The List: Figuring Out Prince Charming, the Corner Office, and Happily Ever AfterThe List: Figuring Out Prince Charming, the Corner Office, and Happily Ever After
Marian Jordan
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In The List, Marian Jordan writes to single and married women about what to do when their list of dreams doesn't play out according to schedule. If your "list" of desired achievements has not yet been fulfilled, take some advice from Marian and trade it in for another list - one that honors God by putting his priorities first. If you can embrace this list, you might find yourself in the midst of your happily ever after dream. Paperback.
     

Discussion Questions- The List

Introduction: The List

  1. Marian describes trying to “boycott her birthday” due to the pain of unmet expectations. Can you relate to the emotions she felt at the time?


  2. “The List” can go by many names but the premise is the same. Please share with the group what your list would have been at age 13.


  3. How does your List still influence you today?


  4. How did your culture shape and influence your List? (Parents? Movies? Books? Television? Education? Celebrities?? Friends?)


  5. Marian says, “My angst with my age wasn’t about getting older per se—my anguish was more the result of unmet expectations. I always imagined my life would look different by this age.” How is your life currently lining up with your List? Is there one thing specifically that brings you anguish?


  6. Read Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11. God’s word says to us “Everything is beautiful in its time.” Do you see your season of life as beautiful? Yes or No? Why?


  7. Marian dealt with her unmet expectations by talking to God in prayer. Have you talked to God about your List? Why or Why Not? The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast you cares upon God because He cares about you.” (author’s paraphrase)

Take time in your small group to “cast your cares” upon God. Talk to him about your unmet expectations and your List.


 
Chapter One: Shine!
  1. Marian describes many television shows that depict our fame seeking culture. Name a few that come to mind that portray man’s desire for glory, attention, fame and praise.


  2. How are our Lists shaped by this human desire for glory and fame? (Marriage? Career? Social Status?)


  3. Marian writes, “To understand why we were made, we first must recognize the fact that we are, indeed, “made.” Created. Formed. Designed. Planned. Fashioned. We are not self-existent creatures. We did not create ourselves. We are the purposeful design of one who is the Creator of All Things. The Author of Life. The Holy, Awesome, and Majestic God of the Universe. The Bible says, “God made man in His own likeness. He made both male and female. He breathed into the nose the breath of life. (And) Man became a living being." (Genesis 1:27; 2:7 New Life Version)

    How does the fact that we are “created” change the way you see the purpose of your life?



  4. What does Isaiah 43:6-7 say that our purpose is in life?


  5. How does believing this truth challenge our Lists?


  6. Read John 10:10. Jesus says that Satan came to “steal, kill, and destroy.” How has the enemy sought to kill your joy and destroy your testimony in this season of life?


  7. Marian confessed in this chapter that many items on her List were more about her glory than she cared to admit. Can you confess the same? How can the fairytale wedding, perfect job, corner office, social status and perfect family photo become more about our glory instead of God’s glory?


  8. On page 21, Marian speaks about the battle that is raging for glory. How do you see that battle raging in your life?


  9. When are you most prone to be a Bridezilla? (translation: when are you tempted to make life “all about you?”


  10. Think about your calendar and credit card statement. Based on what you see, what are you shining for currently? What are you living to glorify?


  11. Why do our hearts resist keeping God at the center of our lives?


  12. In this chapter, Marian describes life in the “sweet spot.” This is living life centered upon God’s glory. Are there any changes you need to make in order to live for His glory and fame?


  13. Pray with your group to have a heart that desires His glory above all else.

 
Chapter Two: Hope!
  1. Marian shares her “addiction” to infomercials. What is your personal favorite commercial? How are these a great example of hope that sells?
         When is a time you have bought into someone hocking hope?


  2. Read the following excerpt:
         “I define hope as desire with the expectation of fulfillment. The word expectation is so huge...for expecting is the activity of hope. When I hope, I choose to place my expectation in the thing I believe will deliver a good and positive outcome.”

         What illustrations of hope does Marian use in this chapter to expound on this excerpt?


  3. What is a B.L.D.? Share with the group a few examples of Big-LetDowns in your life.


  4. If you were to re-write Psalm 33, (similarly to how Marian did on p.___) what would fill in your blanks?


  5. Explain the difference between false hope and real hope?


  6. Psalm 33: 16-17 describe the “false hopes” that Israel trusted in. What are your false hopes? (i.e. the perfect guy, a big bank account, a perfect body, your List)


  7. How do we hope in God?


  8. Why is trust in God’s love for us essential to placing our hope in him?


  9. In this chapter, Marian details a lunch meeting with a friend who confessed a lack of faith in God “to deliver” the desires of her heart. How have you been tempted to “take matters into your own hands” instead of waiting on God to deliver your desires?

         What potentially negative consequences can result from this choice?

         “To hope in God is choosing to believe he will deliver. A woman who hopes in God trusts him to provide for her needs. She commits the desires of her heart to him confident that his plan and his timing are best.”


  10. Read the following scripture together as a group prayer:
    We wait in hope for the LORD;
    he is our help and our shield.
    In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
    May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
    even as we put our hope in you.
    (Psalm 33:18-22 NIV)

 

Chapter Three: Pursue Beauty

1. How does our culture define “beauty?”

2. How is the pursuit of external beauty reflected in your List?

3. In the opening of this chapter, Marian is honest about her pursuit of external beauty. How can you relate? How have worldly images of beauty influenced you?

