these activities and focus on my four children. A tough decision, because we love ministering to others and meeting needs within the body of Christ, but I had to do it. People would ask how I was doing, and I’d answer, “Fine.” Why? I’m a leader in the church. I’m an ordained minister of the Gospel. If I break down and show my weakness, how will that minister God’s strength to others? But, alas, I am not God, and I have moments in my life when I need fellowship and comfort and wisdom from others, too. I think as ministers we have the idea we need to “keep it together” for the sake of the sheep, when maybe our humility and admittance that we’re merely human, too, would minister further than our masks.

    My heart goes out to all of you, wherever you’re at in life. Thank you, Renee, for this wonderful ministry via your Bible study. My heart is touched! (Which translates: my life is changed today.)

    • Sue Astill says:

      Hi Alycia M, I too have felt led by the Lord to give up my job as a school chaplain to focus on my two girls and do some major work on myself as I am exhausted physically & emotionally from a very full on year.
      Through Renee’s book & this study I have reconnected with God and am learning more about myself too.
      thank you all for sharing your struggles and Blessings 🙂

  27. I love all the fine meanings, mine would often be ” Fighting Insecure Negative Emotions ” . I am enjoying our study so far. When I read what Fine really could mean, I had to think of all those whom I’ve said fine to during parts of my life, makes ya stop and think what are we really telling others about how we are.

  28. Lauren says:

    I felt like I had been set free after reading this chapter. I really struggle with trying to live up to my standards of being: the perfect Bible Study girl, the perfect Christian witness, the Perfect wife, mom, kindergarten teacher, friend, in-law, church goer and what ever else I decide to put on my plate for the day. The chapter title gave me hope: Because God’s Love is Perfect, I Don’t Have to Be! I know that in my head, but so often I don’t believe and that shows through the actions of trying to be perfect all the time and not being real, hiding behind the mask.
    I loved one section so much in chapter 2, Up Close and Personal. The Holy Spirit breathed into me hope and acceptence when reading: ” through His written Word on the page and His living Word in the person of Christ, I came to know an up close and personal Savior who pursues imperfect women like me.” This gave me an image of just wanting to sit in my Father’s lap and just let Him love on me, plain, transparent me…. where I don’t have to put on anything false, because He knows exactly who I am.
    I also had a very shameful realization come up in the same secition where Renee discusses how theologians believe why Sam went to the well at noon. ” Many theologians believe that instead of avoiding the scorching heat of the sun, she went to the well at noon to avoid the scorching pain of others’ rejection and judgement.” My heart broke at reading these words because I have been there. I have grown up in the same church for my whole life — 33 yrs. My husband and I got pregnant with our first child, before we were ever married. I did have a wedding in my church, but when I got to the point of “showing” I didn’t want to show my face inside the walls of my church. This is the place where I grew up, accepted Christ and grew to have an intimate relationship with Him and now I felt out of place, like I didn’t belong. I would not go to church for risk of being judged and talked about with others. This was 13 years ago and just within the last year I am coming to discover that I have never really forgiven myself for my actions and how I went on about my life during the pregnancy and birth of our first daughter. In the one place I should have felt God’s love pouring through its members, I felt ashamed and guilty and not wanting to face the people in my church. Looking back, In the process of the shamefulness and guilt I went from a confident girl to a very insecure woman. This book has really been sent from God to help me work through these feelings that just seem to always be there. Little by little He is setting me free and giving me godly confidence!

  29. Billie says:

    Looking forward to finishing the chapter. You know how the rejections stand out bigger than the acceptances? This past couple of years have brought a lot of rejection (sometimes people do not want to hear or be part of your life)…none the less God is faithful. I do not want to miss the acceptance He pours out to me. I want Christ to live through me to share his love and acceptance to others.

    • Lydia G says:

      Yes- why is it that the love of all the people that we do have in our lives is so overshadowed as soon as one person rejects us? Why do our minds choose to focus on what we do not have instead of what we do? I know that some women truly don’t have anyone, and for them my heart hurts… but I know that I have been blessed with several close friends- so I shouldn’t feel so insecure about what others think beyond those few! But I do. Thanks for bringing up that point to consider “rejections stand out bigger than the acceptances.”

  30. Kristi R. says:

    I love the reference above about admitting we are not fine which in turn may help unburden another! I never thought of it that way. I

    Jesus didn’t hang out with FINE when he walked this earth…He hung out with Tattered and Torn and He treasured them! The people that were FINE back in Jesus’ day thought they didn’t need Him, but tattered and torn knew they did!!!!

    I usually just cop out and say I am fine when asked because I don’t want to burden otherwise or be the one that is negative, but kindly said and sparing details, I believe I can let another person know that I am not okay and open up the door to just be real with each other…what a novel idea!

  31. I’m not fine nor have I been for a long time. It’s all that negative stuff from childhood that keeps me in captivity; but in a way captivity is comfortable for me because as long as I deny that I am not fine, I can make it through the next day. My husband is desperate to help me but I can’t bring myself to talk to him because sometimes I just can’t express it all.

    • Christine says:

      I will pray for you, Becky, because it sounds like the devil sure would love to keep you captive when Jesus is fully ready to liberate you and heal you from whatever your past was. You don’t have to be chained to whatever happened. Go to Christ and kick the devil in the backside right into the gutter where he belongs. You are dearly loved and very cherished by our Heavenly Father, who just wants to wrap you in His arms and hold you close.

    • Beth Moore has a study called Breaking Free – it has helped me and can maybe help you also.

      • Shannon says:

        I love Beth Moore too. I’ve done two of her Studies A Women’s Heart God’s Dwelling place it was the first one I ever had been too and it was mind blowing. Also, the last one I did with her is James: Mercy Triumphs all: James tells it at is. I’m not used to that but it truly helped me understanding. This is what led me to this Study online. Thank you so much Renee.

  32. Christine says:

    Actually, sometimes when I am checking out at the store and the cashier asks “How are you today?” I find it liberating to truthfully say “I’ve had better lifetimes”, “It’s the day from Hell”. Everyone answers with “Fine.” Or just “Okay.” The truth is actually quite refreshing and you know what? I feel better after I’ve said it. 🙂
    It’s almost like all the negativity gets released into the air. It might even be liberating for the cashier to hear someone tell the truth once in awhile. (Mind you, I say it with no discontent. Just matter-of-factly.) It makes the exchange more real.

  33. Is it common to try to tell yourself you are fine as well as others? Does anyone find that she stays extremely busy so she doesn’t have time to look inward and face the hurt, fear, and insecurity deep inside? I have often felt this and the more I seem to fear or question things in my life, the faster I seem to move and the busyier I stay. Is this a common issue? I remember a time when I could just sit and relax but I cannot find that place anymore. How do you stop running and start living?

    • Oh yes, Leigh! That is a very common issue. And honestly, I have that one myself at times. “Be still and know that I am God.” Force yourself to bask in His presence for a few minutes! When I spend time with Him, my heart fills with peace.

      Lord Jesus, I pray for Leigh today. God, could you just give her a new avenue of relaxation with peace beyond her comprehension? You’ve promised it to us, Lord, so we’re asking you for it.

  34. For years I have disliked the question that seems to evoke the expected but inaccurate answer. I intentionally try not to say ‘hi, how are you?’. People really don’t want you to answer that question and half of the time it is a careless question asked in passing.

    I distinctly remember one Sunday morning when I was very sick. My worship leader said hi, how are you? I responded honestly, mentioning how sick I was and just wanted to go home to sleep rest. He was not listening. He said oh, that’s great! At that point I stopped and attempted to get his full attention. I reiterated that I had bronchitis and felt crummy and then I accuse him of not even listening to my answer. There we were. 2 musicians on the church platform, about to lead worship and while I had taken off the mask of ‘fine’ it was what the other person expected.

    I can’t tell you how I cringe at that question. I don’t typically ask ‘how are you’ because I don’t want the canned answer. But it’s almost as if it makes others ask it when I won’t. I can’t even keep count how often i hear that ohrase at church on Sundays… Please don’t ask the stupid question casually any more. IF people actually answered the question it might put a stop to what has become a greeting. When you do ask the question, stop to listen to their answer. And if someone says “fine” have them explain.

  35. Wow… I can so relate… I’ve carried a mask so long, the mere thought of expressing my true feelings is scary… my own acronym for FINE
    feeling insecure neglected exhausted….. It’s tiring to keep a smile on and pretend all is alright.. Seeing others appear to have it all together… You wonder what you did that was so wrong that you can’t have what others have… Its a prison not to be real… It seems every time I want to open up and be real, the floodgates of tears are so strong, I push them back and can’t.. hiding seems to be the only option… But oh how I want too, and am trying to become stronger… but it’s a process that is taking me far too long…. I’m open for suggestions… thanks.

  36. Chapter 2 had the question: Do you ever feel like you are the only one who struggles with insecurity or doubt? Why or why not?

    I do – my husband and I moved halfway across the country and we don’t know anyone here. I don’t have any friends out here and it makes me think that I am the only one who struggles with a low self esteem. I don’t want to share these struggles with non-Christians because I think it can hinder my witness too. My problems are magnified because they are MY problems. But I know that through His love, I can learn to heal and learn to see myself as His fearfully and wonderfully made creation.

    • You are not alone, sweet friend. There are SO many who feel this way, and I pray this study will be an encouragement to your heart! I know it has been wonderful for me!

  37. As I was reading chapter 2 I came across something and Jesus opened my eyes and I wanted to share with you. It was a rather important aha moment for me. When reading about Sam and rereading her story and her conversation with Jesus I had to stop. I have written an audio bio of my childhood and the abuse as a child – the name I gave my character was Sam. Until this moment I had not put the two together to see I WAS Sam. This story was me, because of events of my past and the relationships which came about because of the abuse I suffered, I had been searching the hearts of men looking for the one thing the perfect bridegroom could give me Jesus. But because he wasn’t flesh and blood to me as he was to Sam I did not “see” him as the one true satisfy of my soul. The moment I saw this I began praying asking for forgiveness. I can’t wait to see what else Jesus has to reveal to me next.

