Welcome to The 2020 Spoonie Study! The Spoonie Study is a Bible study group intended for women with chronic illnesses who are over the age of 16.
Alright friends, if you couldn’t attend live that’s okay!
You can either continue reading for the written version of our discussion or watch the videos on IGTV! If the links below do not lead you to anything more than a blank screen on instagram you can click here or head to @officialcassiemnolin on instagram and all of these videos are in the IGTV 2020 Spoonie Study Series.
SPOONIE STUDY- INSTBTW CHP 10
Welcome Everyone! For those who does not know I am leading a Bible study for women with chronic illnesses, and each week we read a chapter, answer chapter questions, and do a life group meeting on zoom about the book It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst. Please note that this blog post is essentially the written version of the live stream that took place and is also available on IGTV (links above.)
We all like it when things go how we planned. We crave consistency and perfection because God is consistent and perfect. We were made to live where those desires were a way of life not merely a wish. Yet because of sin, life is unpredictable especially with a chronic illness, and life being unpredictable means our longing for perfection will never be filled until we get to heaven. Which means that until then our expectations will probably cause some disappointment. Lysa goes on to share a story of unpredictability she faced in a less than desirable way- I know I’ve said it a bunch through this book, but her honesty is commendable. On a more serious note she discusses that she doesn’t know what life will look like by the time this book would be published. She knows that she wants life to “go back to normal” but also recognizes that the situation needs time and things need to change before that can happen.
Whatever your situation is, you probably feel like you can’t change it, but you still have to live through the realities of what’s happening right now. Sometimes you just have to walk in your “I don’t know”… fear seems to be a close cousin of disappointment. They are related, because we feel them so deeply, they paralyze us so easily, and the pat answers so many Christians try to place on them trip us up. We are desperate to make things easier than they really are. I get it. But in this life between the two gardens that’s just not how most things work out. We get through one disappointment and then another comes. And another… We all keep thinking, if we can just through this circumstance, then life will settle down and finally the words “happily ever after” will scroll across the glorious scene of us skipping happily into the sunset. But what if life settling down and all your disappointments going away could be the worst thing that could happen to you? What if your “I don’t know” is helping you, not hurting you? What if your “I don’t know” is helping you let go of things you aren’t supposed to know, because that knowledge would be too heavy a burden for today?TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 179-180). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q What if your “I don’t know” is helping you, not hurting you? Even now, what positives can you see coming from your season of disappointment?
I know currently we are at an “I don’t know” stage with my joints and talk of surgery- especially my knee. I don’t want surgery and with the number of failures seen with this surgery and EDS combined are high so my team doesn’t want to do it. The “I don’t know” question has allowed myself, Jared, and my team truly evaluate my quality of life, as will only do surgery if the odds weigh that the risk of lessening my quality of life in the short term for a higher quality of life down the line looks like it will pay off. It has made me grateful for all I can still do even though frequent dislocations suck. This “I don’t know” is helping me appreciate what I have here and now.
We are very clearly not promised to never face trouble or disappointment, but we are promised comfort when we seek Him in the midst of life here between the two gardens.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The crucial detail for us to have peace in the middle of everything we face is to stay close to the Lord… we think we want comfort in the I-don’t-know times of life. But comfort isn’t a solution to seek; rather, it’s a by-product we’ll reap when we stay close to the Lord... What if the comforts and certainties we crave are a deadly recipe for complacency that will draw our hearts further and further away from God? There are many examples of this in the Bible, but let’s look at one tucked into Jeremiah:TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 181-182). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
11 “Moab has been at rest from youth, like wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another— she has not gone into exile. So she tastes as she did,and her aroma is unchanged.
They (Moab) are comfortable. Life seems predictable… They haven’t known what it’s like to get caught off guard. To suffer. To endure hardships due to circumstances beyond their control. Life feels good, so it must be good… But this verse is very clear that this is not what’s best for them. Wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another, means it’s been left sitting in comfort for so long that it has absorbed the aroma of complacency…. The Moabites were not jarred from their complacency. Therefore, their culture was saturated with satisfaction apart from the Lord, and their people were full of impurities. They had no need to draw upon the Lord’s strength, so their hearts were far from Him. The Moabites were lulled into a false sense of security. Without changes people tend to grow increasingly distant from God and resistant to His ways.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 181-182). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q What comforts and certainties are you craving right now that could possibly result in complacency down the road, drawing your heart further away from God?
