Deb. I am thrilled to have you on the show today to discuss so your new book embracing uncomfortable, facing our fears while pursuing our purpose. I love that subtitle so much. And so I'd love for you to start by sharing a little bit with listeners about your heart, for the book. Absolutely. And thanks so much for having me, you know, the book is probably a bit motivated by my own personal experience.
And then my work in, um, seeing clients I'm a clinical psychologist, but it really started, I think in my own life, I went through sort of a, uh, a family crisis about little over 10 years ago. Um, and it. Forced me to confront this false identity that I realized I was holding on to this idea of being the fixer and the problem solver in my family and my relationships and my community and how much that was playing out in my day to day decision-making.
And as I worked to kind of confront that, that lie that I was believing, it made me realize how much of my day to day was. Was really kind of seeking comfort that wasn't aligned with what was most important to me. And then of course, the more I saw that in my own life, the more I saw it in my clients. And so as I started this practice of embracing uncomfortable, I realized, I think a lot of people deal with this.
Maybe I could write about it. I love now when I talk to authors, which, you know, as a podcast or a lot of the people that you connect with are authors and I love. Talk it, but it's like, by the time you get somebody on the phone and to talk about their book, their message is so well developed that it just makes for such a fun conversation.
But what I find so often is just the commonality of author saying really, you know, this message is a. Well-worn lesson in my own life. And so as I kind of, I haven't read the entire book, but I got to skim it quite a bit over the weekend. Um, I was excited to just hear more of your story because I had assumed that that was true with this one as well.
So that's really fun. Um, so why do you think we so often choose quote I'm making air quotes comfortable and how do you believe that it's standing in the way of us living the life that we desire? Yeah. I, you know, I think most of the time, yeah, she's comfort. Cause we're just not really thinking about it.
We kinda make our day to day lives, go on autopilot and we get into these kind of habitual patterns of engaging with people and that's reinforced over time. And. What's interesting is if we really paused and looked back, like, look back on your day, look back on your week. Think about what's most important to you.
And how often did those decisions align with that? And so we're seeking like momentary comfort and safety, but the, at the expense of longterm contentment, And what my hope is for this message in the book is that we flip that, that we start really recognizing how those daily decisions may be uncomfortable because they may go, you know, they're, counter-cultural, especially for us as, as believers, as Christians.
Um, so often what we're called to do is not what the world does. We're not to live of the world. Right. And, um, but when we do that, I find that there's this greater sense of satisfaction because we're living congruent with what we value most. Yeah. Oh, that's so good. Have you read any of Michael Hyatts work?
Because a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Your message reminds me just a little bit of his, more in the sense of planning. So I know he has like a, I think it's called the full focus planner that I've, I've actually been looking at possibly ordering to move to that planner style, but really just at the core of it.
Um, being intentional about how you spend your time and just really taking inventory of that. It's almost like, you know, you start tracking your food and then you realize, gosh, I didn't know that all of that added up to a result that I really wasn't looking for in the first place. Like you're saying, I don't think we set out.
You know, we don't wake up each morning thinking, man, I just want to live a comfortable life today, you know, but we ended up choosing that slowly over time. So yeah, it just triggered me to think about Michael Hyatt. A lot of his stuff I think kind of goes in tandem with that message. So that's cool. Yeah.
So one of the quotes that I love that you say in the book is other people's expectations become our standard of living. And one day we find ourselves disappointed and discontented. Yeah. Let's talk about that a little bit. Let's talk about, uh, just other people's expectations. Why do you think we do this so often?
And how do we combat that? Oh, it's so hard, right? We do. I mean, I do this, you, you mentioned kind of reading through the book so much of what I talk about in the book is based on my own. Story and experience. And my hope in doing that is the other people feel validated and their encounters. And I struggle with this, like other people's expectations of me as a friend, as a daughter, as, as a professor, it's tough.
And, you know, I think it's because again, going back to this idea of where does our identity lie and how often do we intentionally connect. Or every day are my decisions based on my core identity, which for me, is being made in the image of God. Like that's it, nothing can change that. I can make a huge mistake and feel really disappointed in myself or feel embarrassed or feel ashamed.
