Unleashed Book Club: Chapter 3


Welcome to the Unleashed Book Club! We’re reading Unleashed, by Sonja Corbitt.

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How many times do I cry out to God, just like Sonja Corbitt describes in Chapter 3 of Unleashed?

What in the world is wrong with me? (p. 45)

Too many times to count.

I love the Lord. I love being Catholic. I desire holiness. But I fall flat on my face over and over again.

Here’s the other question I often cry out to God: “Are you sure you have the right woman for this job?” But of course, God doesn’t make mistakes! He chooses to use us as His instruments, in spite of our imperfections and weaknesses.

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Approaching the topic of predominant fault, like Sonja does in Chapter 3, is incredibly bold. Sonja shares vulnerably about her own predominant fault, how her patterns were affecting her life and her relationships, and what she has done to root her primary sin out of her life. By being real and honest with herself, staring her sin straight in the face, she makes her predominant fault less powerful in her life. And by sharing her experience with us, she gives us the formula for finding our way out of our own mess, too.

It’s not easy to look in the mirror and see past the makeup, mascara and lip gloss that covers up more than a little bit of uneven skin tone. No, to look beyond what we cover up, deep down into the past, into the cobwebby corners of our heart, that’s hard. What’s even harder is to see how past pain, which can lead to our predominant fault, hasn’t been dealt with but rather pent up, until it suddenly comes out roaring like a lion. This sin just clings to us (Hebrews 12:1), and it can feel like it will never go away.

But it’s in this place that God wants to work.

God is profoundly concerned with our predominant fault, because in it lie the clues to what prevents our oneness with him, the supreme desire of his heart and the key to an unleashed life. (p. 57)

God knows my predominant fault, my patterns of sin, and how it is affecting my relationship with Him and with my loved ones. He knows yours, too. And He wants to meet us and love us in our woundedness.

The scary reality is that Satan also knows our predominant fault as the weakest part of our soul, and that is where he will exploit us the most.

So, if God wants to meet and love us in our predominant fault, and Satan wants to exploit us in it, we have a choice to make. The key to this chapter is that we begin to know and understand our predominant fault.

Refusal to attempt self-knowledge, as the saints call this introspection, is unhealthy. Without self-knowledge we lack self-discipline and self-control; we destroy ourselves and others. (p. 53)

I used to try to ignore my predominant fault; I just didn’t want to go there, and I certainly didn’t want anyone to know my struggle. I would blame the particular stressful season of life, thinking it would be easier and I would stop messing up when such and such was over. But it never worked out that way. Who was I kidding? Only myself.

God allows our predominant fault to remain as a way back to Him. He provides us with trials as opportunities for healing and growth. When we are in self-denial of our predominant fault, we hurt our relationship with God and our loved ones.

However, when we begin to have self-knowledge and recognize our patterns, the truth that we discover will ultimately set us free (John 8:32). The place where Satan tries to exploit us grows stronger, and he has less power over us.

As we work on our patterns of sin, God knows we are not always going to survive the trials. Stumbling along the way is normal on the path to holiness. But when we feel weary of our failings, Sonja encourages us to find comfort in Christ, rather than comfort in a latte.

He knows we need comfort … He longs to be our comfort … But He cannot provide comfort for us when we are busy seeking and grasping it for ourselves. Ultimately, comfort seeking is a denial of the need to change. (p. 59)

Replacing our lattes, ice cream or whatever else comforts for a moment with prayer, Scripture reading and the sacraments will allow God greater access to our souls in order to transform them. Doing these things, especially frequent reception of the sacraments, boosts the supernatural grace that we can lean into, as we bravely face our fears of dealing with our patterns of sin. But we have to be an active participant, cooperating with that grace, for change to take place.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

This passage indicates Jesus’ invitation for us to come to Him. But we must actively take a step of our own free will toward Him, so that He can actually begin to comfort us.

