Characters of books are amazing creatures. If written well, they become friends by the time the book has ended. This is the case with Issy in My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren.
Isadora Presley (Issy), the coach’s daughter, is a fascinating character. When she feels safe in her own world, one that she has created, she is strong and courageous. But whenever she enters a situation which she feels is out of her control, she struggles with panic attacks that are debilitating, and she ends up on the ground curled into a fetal position.
I love how Issy reads quotes aloud from classics such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice in her show as Miss Foolish Heart. It makes me feel like she’s a person I would like to know.
I also love the scene where Lucy finds Issy, just before her first date with Caleb, dancing in her parents’ bedroom, with her earbuds in and wearing her old prom dress. She’s finding ways to live with courage despite her fears.
Yesterday, I listed the discussion questions written by Susan May Warren here. Today, let’s discuss the questions relating to Issy.
1. At the beginning of the story, Issy is showing symptoms of what disorder? Agoraphobia brought on by PTSD
Have you ever had something so consume your life that you felt trapped? Yes
What helped you or would help you overcome that fear? My thinking had to change. The paralyzing fear came from thinking I had no control over the situation; that I was helpless. Joshua 1:9 helped a lot. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” When I remember that I’m not alone, that I don’t have to face my fears and enter the fray unprotected; I can stand strong with courage, because it’s no longer about my weakness, but it’s about His strength. That is so very comforting.
2. Issy has a rather unusual “work from home” job. Have you ever called in to a radio or television show? No
What do you think about online communities like the one Issy has formed? Not sure. I felt I knew Issy so her online community felt safe to me. I think a lot depends on the structure and the administrator’s professionalism & character.
What are their benefits and dangers? In some ways, they can be a form of safe relationships where you can keep people at a distance. At the same time, they can provide a false sense of security that isn’t real. Benefits include being able to connect in a like-minded community from the comfort of your own home at a time that works best with your schedule.
3. Issy has a top-ten list for her ideal man. Do you think that’s a good idea? Yes & no.
Why or why not? I definitely think it’s a good idea to have a list of important character traits to make sure the man is a good match for her, however, top ten might be hard for any human man to attain no matter how upstanding he might be.
What characteristics might be on your top-ten list? Honesty, must love God more than he loves others, tenderness, strength, integrity, kindness
4. Issy runs from Caleb when she first sees him. Have you ever been ashamed by your reaction to something or someone? Yes.
What did you do about it? Apologize. Ask for forgiveness.
5. Issy has let her fears create unnecessary distance between her and her father. Have you ever been estranged from a family member? Yes.
Have you mended those bridges? Some of them.
If not, what holds you back? Some fences, once broken, are extremely difficult to mend. It can be a long process, one which requires hard work from all those affected by the broken fence for it to be mended well. Sometimes fear holds me back. Sometimes the mended fence isn’t up to me, but the other people and how they respond. It can be a really painful process.
6. What truth does Issy come to realize that helps her break free from her fears? “Perfect love expels all fear.” Issy realized the perfect romance was with God. That because His love is perfect, she could trust Him with what was out there. The things she couldn’t control, He could.
Do you agree with what she learned? Yes, I do.
How could you apply the same truth to your life? As Susan explains it, the word, perfect, in Greek means “complete.” So God’s complete love permeates every area of my life, even into the dark places. His light gives me hope and gives me courage to move past my fear into the life He created me to live fully.