    • August Rose says:

      Debi, I so related to your email. I am Sam as well. I have had three husbands and was deceivedin my thinking about men and God. My father was very abusive. When I opened up to my christian friends I felt rejected and abandoned by my so called Christian friends. They judged me, talked about me to a friend that claimed to prophesy to me when really she just repeated the gossip my so called friend said to her. It wasn,t even scripture based. My other church friend told me I was to angry and she couldn,t be friends with me any longer. Both friends for over 20 years. I was there for them thru many family crisis but they dont seem to remember. I am glad that I sought counseling at my church and am learning to walk after the spirit being tired of my flesh and emotions leading me. God will heal all of us because He rewards those who dilligently seek Him. Lets take off all masks and allow the Father to do whato only He can do heal us.

    • WOW! That IS an ‘aha’ moment — praying God’s healing will enable you to share your story with many to encourage others! Thank you for sharing!

  38. GISELLE GRAS says:



  39. elizabeth says:

    ACH friends,
    I’m hurting. I’m stressed beyond my limits and feel like breaking down. The responsible good girl inside of me however says the show must go on and I only push the stress, pain and frustration further down. I need your prayers tonight. I need a breakthrough. Please pray for my relationship with my dad, my co-workers and work in general. I need to feel God’s grace. I need to see His power at work. I feel as though I am holding the world on my shoulders and am about to crack under all of the pressure. I can’t handle the stress and pressure of trying so hard to live up to my dads expectations of me. I’m tired of being afraid of my dad. Please pray for me. Pray that I will be able to feel God holding me! Thank you all so much for your prayers. I know that we serve a faithful God!

    • Pamela says:

      Elizabeth -I feel exactly the same way – carrying the weight of the world and about to crack and lose it. Every time I have tried to talk about it to a friend I get a pat answer and they move the conversation on to themselves. People think I can do everythIng at work and have no regard for my time. I know part of this is my fault for allowing it. I keep praying and asking God to bring a great friend into my life to talk to but it apears He would like me to focus entirely on Him. I just feel so alone though i know He is always with me I wish someone would take some interest and care about someone other than themselves. I’m just so tired and run down. I could not help but cry when reading this chapter because it is like it was written for me.
      Please pray for me!

    • Carolyn says:

      Dear Elizabeth!
      Remember that your Heavenly Father said you are precious and honored in his sight and He loves you. (Is 43: 4). He has redeemed you, you are His, He is with you when you pass through the waters, the rivers will not sweep over you, you will not be burned when you walk throught the fire. (Is 43: 1-2) A bruised reed he will not break (Is 42: 3) Go to Him with these promises. Ask for His peace which surpasses all understanding. He knows your hurts and longs to heal them. I am praying for you!

    • Elizabeth,

      Sweet friend, I am praying for you right now. God knows your situation and your heart, and He cares for you. I care too, and if you need to talk or if there is anything I can do, please feel free to email me (Melanie at OnlyABreath dot com)

      Praying for you right now…

      Dear Heavenly Father,
      Thank you for Elizabeth. Thank you for her faith in you and her comment that reached out to her sisters in Christ. Lord, I pray that you will strengthen her as she seeks You. Please fill her with your wisdom and peace. Please work out the situation with her father and her co-workers. Lord, we are so overwhelmingly thankful that even if our earthly fathers disappoint, You will never disappoint. Thank you for being our Father and always caring for us and loving us unconditionally. I pray that you will work in Elizabeth’s heart and in her father’s heart so that their relationship will be a beautiful reflection of the love you have for us, your children. Please help us, her sisters, to show her love and to surround her with prayer and encouragement. All healing and hope comes from you, Lord, and we pray You will shower Elizabeth wilth that hope today.
      In Jesus’ name.


  40. Jeannie says:

    It’s so hard not to be fine. It just seems that’s what is expected of us and we expect the same of ourselves. About a month ago I read the book by Angie Smith about the loss of a baby. This book hit my heart hard , I had been there many years ago and realized I never really allowed myself to grieve for our baby we lost. It appeared I was expected to pick myself up and go on, so I did. After reading her book I finally let God in and some walls came down. I still deal with being “fine” but I am doing a little about telling God what He already knows.
    Thank you so much for this bible study. I am learning a lot about myself and trying to see myself as God sees me, still find very difficult some days that He loves me like I am. Please pray that all that God wants me to be gets from my head to my heart. I am making some progress.

    • August Rose says:

      Jeanne I too experienced the loss of a child. I remember my then husband saying its been two weeks enough already so I put on another mask. I went to church and in the bathrm a sign said “healing heart ministry”. I knew it was God. I was able to let go and let God heal me. The leaders of the group were so kind to me. I learned so much from them. I went back to them when my husband left and they were there again. This time I learned to agree with Gods Word and getmy value, acceptance and security from Him. I.m thankful for this study its showing me other areas Gods wanting to heal in me but I was to ashamed and afriad to let Him. Not anymore. I want every layer pealed back and healed!

      • My heart is overflowing with thankfulness for your comments! i love this: “I want ever layer peeled back and healed” — YES!!!

        Praying for you both! Keep trusting Him!

      • I am doing healinghearts right now and it is deep and wonderful and touching long hidden pain. That and this book together is convicting AND soothing at the same time. I too lost a baby @ 4 months gestation and did not grieve it. Later we raised a grand daughter for 16 years then she was suddenly no longer part of our lives.

      • “Every layer peeled back and healed”. LOVE THAT!! Thank you Jesus for your healing power!!!

  41. I’m not sure if it’s a woman thing, or a mother thing, or what it is, but I feel like we were all brought up to say “fine” and not ‘burden’ others with our problems. This post really hit home and I am so glad that you shared it. It’s definitely a great reminder.

  42. I think I always answer that I am fine or had a good weekend, if I can even remember what I did over the weekend on a Monday! Sometimes I think I am numb to my situation with the health of my son over the
    last 3 yrs so I always say I’m fine but still trying to get through every new circumstance with his health that comes up. I’ve held back so many tears, I start to cry and I choke them back and don’t know why I am doing that, it sometimes really feels better to cry but now I can’t. I see how God has helped us all through every new circumstance that comes up and that gives me hope to move forward and on to the next dr. or new test or new infusion hoping that something will work. I am not fine but I don’t let myself express that with my sons health but if something else bothers me I may blow up all over that. I am the oldest girl of 6 siblings and I have had to be the responsible one since high school so it is something learned for me and now I have to unlearn how to not be strong and fine and be the one to hold things together and it’s hard to unlearn something and pass the ball to someone else to handle situations. Sometimes I do say fine because I get tired of telling people about why I’m not fine if I care to open up to them, I feel God is the first one I would go to and I think that is another reason I say fine because feel like if I’ve gone to God and told Him how I am doing do I need to express this to anyone else, sometimes it is personal how you feel and I don’t feel like discussing it with anyone else. But I must say I do have a couple of friends and we all are going through tough times and we can sit and talk over lunch and cry and be open with each other and that is good for us to do but its taken me 30 yrs for God to put these people in my life. My brother died Easter Sunday and I was checking out at the grocery store and the cashier said any plans for the weekend and I was going to say no and I thought, no I’m going to tell him my plans and that was that my brother and just died so we now have to clean out where he was living to get it ready to sell and then something happened and someone else took over so that was the end of the conversation and he left and the next one took over and to my surprise, he met me at the door and gave me a bouquet of flowers and said I hope this brightens up your weekend~~~~~that brought tears to my eyes, and to me that is God!

    • Jennifer says:

      Susan, I am the oldest of three girls. I understand how you feel the need to stay strong and not give in to having a good cry. I lost my dad to lung cancer January 1 of this year. I never have allowed myself time to grieve. I have no words. I know he is with Jesus. I am so confident of that because I was with him when he passed away. I felt a warm, pure, authoritative presence. So why am I not fine??? My husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. He has had treatments and surgery and so far is cancer free. Again I wonder… Why all the fear? Why do I not feel fine? …

      • Jennifer, I am so glad your husband is cancer free now. I think I would have the fear of what if it comes back like with my son and his disease, but I then look back at how God was with us before and He would be with us again if something would happen again. God promised us He would be with us with sending His Holy Spirit so I call on HIm a lot these days to help me here on earth and that is a comfort to me. My brother was so sick toward the end, he was on dialysis and continued to drink and do drugs but prayed to God to help him but he could never quit, God is the final judge. I think also when someone is so sick you go through a shock of some kind, like PTSS and it is hard even though things are ok now to come back to the normal you knew before and try to get use to the new normal of living in the now of the after the storm of the disease and now the calm of no disease and how things have changed for us. I will pray for you and for God to wipe away your fear and replace it with His peace.

    • Wow, that IS God! I am the oldest too, and I think so many times we are praised for keeping it all “together” and not letting anyone know we are having a hard time. However, that is so much weight for one person to bear.

      Praying for you!

      • Thanks Melanie, I sometimes do try to hard to keep it all together but am now letting the other sibs try to keep it all together and I bow out of it. And yes, I can hear people say, I don’t know how you do it and I think, how do I do it, but then I think of how much I have learned to let God take care of things and I stay out of it and let things go HIs way and not mine, but I have a lot of way to go there too. Thanks for the prayers~~~Sue

  43. I had such bad depression that I ended up in the psych ward for 3 days. I didn’t understand until later why everyone else could handle life but I couldn’t. And how could i be depressed if i was a Christian? I tried to get help from my church but whenever I really told people what was going on, they essentially ran away. After the hospital, I started going to counseling. First for my marriage and then realized that I had abuse issues growing up that I had just stuffed. I also did a bible study that said write down every person that has hurt you and say a verse over it and forgive them. That really sent me reeling.
    At church, I felt like I needed to put on a mask and act like everything was fine – even when I felt like crying any second. And when something did make me cry, I would run into the bathroom so no one saw. I felt like people with cancer and having babies were getting so much help but I was not getting any help. It felt like hidden bruises that one could see.
    At one praise service, everyone was talking about how much help they had gotten from our church. I felt the total opposite. I got up and spilled my guts about the sexual abuse in my family that also happened the previous generation. It was just too overwhelming.
    After that, our church started a recovery ministry. And our church started to change. I went to counseling for the sexual abuse issues until my counselor said I was done. Then I started doing a Conquering Codependency 6 month small group going through a workbook. It was the most healing thing I had ever done. It really transformed my thinking and my life.
    It taught me what was healthy and what was not. It taught me how to change my messed up view of God into the truth of who God really is. It showed me the lies I was living under and how to cover them with Gods truths. It taught me about not rescuing people, how to say no, how to feel my feelings, false guilt vs true guilt etc. so many things I didn’t learn growing up.
    Anyway, I am now leading my 7th group with women from our church and other hurting women.
    I wanted God to just zap me out of depression but instead He wanted me to walk through a healing process with other people that could love me when I really didn’t love myself.
    So many things said by all of you remind me of what I have been through. I am still healing but God has used the yucky stuff in my life.