But that doesn't mean that's my identity. And I think that's a big piece of it, right. Is reclaiming our identity and then allowing our emotions to be just that. And one of the things I talk about in the book is my experience with failure. And that was not easy to talk about, but it was important because I realized in that experience, I was allowing failure to be my identity versus being disappointed in my failures.
We would all fail. That's just a part of life. And, um, and so when we can actually say, okay, this is my core identity. I'm not going to allow other people to define me, however, how other people react to me is going to affect me. And I think that's key. We have to acknowledge it both. So, and that's that feeling piece?
Like if, if you, if I don't get that promotion or I'm in a huge, um, conflict with my spouse in a really unhealthy place in my marriage. It's going to affect me, but it doesn't have a bearing on my identity. And so as we start to really live out, according to our true identity, I think it gives us the courage to practice embracing uncomfortable.
Yeah. I love that. And it makes me think about, so have you taken the Enneagram. Yes. I love the Enneagram that he too. So, so, and I'm always clear when I talk about it. It is a tool. It is not the gospel. It is not an excuse to sin, but I have seen it in my own life. And even in my marriage to be just such a helpful tool to learn each other's motives behind, you know, kind of what drives us and.
I know for me. So I'm a three and, Oh, that's so fun. I love it. Three, two, and same here. And one of the things that, you know, you'll hear is for a three, a lot of times you will define yourself by what you do or by what you accomplish. Right. And so. You know, when you, when somebody asks you, you know, tell me a little bit about yourself immediately adjunct to, okay.
Here's what I do for a living. Here's what my ministry does and all the things. And you begin to kind of define yourself by what you've achieved versus your identity in Christ. And so that's a good, good reminder for me, because I think. Not only is that something that I battle in my own life, but I know, um, just based off the demographics of our listeners, we also have a lot of other achiever driven people.
And so this is just such a great message to tie back and really encourage that type of person with that type of heart. Now, I'm curious as you're riding, were there people in your life that really embraced. Embracing uncomfortable. Well, do you have people that maybe you look to in your life that maybe have modeled that well for you?
Yeah. You know, it's been so interesting cause I think in different seasons of my life, I see that play out quite a bit, you know? Um, of course I think for me, Like the, the, the best example. And I know this sounds a little cliche, but is I feel like Jesus, his ministry was so much about embracing uncomfortable, right?
Like everything he did was in stark contrast to what the cultural expectations were of the text. And it was motivated by his desire to. To draw people to him for their salvation, but to build this sense of community around love. Right. And so, I mean, that's, that's kind of my ultimate example. Um, I have a great relationship with my dad and he's listening to me record this podcast right now.
And, and, and, you know, I've seen him too. Yeah. Steps in embracing uncomfortable and, and. Respond out of humility and restoring relationships in his life. Um, I think about, you know, some of the things that we've encountered in the year 2020 of the global pandemic, and I think about teachers and, and, and healthcare workers and how they have really put aside, maybe some of the easier, more comfortable things for the sake of others.
Um, But, yeah, and for me, when I was writing the book, I mean, I have a tribe of close friends and family around me who have held me accountable in this whole process too. I mean, the hardest part about writing a book called embracing uncomfortable is you start to waver on something and somebody will inevitably tell you, well, Deb, you did write a book called embracing uncomfortable.
So you really can't get away with much, but you know, for me, yeah. Yeah. The key thing is those people that are not, it's not about not making mistakes, it's not about, um, you know, doing everything perfectly. It's those people that are, who are intentional and really stopping pausing and aligning their, their actions, their words, their relationships with what they say matters most to them.
It's it's that authenticity piece. Yeah, all of that definitely goes back to authenticity. And so there's an exercise that you have in the book that is so practical that I love to share with listeners. And so you recommend readers go through a process where they make a list of all the people, places, objects, and memories.
That are important when they consider the question, what is most important in my life, both now in the present and in the past. And I love kind of reading through yours and I'm excited to just take the time to do this myself, but tell the listeners what that experience was like for you. And what are some of the things on your list just to give them some examples.
Absolutely. This is one of those things where I, I believe we all have value and we all kind of have this vague big sense of what our values are. And I'm talking about core values. Like those things that really guide the gift, you were on a map, those are telling you what direction to go, to get to your destination.
Um, and so this exercise is really is exactly that is. Really thinking through. Okay. At the end of the day, what do you say is most important to you? And it's tough. I do do this to my students every year. I teach graduate school and they get real mad at me. Cause you write down everybody that's important to you.
