Spend some time eating, and talking about the book – favourite quotes and chapters.
PART 1 – PAIN POINTS
Let’s explore the inner battles we all face and emboldens us with the reminder that the selfish structures we’ve built can be rebuilt, the harmful systems we’ve shaped can be reshaped, and the fruitless deeds we’ve done can be redone. That is, if we’re willing to change.
Questions for discussion:
- Shauna’s watershed moment was when she realized she had created her own perfect life that was driving her crazy, and that chronic busyness that surrounded her was her own doing. She described it two sins: gluttony and pride.
‘I want to taste and experience absolutely everything, and I want to be perceived as wildly competent.’ p.19
If you had to name the swirl of dirt, dust and disorder that tends to follow you around, what would you call it? Constant drama, maybe, or chronic busyness? The drive toward perfectionism, perhaps, or the need to control?
- There’s no there, there.
Often we say, when there is enough money in the bank, or I’ve hit that magic number on the scales, or when my kids overcome this hurdle, I’ll find rest. This is a lie! There is no there, there. The there is here and now – and we must learn to rest in the journey. What lies are you believing about the there, there?
“It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time:
- repetitive, loveless, cheap sex
- a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage
- frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness
- trinket gods
- magic-show religion
- paranoid lonliness
- cutthroat competition
- all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants
- a brutal temper
- an impotence to love and be loved
- divided homes and divided lives
- small minded and lopsided pursuits
- the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival
- uncontrolled and cuncontrollbale addictions
- ugly parodies of community
When we realize that the life we have created for ourselves is far from the life we dream of, the gap between the two, as depicted below can cause us to despair. How will we ever get from here to there? How can we close the gap?
These questions can seem unanswerable, and in our frustration and a deep seated sense of futility, we turn to buffers such as busyness, overworking, striving and straining, working out obsessively, shopping compulsively, using harmful drugs, overindulging in alcohol, engaging in illicit sex, blowing money on gambling, and more – all in an attempt to build that coveted bridge. Have you seen this dynamic play out in your own life? What did you hope the preferred buffers would provide for you, and how well were they able to deliver on the promises they made?
How would you describe the life you’re living now, the one that may need an overhaul, a rebuilding, right from the ground up? Circle any of the adjectives below that apply to the characteristics you’d like to leave behind (add your own if you wish).
Burdened anxious joyless competitive
Tough cutthroat hyper focused fearful
Lonely restless loveless heavy
Regretful isolated efficient exhausted
Stuffed effective hard divided
Perfect proud hurried sad
Single-minded brutal busy task-oriented
Materialistic stressful frenzied undisciplined
Overdisciplined reactive exasperating
Impersonal unchecked frustrating addictive
Compulsive flabby friendless erratic
Productive hopeless ugly scattered selfish
Hustling disheveled multi-tasking structured
Rage-filled wearying ____________ _________
- Read Titus 3:3-8
- Turn it into a prayer. A) Thank you for your word, I am reminded that… B) What this tells me about You is… C) As it relates to me and my struggle… D) Please give me….
PART 2 – THE ROLES WE PLAY
Let’s peel back the next layer and ask, ‘why am I doing this?’ What is it in me that keeps things moving so breakneck fast, that believes achieving will keep me safe, that sacrifices my own health and happiness so that people who aren’t me will think I’m doing a good job, in some vague, moving target kind of way? p.58
Questions for discussion:
- Name a fictional TV or movie character who (at least in part) reminds you of yourself, and explain why.
- Read page 40. What role would you say you play – in your family of origin, in your relationships, at work, in your circle of friends, and so forth? If you were asked to assign descriptions to it, what words would you use? Here’s some help. Circle the words that apply, and discuss.
The dependable one The workhorse The cynic
The shock absorber The pessimist The naysayer
The cautious one The decision maker The spontaneous one
The caregiver The boss The life of the party
The relational glue The ideas person The pusher
The social planner The control freak The negotiator
The people pleaser The available one The multitasker
The funny one The jokester The others-centred one
The topper The sports buff The best mum
The skeptic The trivia hound The eternal optimist
The know-it-all The creative one The talker
The health nut The inexhaustible The holy one
The deep one The one in the know The self deprecating
The encouraging one The peacemaker The giver
The one who has it altogether The quiet one The questioner
These roles can have benefits, they can also have negative effects. What sacrifices fo you find yourself making to play the role you find yourself playing?