    I love Isaiah 61:1-3 Jesus brings beauty for ashes, gladness for mourning, praise for despair. Jesus binds up the brokenhearted, frees the captives, and releases prisoners from darkness.

    I am still trying to heal from the sexual abuse stuff that still affects our marriage. So pray for me about that. And my family member still has not admitted to doing anything wrong. The rest of my family thinks I am unloving for bringing any of it up. They want me to pretend like it never happened. So pray for that too…

    • Merry, thank you for your story!! God has great plans for you, you are more than overcomer by the testimony of your lips! Whatever you do, stay in the word of God! He will heal your broken heart and you will stand before many and declare His goodness in the name of Jesus your Lord!. Isaiah 49:16 See, I have written your name on my hand! Merry you are beautiful and healing is yours because you are a child of God, He watches over His word to perform it in your life! Blessings and peace to you 🙂

    • Merry,

      How I wish I could reach out and HUG you!!! I am praying earnestly for you, and I am so proud of your bravery!!! God is using your life to encourage and share His healing with so many! I know the road you are on is not an easy one, and that Satan will attack you every step to prevent you from sharing His love — but cling to God’s promises, sweet friend! You are His instrument of hope to many!

      praying for you!

    • Merry, thank you so much for opening up your heart and sharing your experience and struggles. I too, am a sexual abuse SURVIVOR!!! It has been a long, hard road for me but I find comfort in the arms of my heavenly Father. He has softened my heart and allowed me to forgive the person who hurt me and is also working in Me to help me work through the guilt and shame of it all. I know He is so pleased at the work you are doing, for He takes the bad and turns into good for His glory!! You are an inspiration to me!! May God richly bless you and your ministry. I will be praying for you!!


      • Julie — I am praying for you, sweet friend. What bravery you women have through Christ! I am just amazed at each of you and your testimony of forgiveness and strength. I love what you said “He takes the bad and turns into good for His glory” — YES!!!! Thank you ladies for shining His light!

        love to you both!

    • Lord, You know exactly what Merry needs and You have been providing that for her in wondrous and marvelous ways. We give You thanks and honor and praise Lord for Your steadfast love for her and for all who are a part of her life. Thank You for the healing You have already given and the healing that is yet to come. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

  44. As someone who deals with several chronic health issues–sometimes I find it easier to say “I’m fine” then to deal with the well-meaning but faulty health advice that people come up with. Sometimes too, it is hard for me to discern those who really care from those that just seem to use “how are you” as a greeting.

    I anm thankful for this study and am learning a lot from it.

    • Hi Becky — Thank you so much for your comment! That is a great reminder to my heart that when I ask someone how they are, my part of the conversation is to really LISTEN to what they are saying… not just try to throw out advice 😉
      Thank you for this reminder!!!

      Love and hugs,

      • Melanie, Thank you for pointing out this reminder! I need to remember that just listening, in and of itself, can be a real gift. I’m trying to think through reasons why that is — because by showing interest and/or compassion, you are conveying to a person that they matter, that what they have to say is important. You can help them to feel understood and thereby more supported/less alone in the world. I think it also helps some people to process their thoughts or response to a situation. It’s one of those nebulous things I’m trying to put my finger on :-).

    • Perfect Healer, I pray that You will provide Becky with peace and comfort as she deals with her health issues. Bless her that she might be able to find the blessings in those issues and be able to share those blessings with others tot he glory of Your Almighty Name. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

  45. Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

    Oh my my- how this certainly hit home… I think when people say how are you- it’s so so fake!!! they say this while walking on by- do they really wanna know???? I dealt with this time & time again I just say “I’m fine” Just so I don’t burden them with really is happening in my life:

    I’m a survivor of breast cancer stage III— You know sometimes friends are better than family- I had a friend do a fundraiser for me to help pay my medical bills? My family not once really came to me to ask if I needed anything (I have 3 brothers & 3 sisters- 2 nieces, 3 nephews) My Mom has passed on and my Dad remarried and lives in Lousiana we keep in touch by phone. — You know I was the one who would text everyone after every Chemotherapy treatment & Radiation treatment, to give them my report- if I didn’t I don’t think anyone cared- too busy with their own lives, all the while helping my niece who was pregnant at the time helping her nest & get ready for baby to be born, since her husband who was deployed- and my sister is using Meth and doesn’t keep in touch with us only if she needs money- she’s normally to paranoid that we are talking about her… It’s sad because my sister was my best friend-I have other sisters but they all stay to themselves? I have other nieces & nephews but the rarely contact me? The only time we get together is for the holidays- I cook the entire meal & host Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years- I always invite my family to come to EASTER services with me & I would agree to treat them to a brunch… no takers… my niece & her husband and 11 mo old baby boy has just left on 4/27/12 deployed to Japan for 3 years- My heart aches so bad because I miss them so much-my sister-(my niece’s mother) tried to make up for lost times all in one day but she was so high on Meth – she hardly made any sense and my niece was afraid of her holding her son- and then when they went to eat lunch my sister fell asleep at the table? It’s so sad – My sister is jealous of me my niece said because I spend more time with her than my sister- and that she calls me Aunty-Grandma, because that’s what I truly am to her- she said I’m more a mother to her than her own my mother my sister. I thought my sister would get cleaned up and sober up when I needed a sister & friend to help me go through my cancer journey- she didn’t, then I thought she would sober & clean up knowing her first grandchild was to be born and she will be a Grandma- but no- she feels she doesn’t have a problem and told me to stop giving her information on Rehab’s because she won’t go until she’s ready. I was laid off early this year because the business went bankrupt no one knows except for my one niece that I found a job and finally have medical? now I can pay some of my medical bills? — Last night at 11:30pm- I awoke to someone yelling and screaming and pounding at my garage- it was my sister gone out of her mind- cussing & screaming on my front lawn? I was beside myself- I also was afraid, I never seen her this way. I yelled to her to go away before I call the police!!! then I dropped to my knees and prayed for her- I asked God to please keep her safe-to help her to realize she needs help- and that I cannot help her anymore, and to please forgive me. I cannot help her if she doesn’t want to help herself… So ladies… the “I’M FINE” I certainly know how to act as if it’s all under control- put on a smile and get through my day…But the real me- the me that God knows…. knows how much I hurt inside… how much I feel like if I were to die everyone and everything would be alright, I know for a fact it would just be another day… I pray to go home to Jesus-this is not were I belong-it’s painful & it hurts but I just keep breathing in and breathing out, keeping my faith, hope and love intact. I’M NOT FINE… but I feel better sharing this with my prayer sisters.

    Aloha from Hawaii xoxoxox

    • Hi Donna,

      Your note touched my heart, and I am praying earnestly for you. I can’t even imagine how painful this time is for you, but I care, and God knows your heart. Thank you so much for sharing boldly. I know your transparency will encourage so many to reach out to God with their pain as well.

      Prayers and much love,

      • Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

        Thank you Melanie you are so kind. I see you responding to a lot of us women. You are my prayer sister. This means so much to me !

    • Pam Anderson says:

      I want to echo Melanie and say GOD LOVES YOU! I have a messed up, disfunctional family to, you are not alone. It is very painful to know that the people, your family, who are suppose to support you and love you, don’t! I have always wanted to have a family that would love each other and live life together. But unfortunately they are uncapable of doing this with me. But even as hard as this is, I know God Loves Me and He will never leave me or forsake me. I don’t know why our lives have to be to be this way. But I do know that this is very temporary and God is forever. I will be praying for you sister. Please know you are not alone!

      • Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

        Pam Thank you so much for the encouragement. I am so grateful for your sincere appreciation & understanding. I just keep praying for my family, especially my sister. I’m even learning to pray for myself and all my sisters I’m meeting here.

    • I have a sister named Donna. But that is not why I am replying. This is: Lord God Almighty, I pray that You will fill Donna with such a strong sense of Your abiding, steadfast presence and love that the imperfect relationships she has with her family take on secondary importance to her relationship with You. also bless her that she becomes a beacon for her family. Fill the empty place in her heart left by her niece, nephew-in-law, and grand-nephew moving so far away that their absence becomes merely a blip on the timeline of her life. Keep them safe and bring them back that there might be a joyous reunion. Bless her sister that she be delivered from her addiction. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

      • Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

        Nancy you are a prayer warrior! I read over and over your prayer. I cannot express how good that made me truly feel. I cried and it felt good to feel loved by a complete stranger… No stranger to me anymore Nancy my sister in Christ. Xoxoxo

        • Give God the glory Donna. It is the Holy Spirit that prompts me to pray and it is the Holy Spirit that gives me the words to say. I am glad that the words helped and I am tickled to have a new sister. God’s blessings on your day.

    • Carolyn says:

      Donna: I completely understand and FEEL your pain. Today is “Day 70” for my daughter: She has been clean for 70 days after six years of drug addiction. Such a painful, dark journey. It has been filled with fear. Please find a Nar Anon group or other support group so you can better deal with your pain. I know the heartache you have and I know that you need to seek God first and others who are going through this second. Your sister is right: drug addiction is a disease that only she can arrest. It cannot be cured, but it CAN be arrested. You cannot know if God will heal her, but you CAN know that He will be with you when you pass through the waters and he will not let the river overflow you. (Is 43: 2) Take care of yourself first. Do not cease praying for your sister (I prayed Is 42: 3’s promise for my daughter). Love her like Jesus loves us because her sin is NO DIFFERENT than ours. She is hurting and thinks the drugs will take away her pain. We know that only God can heal her, but until SHE knows that, she will continue. Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to use the pain in my life to love on Donna right now. You comforted me in my affliction just for this very moment, when I can comfort Donna in her affliction (2Cor: 4) and I am so blessed to do so. Please guard her heart and her mind that she can help her sister but not enable. Show her how to walk through the fire and not be burned because You are with her. (Is 43: 2 & 5) Please be mindful of Your promise not to break the bruised reed and heal the hurt in Donna’s sister. (Is 42: 3) Restore their relationship, Lord, and heal the damage that has been done by the addiction. We ask these things in the precious name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
      I love you Donna, and will keep you and your sister in my prayers.

      • Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

        Carolyn- Thank you for sharing your pain with me, I hope one day I will be able to share a positive change in my sister and our relationship. I just keep praying my sister will be healed on GOD’s time and not hers. Thank you for your kindness and your love and most of all your prayers, this is truly all I have have left to offer. And Thank you for the awesome scriptures with me. God is so Good!

  46. Two points in Melanie’s blog really spoke to me:

    “We don’t have it all under control, and I can’t help but think that when we act like we do, we basically tell God that we don’t need him.”


    “We aren’t in control… We are held by the hands that control our very heartbeat.”

    The first quote is very sad and the second one is mind-blowing when you stop and think about it.

    My new chapter in my spiritual journey is about “letting go and letting God.” We talk about this all the time. I even thought I was doing it before but apparently I have a lot to learn. I went through an experience on Sunday that literally felt like I was “free falling” regarding letting go and trusting God. I am wondering if anyone has experience with how to un-break the habit of “control.” Any and all suggestions are welcome :-).

    • Oh Girl! I know of a book being written right now about this very topic! Do you follow Karen Ehman on her blog or social media places? Sounds like you will LOVE her new book. I can relate to you!!

      • Thanks for letting me know about this resource and the upcoming book! Karen’s name sounds familiar but not quite sure whom she is. Can’t wait to google her and find out more! I will pray for both of us today to rest in God and LET GO!!!

    • I was just sharing my struggle of control with my husband tonight. Thank you for your thoughts! I wish I knew the answer, too, but I know the Lord is using this study to reveal the healing I need to trust more & plan less! Because He is going to love me no matter what I may accomplish in a day 🙂

  47. Kyrie Eléison says:

    Kandise, Lori Dean, and Melanie,

    Thank you so much for reading, and responding, with great wisdom to my post. Kandise, you are so right in that I haven’t allowed the Holy Spirit to tell me who is safe to trust. I haven’t prayed enough about things in my life, I’m just now, through this study learning that. Lori Dean, it’s good to know someone else has had a similar experience, and now has some good female friends. I also like your advice about being a better listener. I confess I am nervous when the room grows quiet. That comes from the awful silence of my parents not speaking, after my mom found out about my father’s cheating on her, when I was a child (they later divorced), and the tension that brought. I started being the “funny girl” during those silent moments, and then I found that people liked the funny girl so much they didn’t really want to know me, they liked the comedy. When I was quiet they were disappointed, and asked, “Why are you so quiet?”. I have seen recently how this defense mechanism has kept people away, or brought the wrong ones near. Also, as I said in a prior post I have been looking for a friend to “fill me up” as Lysa said in the forward of Renee’s book. It really isn’t fair of me to expect that of someone, and it puts a lot of pressure on people. I really don’t mean to do this, but I hadn’t felt I was loveable by Jesus. I felt I wasn’t doing things right as a Christian, and that when I was doing it well (aka a perfect Christian, which there is no such thing of course) I would be rewarded with Jesus’ love. Just like Renee said about how she felt about Jesus in Ch. 2, due to her relationship with her father. I am only now through the book, so much wisdom on this board, and through my pastors wonderful teachings, finding out, He loves me already, He always has! Our pastor talked about relationships with other Christians and how much God loves us. So it’s all finally sinking in! I’m also constantly trying to be aware of those negative thoughts. Thoughts about not being worthy of his love, and when they come up read God’s promises that I printed out last week. Its really changing my life. I wouldn’t say I am confident in friendships yet, and I still have trust issues, but I am working on me for now. I want to be filled up by God daily, and just allow myself to be changed by his word, his promises. I know once that happens it will be easier for me to open up to others, but with reserve of course, seeking wisdom through the Holy Spirit. Melanie, you are very sweet, thanks for your input as well. I have so much to thank each of you for! God spoke through you to my heart, thank you!

  48. Claudia says:

    As I was answering question #4 this morning, I realized what a closed, reserved person I am, or have become as a result of my upbringing. In my family, it was considered weakness to voice your hurts, pain, etc. We were always taught to keep personal things to ourselves. I read this question and realized, I’m not even comfortable sharing my inmost thoughts with God, much less with other people, for fear they would realize that I’m really not fine. I think I come across as having it all together on the outside, at least at this point in my life. I’m still haunted by many mistakes I’ve made in the past, even though I know I’ve been forgiven by God. I also realized during this time of reflection, that most of my healing has come from being open about my past, especially in a confidential setting. Once I’ve opened up and have been able to talk about the past, I’ve come away with more freedom and confidence in Christ..

  49. Jody Mooney says:

    This is so true. I feel that people don’t really want to know if you are not fine, they don’t really want to know how you are!! People like the mask, they like the facade of everything is fine and when you do amdit you are not fine there is something wrong with you. Thanks for this lesson, and helping me to realize that there is nothing wrong with me that people are “fine” everyday who are not.

  50. Jenny Mabe says:

    Enjoyed this message. I have also been struggling in this area of my life. I have at times hid behind the mask of I am fine when in reality I wasn’t. This was definitely an on time word for me. I have been faced with a difficult situation of having a pastor step down from a church to take a leave of sabbatical from the church. I know that God is total control but it still doesn’t make it any easier. Please keep me as well as the church in prayer as we go through the hunt of looking for another pastor and that we will vote the right person in for the position. I don’t want to hide behind the mask of I am fine when in reality I am not fine. I am the type of person who doesn’t like to ask for help or that I need to talk to someone and say please pray for me. This study is an eye opener and I want to have more confidence in my life. Please pray for me through as I go through this struggle. Pray that I can find God’s will for my life. Right now I am currently back in college trying to pursue a career as an RN but my I had to appeal my financial aid for the fall 2012 and spring 2013 semesters because they denied me based on some rule that is in place that if you exceed over 150 credit hours you can’t get financial aid and its based on the fact that I had graduated from the same college a few years ago but only 4 classes from the previous degree transferred in to my new degree program, please pray that if its God’s will for me to go this route that my financial aid will be approved. God shall supply all my needs according to his riches and glory. Right now I am working part-time and really need a full time job but having a hard time finding full time work. Please keep me in prayer. I am excited to be apart of this study and can’t wait to see what God is going to do in my life by going through this study.

    • Father God, please bless Jenny with the financial aid that she needs as she pursues You calling for her to become an RN. Bless her also with full time employment as she awaits the blessings of financial aid. I ask all these things in the name of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  51. Wow, what a powerful chapter and what a powerful post from Melanie. This study is such a God-ordained appointment for me. I am the poster child for the “I’m fine” exterior. Oldest child, overachiever, perfectionist, and people-pleaser. I have fallen victim to the trap of trying to be someone I am not to impress bosses, co-workers and others, only to be rejected over and over again for not having “the look,” the right status, the right background, etc. I worked hard to meet what I was told was certain standards, only to have the standards change without notice and then be told that I didn’t measure up. God used the experience to bring me to a career that at first seemed to be more directly related to serving Him, and while the work itself is important kingdom work the work environment is pharasaical and judgmental. Again I’m finding that I am rejected for not looking like I should, not behaving in a certain way and for not marching to the boss’ tune without question or comment. This has been most hurtful because it is in a supposedly Christian environment in which the leaders are very publicly “out there” espousing their work for the Lord while treating those of us who work for them as children who are punished when they misbehave and are given onerous rules and regulations to live by. I am a professional with nearly as much experience as the boss but am treated like a child who is only permitted to do what he says is permitted and only in the way that he says is permitted. Any deviation from that is punsihed by firing or threat of firing. Right now i am in limbo, having been told that my inability to work well with others (Actually, my sin of questioning a decision), means that I should be “separated” from the company, yet continuing to work from home and get a salary because their is no one else at the company who can do the work I do as well and has efficiently and for the below-market salary I make. I have been told that they want to retain me as a contractor, but nothing has been presented so far. I have made a proposal which is sitting in an email in box. I am grateful to be able to work from home and actually see my kids and husband, and am delighted to be doing work that serves God’s kingdom, but I am pained by the interpersonal problems that I believe are hampering doing even greater things for the Lord. Renee’s and Melanie’s messages, and some other devotionals I have been reading have reiterated the idea of dying to people pleasing and its bondage and replacing it with pleasing God as my Provider and Source. The interpersonal struggles at my workplaces have created doubts that have prevented me from moving forward, and this study is helping me see that and helping me realize that the facade of perfection that I have lived under most of my life and which the present work situation has demanded (anything remotely negative is punished) is not God’s best for me. I would like to strike out on my own with a law practice that really is devoted to God’s service and especially to helping women from a Christian perspective instead of the prevalent secular perspective, but being the main breadwinner for the family only feeds my doubts. I am actively seeking God’s leading in this manner and pray that I have the courage to answer Him when He calls.

    Sorry to drone on, but as I mentioned, this study is really a God appointment for me.

  52. Growing up in church, in a ministry family, we got REALLY good at the “fine” answer. Too good. Even when my father was being emotionally and psychologically abusive, even when we’d spent our live walking on eggshells and blaming ourselves (erroneously) for his outbursts, we were fine. It took me years to be able to open up to others about how I was REALLY feeling, and I’m still struggling with getting my mother to do the same. I’ve spent my life feeling like I was “less than” because of my family’s circumstances, but God is showing me that He is more than enough and I can have victory through Him!