Every memory, everything, um, every, every place. And then you start crossing things off the list and it does make you squirm. And the interesting thing is, you know, it's, it's. It's not a real exercise. I'm not actually telling you, like eliminate this person from your life and never have any contact with them again.
But yeah, it's designed to see like what, at its core, something you are not willing to sacrifice. Yeah. And, you know, I think we live in a culture of excess. And so we hold on to all these things and then we can't actually live according to our values because there's too much that we value. So, um, for me, it was tough.
You know, the exercise is tough. It, it, it brings a sense of discomfort, but at the end of the day, it helped me really hone in on what, what are my five core values. And I list them in the book. I'll share them with you another. So number one is Jesus. And just for me, that's an everything. Jesus represents.
Number two is relationship and it was, it was key for me to label my value as relationship and not just family, because a lot of them, my family, so to speak is my closest friends. Um, My, my extended family is, is far beyond just my blood family. And then, um, wisdom. I love to read. I love to, to gain knowledge.
I love to read scripture that authenticity is big and then purpose. And I see those things play out every day in my life. Um, and you'll see. So I wrote in the book, some of the things that. Exemplified that. Right. Um, so certainly family popped up on my list of people that were important to me, places that reminded me of experiences, where I was either able to learn and grow in knowledge or gain deeper understanding of Jesus and his word.
Um, Yeah. So I loved being able to put that into the book and I hope it's something that's practical that people can use to really identify what, what is most important to them? Cause that's also key is I don't want people to read the book and say, okay, my five values are jesus' relationship with them, authenticity, purpose.
I want them to really figure out what is, what, what are their core values that are unique to who God created them to be? Yeah, that's an important thing to really, I think the vocabulary too. I think a lot of us, I mean, probably have some idea and I fall in the same realm as those five core values, but I remember going through an exercise in a leadership class once where it was sort of, it was sort of like a word bank.
Like it was a word bank of all of these, you know, value you type words. And you had to pick like your top. 10 or something like that. And then you somehow whittled it down to five and it was really interesting to just like take time out and really think about like, wow, what really ultimately matters to me most.
And I need to go back and find that I'd be curious and I'd like to go through it again. So another thing that I love to talk about is the difference between comfort and contentment. I think that can be a tricky, fine line for people. And so I'd love to talk about the difference between the two and why does that matter?
Yeah, yeah. To me. And this is kind of how I conceptualize it. I don't know if it's the exact, you know, a dictionary version, but when I think about comfort, it's about kind of perhaps even like a false sense of safety. Um, and, and I don't want to say comfort. It's not necessarily a bad thing. It's a, we use comforting.
Right. And so I think comfort can be a way almost, maybe even an excuse for us to. Um, avoid doing the difficult things that do align with our core values. Whereas contentment, I believe is more of a discipline. Yeah. And so like, even when I think about scripture and I think that this idea of like pursuing contentment or seeking contentment, I think it's a, it's a state of mind that we have to discipline ourselves to, but something that, um, You know, it is yeah.
Paul who says I choose to be content in all circumstances. And if there is somebody in the Bible that had every right to be discontent, I mean, it was Paul, the guy was in prison. The guy was shipwrecked. The guy was, you know, homeless. Um, but he chose to be content. And I think that's, you know, I think going back to this idea of water values, I don't know anybody in, in my years of working with clients and my years of interacting with people who have said, you know, money is my core values.
Now, there are some people for whom, you know, financial stability is important, but so when you think about it, like if I'm learning to be content in my circumstances and we have control over very little in our lives, then I think it's this discipline in our state of mind, which then influences how we interact with other people.
So it's like I could even be, you know, having a horrible day. And if I'm called the glorify God in all that I say and do, and I go to the coffee shop and I'm in a terrible mood. Until I tell a story similar to this in my book. And the lady in front of me is, you know, taking her sweet time and keeping me behind and I'm running late.
I can, I can react poorly in a situation like that. I can, I can react out of what I would say is a false sense of comfort of like, let me be mean to her and show her because my time is important, right. Or I can say, okay, what does it look like to be content in this situation? Even if I'm going to be late, even if I'm frustrated.
