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  • How to be Unsuccessful
    How to be Unsuccessful: Episode 4

    Session 4: Success is… Transforming Over Transferring

    How to Be (Un)Successful book chapter for this session: 

    Chapter 4 

    A note for leaders 

    Each session of the series is designed to take one hour but can easily be adapted for your group’s needs. We recommend allowing time at the beginning to chat and get to know one another, especially if your group is new.  

    Each session will include questions to allow groups to talk about what impacted them most – feel free to spend time on the questions that are most helpful for your group, and don’t worry about getting through all the questions! However, if your group prefers to have multiple questions to work through, these are provided too.  

    We also recommend allowing time at the end for reflection and to pray for one another, especially as each session requires a little vulnerability.  

    Welcome and introduction

    5 mins

    In the fourth session, we’ll explore how different ways of dealing with pain can deeply impact our lives – either transferring it to others, or taking it to God and allowing him to transform it. 

    Key verse 

     Praise the Lord, my soul; 
        all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 
     Praise the Lord, my soul, 
        and forget not all his benefits— 
     who forgives all your sins 
        and heals all your diseases… 
     who satisfies your desires with good things. 
    Psalm 103:1–3, 5 

    Begin the session by opening in prayer  

    Watch the video

    15 mins

    Bible passages 

    Psalm 103:1-3, 5; John 21 

    Summary points 

    • Not knowing how to process pain can make us look for solutions in all the wrong places – like addiction, substance abuse, over-working, exercise, public affirmation. 
    • Your deepest pain can become your greatest victory when you bring that pain to God. 

    Discussion questions

    25 mins

    This discussion will demonstrate the importance of vulnerability – it would be good to explore ‘general’ pain experienced by most people such as grief, loss, unforgiveness as well as ‘specific’ pain such as addiction, abuse, etc – making the topic applicable to everyone.  

    In discussions of potentially difficult and heavy topics like these, it’s good to focus on personal examples rather than the examples of others.  

    • What was your highlight from the session? 
    • Are you aware of how you deal with pain in your life? Do you have an intentional strategy? 
    • What are your ‘go to’ coping mechanisms for dealing with pain, disappointment or fear? 
    • Have you ever experienced God transforming an area of pain or trauma in your life into something redemptive?  
    • Do you feel able to be fully honest with God about what you are feeling? 

    “Your deepest pain can become your greatest victory when you bring that pain to God. When you – instead of transferring it onto other people or distracting yourself from it – let God transform it.” 

    • What does it practically look like to let God transform your pain? 

    Prayer and practical challenge

    15 mins


    Finish your time together by closing in prayer or splitting into small groups to pray for one another’s specific needs. 

    Practical challenge 

    Instead of the coping mechanisms that have gotten you through your pain to this point, how could you respond differently? Create a conscious plan for bringing your pain to God – this could look like an afternoon spent journalling, an appointment to speak with a pastor or a therapist, or simply commitment to sit with your discomfort the next time it arrives, instead of (for example) immediately picking up your phone to scroll. 

    Inspired by this podcast?

    More episodes in this series

    View series
    Session 5: Success Is… Being a Faithful Presence in the Culture Wars
    Episode 5
    Session 6: Success is… Power and Participation
    Episode 6