As we journey in our upward spiral away from sin and toward the Lord, we must take comfort in God’s word. Like the woman caught in adultery, we are not condemned. Jesus doesn’t get fed up with our stumbling toward holiness. He loves us in our predominant fault, but He loves us too much to want us to stay stuck.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather healed. (Hebrews 12:12-13)

To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

  1. How did reading Sonja’s own witness about her predominant fault encourage you to begin facing your own?
  2. Did you find comfort in one of the many Scripture passages that are quoted in this chapter?
  3. God doesn’t condemn us, but He loves us too much to want us to remain in our predominant fault. How does this truth give you hope to fight this internal battle against sin?

Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week’s reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.

Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 4. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Unleashed Book Club page.

Copyright 2015 Sarah Damm


About Author

Sarah Damm is a Catholic wife and mother of six children, living in Minnesota. She spends her days running errands, cooking meals and helping with homework. She and her husband Greg strive to weave the Catholic faith into their daily lives as well as into their family celebrations. Sarah blogs at sarahdamm.com. In addition to CatholicMom.com, she also is a contributor for WINE: Women in the New Evangelization.


  1. Loved the reflection today. Hit home. Today I decided, for a couple of reasons, to give up Starbucks for good. I found that reflecting on a stressful week at work and in the world I always run to shopping or lattes. Time to run to adoration or confession or the Eucharist. Thanks for the insight!

    • Hi Sandi, I can so relate! I used the example of a latte for a reason! I would be happy to join you in giving up Starbucks for good! It has been a long time coming … I recently listened to a video about food cravings. And how so often at that 3 o’clock hour, we really don’t need coffee or chocolate; we need a break! We need to remove ourselves from our work (at home or in an office) and go for a walk, talk to someone, etc. While this video wasn’t religious, her message can be applied to the comfort seeking that is described in Chapter 3 of “Unleashed.” We don’t need coffee; we need Jesus! We need to take a break and find refreshment in the Lord (maybe while we walk 🙂 It’s not easy, because it’s about creating new habits. But over time, I trust that we will see the fruitful blessing in receiving true comfort, rest and refreshment not in coffee, chocolate or shopping … but in God! Let’s pray for each other about this, OK?!

  2. Natasha Schaff on

    I can’t stress enough how God has placed this book in my life at the most appropriate time. I am dealing with a situation that is bringing up a lot of past pain and hurt. This past pain along with family predominant fault has led to my predominant fault having such a stronghold on my life. I have reflected so much this past week on my sinful actions, thoughts, and behaviors. Many issues I have worked on with the Holy Spirit’s guidance over the past several years. However, I still have lots of areas that need work because I have not dealt with it head on as I am doing with the help of this book. At the same time as I’m reading this book, I came across a Novena to Mary, the Undoer of Knots. The knots being the complex sinful ways we have a hard time undoing on our own. How appropriate!!! Hebrews 12:1 really spoke to me this week. There are so many people around us that need to see our light and our predominant fault can cloud that light……

      • Sonja, I actually started the novena yesterday. Coming across the novena was another gift from God. I wasn’t purposefully looking for a specific novena. I just came across it looking for something else. I had a really tough night Thursday night. My mind was racing from one negative thing to another and I was full of anxiety. I broke out your book and then prayed the novena. Some of my little prayers in relation to my bigger intention were answered that day. I just want to thank you for your book. It has been such a blessing for me!

        • I too fine myself like a dog retiring to his vomit : pro:26,11
          I see my pattens pray ask the Holy Spirit too help me with this I know it sounds bad. Yes have grow bitter from rejection ,, criticized , that at times I know longer can hold back much like Sonja in rage from holding up too much inside of me not fully expressing myself deep wounds that I have held inside for a long time I was able too see them. Then I cry woundering will I ever get beyond these? I read how Sonja. Mange to do it I.pray for the Lord too help me with these patterns identified . But it’s a hard struggle asI read that page I found myself there and just cry feeling hope less if I could ever get though this. Lord please help me .

        • I would be willing to pray the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots, too. I know you started already, Natasha, and I’m not sure if you have jumped in, Sonja, but if anyone is interested, maybe we could start tomorrow, WEDNESDAY, JULY 1? I think it is a beautiful companion to “Unleashed!” We want to be freed from whatever is holding us back from receiving everything the Holy Spirit wants to give us. Who better to intercede for us than the undoer of our knots?

