Chapter 4: Tan Feet

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.


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 TerkeurstPlease 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.)

She start the chapter off by telling us about a strange comment someone made about her feet. Which got her thinking about how her feet became tan.

And that’s when it occurred to me that if you get desperate enough you’ll go all in with living slow for a while. You’ll quiet down all the outside noise so God’s voice can become the loudest voice in your life. Now, I realize, none of us can just quit life when life falls apart. But we can quit some things. I cut out almost all TV and social media. I cut out reading things online and chose to read God’s Word more than ever before. I cut through the deafening silence of emptiness in my life by filling my home with praise music. I cut out as many extra activities as possible and spent more time outside with my kids and friends who came to visit. I cut out having lots of conversations with curious people and intentionally sought out pastoral counseling and friends with whom I knew I was safe to have deep conversations. I cut out my speaking engagements and pouring myself out for others in this season so I could have time to be poured into. And, I discovered something wonderful. When you suffer, slow becomes necessary. Slow becomes good.

TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pp. 56-57). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Q What could you intentionally take away in order to process your pain and hear God’s voice?

I have had to prune a lot as far as relationships go within my family relationships, friendships, and professional relationships. I needed to only be surrounded and in contact with people who were life giving and challenged me to be closer with God. Unless it is a close friend or family member and nothing urgent,  I typically do not respond to messages, emails, or texts right away. I try to wait about an hour or so that way I can make sure my responses are thoughtful but also plan a time to respond when I am not doing other tasks. I am trying to stop multitasking where relationships are concerned.

I encourage you to make a chart and write down habits or things that are not helping you cope and find out how to replace them! For example: instead of scrolling on my phone I could read a book.

Q What are your fears in cutting out these things?

I was fearful when I stopped responding to people right away that I wouldn’t be as good of a friend, yet when I can make time dedicated to talking or answering that person my responses are more thoughtful because I can give them my full attention.

Q How can you address those potential obstacles so that you really do carve out the things that keep you from hearing God’s voice? Remember that you’re only committing to a season not forever

One of the ways I have implemented and carved out time is by eliminating the obstacle/temptation of constant access. I have my apps shut down after a certain amount of time to help me use my social media more intentionally. Will I do this for forever? Probably not, but for this season, yes. This is why I reassess my goals about every 90 days because life changes.

When you live slow for a season, the Son has access to the parts of you normally covered up by everyday put-ons.

TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pp. 57). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

I think it is important to talk about this statement in the context of what we are living through currently. My constant question is, “Lord, how can I worship You in this season?” this was something I pray daily, but I have challenged many who are not used to these basic circumstances to ask themselves.

Q What are some things that as you are living slow this season might have a chance to get “tan”?

I am intentionally cultivating my marriage as we are both at home now for quarantine, and I am digging into God’s Word deeply on my own and with Jared.

She goes on to talk about how awful it was to feel so exposed and judged by the world. Not everyone contributed to the hurt but many did. She says:

But it only takes a few loud talkers to hijack a tender person’s attention and dig the already piercing shards of angst and shock in deeper and deeper. When people craft assumptive theories and presumptive conclusions from hearts inexperienced with deep grief, I can almost guarantee you two things: They fear dealing with their own covered-up places so much that they will spend their lives attempting to expose others and they don’t have tan feet. I spent quite a bit of time during this summer of being exposed thinking about how to deal with hurtful people. And I’ll get to that in just a bit. But what I figured out I had to deal with first was my fear of other people’s thoughts, opinion, whispers, and comments. And after digging around in the Bible, I was surprised where God wanted me to start. Not with them. But with me. Not with their words. But with my fear. After all, I will never be able to control what other people have going on in their heads or in their conversations. But with the help of the Holy Spirit in me, I can absolutely learn to control how much I allow the fear of their opinions to have access to my life.

TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pp.58-59). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Q What does this paragraph leave you thinking about?

I have found what she found to be very true myself in dealing with some serious harassment, and in dealing with that God revealed that my fear of others opinions were greater than His truth. It has also made me really think about why I would share information. What was my goal? Who does it glorify? I started thinking about this not in all areas even ones that weren’t about me. I know that I am tempted to gossip, and when people were publicly trying to “expose me” and gossiping about me I realized the magnitude the result of gossip can have. We have to be careful to evaluate why we share what we are sharing while being mindful of who we vent to and how often we are venting. For myself if I am dealing with an extended family conflict or even just being frustrated with Jared, I do my best to share the situation with a max of two people that I trust deeply to help me through. Sharing the story just to share it makes me a contributor to gossip and ultimately leaves me actively participating in bitterness and resentment.

When she starts talking about how she tackled a smaller fear by putting on a bathing suit and having to force herself to look in the mirror, I thought about how when I am at my worst illness wise, I avoid mirrors. I don’t want to see how I look because then it will feel more “real” when I already “really” look like what I am facing and seeing it doesn’t actually change anything except for my mindset. This is exactly what the enemy intends.

