The Art of Losing Yourself – A Weekly Online Book Club Chat and Reflective Discussion
The Art of Q & A: Week 1, Chapters 1-8
1) Dry Eyes and an Empty Heart…
When we first meet Carmen, she is being wheeled into a recovery room. Soon after her initial display of emotional numbness and quiet anger, we see that she expresses herself by saying, “…I drifted further and further away – out into a sea of drowning hopes.” Her reaction to her husband is one of avoidance and neglect, and her thoughts pertaining to God can be summed up with one word, WHY?
Q: Have you ever had to deal with a traumatic experience or loss like Carmen’s?
Q: How did you react as a result of the experience?
Q: Did you isolate yourself and avoid others, or did you surround yourself with healthy, godly supports?
Q: Were you angry at God because He “allowed” the experience to occur?
Q: How did you move past the numbness, anger, and questions?
Q: How did your relationship with God change?
Q: Was your faith level impacted in any way?
2) Dancing with the Devil…
Gracie existed in her own personal hell. Daily, she battled her mother’s demons, the dark shadows of social injustice, the suffocating shame of being the alcoholic’s daughter, and the gloomy cloud of abandonment. Tried and convicted even before a wrong was committed or a right was acknowledged, this young yet old soul sought escape. She longed for freedom. She dared to hope for something more. She sought out little treasures to ease her journey and to, perhaps, loosen the hold of the evil one who seemingly tried to strangle the life out of her. In the end, she realized something important, but at what cost?
Q: Have you ever been judged by others based on your background or parentage?
Q: Were you ever put into a position where you had to parent your parent? How did it make you feel?
Q: How did Gracie’s initial story show that she herself was caught up in a dance with the devil (even though it wasn’t her choice to be in that position)?
Q: Do you tend to recognize the crafty ways that Satan tries to distract you?
Q: Can you ever really run away from your problems?
Q: Have you ever put yourself in harm’s way in your desperation to escape life?
Q: Can hope truly be found even in what looks like a hopeless situation?
3) Are You Alright…
Carmen and Gracie met their situations head on, whether they were ready or not. There were times when grace seemed to peak through like a ray of sunlight. But even with the grace moments, life still happened to them, and it was not always a pretty picture.
Q: Do you believe that grace can be found in every moment?
Q: What does it say about God when you notice His hand at work in your story?
Q: What does it say about you when you don’t readily recognize God’s grace in your life?
Q: Why is it so hard to maintain a heart of gratitude toward God?
Q: Do you ever feel like God’s forgotten you? Why?
Q: Does God place visions or dreams in our lives for a reason?
Q: What happens when we lose our ability to be open to His vision or dream for our lives?
4) Labyrinth of Memory…
Carmen and Gracie’s “treasures,” whether they were of a physical or emotional nature, stood out to me. The treasured memories that Carmen held close to her heart and the ring and duffel that Gracie held even closer to her person were notable and significant.
Q: What/who is the truest and purest treasure we can find in life?
Q: Why does it seem so much easier to equate treasure outside the parameters of God?
Q: Do you think it would help each one of us to wake up with a mindset to go treasure hunting (Translation: Wake up and seek God where He may be found.)
Q: What does the Bible say about treasure?
5) This Place of Constant Misses…
Early on, I could not help but notice that communication or a lack thereof permeated this story. Carmen and Ben did not communicate their thoughts and feelings about what happened. They did not grieve together. They did not pray together. They did not seek solace in each other or in the One who makes all things well. Gracie and her mother did not talk either, although, to be fair, Gracie tried. Even upon reuniting, Carmen and Gracie did not talk to each other rather they talked at each other. There were so many missed opportunities and as a result, so much suffering, struggle, and stress.
Q: Is there an art to learning how to effectively communicate with God and/or with others?
Q: What value can be found in communicating your most honest thoughts and feelings?
Q: Does authentic “talking” require you to listen as well?
Q: If you could say anything to the LORD right now, what would it be?
“Behold, I make all things new.” – Revelation 21:5
Next week’s Book Club Chat and Reflective Discussion will highlight chapters 22-26.
To learn more about this book: Behind the scenes with The Art of Losing Yourself
To get this book: The Art of Losing Yourself
To learn more about this author: Katie Ganshert