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 9
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.)
To start this chapter I wanted us all to re-read the opening to the chapter. We have to keep this in mind as we work though this chapter.
Do you remember what I wrote about the enemy in the first chapter of this book? If He can isolate us, He can influence us. And His favorite of all entry points is through our disappointments. Knowing this, I feel such an urgency to help us better understand how He operates and how we can live free from the entanglements of darkness. I want to unpack this for us. But as I do, I want you to remember the symphony of compassion in God’s Words. And the tenderness by which all these words are written. There is no condemnation here. But there is help and hope. I don’t want any of us to stay isolated and intimidated and influenced by the enemy. This isn’t to expose you or me. This is to expose the enemy. Also, please don’t let any of this talk of our enemy stir up fear in you. This information about our enemy isn’t meant to scare us but to inform us. And, ultimately, protect us and free us.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 149-150). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition
Lysa goes on to share with us a story from her friends life that they were discussing over lunch after Lysa asked her to “let her in” because she loves her friend and wants to be able to support her, but it was not an easy conversation.
A story of compromise, deception, and marital betrayal spilled from her lips while tears spilled from her eyes. It’s heartbreaking to look into someone’s eyes you deeply love and see sheer terror. She had made choices that slammed into her life like a wrecking ball. Her life no longer had soft edges and gentle places to land. Her choices had demolished what once was good into the sharp reality of a nightmare. I knew the enemy was doing what he does best: stealing, killing, destroying (John 10:10) When he sniffs out our interest in dangerous desires, he prowls around us with great intentionality. He doesn’t know our thoughts, but he can certainly see when we start entertaining sinful possibilities and flirting with compromise. Her emotions were so deeply entangled with another man that she felt as if she would die without him. But at the same time the weight of guilt and shame was slowly squeezing the life out of her. She felt utterly destroyed, trapped, and miserable. Sin is such a lie. It promises to fill the gaps of our disappointments with satisfaction. In reality, it just goes straight to our hearts and fills them with shame.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p. 152-153). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q When you hear this story does it make you feel: fear, judgement, compassion or identification? How does this story illustrate Lysa’s teaching about disappointment leading to unmet desires that can leave us open to temptation?
This story honestly on paper makes me feel compassion, but in life I feel like I lean towards a judgemental perspective. I don’t know if it’s because I know others who have struggled in this way and I have seen so much hurt that I can’t get past that hurt. Ultimately though I feel sorry. I feel sorry that she didn’t have godly counsel around her that she felt comfortable enough with to discuss the disappointments she faced that led her to this temptation. I wish she had been surrounded by godly counsel that were removed from the situation (such as a pastor or counselor who was not family) who could look at things from an outside view to work with this couple to try to battle these empty places. It is a good reminder that we need to get to know and pray for the people that are a part of our church. We need to be praying for your friends to see through the lie of temptation and make better choices; and you don’t have to know the details or even the gist of their struggles to pray this over them.
As we dive into this chapter we see that there are three areas we are going to take a close look at: temptation, deception, and accusations.
Let’s start with temptation.
\Lysa goes onto discuss that we shouldn’t focus on the enemy but we should fight him, and the importance of reading His word and equipping ourselves to fight him.
I wish every temptation had a warning label on it, so we’d know what we were getting ourselves into. Your warning label might look like this if you’re tempted to overspend: “You will begin to look at other people’s lives and see all the shiny, new things they have. It will start off as a small seed of jealousy that will grow until you rationalize that you deserve those things too. You will make an extra purchase online and bend the monthly budget just a smidge. But it won’t stop there. Sin and secrecy have ravenous appetites. Before you know it, you’ll be hiding credit card bills from your husband, being dishonest in your relationships, and facing a growing amount of debt. Your seemingly small decisions today will not only affect you, but they’ll ultimately lead to the division and possibly destruction of your family and the peace you took for granted.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.154). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q Above is the warning label that would come from the temptation to overspend. If your temptation had a warning label what would it say?
One of many warning labels for me would be: if you spend too much time focused on others’ opinions, you will lose sight of the only opinion that matters. Another would be: If you buy this without consulting with your husband, you will disrespect him and cause unnecessary tension. Another would be: the more you share the more compromised and untrustworthy you become. There are so many more and her examples are great in the book as well. One of the most important takeaways that apply to ANY of my temptations is that I am not the exception and I will cross lines I get too close to.