The enemy wants us paralyzed and compromised by the whispers and doubts and what-ifs and opinions and accusations and misunderstandings and all the other hissing handcuffs crafted by fear. Standing there, feeling  completely terrified to turn toward the mirror, it hit me. What gives power to all that I fear others are thinking and accusing and saying isn’t the people themselves. It isn’t even the enemy. I’m the one who decides if their statements have power over me or not. It’s me. And my desperate desire to stay covered up. I don’t want to feel naked in any way. Even though I was technically in a bathing suit, I still felt so exposed. And I don’t want to stand exposed, because I don’t know how to do it and feel unashamed. There it is. The root of this fear. I have allowed myself to believe that to be stripped of all the props and pretensions and accolades and approvals is to be stripped of the best parts of me. When in reality what’s best about me comes  to the forefront when I’m closest to the way God created me, naked and unashamed.

TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pp. 60-62). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Q whom have you given so much power to that their words about you being naked make you afraid? How have their words affected you?

The people that I used to give way too much power to are not those closest or even in the realm of close! It’s random trolls on the internet. Their words made me afraid to post for a long time and they temporarily silenced me. Even though I am not silent anymore, I have some anxiety before every post because I know people are going to tear it apart. Thankfully, that’s not my problem if I choose to hear nothing.

I pray Psalm 38 when I am dealing with this hurt and I daily pray that I would choose to hear nothing. In Psalm 38:13-14 NLT David writes, 

But I am deaf to all their threats.

I am silent before them as one who cannot speak.

I choose to hear nothing,

    and I make no reply.

I can choose to hear nothing. I can choose “garden thinking.” I can choose to hear Him. I do not have to defend myself because I’ve done nothing wrong. This is who He made me to be, illness and all, and if people are upset that I can find joy through this and they can’t… that’s not my burden to bear even when they try to throw it onto my back. This is part of recognizing burdens that I am not meant to carry like we talked about in chapter 3.

When we allow God’s opinion to be the only opinion we listen to, we get to live and think like Adam and Eve did. We get to We may get more opinions than we want, but when we come to peace with being stripped of all the world made us believe we are and we are left with just us, we are who He created us to be. The whole world doesn’t need to see this- this decision and perspective is between you and God, because the world’s opinions don’t matter, right? This is not to undermine the hurt and cruelty of people’s words. Even when I do my best to choose to hear nothing, sometimes something slips in and a comment rips me to shreds. I process it, invite Him in, and throw on some taylor swift music, typically the reputation album. (Also I think it’s funny how she mentions Taylor Swift in the book as that’s my go to.)

If we were together right now, I’d turn to you, with tears of true understanding, and whisper, “who told you that you were naked? Who spoke words over you and about you that stripped you bare and broke your heart?” What ever statement was spoken to you that came against the truth MUST BE CALLED A LIE! God’s Word is the Truth. And His Truth says you are a holy and dearly loved child of your heavenly Father. You are wonderfully made. You are a treasure. You are beautiful. You are fully known by Him and lavishly loved by Him. You are chosen. You are special. You are set apart. No matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, these words of God are true about you.

TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pp. XX). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Q What are some of the negative things you’ve heard from other people that made you feel labeled in some way? As a result, what are some lies you tell yourself that feed your insecurities?

I used to feel like I wasn’t grieving right. Almost as if after I grieved acceptance would stay acceptance, yet that is not how grief works. I used to tell myself that my grief was unwarranted after a certain amount of time and I would just bottle everything up because I was insecure of showing my hurt.

May we carefully choose what we remember and what we forget. I’m so quick to remember others’ hurtful words, but slow to remember God’s healing words. We must set our minds and hearts on things above by choosing to remember God’s words, repeat God’s words, and believe God’s words about us. We must let God’s Word become the words we park our minds and hearts on. We must let God’s Word become the wrods we believe and receive as truth. We must let God’s Word become the words of our story.

TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pp. 65). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Q What ways do you think you can actively and intentionally remember His words and believe them?

I started by learning a process called declare truth. Lindsay Walker has been a HUGE help in this process. I would read His word and write out the truths about who He is and the truths about who He says I am. For more details on declare truth, you can find all of Lindsee’s resources here.

When you are tempted to allow other people’s words to trump His words invite Him in and maybe even meditate on what Lysa ends with:

I heard God uninviting the hurtful statements and removing their power. “Who told you that? Aren’t they broken, vulnerable people, with their own hurts and heartbreaks? Might you have compassion for them but not be overpowered by their thoughts? And might you have compassion for yourself? Who told you that you were naked? And who told you that you in your naked form are anything but glorious?”

TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pp. XX). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Here are some quotes to remember as we end this chapter:

I must learn to control how much I allow fear to have access to my life.

The enemy wants us paralyzed and compromised by what-ifs, opinions, accusations, and misunderstandings.

To dwell well in this life between two gardens requires us to make peace with being naked and unashamed.

We must let God’s Word become the words of our story. 

I am deeply loved by God, even in my most naked form. 

TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (pp.67). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Prayer from Lysa:

Father, I confess that I spend too much time mentally revisiting the hurtful words of others instead of purposefully reminding my soul of healing words from You. I come to You today with a soul that is tired. Tired of running. Tired of hiding. Tired of feeling like I’m never quitee enough. Help me receive and believe the words that You say are true about me. That I am a treasure. That I am beautiful. That I am chosen and set apart. Even with all these scars. Strip away every label, every lie, and even the masks I’ve desperately tried to hold in place, and help me simply stand before You today. Naked and unashamed. Fully known and lavishly loved. In Jesus’ name, amen.