Um, and I think that's saying, okay, I'm going to radically accept my circumstances and respond according to how I want to align with my values. Yeah, that's good. It really is a choice too, like you said, and, and that's hard, you know, on hard days, hard. Especially at the time where this recording will come out.
Yeah. It's during the holidays. And I think arguably that could be a time each year in our lives that it is. Even though it's joyful. It is sometimes hard S to be contentment or to be content when we're spending a lot of time with extended family. And sometimes that's not as easy as we would think to, as we would like to imagine it is.
And, um, there's a lot of stress there, but really each day we do, you know, it's such a good reminder that we do have the choice to be content, to show kindness. Um, to let pizza roll our hearts, like all those promises and it's in times like this, that we really have to apply those, you know, those truths in scripture.
So, so true. Well, and I think too, like during the holidays, that's like a huge time for people to compare, right? I mean, we're, we're forced fed exactly what the holidays are supposed to look like by the media and for people who struggle with broken family relationships or financial hardships, or, you know, any other thing that I think is.
Counter to what the media and what popular culture is telling us the holiday should look like. It's so easy to slip into display in those moments and, you know, emphasize these aren't easy things to apply. Um, I mean, you, you write a book called embracing. It kind of is obvious from the title. Okay. This is not going to be an easy book to read, but I did a podcast recently with somebody and they gave me what I.
It was a really generous compliment. I felt like they said, you know, the book is hard, absolutely putting these, these tools into places that is not something that you can just kind of do with the snap of a finger, but it's kind of like the message is kind. And so, you know, I just, as, as you think about, you know, in the middle, so the hustle and bustle of these days, um, These tools are so important and we can put them in place in our lives in a way that's generous and humble and kind to ourselves, but also with a byproduct of, Hey, I'm, I'm going to feel a greater sense of, of contentment in the long run because, and to live, according to my values, even though in the moment, it was really difficult to do.
Absolutely. Absolutely. So there's a question that I ask every guest that comes on the show, and I'm super excited to ask you. Everybody has a very different answer. And that is what is the best piece of advice that you think you've ever been given? Oh, the best piece of advice I've ever been given.
Honestly, I think. Probably from my parents growing up was to always live authentic to who God created me to be. And, um, and you know, I think the circles that I've, that, that God has allowed me to walk in. Um, that's not always easy to do, but at the end of the day, so affirming of my identity and, um, And just, you know, giving me a sense of peace in the midst of challenges that God has put me here and that he has created me with my, you know, my Enneagram threeness for, for a purpose.
And so, yeah, I would say that that's probably the greatest piece of advice I've been given. I love it. I love it. That's so good. So I am thrilled to have embracing uncomfortable, be a part of our 12 books of Christmas this season. And what we're doing for each one of these episodes is we're asking the guest.
What is the best, most favorite Christmas tradition that you have. So I'm so excited for you to share that with listeners. I loved this question. I'm so excited to share it, so, okay. So every year at Christmas, we from like, As early as I can remember, my dad would create a treasure hunt for like your gift.
Like the one gift, you know, you'd been hoping to get, or like whatever was considered like the gift. And, you know, over the years it got harder and harder and harder. Like almost to the point where we're like, this is absurd. It makes no sense, but he would create this. So that was like the thing we'd have to go and hide and we would get so excited about that.
And now there's grandkids in the family. And so the treasure hunt has, has, is no longer for the kids. It's not for the grandkids, but to get to see it a carried on, but to see how excited that they are. And it reminds me of those days when I was a kid and I was just like, I cannot wait for the treasure hunt and now they they're doing that.
And it's really fun to see it carried on to their generation. That's so cool. So do you do it on Christmas morning? We did at Christmas, we had to wait. So that's the harder part too. So like we opened some guests, we have breakfast together. Um, we usually, you know, we have a devotion together and then at some time later on in the afternoon, so there's also that piece of like, Oh man, when do we get to do the treasure hunt?
And we want to do it now. So especially like my nephews, they have a real hard time. They're like treasure hunt. Why are we doing the treasurer thing? It is like an expected part of Christmas every year. I love it. I've never heard of doing that Christmas. I've done a little treasure hunts for like different birthdays and stuff before, but that's fun.
