The Birthplace of Disappointment

Welcome! (2 minutes)

Welcome to Session 1 of It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. If this is your first time together as a group, take a moment to introduce yourselves to one another before watching the video. Then let’s get started!

Opening Discussion (10 minutes)

Answer the following questions to prepare for this week’s video teaching:

How would you define disappointment? What was one sentence that resonated with you from the introduction or chapters 1–2 of the book?

Watch Session One: The Birthplace of Disappointment

The Birthplace of Disappointment (28 minutes)

LEADER:

Play the video segment for the Introduction, and then play the segment for Session 1.

Instruct your group to use the outline below to follow along or take additional notes on anything that stands out.

This Week’s Statement to Hold Onto:

What would happen in our lives if we really lived in the absolute assurance of God’s love in the midst of our disappointments?

Genesis 2:5–9

  1. 7: Then the lord God formed a man
  2. 9: … trees that were pleasing to the eye

Genesis 2:15–18

  1. 16: And the lord God commanded the man, “You are free…”
  2. 18: “… I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:23–25

  1. 25: Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Genesis 3:1–9

“You must not” (Genesis 3:1) versus “You are free” (Genesis 2:16)

When God says “Do not = Do not hurt yourself” (Levi Lusko)

Eve assumed that she knew what a good God would do.

Created things cannot give what only the Creator can give.

You steer where you stare.

God could have been angry, but instead He asked two questions:

  • “Where are you?”
  • “Who told you that you were naked?”

Sin demands a sacrifice (Genesis 3:21).

In Genesis 3:22–23 (NIV), banished can be translated as “sent” in Hebrew (shalach).

Look at your disappointments through the lens of the great love of God. It will change how you see everything.

Group Discussion

(45 minutes)

LEADER, READ EACH NUMBERED PROMPT TO THE GROUP.

  1. What part of the teaching had the most impact on you? Take turns sharing with the group.
  2. Lysa explained that the reason we face so many disappointments in life is that we are living between two gardens. There’s a garden in Genesis 2–3 at the beginning of the Bible and a garden in Revelation 21–22 at the end of the Bible. Our hearts were created in the perfection of the garden of Eden, but we don’t live there.

Open your Bible to Genesis 2:8–25 and let’s read aloud, changing readers every few verses. What were the wonderful features of this garden? List as many as you can.

  1. What do these beautiful details reveal about God and His nature? List and discuss.
  2. Why was the provision of water (v. 10) important? What does it reveal about God?
  3. How would you describe the relationship between Adam and the woman (Eve) depicted in verses 18–25?
  4. Sometimes we’re trying to hold people accountable to a level of perfection in our relationships that’s not realistic. Not that we permit or excuse behaviors in the abuse category, but what about those expectations we have of someone else who just isn’t spiritually, emotionally, or relationally at the place where those expectations are realistic? How could understanding this help you in a current relationship that feels disappointing at times?
  5. Is there a realistic option that could encourage growth in the relationship?

HAVE SOMEONE READ ALOUD:

The Hebrew for the words “suitable helper” in Genesis 2:18 doesn’t imply a subordinate. The Holy Spirit is often described as our “helper” in the New Testament. And “suitable” here doesn’t mean “good enough or just okay” but rather “perfect counterpart.” A suitable helper is a needed counterpart, someone who falls a need that Adam can’t manage on his own.

Jesus Himself says in John 16:7–8,

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you. — ESV

Notice how the Spirit of God is described as our “Helper” in John 16:7. It’s the Greek word parakletos and is translated as “helper,” “intercessor,” and “advocate.” The essence of this word lends to the reality that the Spirit was called or summoned to aid and help the people of God. Therefore, the perfect, suitable helper was given to us by God the Father just as He gave Eve to Adam as a perfect counterpart.

