Jessica’s Daily Affirmation
If Jesus is your foundation, you can always have a perspective that finds hope in any circumstances.
The Discussion Starter:
Jessica’s Daily Affirmation has over 20 million views on YouTube, and features four year old Jessica declaring with positivity all the things she likes in her life. Her authenticity and ability to give herself a self-pep-talk has been encouragement and inspiration to others, which accounts for its incredible popularity. Filmed around 2001 and uploaded by her dad in 2009, the video gained popularity in 2010 when it was featured on Comedy Central’s Tosh.0.
The Video Clip: This clip is available online at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg
Jessica’s positivity stands out in this video, and provokes the question of how a person can find hope in all circumstances. Is it naïve to believe that hope is simply a matter of positive thinking, or is there a foundational aspect to being able to consistently have an attitude like Jessica?
Divide into Small Groups: Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format – a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: If a video of you from when you were four years old were to go viral, what would you be doing in it?
- ASK A FEW: Watch the video again. Which of Jessica’s affirmations stand out to you? Explain why you chose that one.
- ASK A FEW: What do you think people liked about this video that caused it to go viral?
- ASK A FEW: Jessica’s dad says she did not do this daily, but it was a special moment that he caught on camera. Why do you think it would be difficult to have an attitude like Jessica on a daily basis?
- ASK A FEW: You’ve likely heard the expression “finding the silver lining.” It means to find the positive in any situation. Do you tend to think this way, or do you struggle to find the silver lining in situations?
- ASK A FEW: When it comes to positive thinking, how important do you think it is for those thoughts to be based on truth? Does it matter, or can a person find hope by thinking good thoughts in any situation?
- ASK A FEW: Have you ever heard someone say “there are better days ahead?” Do you agree this is usually true for people? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- ASK A FEW: Read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28. Considering that this is a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church, what do you think he is trying to get across in these verses?
- ASK A FEW: “Rejoice” means to verbally express joy. Do you think Jessica does a good job at this? What are some ways you rejoice in your own life?
- ASK A FEW: When Paul writes to “pray continually,” what do you think this means? How can a consistent prayer life impact your ability to find hope in circumstances?
- ASK A FEW: When Paul writes to “give thanks in all circumstances,” what do you think he means? Look at the passage below (2 Corinthians 11:23-28) and talk about what it means for Paul to give thanks in all circumstances when you better understand the circumstances he faced.
2 Corinthians 11:23-28
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
- ASK A FEW: What did Paul have in his life that allowed him to find hope in his circumstances? Do you think Paul could have given thanks in all circumstances without Jesus as his foundation? Explain why you think the way you do.
- ASK A FEW: How has knowing Jesus helped you to keep hope in circumstances? Explain the challenges of finding hope in the midst of hardship.
In our time, we talked about positivity and finding hope. Ultimately, positive thinking is only as valuable as the foundation it is built on. If our life is built on Jesus Christ, that foundation is unshakable. This means that even when the rains come in our lives, our foundation is secure because we have what lasts beyond circumstances. Take a moment and consider whether or not your hope is based on circumstances or something greater, something foundational.
(Give them a moment to reflect and pray)
People love Jessica’s video because it’s the life they want to live. We want to rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances, but it’s hard to do. It’s far too easy to only see what is in front of us, and often that creates challenges in being thankful. As we allow God to change our perspective and help us see that He is good, He is present, and He never changes, we will start to see the hope He has for us. We realize that we are part of something greater because when Jesus is our foundation, we can always have a perspective that finds hope in any circumstances.
Close in Prayer
Rob Chagdes is one of the pastors at Prairie Lakes Church in northern Iowa. In the years since he met Jesus as a sixteen year old, Rob has spent his life working to raise up the next generation to love God and invite others into His unending story. He spends most of his free time with his wife Leslie, their three amazing daughters, and their energetic dog Jedi. You can reach Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org .