Get Healthy Week 3: How to Change Myself When I’d Really Rather Change My Circumstances
Wouldn’t it be great if life were perfect? The good news is that it will be one day— in heaven. But for now, life is filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, milestones and the mundane. Circumstances aren’t always what we’d like them to be. For any of us. Some of us drive ourselves crazy trying to change, control and manipulate our circumstances. Some circumstances, though, just can’t be changed overnight. A few can’t be changed ever. So how do we handle real life circumstances when they aren’t quite picture perfect—and do it in a healthy way? We’re about to find out.
1. Read Proverbs 13:12.
o How does it make you feel to know God understands that when circumstances aren’t all we hoped, it affects our heart?
o What does this tell you about the nature of God?
2. Isaiah 43 was written to God’s people just before they were taken into captivity by a rival nation—not an ideal circumstance in anyone’s estimation. God prepares them for the upcoming difficulty with the following words. Read the passage and answer the following questions:
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia[a] and Seba in your place.
- What two things were they told to do in verse one?
- The end of verse one and verse two explains why they were not to be afraid. According to these verses what were they to know and remember during a season of difficulty?
- Some circumstances feel like deep waters–we’re in over our heads. Some are difficulties. Some are oppressive. If you are in one of these three circumstances, personalize Isaiah 43:2 by filling in your name. (ex. “Donna, when you go through deep waters, I will be with you”.) Write it out word for word.
- Which of these promises is most meaningful to you?
- Verse three repeats the very personal word “your”. Underline the words “your”. According to Isaiah 43:3 who is God to you?
- God gave Egypt as ransom for the Hebrews but He gave Jesus in ransom for you. Discuss the hope this passage gives you in trying circumstances.
3. Difficult circumstances—even minor ones—are caused by a variety of reasons: our own sin or the sin of others; the fact that we live in a fallen world and in finite bodies; schemes of our enemy to derail us; and sometimes tests designed by God. No matter what the reason difficulties come, God’s Word offers us hope in how we deal with them. Read the following passages and note how we are to respond when circumstances are not what we would want them to be. Also note why, if applicable.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
- 2 Timothy 4:5-8 (note the word “hardship” in vs 5)
- Hebrews 12:1-3
- James 1:2-4
- 1 Peter 1:6-9
- 1 Thes 5:16-18
4. 1 Thes 5:18 instructs believers to “give thanks IN all circumstances”. In it, not for it. Some circumstances are so devastating it’s impossible to be thankful for them. We can, however, choose to give thanks in the midst of them. If you heeded this instruction how might it:
- Affect your perspective in the midst of the circumstance?
- Affect your wisdom in dealing with the circumstance?
- Affect your hope in the circumstance?
- Can you see how obeying this command would be in your best interest? Why?
5. Read Romans 8:18, 26 and 28-29. Which of the truths found in these verses are most meaningful to you in dealing with less-than-ideal circumstances? Why?