I crave being able to dance again. I would kill to get back in the studio and work, but I know that more than once I allowed the pedestal I put the dance world on slowly creeped its way up to the top spot in my life above my friendships, family relationship, marriage, and God. I know I would be tempted to cut back on relationships and my time with God and down the line because I was a workaholic. This wouldn’t eliminate my faith but it would allow me to settle for shorter quiet times and doing the bare minimum as far as serving Him goes.
Settling into complacency might seem comfortable for today, but in the long run we, like the moabites, may suffer more if we go untouched by God for too long. Make no mistake: being lulled into a false sense of security is worse than going through the process of suffering. It would have been better for the Moabites to go through the experience of the Israelites. To go from vessel to vessel and experience suffering in doses that made them strong enough to handle suffering in even larger doses… we must sip the suffering of today, so we don’t have to drown in the devastation of tomorrow. Just as we have to get off the couch and pour ourselves into working out if we want to gain physical strength, we have to be poured into circumstances that will result in our being transformed if we want to gain spiritual strength. In the middle of our disappointments and hard times, we must seek to be transformed into thinking biblically, processing with truth instinctively, and trusting God implicitly. We must get rid of the dregs- weakness, fear, complacency, and the hopeless resignation that all of life is unfair and God is unjust. To sit in those dregs will cause us to absorb more and more of the world’s way of thinking. To think like the world leads to death- death of hope, death of peace, death of joy. But to think like Christ is to have fresh life breathed inside of us and His peace radiating from us.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 182-183). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q How can you use your circumstances to gain spiritual strength?
We can invite Him into the circumstance. That is the first step for me, but I can also seek out other mature Christians who have walked through what I am going through right now so I can be mentored to get to through it and see that there is hope and healing (even if I am not ready and still need to process further.)
To be like Jesus, we must become more and more saturated with Him and less and less saturated with our human ways of processing circumstances. We must not go too long untouched by God. If we want to know God’s will, God’s perspective, God’s good that He has in store for us, then we must not be conformed to the world’s way of processing life but be transformed by God’s Word and God’s way:TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 184). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
When we ask for God’s strength, peace, courage, and the ability to overcome and to right the wrongs, God will pour us into circumstances He knows will infuse us with the very things we’ve asked Him to give us.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 184). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q How can we work to remember to stay close to Him in the hard times and turn our disappointments into divine appointments?
There is a quote that I have been clinging to lately that says, “I asked God to help me grow, and it started raining.” I do my best to bring my hurt right to Him and have accountability partners and mentors who help guide me to Him when I am tempted to move further away. I also love to embrace Lysa’s suggestion of declaring our hard times will be holy times.
Lysa goes on to explain the ways she has seen the enemy try to attack her through her: affections, adorations, attention, attraction, ambitions, and actions so she uses what she calls “fighting words” to dull the enemy’s lies with God’s powerful and confident promises.
Using God’s truth as your fighting words will not change what you see, but it will absolutely change how you see… I knew if I started declaring truth, my perspective would eventually catch up and my tears could then dry up.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 188-189). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Lysa goes on to give us fighting words and declarations to aid us when the enemy is trying to take over different areas of our lives. I challenge you to read through those pages and follow the prompts she gives you.
Thoughts to remember:
-being lulled into a false sense of security is worse than going though the process of suffering.
-to be like Jesus, we must become more and more saturated with our human ways of processing circumstances.
-These disappointments we all go through are actually divine appointments to see God do a new thing.
-If we have a misunderstanding of God, we will most certainly have a wrong understanding of our circumstances.
-when we express God’s truth, we depress the enemy’s lies.
-using God’s truth as your fighting words will not change what you see but it absolutely will change how you see.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 203). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Prayer from Lysa:
Father, I want to look more and more like you. I want to think more and more like you. I want to act like I’ve spent more and more time with You. Pour me out of the dregs of wrong thinking, wrong processing, and wrong reactions. Pour me into circumstances that make me desperate for Your touch. I want to conform to You, so I can be transformed by absorbing Your essence. I believe You. I trust You. Make me more like You, I pray. Amen