  1. What clarifying revelation do you have after reading this insight on the word helper?
  2. Before sin entered the world, Adam and Eve had a close relationship with God and each other. Communication didn’t feel complicated. Work was a pleasure, and Adam didn’t have to toil among thorns and thistles in order to feed his family. Eve never felt the sting of comparison and struggles that seem to never end. Neither of them knew the bitter taste of sin or shame. How does this bring context to some of the situations in your life that make you say, “It’s not supposed to be this way”?
  3. Open your Bible to Genesis 3:1–9 and let’s read aloud, changing readers every few verses, noticing the slippery slope of compromise.
  4. Lysa highlighted the difference between “You must not” in Genesis 3:1 versus “You are free” in Genesis 2:16. When looking at God’s protective commands, do you tend to view God as a “You must not” God or as a “You are free” God? How does that affect the way you relate to Him?
  5. Eve assumed that even if they touched the fruit they would die. She added to God’s rule which created assumptions. Sometimes we assume we know what God should do in circumstances as well. Give an example of a way you’ve done that before.
  6. Remember, God wasn’t removing Adam and Eve from the garden out of anger. He was actually protecting them. This was an act of mercy, not cruelty. If Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life, they would have lived forever in sin and would have been eternally separated from God. Write down how this example of His mercy, protection, and love could be playing out in your situation. Share your responses with the group.

OPTIONAL GROUP ACTIVITY AND DISCUSSION

Processing a Disappointment (25 minutes)

If your group meets for two hours, include this activity as part of your meeting. Allow 20 minutes total — 5 minutes for the individual activity and 20 minutes for the group discussion.

Individual Activity (5 minutes) Complete this activity on your own.

  1. How would the way you walk through hard situations change if you processed all of your disappointments through the filter of knowing God is good and full of love and mercy?
  2. Choose one word to describe this new perspective.
  3. What area of your life would be most impacted by this new filtered perspective?

Group Discussion (20 minutes)

  1. What is the most difficult aspect of processing life through the filter of God being good and full of mercy? What does this perspective require of us?
  2. We know God asked Adam in the garden, “Where are you?” This is a profound question. Remember, Adam’s physical location was not a mystery to God, but God was trying to call Adam out of hiding. The safest place to be exposed is in front of God Himself. One way for us to look at this in the context of our everyday lives would be: Where are you going or to what are you turning when you feel exposed or vulnerable? (For example: When you wake up in the morning, are you getting refreshed by God’s Word or refreshing your feed on social media?)
  3. Before the fall, it was common for Adam and Eve to walk with God in the garden. Picture them like little children hearing God’s footsteps in the garden and running toward Him as if their Father had just walked in the door. But now that sin has entered in, they hear the Father’s footsteps and are afraid. Sin always hinders our relationship with God. How does this play out in your life?

Closing Activity

(5 minutes)

  1. Briefly review the video outline and any notes you took.
  2. In the space below, write down the most significant thing you learned in this session — from the teaching, activities, or discussions.

What I Want to Remember from This Session

Personal Prayer (8 minutes)

Write a personal prayer here that reflects the area of this week’s teaching you feel most in need of prayer.

CLOSING PRAYER

(2 minutes)

LEADER, READ THIS PRAYER ALOUD OVER THE GROUP:

Father God, it’s hard to long for a perfection that will never exist on this side of eternity apart from our relationship with You. Disappointments are hard to navigate. So we offer to You our genuine feelings. You already know what they are better than we do. Thank You for loving us and standing with us in the mess of our disappointments. And we ask that You help us manage our feelings using Your truth, perspective, and holy discernment. We entrust this process of learning and growing to You. Give us the courage to make the changes we need to make and the grace to love others in their imperfections as well. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Optional: Read chapters 1 and 2 of the book It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. You’ll also have time to read chapters 3 and 4 of the book in preparation for your next group meeting.

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Your Turn

Come share your thoughts on It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way on our blog. We want to hear from you!

Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times best-selling author of Uninvited, The Best Yes, Unglued, Made to Crave, and 16 other books. Lysa was recently awarded the Champions of Faith Author Award and has been published in multiple publications such as Focus on the Family and CNN online. Additionally, she has appeared on the Today Show as one of the leading voices in the Christian community. Each year, Lysa is a featured keynote presenter at more than 40 events across North America, including the Women of Joy Conferences and the Catalyst Leadership Conference. She writes from her sticky farm table and lives with her family in North Carolina. Connect with her at www.LysaTerKeurst.com or on social media @LysaTerKeurst.

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