4. Marian writes, “The term “plastic” has become synonymous with a girl who is extremely attractive on the outside, yet  empty and shallow on the inside—a type of beauty that is literally only “skin deep.” It seems that as more focus is placed on external beauty, the uglier the heart can become. “

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Marian adds:
"My point is that when we are tempted to fixate on our outer beauty only (skin, hair, makeup, outfit, size), the result is that we are focusing exclusively on ourselves. This fight for the perfect look is a losing battle with casualties named kindness, goodness, gentleness, and selflessness.

     How does this type of self-focus create a “Mean Girl?”

5. What can we learn from Jane Eyre about true beauty?

6. What is the secret to becoming truly beautiful?
    (Hint: Abide…Behold …Become)

7. How do we reflect the Beautiful One?

8. As a group, commit to daily “Beholding the Beautiful One.” A Quiet Time Guide is in the appendix section. Review the tips together now.

9. What insight did “A Guy’s Perspective” give you into this whole issue of beauty?

10. What things in your heart are far from beautiful? Read and apply Psalm 139:23-24. Ask God to show you if there is anything “Plastic” that you need to confess. (Gossip, Slander, Lying, Pride, Rude speech, Unkind Words, Bitterness, Greed, Jealousy, or Selfish Attitudes)

11. As a group, pray and ask God to make you a woman who radiates the Beautiful One.


 

Chapter Four: Seek First!

1. Marian writes:
“Over the last few years I’ve encountered hundreds of young women who … are twenty-ish, thirty-ish, and dare I say it… forty-ish, and still single (or single again)…and many are asking the “now” question. They do love Jesus but their List is nowhere to be found; therefore, they are confused, disillusioned, and frankly, feeling a little bit lost. Aside from the loneliness and disappointment, most of them just want to know what they are supposed to do...in the mean time. You know, that span of time between graduation and getting hitched.”

     Can you relate to the “now” question these women are asking?

2. How have you been spending your single season? What have you been doing with your time and freedom?

3. What does it mean to “seek first the Kingdom of God?”


4. Read Colossians 1:13 and discuss the significance of citizenship in God’s Kingdom.


5. What does this world/culture encourage us to “seek first?”


6. What is the kingdom agenda? Are you currently living for this agenda or your own?


7. What is your God-nitch? What gifts, talents, abilities, passions and experiences can you use to further the Kingdom of God


8. It has been said “Where your greatest gift meets the world’s greatest need that is your calling.” How can you begin to use your S.H.A.P.E for God’s glory and Kingdom Agenda today?


     How can you take action and begin using your gifts, talents and abilities in your local church?

9. Marian writes: "One thing I've learned as a single girl is that I have a precious gift. This gift is time. Time to travel. Time to learn. Time to serve. Time to build relationships. Time to study God’s word. Time...Time...Time...The single season is most beautiful when our perspective changes from viewing it as a vacancy to viewing it as an opportunity.”


     How does the perspective of time as an “opportunity” instead of “vacancy” change your attitude about your season?

10. What “good things” can get in the way of you accomplishing GREAT THINGS for God’s Kingdom?


 

Chapter Five: Dance

1. Please share with the group your favorite dancing memory. (As I write these questions my assistantis reenacting a 2nd grade jazz number to the song “Freak Out!”  Good times. I hope your group has as much fun reliving 8th grade slow dances and dance recitals as we are.)

2. How does dancing illustrate our relationship with God?

3. What is surrender? How do we surrender to God?

4. When you’ve tried to “control” your life or “lead the dance” what have been the consequences?

5. What can we learn from Mary’s dance? How is she a role model for us today?

6. How do trust and surrender go hand in hand?

7. Marian writes: “One thing I ask of God everyday is this: give me a heart to love you more than anything else in this world. I’ve learned this is the secret to the dance. If I love Jesus then I love following Jesus. I delight in his will and in his ways. When my life is focused on loving Jesus, then his love fills my heart and naturally and gracefully overflows to others, thus fulfilling the Great Commandment.” Why is loving Jesus essential to the dance?

8. Discuss the “oneness” that is found in dancing with Jesus.

9. Marian expresses in this chapter her incredible joy that God did not give her her List. What do you think of her testimony?

10. Do you believe God’s plan for your life is better than your plan?

11. Read Psalm 37:3-8, 1 Corinthians 2:9, Isaiah 55:9 and Jeremiah 29:11-13. Take time as a group to pray for heart’s that are surrendered to God’s plan and to follow where He leads. Read the poem “Take My Life” as a prayer together.


 

Chapter 6: The Choice

  1. How has your perspective on life changed since reading this book?


  2. How are you different today?


  3. Is "The Choice" to exchange your List for God's List one that you want to make? Why or why not?


  4. Looking back over God's List, which is the most challenging to you? Which excites you the most?


  5. How can you make your season beautiful starting today?


  6. How can you share your new wisdom and insight with other women who are still struggling without their Lists? (Read 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4) Challenge: Encourage a girl you know who is feeling disappointed and discouraged in her season.



 

Posted 11/17/2009