  53. Barbara Milburn aka Sunshine says:

    Oh my goodness; this chapter was so hard for me to read. My eyes teared up with every sentence and as I began to read the story of The Samaritan Woman (Sam) the tears dripped down onto the pages. I have read and heard this story so many times before but this time I was seeing myself so clear and so vividly the tears just started to fall. I am twice divorced and am now in a relationship with a man who won’t commit to marriage although he is committed to me and our relationship. Our relationship is not sexual and we don’t live together because we both love the Lord and want to do what is right but after three years of dating and being a part of each other’s lives and being a part of each other’s families I want so much more but he can not see pass his own dreams and desires. In a way I understand; because of his first failed marriage he now lives with his parents and He has a 17 yr daughter that he shares custody with his ex. His dream: to get her through high school and into college and to secure a home of his own. They are first in his mind and marriage is secondary. Yet I believe God has placed us together for a reason and I also believe God has pre-ordained him to be my husband but in God’s time, not mine. Still, understanding doesn’t help when I come home and put the key in the door at the end of each day finding my house empty, no one to tell about my day, no one to spend time with; He works such long crazy hours; driving more that 150 mile round trip daily that it’s rare that we see each other during the week unless it’s a church. Last night I had a meeting with Pastor and he was there for rehearsal as he is part our music ministry so we saw each other briefly; long enough to get a quick hug and ask if the other was ok. I eat most of my meals alone and go to bed and get up alone. Although my two former marriages failed I love being married much more than I love being single. Not only do I not like being single, I’m also find out how hard it is to take care of a home all by yourself… yard work, things that break in the night. Unfortunately for me twice I married the wrong person and it seems now that I have met the right person he is not that interested in marriage. Some times I get discouraged and want to end the relationship and be free to date some one whose priority is marriage but I love this man so much and the though of him not being a part of my life is more than I even bare to think about. I have never been in a relationship with a man who stilled even wanted me if sex was not part of the equation. Our lives are so intertwined and we are so good for one another that it almost seems like a cruel joke that marriage is not part of the plan. But I remember the promises of God and I know HE promised me the desires of my heart; HE promised me if I trusted and believed that I would received; HE promise me no good thing (man) would be withheld from me and HE promised me that I would reap my harvest if I don’t grow weary of well doing and if I faint not. I know that God’s word will not return to Him void and that His word will prosper where he has sent it. And so I will trust God and wait on him.

    • Barbara in reading chapter 2 it occurred to me that this part might help you. Page 38 – He cares about every detail of your life. God wants us to come up close and experience Him and all that He has for us. Also, how He invites us to slow down and talk to Him about our day and the desires of our heart and ask Him if what we want is really what we need.
      What an awesome God and I thank Him for using Renee to write so eloquently about all that we have when we share our life with Him.

  54. Pam Anderson says:

    As I was reading John 4 today, a couple things stood out to me. Things that have never hit me before.

    1) Jesus made the effort to meet the Samaritan woman right where she was, right in the middle of her bad decisions and messy life. He wanted to be alone with her, so He could speak truth into her life. He knew at the well would be the place He could speak to her soul.

    2) The part about worshipping in Spirit. That has never stood out to me before and it soothed my spirit today. Three years ago, I went on a mission trip with a Jr. High youth group. It was suppose to be a time of encouraging them in their relationships with God. But it changed my life forever! The message that week was all about having an authenic relationship with God. This was the beginning of my journey. This journey led me to leave a church that was not authentic. It led me to God and a deeper relationship than I have ever had with Him. It has been a painful journey, but one I would never trade for anything. Now I am in a church that finally feels right! I am growing my relationship with God and my family is slowly changing. But the most important thing I have learned is, when everything is stripped away in your life, is God enough? Is the relationship you have with God enough? Because when I stand before God, it won’t matter what church I worshipped in, it won’t matter who my pastor was, it won’t matter what ministry I served in, the only that will matter will be my relationship with God.

    • Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

      Pam your absolutely right! Amen to that!

    • Carolyn says:

      Oh My Gosh, Pam! Your post just spoke so clearly to me! God is currently “stripping away” all that I have! Without understand why He is asking me to do these things, I’ve stepped out of ministry, out of counseling, out of bible study (except this one of course) and on and on… Then I saw a book cover: When we are Down to Nothing, God is Up to Something. (isn’t it funny how He chooses to speak to us sometimes!) Now I am led to your post and He reveals a little more to me. How exciting that the Creator of the Universe cares about me enough to lead me moment by moment on the journey He has planned to work for my good!!! Thank you for being part of it!

  55. I was known and loved by God this morning~~so I thought I would share~~~~~A friend and I have been making jam in October for Christmas gifts for the last 26 yrs. Today was our brunch for our last bible study group and as I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to do my back exercises on the floor in my bedroom, when I was done my head turned over to under my bench where I had the last of the jam which I was saving for the last class which I had totally forgotten about and I said Thank you Lord, I forgot about that and since I didn’t know how many ladies would show up I kept them in the car till everyone was in to see how many came. And here is the best part, God knew there would be 16 ladies and He gave me exactly 16 jars of jam to share with the ladies today~~~~~~~my heart was jumping, only God who knows me, would know that from last December when all the jam was given out and then some that I would need 16 jars for today to share with the ladies in class! I get so excited when God who knows our comings and goings does things like these and I am quiet enough to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to see what He is doing in my life.

    To be known is to be loved
    And to be loved is to be known

    I feel known and loved by God, He knew what I needed today and that was HIs love for me today to remind me of the jam for class and to have just the number of jars I needed~~~what a gracious God we have.

    • Carolyn says:

      Praise God, Susan! This is so exciting – thank you for sharing this tender moment with the Father. These kinds of things always make me laugh. He cares about the tiniest things in our lives – how AWESOME is that???

  56. I’m not fine. I have been praying; been prayed for…..and I am still not okay. Fight back tears at work and home and just plain don’t know what to do. I. seek God everyday. Thank you for asking.

    • Dear Sweet Becky,
      We all have been there and please be comforted. We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. Romans 8:28 Keep clinging to Him for He cares for you! I do too and I am praying for you to be blessed today in a very special way and that you will know, without a doubt, who is blessing YOU because HE LOVES YOU!! Amen

      It’s okay to ask Him to Bless Us whenever we need.

    • Bless you Becky…God’s not finished with you yet. Keep praying. Lord, please be the lifter of Becky’s head. Today Lord help her to hear your still small voice. Allow her to experience Your love and to be comforted by the fact that you know the numbers of hairs on her head. You know, you love, you hear the cries of Becky’s heart. You never leave or forsake her. Let this be her confidence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

    • Becky, I’m glad you are being honest and can say you are not fine, that is half the battle. Don’t hold back the tears but when you cry or feel like crying, ask yourself why am I doing this to see why you are crying and sometimes God will show you things you may not have seen before. Sometimes as we grow older, we start to let go of things and we dont’ realize it and it grieves us so to do this. I will pray that the Holy Spirit the helper Jesus sent to us here on earth will help you and carry you through this time and show you what to do~~~~~keep seeking HIs face, stay in the light~~~~~Sue

      • Shannon says:

        Becky, I totally understand how you are feeling but maybe these verses wll help you. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

        Ask, Seek, Knock

        7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
        Matthew 7:7

        These are the scriptures that helped me so much. I will pray that you will find employment.

        • Donna from Honolulu, Hawaii says:

          Shannon Thank you for sharing these scriptures. I sent these scriptures to my sister-in-law. They are about to move to another home because the rent is cheaper it won’t be ready until 5/30. Her current landlord said he cannot extend their lease and needs to be out by 5/8. This leaves her and her husband and 3 children and 2 dogs in a desperate need of a place to stay for 3 weeks. I’m torn to help. We live in a small place and don’t know how to fit them comfortable- and to be honest how it will affect my comfort zone?Can I get my prayer sisters to pray for them & me to help with this situation?
          Thank you & God Bless you all.

  57. I just want to say that I love this book. I really connect with the acronym Feeling Inadequate Needing Encouragement. I have problems with feeling inadequate and this book has helped me so much. Sometimes I feel that I am the only person that feel insecure and inadequate and it helps so much to know that I am not alone. One part of chapter 2 really hit home with me “A personal relationship with God sets us free to be all we were created to be. As children of God we were designed to find our identity, our significance and our confidence in Him.” I attended a spiritual retreat about a month ago and God told me that He could not use me until I took off my mask and let myself become what He wanted me to be, what He created me to be. I try to be what others want me to be and I have realized that I need to be what God wants me to be and not worry about what others think. I hold onto the verse from Phil 1:6 “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in [me[ will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

  58. I know I’m guilty of saying “I’m fine”, while thinking – “I’m not fine, but honestly it’s none of your business.” I don’t really want to share all my troubles…I don’t want everyone knowing my marriage troubles or my personal struggles. Not because I want to appear to have it together, but because I don’t want my dirty laundry all over town, through the whole family, or the entire church! I’m sure by always saying fine I’m bottling it all up and just making it worse though.

    • Anna – I know exactly what you mean! I have a christian friend that asked how I was doing (I have had some health problems for a while) when I began to tell her she actually began to yawn. I don’t know whether it was intentional or not but, I think I like Renee’s book suggestion to say “without giving you all the details will you pray for me.” !! ( I have a good chuckle about it now!) 😉

      • Katy – thank you so much for the reminder! That’s right! She did say that in the book!! I do need to remember I can say “I’m not ok and the details aren’t important, but please pray for me”! Thank you so much for reminding me! : )

  59. Several years back when I lived in a different city I would visit the grocery store and there was a gentleman behind the fish counter that would ask “How are you today?” I would answer “Fine, How are you?”
    And you know what his answer was?
    Well the first week, he answered “Fantastic”. Which was a nice surprise.
    The second week he answered “Terrrrrific”!
    The third week he replied “Super!”
    Now, I dont’ know if he was fantastic, terrific or super but his response really made my response of just “Fine”, pale in comparision.
    And this guys response really stuck with me for years in fact, since I’m sharing it now.
    But his response made me want what he had.
    And I think what he had was Jesus in his heart!

    • I love it! A friend of ours always answers with “outstanding” and it makes me smile every time!