          • Sarah, I’m on day three, but I like the idea of our being staggered, especially with what’s going on in our country right now. The novena will just go longer because someone will finish later!

  3. Thanks for this reflection, Sarah! I went on a silent retreat once where we were encouraged to identify our “root” sin, which is similar to the “predominant fault” Sonja shares about. Ever since identifying what that is for me, it’s easier to identify the source of my behaviors or other sins.
    I’m all about easy formulas and recipes so I also appreciated the S + P = B – Situation + Perception = Behavior. How true that is! It’s really only by the grace of God – and when I accept that Grace of the moment – when I can pause and step out of the situation to analyze my perceptions of it so I can either change or adjust my behavior.
    When this happens, I feel “unleashed” to my own will and attached to where I belong – to the Will of the Spirit.

    • Hi Erika, thanks for your thoughtful comment! After reading this chapter, I am coming to understand how I perceive a situation or someone else’s behaviors is a huge piece of the equation … I have a lot of work to do in the area of predominant fault, but this chapter has really been helpful and healing. Facing the truth, even if it’s the difficult truth of our imperfection and “root” sin, truly sets us free! I feel like I’m moving in the right direction …

  4. This is a very thought provoking chapter, very personal and touching. Thank you Sonja for sharing all of this with us! I certainly started thinking about my own predominant fault, and that is certainly a painful thing to contemplate. But very necessary! I had to remind myself though, of something Greg Willits said during his keynote at the recent Catholic New Media Conference: “God loves garbage. He wants your garbage.” This is soothing to me when I think about how often I fail. Of course, we should strive to do better, God wants this for us. But He doesn’t reject us because of our (repeated!) failures.

  5. I just comment and lost the whole comment . This book came at a good time for mr I feel like I am caught in a trap of being control too much for too long I even had a friend of 15 years told me stop whining and complaining well I felt like you say you shouldn’t talk until you’ve been in my shoes . She said she didn’t want my friendship. Any longer to go back too the Catholics b/c that’s were I belong and studying. Too much The theology about the Catholic Church can make me crazy and she was born cradle Catholic like me .
    Then this week I was called by my doctors for more blood I was told I could have Hepatic B or C I thought how could this be? Today as I walk into the ultrasound I knew they there checking for my liver my pancreas and my kidney . As I lay there I just wanted to cry I am thinking the worst C is not curable however he is . I just wanted to cry as she said your doctor will have the results in 24 hours .
    Please keep me in your prayers .
    I too was told to pray Mary undouer of the knots however I google it and got confused whish one to pick from if anyone can tell me please I would appreciate it . Blessing too all I pray we all will find are root cause as we all began this jounery together .

  6. Sarah , thank so much for your support and reaching out to me . I remember. Sonja said when you ask for a fish you get a fish , also Martha when Jesus ask her “DO YOU BELIVIE” well I got down on my needs before I call the doctor they had call me andI I. miss it .I don’t have hepatitis !!! Praise God , I believe and got my fish !! However. Since my enzymes still came out hill they want me too see a stomach doctor can’t pronounce That long name they asked me if I drink a lot If I drink a lot of alcohol I said no I don’t drink at all . However as I was praying before The Lord had given me that same vs Sonja had give that Hwbrews:12-15 ” root out of bitterness” that is one pattern I can’t believe God is showing my patterns. I believe it to be ” when Juses ask go you believe. I mediated on this do really Believe then I can do this do you believe ” I remember Martha say yes my lord ” really thought of it hard and got into Martha and into Jesus really getting into Jesus and I really asking DO YOU REALLY BELIVE ” seen that one question it’s true you have to put yourself in the Bible to understand it.
    really thought of it hard and got into Martha and into Jesus really getting into Jesus and I have seenknow what Sonjio said at the beagayning of her book getting into the characters really believing it and Seeing it for the 1st time how to the Bible I really getting into the character I got my fish when you asked for fish you get a fishit !!!
    Kown keep in prayer for the gastroenterologist there you go I finally pronounced it and got it right .
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart Your support and and replying back what he share bless me !! I will check into the limks that sent me right know!!! you so much again .