I really like it's, it's amazing. I love hearing everybody's different traditions. It's so fun to like get ideas from other people. And I I'm such, I just, I love Christmas. I love that time of year, so I can't wait for one it to be a little cooler and, um, to just enjoy. Time like that. So that's so fun. Yeah.
Well, been so much fun to have you on. I am so excited about the message of this book and I, I'm just excited for listeners to hear about it, to check it out and have the opportunity to win a copy of it throughout our giveaway that we're doing throughout the 12 books of Christmas. So listeners, make sure you go enter that if you have not already.
And before we sign off, tell listeners a little bit about where they can find you and connect with you and all that good stuff. Absolutely so they can get the book anywhere. You can buy books, Amazon, all those fun places. They can find me, um, gorton.com. Uh, I'm the same doctor, Deb Gorton or Deb Gorton on social media, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and I also created a community around the book.
So a big, big part of my message is we have to do this together. And so if you don't feel like you have the encouragement and support or you want more resources embracing uncomfortable.com, we've got all kinds of stories and ways to connect there over the message of the book. Cool. I love it. That's so exciting.
Well, thank you so much for being my guest today. Thanks for having me.
Okay, Melissa, I am so excited today for you to talk to listeners about your heart behind your new book, growing together, taking mentoring beyond small talk and prayer request. And that has to be one of the best subtitles I've heard in a long time. So tell us all about the book. I'm well, thank you. Um, um, I'm so excited about it actually.
Um, it's been a book that has been on my heart for about 10 years, and I think the outline for the book has been on my computer for about six years. And so I've been so glad to finally get, to have the space and time to write it and really the hope behind it was. Um, I worked in women's ministry at my church for 10 years and what I saw a lot of was women desperate.
Lee wanting to connect with women from other seasons in their life. They wanted to know older women and older women wanted to invest in younger women, but they struggle to know how to do that beyond just getting together for coffee. And so they would get together. They would chat about the weather in life.
But they struggled to kind of take that conversation more towards spiritual growth. I think they both wanted it, but they were finding it hard to get there. And so that's really, what's behind this book is trying to just provide a resource that women can use in mentoring relationships to actually go deeper with one another and have conversations about their prayer life, about evangelism.
About contentment about the things we really want to get to, but sometimes we get to in the last five minutes of the two hour conversation. Exactly. So every time, well, I guess this is the second conversation that we've had really centered around mentorship investing in the next generation, that type of.
Of conversation. And the first time I shared this and I'll share a little bit of it again, the best example of this that I've seen in my own life is a friend that is still, I would still consider her a mentor to me today that I knew back from my time up in Tennessee. And we met in a running club. And somebody introduced us because they had figured out that we both went to the same mega church and we just happen to not have crossed paths yet.
And we started running together and I think there are people who are like inch, inch, wide mile deep people. And I would, I would consider myself that type of person. And so as Gina, and then they're like the mile wide inch deep people. And I think those people. It may be a little bit more difficult for them to get to those conversations like we're talking about, but I feel so fortunate that God led me to Gina and we ran together a ton and she was exactly what you're describing to me.
And it was so special because she was about seven steps ahead of me in life. She's married. She has three. Small girls under the age, at that point in time of about six, they were about six, four and two. So she was in the thick of motherhood. We would run early in the mornings before her people were up and ready.
And it was just so special because for years and years, and again, she still pours it into my life. She walked with me through the darkness of when I was single and I was. Watching all my people get married and she had gotten married later in life. And just really, um, God just really used her to say the hard things to have the hard conversations.
There was like, nothing was off the table with Gina. You know what I mean? And I just, I so value my friendship and my relationship with her, which I think has what has now given me the heart to be that, you know, in, in my own life and now being like a year into it. To marriage. I have a couple of friends who are getting married later in the year, and I just think of conversations that, you know, Gina was willing to have with me that nobody else really wanted to talk about before we got married and just how thankful I am on the other side.
Just to have somebody like that in my life. So I just want to say, I was just really excited to see this book come across my desk because I think it's so needed. And those really deep relationships are so treasured, but they're so rare. Um, but it's not impossible to find. So. That was a long winded segue, but, um, I'm excited hearing that.
I love hearing that. I bet you were a gift to her as well. You're in the young years of motherhood, I can just picture her going out and running with someone who maybe you don't talk about motherhood with. That can be delightful for both people. You know? I mean, so it really is. It's a mutual gift. It's not just.
