devozine

For Youth Workers Post

I’m OK with That

Steven Lefebvre

“In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for September 23–29, 2013.

MAKING THE CONNECTION

    (Watch video)


MEET THE WRITER

StevenL video shot 150x150 Im OK with ThatMy name is Steven Lefebvre. I work with the youth and young adults at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Before my life of working at a church, I was the lead vocalist in a hardcore band. These days, I spend my free time being an armchair film critic, reading comic books, and playing much quieter music (well, sort of). I’m also an amateur champion of darts and dodge ball. I’m a huge fan of going to baseball games in the summer and to college basketball games in the winter. Professionally, I have an interest in monasticism, biblical studies, and pastoral care.

 

STUFF YOU WILL NEED

  • white board
  • markers

 

PLUGGED IN

 

CHECKING IN

When everyone has arrived, start a discussion by writing on the board the “Serenity Prayer”:

       God grant me the serenity
       to accept the things I cannot change;
       courage to change the things I can;
       and wisdom to know the difference.

Then write on the board the words “serenity,” “accept,” “courage,” and “wisdom.” Invite the group to brainstorm and to create a list of definitions for each word. Use these questions to guide their thinking:
       What is serenity? When have you experienced a feeling or a moment you would identify as serenity? Is anything better than serenity? Why is serenity or contentment difficult to find?
       What things are hard to accept? What about them makes them difficult to accept? What is the opposite of acceptance?
       What about making changes takes courage? Why are we afraid to make changes? How would you describe a courageous person?
       Whom do you consider wise? What about him or her demonstrates wisdom? In what way are his or her choices wise?

If you have time, invite the group to watch the twenty-minute Ted Talk video about “The Surprising Science of Happiness.” Invite discussion:
       Where and in what ways does the world we live in seem like a world of endless possibilities?
       How does living in a world of endless possibilities relate to our culture’s overall unhappiness?
       Do you agree with Dan Gilbert? Why? Why not?

 

EXPLORING THE WORD

Scripture: Hebrews 12:4–11

The writer of Hebrews has a great deal to say about discipline. The scripture argues that only people who are disciplined will find oneness with God. In the world today, with such high rates of divorce, suicide, drug abuse, and so on, we don’t have to look very far to see unhappiness. In fact, you might be struggling with unhappiness, depression, or low self-esteem. As if by default, in this day and age, if we don’t pay attention, we become unhappy.

In a consumer culture like ours, we are surrounded by messages promising unbridled possibilities and happiness. However, Christians have a different goal. God didn’t put us on earth to get our endorphins firing on all cylinders. God put us on earth to take care of the creation and to be at one with God. Sin is making choices that are contrary to the people God made us to be and the purposes God has for us. Sometimes seeking our own individual happiness is sinful.

Which brings us back to our scripture. Hebrews 12:4–22 goes into great detail about the connection between discipline and our relationship to God. Discipline is about making choices. In a world of unlimited possibilities and opportunities, discipline is about choosing one path and sticking with it. Furthermore, discipline influences all of our choices, big and small. For instance, athletes who choose to discipline themselves for a sport must make healthy choices about sleep, diet, and exercise.

The writer of Hebrews is talking about the discipline of staying connected to God. That is to say, in making choices, we decide whether or not we will contribute to building God’s kingdom.

Discuss these questions:
       What does the serenity prayer say about discipline?
       How would discipline lead to contentment? Is contentment enough? What does our culture say about contentment?
       What are some disciplines we can begin to practice now that will make us better people who follow in the way of Jesus Christ? (for example: prayer, fasting, community, service)

 

SHARING IN PRAYER

To close the session, invite group members to pray together the Serenity Prayer:

       God grant me the serenity
       to accept the things I cannot change;
       courage to change the things I can;
       and wisdom to know the difference.

 

TAKING IT FURTHER

Come up with a spiritual discipline that everyone can do together this week. Try to think of something small and doable that will encourage group members to limit choices for the sake of being content. Remember that our little decisions and behaviors matter as much as the big ones.

—from devozine In the Habit (September/October 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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