  7. Thank you for sharing your knowledge I thought to myself it worked for you but I don’t know if it work for me I dount it because as soon as I believe a good it comes through something bad always happens will work for me and so I remembered what you said and praise God it worked You are so right about the characters !!! And how you got into it
    and I also remember in adoration how God sent me that song just for me ,, God said I hear you whisper In prayer and you hear me back whispering in your as he sang just for me it was know coincidence thatGod told him to go sing in adoration for he had a plan and the plan was he was sending me a song I can’t believe I asked him to Sing-a-Song for me but he did band said ok I have the right song for you!!
    Ladies I BELIVIE. For all of us we will wake away from this study and be bless for some of u it will not be right away but God timing is not ours I know we will keep it in our art long after we have read this book .

  8. Sonja You are making me cry a good cry!! In a good way
    I have learn so much by you and I was raised cradle. Catholic All my life . You have brought me into deep levels by your bible studies , ( girls you have to do one of. Sonja bible studies ( The Soul God dwelling. Place ” )
    if you are just coming into the Catholic Church or if you are catholic this study will teach you all about the Prest hood .
    I just herd you talk on the radio they I got a Tweeted by the radio to go hear you So glad they sent me a tweet listen too you her live !! So enjoy the whole intview and you still keep teaching me more taught . Can I set at your feet and learn as you go
    understand Mary I stared praying the rosary this year my grandmothers rosary One thing I kept when she pass she was always praying it. And it still smells like I decide to stop question Mary b/c it’s just like you said its’s A Mistry just like the Trinity and God how he’s so much bigger than us and we will never ever understand him .
    Hugs too you for sharing and teaching.

  9. Reflecting upon the last three chapters of Unleashed, my own upbringing resonates with Sonja’s. In the past, I have gone to counseling and I have still felt unworthy of God’s grace and as a result, I had fell away from the Catholic Church for several years. Thank you for your honesty and for reminding me that nobody is perfect.

    • Hi Cheryl, I can relate to feelings of unworthiness. For me, it was hard for me to believe in God’s grace and mercy in a personal way. I understood it intellectually, but sometimes the journey from the head to the heart is a long one. On retreat, my spiritual director encouraged me to first and foremost believe in God’s love for me. His mercy is infinite and greater than anything we can do … He gave me this prayer to keep close to my heart, and I have. It is especially consoling to pray right after Confession. Maybe you will find it helpful, too.

      Act of Confidence in Divine Mercy (by St. Claude de la Colombiere)

      Lord, behold a should that is in the world so that Thou may exercise Thine admirable mercy to make it shine before heaven and earth.

      Others glorify Thee by showing, through fidelity and constancy, the power of Thy grace and how sweet and generous Thou art to those who are faithful to Thee. As for me, I will glorify Thee by manifesting how good Thou art to sinners. In me Thou will show that Thy mercy is superior to all our malice, that nothing can exhaust it, and that no relapse, however shameful and culpable it may be, should make a sinner lose hope in Thy forgiveness.

      My beloved Redeemer, I have offended Thee gravely. But it would be worse still if I add to my offenses the horrible outrage of thinking that Thou art not so good as to forgive me.

      In vain Thine enemy—who is also mine—sets new snares for me daily. He may cause me to cast away everything except the hope I have in Thy mercy. Even though I fall a hundred times, and my sins were a hundred times more horrible than what they are, I will always continue to hope in Thee.

  10. This chapter has been a difficult one. Facing our faults is hard–especially the biggies! And while I don’t want to live in my faults any longer, it’s familiar territory and that (along with the chocolate and ice cream) is my comfort. But that temptation toward staying with the familiar is just that–a temptation. We all know where those come from. And that temptation will only serve to keep me living in my faults. I want to find that rest for my soul, spoken of in Matthew 11. And I’m sure the yoke he places upon my shoulders will be much easier to bear than the one I place there myself.

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