The older woman, so to speak or the different life stage woman is pouring in important out. Yeah. You both receive as you're giving. Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful thing. I agree. And I think one of the things, and I'm, she knows this as told this to her and I've told this to other people, and this is one thing I hope to model that she really taught me is sure.
She, she shared biblical truth with me. She spoke truth over, over my life and everything. So all the things, however, she didn't hide, Hey Matt. And I've had a really hard week or, you know, I lost it in front of my kids yesterday. And like, here's how I reconciled that, you know, like she, wasn't afraid to. Be vulnerable to me to not create this facade of marriage and motherhood that I think has already perpetuated in society.
She just, she really kind of broke all that, all those walls down for me, which I don't know. I just hadn't had many other friends who were willing to go there with me. And so, so yeah, it, I mean, it goes on both sides, but I was also like you're saying, I think a person that she could come to and like, Openly say like, Hey, last night it was a hard night and none of our kids slept, you know, all those things.
And so it gives you a mutual benefit and you sharing with her. It was really hard to go to the party by myself again, and have no one to sit with. It might make her feel really encouraged that her Pew is full, even though she's having to like deal with spit up and a kid, he threw up on her that you, or whatever, like it can.
By listing to each other. We realize there are blessings in my season and there are hard things in my seat. What you realize is there's no perfect season. And in some ways that reminds us to be thankful for what we have, you know, in each, in each season, by just being in community with one another and listening to one another, it can, you know, Help both of us, so to speak.
So for people kind of dipping their toes into kind of wind to learn more about mentorship type relationships and your opinion, what do you think is kind of the goal of this? So we've talked a little bit about it, but if you were to kind of wrap that up for somebody, you know, before reading the book, what would you say there?
Yeah. And mentorship obviously can take a lot of forms. I mean, you can be mentored at work and you can be mentored and running. So to speak. If you run with someone who's run long distances, you know, all those things, but spiritual mentorship, really the goal is spiritual growth. And so. What I like to say about this is we can have lots of different types of mentors, especially as women in our life.
Like when you're newly married, you want, you might want to be mentored by an older couple. Who's just been married on marriage, or you might want to become mentored by someone on there for your life. There are a lot of different topics in the Christian life that we can be mentor. But I think the ultimate goal is that we're moved further along in the faith.
Yeah. And so we want to, at the end, I don't want any, when I'm mentoring to look more like me. Yeah. I want them to look more like Jesus. And so the goal is not to convince them of my way of doing things, but to help them in their life. Follow Jesus. So that's the ultimate goal. Um, and that really helps on a lot of friends because, you know, there's, there's a lot of pressure.
And sometimes even the mentee, like the person being mentored just wants an answer and I'm not being a really good mentor if I'm just giving her all the answers. I'm, I'm being a better mentor. If I'm pushing her back to God's word and to prayer, and to saying, I will pray with you that the Lord can show you what to do in this circumstance.
So we're helping someone else. Walk with Jesus not being Jesus for them. And so sometimes we want somebody just to tell us what to do. And I actually don't think that's the best role of a mentor. Um, but it might, it might be easier in the short term. Yeah. Oh, I agree. Yeah. And I think if we're in it for the short term sure.
Give, give the person that, all the answers, but for a longterm thing. Yeah. I totally agree with you there. So what are some commonalities that you think you see in terms of what does a healthy mentorship relationship look like? Yeah. I think one of the big things is that it is mutual. And this is where you discussed a little bit about with your friend.
Um, I think it, it should be the time thing. Like if I'm in a mentoring relationship with what someone sure. I'm asking her, how can I pray for you this week? Or how, you know, what are you. Going through, but it should be mutual that she's also asking how can I pray for you? And I should be able to share, Hey, I did get into a fight with my husband this week and I yelled at all my kids.
I'm kind of a mess too, because you need that open and honesty. And actually I think that's the way, in some ways a mentor relationship gives long after. The relationship may not be in the same state or city or whatever, because one day, for instance, you'll have kids and, you know, Lord willing and you'll remember, Oh yes, she dealt with this too.