      • That is cool, years ago I went to a conference given by Kieth Harrell, and he taught us to always respond with “FANTASTIC.” And that if we found a difficult situation to say, EXCUSE ME, then, STOMP OUT (almost like marching) to let out our frustration and that this will release the emotion so that we can go on. This was awesome, not only does it lift my spirits, it helps me stay focused on my blessing, no matter what comes my way. At the same time, I can not even begin to wonder what some are thinking, but to me that does not matter, what matters is what the Lord thinks. God Bless

  60. Colora says:

    This entire second chapter has positively impacted my life more than I could have ever foreseen. I have been pursuing a dream for several years, now, and it seems that with each advancement I make many of those closest to me become a little more indifferent towards me. Some even ramp up their nasty, and cutting remarks to me. This has left me hurt, confused, doubtful about whether I should continue the pursuit of my dream, and at times less than confident in that pursuit. At times I’ve felt all alone, and without any support system. After reading chapter 2 I realize that God is with me, and I am not alone. I realize that God is the one I can turn to when fears, doubts, and hurts assail me. I also realize that He has placed people in my life who are supportive of me and that I need to nurture those relationships more. In short, I’ve had an epiphany as a result of reading chapter 2. Thank you, Renee Swope for answering God’s call to write this book, and launch this ministry!

  61. Angela says:

    If you have not done the spiritual assessment, I suggest you take the time to do it! I am quite suprised with how I came out. I am enjoying this study soooo much, glad to be a part of it! I saw Renee speak last weekend and she was amazing! Keep up the good work and ladies, keep up the encouragement!

    • Shannon says:

      Angela- Thanks for the advice of the spiritual assessment. I was very suprise how I cam out. It was very enlightening especially looking where Gods will is for me right now. Thank you so much.

      • Did I miss something? Was there a spiritual assessment someplace? I would love to take this!! Can you all direct me to where it is, please? Thank you so much! : )

        • Shannon says:


          I looked it up on Renee’s website if you have an e-mail I can pass it along. I felt called to do it at this time in my life.

          • Shannon – thanks so much! I think I found it – under free resources! lol – silly me!! I should have thought to check there! I can’t wait to do it!

  62. I have taken to I’m not fine now, but I will be. I know that whatever I am going through is temporary, it came to pass–not to stay but to pass (with a hat tip to Mark Lowry for that). Some temporaries are longer than others (like how my husband has been un and underemployed since October 2009 despite earnest prayers) and some temporaries hurt more than others which is when the tears come and I cry out more to God. Some temporaries are emotional and usually clear eventually and some temporaries are physical and will be with me until I get to heaven (and thus are temporary since once I am there, they will be gone).

    Hugs to everyone of the Pretty Princesses who are a part of this study. May God fill your days with confident hearts and grace that overflows onto those with whom you come in contact.

  63. Renee Thanks for this study! I a lot of times say I’m fine when I’m not, only because, I’m sure people do n’t want to know, and, I’ve been accused by loved ones like my own mother, that I am too oversensitive, after, hearing about this chapter, and reading all the comments, and realizing how everyone encouarages everyone so much, and everyone gives everyone such good ideas, It makes me feel so much better. i’m feeling more honest and more confident, and it’s so good to know there are a lot of women out there who feel like I do. Also, as I’m reading the comments, I also sense God speak to my heart too what a great study! Thank you Renee for all that you do! Thank you!

  64. After reading Chapter 2…my self evaluation is this: I find it hard to be “real” with God because my “real” doesn’t look very much like Christ. Consequently, I see myself as a disappointment to God and too imperfect to be in His presence, too imperfect for Him to be interested in me or to hear my cries. I only “feel” worthy to be heard when I am “thanksgiving” or “praising”. So, now, knowing that Jesus desires to give me “a safe place” to be transparent, and knowing that God’s desire is to know and be known………………that opens up a whole new dimension! 🙂

    • Wow, I love seeing how God is showing you HIS heart as He really is. Jesus is the exact representation of God’s heart towards you LaDena – you are accepted, loved, pursued, forgiven and you belong – just like He said and showed to Sam. Praying for you as you soak in these new life-giving truths!!

    • Your response hit the nail on the head for me. I’m always afraid that I’m not focusing on praising and being thankful enough. It’s nice to know that Jesus met Sam at the well – right where she was. I’m a perfectionist at everything and it has paralyzed me. Knowing that God will meet me in that paralysis is comforting.

  65. I am learning that as I continue to walk in the understanding of my Father’s amazing love for me, it really can and does have the power to change me… This chapter has helped me GREATLY in a recent situation involving my family of origin. Those relationships are SO not what I wish they were…there is SO much rejection and hurt and judgement that has been woven into those relationships over a long period of time..and even now as an adult, with a Godly husband and 3 children who are walking with Jesus, I again find myself tossed around by emotions that would threaten to “steal my peace.” BUT, I see that when I feel hurt, pain, rejection etc–those are the exact moments to “go deep” with Jesus. Let HIM show me WHY I’m hurting…and I believe that WHATEVER need that I expected/wanted a relationship to meet–my Jesus can meet better…I only have to turn to HIM and ask him/allow Him to do so…when I do that–allow Jesus to meet the need that I expected another to meet–then I am free to love and give of myself and not get hurt…not feel rejected…not go with needs unmet…I can love without expectations of something in return…and THIS is how I need to love my family…without expectations…JESUS will meet my needs with his amazing love and grace…Thank you Jesus, for how YOU LOVE ME!

  66. I’m FINE. I’m FINE. how i say that word when I know, I’m really not FINE. My therapist in college shared the FINE acroynm with me one session. I was lost for words. How could a four letter word be so powerful yet reflect how within I was being bombarded with pain, hurt, anger and frustration. I thank God for Renee and her surrounding community of believers who share their stories on this website that touch so many women’s lives. Today I’m blessed to say, its time to take off the mask and get real. I love you so much GOD. I hope all of you have a blessed day.

  67. Melody says:

    This definetely relates to the women in my life. It’s like we think we have to hide behind that I’m fine mask because we will show some kind of weakness if we show how we are really doing. My thing is since I was a kid there has always been one thing after another, literally , so I feel like when someone asks how I am I just say “I’m fine” because I’m sure people get tired of hearing I’m not fine and now this is what’s happening. I don’t want to be a complainer. I want to learn to praise God in the tough times so I don’t want people to think I’m just dramatic or a worrier.

    • Julie S from Colorado says:

      Oh boy you hit home for me! I can so relate to where you are coming from because that’s how I feel. For the past 7 years our life (my families as well) has been one thing after another and so much so that I began to think that I was deserving all that was happening and began moving away from God. I kept going to church, going through the motions when I was there but I wasn’t reading the Word, doing devotions, spending time with God, etc. I kept thinking he didn’t love me enough to help us…..

      Things started to turn around for me in August of 2011 when everything came to a head at a Church Leadership Meeting, no less. I was given the opportunity express how I felt about something and eveything came out….I have since gone back to the basics ( that’s what I like to call it) plus that’s what felt the Lord telling me to do. I went back to being devoted to getting up early in the morning and praying, reading, I started journaling some, and asked God to heal me…..by the mercy and grace of God I’ve come along ways since that day in August but I still have a long way to go. That’s why when I saw the opportunity to do this online Bible Study I couldn’t pass it up.

      I will be praying for you! 🙂

  68. “God’s love is perfect, so I don’t have to be.” I am really trying to get this into my head and heart.

    This chapter spoke volumes to me. As noted on page 42, you felt God’s approval when good things were happening in your life, and if life was hard and you were lonely, you wondered what you had done wrong, and felt as if God was turning His back on you.

    Why do we think that way?

    While I am not a perfectionist, I find myself battling a harsh and skewed divine retribution theology held by others, and judged accordingly when “bad” things happen, or when life is hard. Such a insidious mindset to fight. For example, when an extremely, extremely old, near archaic car broke down, I was questioned if I was tithing. I do tithe, and above 10%. Needless to say, I was deeply grieved and wounded by the intimation that this “bad” happened to me because of my possible sin (lack of perfection).

    Disciplined, not accepted, not approved of, not good enough unless I am perfect. Impossible.

    • Sometimes, R, I feel the same way, I am also trying to get this into my head that I don’t need to be perfect, all my ducks don’t need to be in a row. Sometimes I have it in my head but I need to get it into my heart, the heart God is looking at.

  69. I am not fine. I will be the first to admit it. I signed up to do this study and then hesitated getting started. Now that I have, I wish I’d gotten a paper copy of your book Renee instead of downloading it on my Kindle because it would be highlighted ALL over! I’m going through a very dark time right now, and trying to maintain the smile on my face so no one is the wiser, but it’s exhausting. My whole life I’ve put up a wall and now, with the help of an awesome Godly counselor, I’m trying to tear it down. I don’t trust people and though I’ve been a ‘Christian’ my whole life, I don’t think I’ve allowed myself to fully trust Him either. This study is so timely for me. Thank you Renee for letting God use you, this is one heart that will not be the same after doing this study.

  70. I’m studying the book of Hebrew, and this verse (Heb. 10:14) stood out for me and has helped me to accept and not judge myself. “He has made perfect those who are being made holy”. Jesus has already made us perfect for when we will be in heaven, while helping us now to become holy. This is a process and it means God knows we are still “unholy” (so why am I shocked when I struggle with sin or unpleasant attitudes?). It gives me hope that God is at work in my situation to make me holy. It is okay if I’m not perfect, He knows it and is at work in me.

  71. Rhonda says:

    This is where I want to be: “depending on His Word with my whole heart, mind, and soul.” I want to know Him better each day. I know I have nothing to offer Jesus and that all my works fail in comparison to his righteousness. But I also know that all He wants from me…is me.

    I also love the realization/reminder that Jesus wants to help me see what is going on in my heart, because often I can’t even pinpoint what exactly I’m struggling with. It’s at those times that I am overwhelmed by what should be counted as my blessings, and this is also when I realize that even though I may not feel fine…I will be when I give myself to Him. Whenever I take time to read His Word and pray, my feelings realign to His Truth. Sisters, there’s no sweeter peace than what we have in Jesus!

    God bless you all this weekend! We are taking our 11 year old to Agape, a Christian music festival, for his very first time. It should be great!

