April 11 – May 9, 2021
Discussion questions for week 5: Disappointment
1. What stood out to you from the message this past Sunday? Was there anything that seemed particularly relevant to you at this time? Was there anything you found difficult or disagreed with?
2. The last year or so has been disappointing in many ways. In what ways have you experienced disappointment? How does this experience of disappointment influence your view of God?
3. Read John 21:1-17. Put yourself in Peter’s sandals. How do you think he would have felt when
- He caught nothing after fishing all night? (Note: a similar previous incident is recorded in Luke 5)
- He realized Jesus was on the shore?
- He saw Jesus by the charcoal fire?
- Jesus asked him three times if he loved him?
- Jesus entrusted him with the care of his sheep and lambs?
4. During the service on Sunday, Hannah and Charles spoke about some positive outcomes from a disappointing experience. Have you ever seen positive outcomes after a disappointment of your own? For example:
- Using the opportunity to reassess your priorities
- Determining to do better
- Deepening your relationship with God or with other people
5. Read Proverbs 16:9 and Micah 6:8. In what way do you think God guides us or has a plan for our lives? How does your view impact how you respond to God when life brings disappointment?
6. The speaker on Sunday outlined three steps to dealing with disappointment:
- Being honest about our feelings (including grief at the loss of things we hoped for)
- Living in the present (and being grateful for all we do have)
- Choosing love (extending grace to ourselves and others)
Think about your own experience of disappointment: which of these three steps is most difficult for you? Take some time to pray for one another.
Practice for the Week – The Welcoming Prayer for Disappointment
The Welcoming Prayer is a prayer practice that helps us let go of unhealthy responses to certain emotions we are experiencing, while helping us to embrace more of God’s love.
Think of a situation, relationship or just an area of your life that is for you a source of disappointment.
Step 1: Awareness Sit quietly and reflect on the situation for a moment. What emotion does this stir up in you (anger, shame, grief, etc.)? Focus and sink into your emotion. Go toward it rather than suppress or resist it. Stay with this step of noticing and sinking in until you really experience a connection to the emotion. You may feel it in your body, and it can help to place your hand there as a way of connecting with the emotion more deeply.
Step 2: Welcome Welcome the emotion as a friend that is going to help you discover something about yourself, rather than as an enemy to be defeated. Don’t judge yourself, but simply accept how you are feeling right now. Say, “Welcome anger/shame/grief/etc.” Repeat it, and sit with the feeling until you experience a genuine sense of owning and accepting it in this moment. Then allow yourself to honestly discern where the emotion is coming from. Usually this is from a thwarted desire for one or more normal and basic human needs:
- Safety and security
- Esteem and affection
- Power and control
Step 3: Let goTrusting that God is present (even if you don’t feel it right now), allow the heaviness of the disappointment to fall on God’s shoulders. Let God carry this burden. Let it go by saying, “God, I give you my anger/shame/grief/etc.” Consciously let go of
- Your demand for safety and security in this situation.
- Your demand for esteem and affection in this situation.
- Your demand for power and control in this situation.
Rest in God’s loving, affirming and totally accepting presence.