If you could reclaim one lost trait, one thing that used to be true of you, but you dropped it along the way, what would it be and why? Here’s a list to help, or come up with your own.
Your solo work this time, involves looking closely at the key role you’ve been holding onto, and mustering the resolve to release your grip. Within each of the following categories, describe the message involving what you were meant to say, think and respond.
Messaging from parents:
Messaging from siblings:
Messaging from friends:
Messaging from church:
Messaging from teachers or coaches:
Messaging from bosses or colleagues:
Other messages I received:
God wants to play all the roles. All the pushing and producing, straining and striving, all the contrivances and role-playing and all the hustle and bustle and forcing and drive – to all of it, God says, “Here, I’ll take that – really, I never meant for you to carry that load.”
Picture yourself handing him the script – every line, every stage cue, every scene – and then picture yourself weightless and free. Ready for a baby step today? If you’re the control freak, let things unfold unorchestrated, just for this day, or this week. If you’re the chronic overworker, pick up a magazine and pop down on the couch. If you’re the relational glue in your family, forego the hyper communicative phone calls just once. If you’re the health nut, try a donut. Loosen your grip on the role you’ve been playing long enough to toy with allowing a new narrative to step in. You might be shocked to learn the whole world will keep spinning, and that you’re a whole lot happier in the end.
What’s one baby step you can take today, along these lines?
PART 3 – YES, AND NO
For all its sparkly personality, “yes” only tells half the story, because you can’t have yes without no. Each time you offer a yes, you by definition also offer a no. Or a series of nos, depending on how consequential that yes proves to be. Let’s delve into the yeses and nos that dictate our actions, which determine the pace of – and the peace in – our lives.
Questions for discussion:
- Are you by nature more of a spontaneous/adventuresome/eager “yes” person or more of a well ordered/circumspect/sober-minded “no” person? What predispositions, priorities, or experiences have shaped you in this regard?
- Read the last paragraph on pg 44, onto midway through pg 55 and on the story of the chairs.
Look over the themes and realities of your life today and assess how many chairs are currently set up. A chair could be volunteering at your child’s school, or being the one your friends can call on whenever they need a hot meal, a ride, childcare, or a listening ear; or the worker who may stay up late to make sure the project is completed; or serving at the church’s events. How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the number of chairs you see set up? What thoughts come to mind as you consider the fact that you can add or take down chairs at will?
Often, chairs feel nonnegotiable – keeping your house well ordered and clean, etc, etc but if you were given permission to remove one chair from your life, which would you remove and why?
- Read this poem together.
Two game-changing, path paving words.
Yes to this, no to that, and before you know it, the course it set.
The course marked by contentment and calm, or else by chaos and craving.
By pushing and hustling and stress.
“Come to me, you who are weary,” God says.
“Come to me and I’ll give you rest.”
I want that rest, but who has time?
My yeses have left me too busy.
Too busy being… busy.
The word alone makes me ache.
I’m tired at a level that sleep on it’s own can’t address.
I’m soul tired.
Something is off in my soul.
The something comes down to yes, and also no.
Those yes-yes-yeses, they were rampant,
And consequential like you can’t believe.
Those yeses I so quickly said made me say no, and no and no.
No to the things that matter,
No to family,
No to soul-care.
No to rest and groundedness,
No to connection and peace.
I don’t want to be a “no” person! Life is too short for no.
And yet in this season, I see no for what it is:
An anchor, a life preserver, a friend.
Read page 116 and discuss with your group on ‘should’ being a warning sign.
Take a look at the graphic below. Then, on the chart that follows, begin to map your current relational connections. Which areas have been adversely impacted by your yeses?
|First-circle connections (God + closest confidants)
||Second circle connections (extended family and close friends)
||Third circle connections (people you know, but not well)
||Fourth circle connections (acquaintances. Friends of friends)