  72. Deanna Myers says:

    In the last 4 years I have Lost My husband and the Love of my life to Divorce, My father died shortly there after of cancer, my daughter has decided she is atheist and my son is in prison. I still say I’m fine when what i want to do is SCREAM HOW DO YOU THINK I AM????? But I remember that I am the child of a KING and he has gotten me this far and He will carry me through till the day of Christ. Did I loose my confidence in all this and do I doubt YOU BET I DO. But with these first 2 chapters I’m hearing and learning that it’s okay to say Not really I’m hurting but I say it to the one who already knows and is and has been healing those hurts and the pain and loneliness I feel, GOD my heavenly Father has given me friends that no longer ask but say I know things will get better and I’m here if you need me and I’m praying for you. I praise GOd for all that He has done and will do through these circumstances. Because of this I know that when I am on the moutain top I am so thankful but I am just as thankful for the valleys because without them I would never appreciate the mountian top. He is and has given me the confidence to carry on until the day of our Saviours coming. Thank you Renee for this study once again to contiue to help me grow in my confidence and to stop the doubting I trust God with it all. I’m praying for all my sisters in Christ and this study Praise be to Our Almighty heavenly Father

  73. Nancy Welch says:

    “We aren’t fine… We are forgiven.
    We aren’t in control… We are held by the hands that control our very heartbeat.
    We aren’t invincible… We are made to look to the only One who can heal the broken.”
    Love this! Thank you so much for sharing!

  74. All my life i have been “fine” or “okay”. Growing up, I learned that big girls don’t cry and that me being “fine” was important to the emotional well-being of my family. I somehow believed that their life actually depended on me being “fine”. Now that i’m an adult, I’m still always “fine”. When I respond to emails, I find myself deleting and retyping the response to the question ‘how are you?” to make sure that I don’t come across as negative. I feel guilty for saying I’m hanging in there, when to be truly honest, I really am barely hanging on to my sanity. In the times I have not been “fine” I get mixed responses, some are so shocked they don’t know how to respond to my thoughts, others brand me as being negative, and some Christian friends make it seem as if it’s wrong for voicing my true feelings, instead of claiming, declaring, and preaching the word. I hide my feelings so often, that there are times when I can’t even identify my feelings, I’m just left feeling confused. I’m currently working on writing in my journal more because writing forces me to process my feelings, and that way both God and I know the truth.

    • SNP I share some of your feelings about being fine. I am sorry that others make you feel confused and wrong for sharing. Journaling I think would be a great release for you to be able to get those feelings out and on paper. I think God loves it when we share with Him our innermost feelings because he longs to be close to us. He is the great healer. Prayers for you and your journaling process!

    • Loving Father, I ask that You bless SNP. Pour Your peace which surpasses all human understanding into her heart so deep that nothing and no one can remove it from her. Help her to accept those things and people she cannot change and to remember as those people are saying things to her that are not helpful that You are there and You will always provide for her what she needs and therefore she need not concern herself with what others say. May her involvement here bring to her the wisdom to learn how to ignore what needs to be ignored, listen to what needs to be heard, and accept Your steadfast love always. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

  75. Thank you for all of this! I want to understand why I have always been insecure. I still don’t understand…but I love the scripture and hope I can start feeling worthy. I wish people liked me and wanted to spend time with me

  76. AnnMarie says:

    Am I FINE? No I am not. Feelings Inside Not Expressed so defines me. For years I have lived like this and I so can identify with parts of Sam’s story that is rejection and not feeling worthy. There are some beautiful truths that you revealed Renee. Truths that I do not have to be perfect because God is, God wants to meet me right where I am, He choose to give me His love because I am worth it etc. I need to let these truths move from my head to my heart so that I can revel in His love and grace. My soul wants to end its journey of tripping and start living uncaged and free. I so want to be free of insecurity.

    Thank you God for choosing Renee to speak for you to the people. Thanks Renee for honoring God’s call on your life to speak to the people by writing the book and hosting the study. Thank you for making the book free so that I could get a copy. I am reading it you and the other sisters on Kindle for PC app, Please offer up prayers for me, I need it.

  77. Elizabeth says:

    I’m not fine! Been with my company since ’96 and I’m feeling lost amidst some major transitions going on this year. I recognize this week how much I yearn to belong. I’m not fine!

  78. This chapter hits home for me, It is common for me to say find, But I am learning to say hanging in there, or that I have had better days but that it could be worst, so I am thankful for the lessons given to me for in which I learn more about Gods love for me. This in turn does open a door for someone to ask and gives me the opportunity for me to open up if I fell confident in there love, support and that it will NOT be shared with everyone! Gossip is a rumor and when it leaves ones mouth, you never know what will said from that time on. So it is HARD for me to honestly open up due to the hurts in my life. I choose to talk with God personally and to journal. I continue to strive daily to not say “fine.” for I have learned this is a false statement, but I also have ask for an ear that hears fine, will try to ask if you need a listening ear, I am here. I love learning that God is there for me everywhere, that he loves me for who I am, that He does not judge me or keep track of my flaws and that all I need to do is seek Him for comfort, guidance, love and for forgiveness. God Bless to all my sister in Christ…

  79. Carolyn says:

    I am curious to know if anyone else’s first memories of God are of a judgemental, angry God, waitig for us to fail and keeping records of those failures. If so, have you fully overcome (and how) or what are you doing to overcome?

    • Carolyn,
      This is a common perception of God because throughout the old testament God judges and punnishes sin. In the new testament we are told that our sin deserves God’s wrath. Romans 1:18 says “the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men.” And of course the Israelites were punnished for their sins,so that is the example set before us. BUT, follow this by Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have PEACE with GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” One of my favorite hymns is We Stand in Grace. I know I deserve God’s wrath but with Christ I stand in Grace. God doesn’t desire to punnish us, He desires that we know him and through knowing him, accept his gift of grace. “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” 1Corinthians 13:5. There are many more verses for Love in the bible then there are for wrath, perhaps a study of those verses would help you.

    • Hi Carolyn,
      Your list of memories of God is one I grew up with and also had the extra one added that when something bad happens to us, it is God punishing us because we’ve sinned. To this day my mother still tells me this [I’m 53] and it hurts. My husband divorced me because he found someone else [after 29 yrs and four lovely adult children]. This I have given to God to deal with but I still get those feelings of being worthless and my mother’s words come back to me. I have to ‘take every thought captive’ to get past those feelings. I have found a great church where God’s love, grace and mercy are proclaimed. I am overcoming these memories by reading the Bible and finding out what it really says not what my mom and others tell me. Being involved in this study group also supports the promises of God, that He forgives us, loves us and wants a relationship with us. I am also struggling with ‘being fine’ in everyone’s eyes. Many do not know that I’m divorced because I feel such shame about it, talk about wearing a mask. I am working on this daily with God.
      So, Carolyn, after my rant, all I can say is it is an ongoing job of reprograming your thoughts, replacing the faulty memories with the true ones, and trusting God with all that your are and all that you will be in the plans He has for you. God is loving, caring, forgiving, and healing, He is also going to judge the world but we have His saving grace through our Saviour Jesus, trust Him.

    • Carolyn says:

      Thanks to you each for your encouragement and thoughts. My background is similar to yours, Susan. I often feel like I’ve conquered the wrong thinking, “taking every thought captive”, and then, BOOM – they’re back when I least expect them. I guess Satan has had alot more years at perfecting his lies and deceits than I have at hearing the Truth through the Word. Lynn: Thanks for Romans 5:1 – I’ll meditate on that. I appreciate the reminder, Gloria, to seek what the bible says so I can replace the “faulty” thoughts with truth. I’m so excited to be part of this and hear everyone’s thoughts. Thanks again, sisters!!! <3

  80. Heather V says:

    This chapter has brought so many thoughts and feelings to the surface. With everything in me I want to bury the thoughts and not deal with them. My life is busy- crazy busy and would rather not think or deal with some of the painful memories and thoughts that have surfaced. And yet I know that God wants me to deal!! Deal with emotions, painful memories, lies believed, and cover them with God’s truth!

  81. I grew up with a Catholic background, Catholic school in the 60’s and HIgh School too, so my early perception of God has that background. I have grown a lot since then and God has put different people in my life to open my eyes to different things. I now see Christ and God and the Holy Spirit differently now than when I was younger and I thank God for sending people into my life to do that. It is hard to change what you have learned when you were younger so it takes time and endurance and hard work learning the word of God and truly knowing what He has said and finding His plum line to live by.

  82. Leslie S says:

    Man,, I had a horrible week, truly heart wrenching horrible, and this spoke volumes to me, screamed volumes to me. GOD is so very present in this study , so present. I have created a beautiful stunning marvelous “I’M FINE” mask, I worked on it for over 20 year, maintaining it, and adding trinkets in my mind to it. Please friends pray for me, for courage to admit that I am not fine, I am so exhausted from trying to maintain this persona of fineness. I cry out to GOD, I want GOD to be my all in all, I want HIM to allow me to crumble, to fail, to fall, and to remove this mask. I need your prayers, I need HIS presence, I need the Spirit to fill me with courage. Blessing to you all sweet sisters!

    • Leslie:
      God is indeed present for me also. May I pray for you?

      Holy and Gracious God, please be with Leslie. Let her know that you hear her cries. Fill her with confidence to remove her “I’m Fine Mask” to just the right person. Let her be aware of your close presence, and to feel your love. Amen.

    • Susan M. says:

      Leslie S, I hear you, sorry you had a horrible week, I pray next week is better for you. I like your picture of adding to the mask of being fine, I think over my years I have done that and not known I was doing it. We get into remote mode and just go day to day not realizing we are trying to do it all on our own till we fall and need the help of God to get us back on the right track again, HIs track. Take your exhaustion to God and drop it at His feet, the feet of the cross and He will help you remove your mask and move on out of your exhaustion~~~~~~~Love Sue

    • Loving, heavenly Father, I ask Your blessings upon Leslie. Please lead her beside the still waters and restore her soul. Give her the courage it takes to rid herself of the mask, to stop the habit of pretending that every thing is ‘fine’ when it is not, and to fill her with Your peace that surpasses all human understanding so that it is a balm for her woundedness. Pour Your grace and mercy into her until she is full to overflowing even as You do the same for all of us here. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

  83. Dallena Hess says:

    I’m grateful for this bible study. I love how this special community encourages and prays for one another.

    I was impressed by thought ‘We don’t have it all under control, and I can’t help but think that when we act like we do, we basically tell God that we don’t need him.”

    I signed up for this study because i feel insecure and not confident alot. I’m a talker and i tend to try to talk to become less anxous and more confident.

