Have you ever felt like you were afraid to just be your true self with God? With others? Maybe even with yourself? If so, this Bible study is for you! I Am Found, by Laura Dingman, is a study about shame and identity which guides the reader in learning a healthier way to relate to God, others and self.
From the back cover: “We are all made for connection, but many of us live with walls up and hearts closed. What would it take for us to let go and stand tall and unashamed?”
This is a six week study, each week consisting of an introduction and five days of study. At the end of each week’s lessons, there is also a section called “Truth, Lies and Action”, which looks at the truths learned throughout the week, a lie that needs to be exchanged for truth and gives an action step to help move the reader further in their journey to being “found”. Some of the days have the scripture printed for you, while others require you to have your Bible ready. There is a prayer printed at the end of each day’s lesson to give you an opportunity to talk with God.
While the majority of the study is centered around why we hide, why we don’t need to hide, ways in which we hide from ourselves, others and God and other shame-related ideas, some of the other topics included in this study are: having spiritual friendships, our identity in Christ, God’s immense love for us, how to love one another and remembering our worthiness.
I truly believe that the topic of worthiness is such an important one for women especially in our current culture of comparison, perfectionism and do-it-all idea of womanhood. Pinterest-perfect parties, Instagram-worthy photos of our well-behaved kids, Facebook photo albums of exotic vacations (sans kids) showing our perfect marriage. Social media has convinced us that we can only show the perfect parts of our lives – and in doing so, we spend all our effort and energy trying to hide the not-so-perfect parts and begin to wonder if our lives are good enough to share at all – or if we are good enough. It’s an epidemic of shame and it’s not God’s best for us.
To really get the full nature of this study – you’ll have to go through it on your own. I can say that it’s very simply laid out and easy to understand but it’s also very personal and deep. There are questions asked that will require a lot of self-reflection. There are verses shared and prayers written that will help you to determine why you might be hiding and how you might move towards being found and fully known. It’s a beautiful journey to take and one that I believe could make an enormous difference not only in our individual lives, but also in the dynamics of our families and the direction of our society as a whole.
Some of my favorite quotables from I Am Found, by Laura Dingman:
“God is for us. He showers grace over us, relentless in His loving pursuit of us. His mercy never ceases.” (p20)
“Nothing in all of creation is hidden from God’s sight (Hebrews 4:13). You cannot escape God. You can’t outrun Him, because He never relents. You can’t choose anything so out of bounds He will not follow you there, because He fiercely pursues you.” (p45)
“Knowing you belong to Christ and you are His own child brings a freedom no other truth can.” (p58)
“You don’t have to perform anymore. You can come out, come out, wherever you are. Just as you are. Grace is yours. You are forgiven. You are seen, known, and deeply loved by the Creator of the universe. You are free.” (p83)
“Jesus calls us to love one another. The only way this kind of love is possible is if we allow Jesus in us to do the loving. He is the source.” (p136)
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.