James 1:13-16, 21-22
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
These warning labels are all throughout the Bible… But, if my Bible is collecting dust and my conscience is being hushed, then my heart is in danger of being crushed. That’s not a sing-song rhyme. That’s the truth. Temptation only works if our enemy keeps the consequences hidden from us. The enemy is thrilled when we don’t open our Bibles, and he knows when we don’t. He also knows how to attack us in that vulnerable place. But Truth sheds light on healthy ways to process our disappointments and the good things God can bring from them. If we can remember this, we can see more clearly what a horrible trap Satan’s temptations really are… Your mind was made by God; therefore, your brain is perfectly capable of receiving what it needs to receive, of reading the warning labels God has provided in His word. And even if your brain doesn’t understand some things, your soul is made by God to respond to Truth. You don’t have to be a scholar. You just have to be created by God. And you are that.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.156-157). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q What is one way you think you can try to do to commit to being in His word more often?
Life changes daily and I work hard not to get caught up in checkmarks (even though I like them a lot) and more in tune with not limiting myself to when I “feel” like I have to read the Bible. I like to in the mornings but if I don’t there is nothing wrong with reading in the evening. I also try to read when I deliberately don’t want to. I find that the times where I need an infusion the most I am lazy and don’t want to- even when I KNOW it will help me- and so I get up or ask for help. There is no shame in calling or texting a friend asking for encouragement when you are struggling. My friends and I do that all the time. We will call and just say, “hey, I know God has called me to do xyz but I just don’t feel like it, can you encourage me?” Now their words or mine might not make us feel like continuing, but it helps us just do it.
Now we are going to move on to deception.
God is the author of the Truth that empowers us. Satan is the author of deception that imprisons us. And once He’s isolated us and imprisoned us, his plan is to destroy us. There is no freedom in sin…. Anything that doesn’t line up with Truth is a lie. And where there is a lie, the enemy is at work. The longer he can keep someone deceived, the more their flesh will scream for pleasure, and soon they will become slaves to the most depraved versions of their desires.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.158). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
2 Peter 2:17-19
17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.
19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
Those are hard verses. A spring without water is a spring that’s dry and not fulfilling its purpose. A person like this has stopped being filled with the living water of God, grown cold and hard, and cannot fulfill the purposes of God. Instead of being grounded in Truth, they are driven by their feelings. That’s how they are also like mists driven by a storm. What was just a small thought becomes part of a full-blown storm inside of them, taking over their decisions and eventually affecting those around them… Whenever we are living any sort of double life, we are misleading others. We can’t lead others to healthy places when we are making unhealthy choices ourselves.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.158-159). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q This is so hard to read but is so eye-opening “Instead of being grounded in Truth, they are driven by their feelings. That’s how they are also like mists driven by a storm. What was just a small thought becomes part of a full-blown storm inside of them, taking over their decisions and eventually affecting those around them… ” Do you find that your feelings tend to overwhelm the Truth?
At times yes. We all know we should wait to respond or act, but sometimes our feelings just take us because we aren’t grounded. This means that little by little what led up to this storm was a series of cracks the enemy deceived you into letting your emotions slowly creep over Truth and before you know it, you are in the eye of the storm. I pray daily over my marriage, myself, and my husband that we would be led in truth over feelings and that God would give us discernment. We also can’t pour from an empty cup, and if we aren’t healthy and filled with His joy, wisdom, strength, and love- we cannot pour into others.
But please know this is a desperate warning meant to help us, not to heap shame on us. A few verses later we are reminded that the Lord doesn’t want any to perish but all to come to repentance in 2 Peter 3:9. Last week I heard my friend Levi Lusko say, “when God says ‘don’t’ we should read it as don’t hurt yourself.” Think about that protective voice of God as we read more from His Word about the dangers of being deceived.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.159). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Now it is important to note here that these warnings don’t just have to do with deception itself but often they are warnings for our desires. There are a couple things we need to evaluate to know how to best handle the desires we have:
- Just because I want something doesn’t mean it’s God’s best for me + Just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should do it.
If we get stumbled by this temptation we need to check our hearts and go deeper than the surface of the desire and think about all of our decisions. Some questions you an ask are: “will this make me more like Christ or less like Him?”, “Will this help me get more healthy spiritually, emotionally, and physically?” or “Would the most spiritually mature person I know think this is a good choice?”
TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.159-160). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
- What does God offer in place of unhealthy desires + what do we put in front of Him when His desires should be ours?
We tend to put our feelings of loneliness, overwhelm, and desperation to the forefront as the “reason” for our decisions when in all reality, “God’s truth doesn’t seem nearly as appealing in that moment.” But if we go after something God has not called us too or something that is outside of His will and plan for us it will increase the heavy burden we endure…. He holds all the answers to our disappointments and will direct our desires in His way, in His will in His timing. He’s got a good plan for good things. He doesn’t give His gifts in packages of confusion and anxiety and guilt and shame.
TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.160-161). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
The enemy’s deception is hand designed to draw your attention, affection, and worship away from God, the only true fulfillment of our hearts’ longings. Satan rebelled against the Creator, and he wants you to do the same, to be caught in the pursuit of desires that will never satisfy…. Remember Eve, who looked to a tree to give her wisdom, something that tree was never meant to give her? Instead of wisdom, she received the knowledge of good and evil. And having that knowledge didn’t make her life better like she thought it would. She then had to carry the weight of evil that she was never meant to carry. The fruit that seemed so sweet didn’t satisfy her; instead it burdened her with fear, anxiety, and shame…. The minute we feel immune to the enemy’s tactics is the minute pride, self reliance, and self deception rev up and God’s word gets tuned out… The enemy doesn’t take vacations, so we shouldn’t take vacations from studying God’s Word either.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.162). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
She goes on to discuss how her friend’s affair started. The enemy’s lies were blasting through her ears and soon she started to own those lies, and every justification dug her deeper and deeper.
Q What seemingly small ways are you allowing the enemy to subtly enter your disappointments?
I allow my emotions to overpower the truth when I feel invalidated or wrongly accused. I choose complaining over seeking. I don’t allow myself to embrace the day because I am so worried about tomorrow. These are just a few ways.
This is why the lie to just “follow your heart” is SO dangerous.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Every single thing our emotions tell us must be held up to the Truth of God’s Word. Otherwise, we will be susceptible to the way our enemy twists our thoughts and feelings and uses them to deceive us…. If we are going to be true to ourselves, we’d better make sure we are being true to our most surrendered, healed, and healthy selves, the ones God made us to be… We must not forget that our soul hunger can only be satisfied by daily doses of truth otherwise we will be prone to snack on deception.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.164-165). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Now the final part is Accusation.
The enemy is not looking out for our happiness although it appears he does, he wants to shame us into silence. When we stand in God’s forgiveness, we give Him our dust and the enemy wants to take that dust and add more to the pile meanwhile God wants to remake us.
He wants to consume us. He wants to consume our dust, so nothing good can every come from it. In Genesis we read:
So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
This was a consequence from God, but satan is crafty. He figured out a way to also use it as a tactic to sniff out our dust and then eat it…. I believe just like the snakes of today, our spiritual enemy sniffs out our dust and feeds on it as well… He never intended to comfort you with pleasure or coddle you with justifications. His purpose all along was to crush you with his accusations.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.166-167). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Q Thinking about the three ways the enemy comes after us, which one resonates with you the most? How will this knowledge help you be more alert to his schemes?
He comes at me the hardest with accusations and I need to remember that when the enemy or someone who is not of God accuses me of something I didn’t do it doesn’t matter because God’s truth is the only one that matters and is the one that in the end will reign supreme.
Lysa finishes us off perfectly:
Your story will not be wasted. God is already using for good what the enemy meant for evil. Redemption is here. Dust is being made new both for me and for you. The enemy may be vicious, but he is not victorious.TerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.169). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Points from this chapter to think on:
-Dangerous desires birthed inside our unsettles disappointments are nothing but a setup for a takedown
-the enemy wants to tempt, deceive, and accuse you
-temptation only works if our enemy keeps the consequences hidden from us
-truth sheds light on darkness and helps us see what a horrible trap the enemy is luring us into
-your soul is made by God to respond to Truth
-God is the author of the Truth that empowers us. Satan is the author of the deception that imprisons us
-the enemy’s deception is hand-designed to draw your attending, affection and worship away from God
-If we are going to be true to ourselves, we’d better make sure we are being true to our most surrendered, healed, and healthy selves
-God isn’t expecting perfection. He just wants us to be perfectly surrendered to His way and His Word.
-If I forget my soul hunger can only be satisfied by daily doses of truth, I’m prone to snack on deception
-Your story will not be wastedTerKeurst, Lysa. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (p.171). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Prayer from Lysa:
Father, I don’t want to be someone the enemy can easily isolate or intimidate. A woman readily influenced by his lies and seduced by his crafty plans. I want to live this life free of his entanglements. That’s why I’m so thankful for the incredible gift of Your Word. Guide me and teach me each day as I sit and read Your Truth. Let it prepare my heart and mind for battle. Enlightening and empowering me. Convicting and comforting me. Shedding light on the enemy’s schemes and giving me the strength I need to stand. I declare today that while the enemy is vicious, he will not be victorious. Not with You and Your truths working mightily in my heart and my life. In Jesus’ name, amen