    I read this chapter and know that God is calling me to learn that he is more than enough and to depend on him to give me a sense of worth. I talked what I was feeling to a wise lady at church. It lined up with what God is drawing me to,

    Renee shared what is going on with her daughter. I can totally relate to that because I was diagnosed with a hearing loss at age 6 and my hearing loss is now severe to profound. I always and still do feel that I’m different. I spent alot of time as a child in doctor’s offices.

    An early memory from when I was around 4 or 5. I had fallen and my parents took me to the ER. my parents told me that the medical staff came out and told them “She kept saying I’m going to be okay and she was trying to ressure us”.

  84. Kyrie Eléison says:

    I saw this on Pinterest and just knew I had to post it. It is a “saying” all about “Fine” http://things-i-tell-myself.tumblr.com/post/14273140578, and so true so much of the time. Fine has become just a nice way of answering, “How are you doing?”. I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s an automatic response. I used to tell people, friends, how I really was, and after being betrayed so many times, now it’s always, with anyone, except family, “fine”. I didn’t think I had a problem when I first commented on this chapter, as I always used to tell people how I felt. However, “used to” is the problem. I didn’t want to admit that I had closed up, shut down, and built up walls. I didn’t want to admit that like Sam, I too went and got my water when I knew others wouldn’t be around, had shut myself off from others. I am always “fine” now. I am learning though through the advice on here I have gotten from many, the things I did wrong before in friendships, that I trusted others too much, too fast. I didn’t listen to The Holy Spirit, and pray about friendships before going deeper with my friendships. Oh so many things. Other things I couldn’t have controlled, but I can’t close myself off. God didn’t create me to be without friends, and if I pray about it, in His time will place them in my life. Through this book I am also learning that God’s promises are not only true, but each is a love letter to me! I am starting to feel the word of God in my heart, and not just hear it in my head. I am looking to Him now to “fill me up”, not friends. I still don’t trust easily, and it’s my first instinct not to, but I am praying about that, and learning so much here and in Renee’s book.

  85. Barbara Milburn aka Sunshine says:

    I am so very grateful for this bible study; I cried all the way through chapter 3 last nite and then I said the closing prayer and my Father rocked me to sleep. Such a wonderful release and sweet peace.

  86. Amanda says:

    This week I paid attention to the number of times I said Fine and it’s a lot.
    I have always put up a mask to hide my emotions or feelings to everyone in my family. I am the oldest and when my parents divorced I stopped with all emotion and decided I had to be strong for everyone else at the age of 12. I always hid my emotions and in doing so that has caused great anxiety and worry for me inside. And now as a mother of two I often feel that I must do that even more for fear that I will be seen as weak or not in control. But I truly believe that through this study the Lord will help me change those thoughts and feelings of being Fine all the time. I want to throw away the masks and learn to seek God through those fine times!!

  87. Annette says:

    FINE…Yeah, I think I say it most often because I so badly want to be fine, and if I compare myself to others who have more hurts and challenges than I do I convince myself that I really am fine. I avoid feeling pain, mostly because I don’t like it. Who does?

    But KNOWING God loves me for who I am, not for what I do is truly amazing. Renee says something about letting the grace we know in our head sink down into our heart. Thank God, that’s what He’s been doing with me lately. Having taken many of my “doing” away temporarily, He has shown me myself – not a beautiful sight to see, honestly, but THEN, then He has LOVED me and whispered in my ear how He has always known my pride and still loved me and used me in spite of it.

    AMAZING GRACE! Oh, Jesus, I love you too. For we love, ladies, only as much as we know we are loved and have been forgiven! I thank God for showing me the extent of my insecurities and pride, because through it all I have found more of His love.

  88. Hannah says:

    The other night in church, our pastor preached on God’s heart for women. He said something that really struck me. He said that being emotional is Godly. All throughout the gospel, Jesus shows emotion. He wept when Lazarus died and got angry in the market place. He didn’t say “I’m fine.” For a long time, I’ve believed the lie that showing emotion or crying or saying anything other than “I’m fine” was a sign of weakness. This is far from the truth. When we tell people we’re not fine and show emotion, we’re actually being more like Jesus. Jesus catches our vulnerability and holds it close to His heart. He loves it when we’re open with Him and raw with our emotions.

    This thought warms my heart more than anything.

    • Lydia G says:

      I love it. Thank you for sharing your pastor’s words with the rest of us! How encouraging!

  89. I just finished Lysa “More than just a good Bible Study girl” last night and I am back for a second go round with Confident Heart. I didn’t get it last time…as I am still feeling self doubt. I found this youtube this morning after a strange little leading by the Holy Spirit. The truth of the matter is I don’t want to be out doing, I want to be here sitting at the Lord’s feet. My task: Taking “sitting at the Lord’s feet” on the road with me.

    Any ideas?

  90. As others have said, I have developed a great “fine” mask. I wear it well and rarely take it off. I’ve realized more and more lately though that if we were all to take off our masks to each other, we would know we are not alone in what we are going through, that we our struggles are normal and that we don’t have to be fine because we have the support of God and our family and friends.
    I love the online community here and reading what you all are going through and how you support each other. Thank you for being real ladies.

  91. I think removing the “I’m fine mask” will come gradually and may not even be possible with everyone we meet. For instance today at church my co-teacher said “How are you?” and I told her I was diagnosed with shingles down the side of my head, it’s covered by my hair so no one would know if I didn’t say anything.
    I told her I could use some prayers because there are some complications that can arise when these appear on your scalp but luckily I got to the Doctor early so I am on treatment, although there is no cure.
    So, she looks at me and says “So you’re not fine?”
    Later in the day I ran into another friend and again was asked “How are you?” But I couldn’t even respond because she launched into a rather loud conversation until people from both lines at the store had turned to look in our direction, and of course I wasn’t going to tell her about my condition at that point. Another church lady so I would have liked to ask for prayers but I didn’t want it broadcast througout the store.
    So, slowly, very slowly I’m beginning to remove the mask and the responses have been interesting!

    • Michele says:

      I totally agree that we have to me led about unveiling things about ourselves to just anyone. I like to think of relationships using the tabernacle analogy. We have relationships that fall into the outer court, inner court, or Holy of Holies, with the Holy of Holies being our most intimate level. There are things that I will share with the people in my intimate group that I would probably gloss over or never mention to those in the outer court. I believe God will enable us to discern when we need to share and when we need to stay silent.

  92. Lydia G says:

    Something that struck me on my third time through the chapter was this statement: “He knows that our problems won’t be solved and our confidence won’t be found through simply getting more stuff done.” This lie has taken root in my spirit during past years… as a woman who has struggled with a twisted perfectionism as a way to earn love, I have at the same time never been a “good housekeeper.” I assume my husband is unhappy when he gets home, and I tell myself he would love me more if I could just accomplish more during the day. Then, on the days when I feel accomplished at the end of it if he doesn’t recognize it, I am crushed. My confidence does not (should not) come from the way my home looks, or my husband’s appreciation, or “getting more stuff done.” This is a very specific area of struggle for me among the larger issues, and I think I have to be careful not to swing too much towards saying “It doesn’t matter, God loves me” and not putting forth effort to serve my husband. But my confidence should not be wrapped up in my productivity.

  93. I can relate to so many of these posts. I would have to say that I am not feeling FINE today, anything but fine actually. Just have had a rough couple of days with my husband and am feeling disheartened. I do have a group of girls at my church who I am close to, but I sometimes feel as if I’m even burdening them with my problems. Or maybe my problems seem smaller than theirs. So instead I’m venting here today. I think I can relate to Renee’s house. Sounds weird, but from a distance I may seem fine, but if you look a little closer, I am not. I try to keep up the facade, but it’s a lot of work. Or I just try to move stuff around to make it look fine. It’s hard for me to let people know that I am not fine. I think that they don’t really want to hear it. I can also relate to her relationship with her father. My parents divorced when I was three. My mom remarried when I was five. I have spent my entire life trying to either get my biological dad to love me or my step dad to be proud of me. It is so comforting to me now as I re-read the words from Renee’s book, that God is there for me. He is pursuing me. He wants to know me. I don’t need to try to impress him or earn his love. I don’t have to pretend with him. He knows my thoughts and is not critical of me. I can stop trying to be so busy all of the time and slow down and show Him the desires of my heart. I am so thankful that God is there even when it seems like I’m alone.

  94. My own confidence—-am I even capable of having true confidence in myself? I just do not know.

  95. Katherine says:

    I know there are more times than not that I am hurting, but I don’t like to think deeply about it too much for fear of it getting worse instead of better. I will like to open up and be friends with more women, but I let my insecurities get in the way. I have to admit that I have a lot of maturing to do when it comes to having God-confidence. Your devotions and online bible study gives me hope, I am so thankful to be able to be a part of it.

  96. Jane Squires says:

    I’m not fine but I quit telling people the truth because no one wants to know. They drop you as a friend like a hot potato. I am shedding so many tears lately, stressed and to point of breaking. I have served God since I was 8 and I’m 62. But when I almost lost my husband two weeks ago my life turned upside down. When I tell people I am stressed, I am accused of fear. Well it is fearful when your husband goes to hospital because his heart rate is 179. They give him meds to bring it down and drop his blood pressure to 40. You spend two days wondering if you will ever walk out of the hospital with your husband again. Then day before yesterday I should have taken him to hospital again by ambulance but I’m afraid they’ll kill him. His heart rate was soaring again. He knows it needs checked immediately or he could die. He works nights until the end of the month then he retires. I just wonder why God could not have held all this off until then when we could have taken him to a different hospital. Also so his pay and being able to pay our bills would not be threatened. I have yelled at God = why? why? why?
    This morning I did not hear him come in from work. I looked outside and could not see him feeding cats and dogs. I went running to van but he wasn’t in it. Then I turned and saw him watering our garden. I am beside myself. I do not want him out of my sight.
    Yesterday my daughter called needing me to watch grandchildren while she rushed my son-in-law to ER. So I made my husband go with me as I did not want him home and me there. Thank God my son-in-law ended up not going to ER. But it is a nightmare that won’t end.

  97. Martha ParfaitFelix says:

    I love chapter 3. Thank You Father. I will memorize the verse of the week. I will text it to my boys everyday.


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