And it will, it suits your heart in that moment. So I think there's, um, basically there's give and take on both sides. I think what was also healthy is, um, if it's going to be a formal relationship, Like where we say, Hey, let's meet together. I do think is really helpful to figure out a time and a day to me that works for both your schedules, so that the weight of the relationship isn't on one party.
Yeah. Sometimes it's like, Oh, you gotta call me or am I going to call you? And so if you can decide on the front end, Hey, let's meet every Tuesday to go for a walk or let's meet every Thursday night to, to have coffee or let's do it once a month on a Saturday morning and we're going to do something. I think that can really help.
Provide a little structure to the relationship. It doesn't have to be that there's a lot of great informal relationships that happen where women just get coffee. But if you're going to, if you're looking for more kind of, Oh, let's meet on a regular basis with someone, I do think going ahead and setting that up on the front end can kind of help with the health of the relationship because sometimes they devolve into a little awkward.
Hey, we should get together sometime. And everyone's disappointed and the mentor feels like a failure and the mentee feels time with me and it's just awkward. So I think that the more things you can set up, like, what are your expectations? What are you hoping for from this on the front end? I think that's better.
Cause sometimes we just miscommunicate, even in mentoring relationships. Yeah, I agree. And I think it would be a shame to feel those things just as a result of miscommunication, like that's an easy fix and that's an easy thing on the front end that can just avoid a lot of problems later. You know, I think most seasons of my life I've had people like a Gina where.
It's not really been this like formal, like I've, I've said, Hey, I'm, I'm asking you to be my mentor, but people have been, God's just provided. And I've been so blessed to have people just stand in the gap and be that in my life. Um, but I know that, um, you know, different personalities kind of seek that out or don't seek that out in different ways.
And so, um, or naturally more or less drawn to people. Older than them. And so I think all those things are in place. If you are somebody who really kind of needs a framework, that those are some really good things to think about. Um, and kind of on that note, if you are the person being mentored, I think there's probably some things to be aware of.
Think about, pray through there as well. So I'd love to hear your thoughts there. Yeah. So if, if you're the person being mentored, um, I think it's, it's really good not to view the relationship as one sided. Um, so often. I think it's really easy to come into relationship like a mentoring relationship and think she's supposed to be giving everything to me.
Um, come in with your questions. The reality is the older women may have no idea what you actually want from her. And so you providing that direction would be great. So, I mean, it could even start by saying to an older woman who you've. And mired her prayer life. Hey, can we get coffee? And can I just ask you about your prayer life and then come with real questions so that you don't spend an hour talking about the weather and then jump in.
I mean, go ahead and jump in. And she's giving you her time. And even though sometimes older women, you may think, what do they do with their day? I'm sure they're busy. I don't know many people who aren't busy. And so she's giving and wants to give you. Help, but, you know, it's, she also, doesn't only want to be pushy with it.
You know what, let me, let me tell you what you need in your life. Most women aren't like that, but if you ask, Hey, My two year old is not sleeping through the night. Can you help me again? And I will say on that as someone who just had a two year old, because the woman with the 18 year old will not remember how she got rituals.
So there are some things that proximity is really good. There are some things where the age gap is actually better, you know, that it can, it can be helpful, but sometimes it's nice to have someone just one stage ahead of you on certain, on certain questions. But I think I'm asking your mentor, Hey, how can I pray for you?
I have some women who have just done this so well to me, they've entered in to my life and my world and they just come in and they care for me really well, even as. You know, I'm, I'm the older one or in a different life stage or whatever. Um, and that just honestly makes the relationship very natural rather than this once a month for meeting.
And now we talk about you the whole time. It's not a counseling session. And I think healthy is a really good thing. But most mentors aren't equipped to do that. There's that that's not what they're what they're there for. So counseling was great, you know, all of that, but that's not what mentoring really is.
So kind of helpful to distinguish between those. Yeah. Oh, I totally agree. And as you were talking about. Bringing questions that jogged a memory for me. And so I want to share this to you because I think within the context of the church, this is a really great idea. If it spurs this, you know, for you or you think of a Bible study that might be able to do this.
So when I graduated from college, so I lived in a college town, I was in Knoxville for about 10 years and. After I was done with school, I was in this really awesome small group for about five years. That, which is very rare, I will say for agreed to stay together that long, but we all stuck around and one by one, we either moved or got married, but, um, A couple years into that, that group, our leader came to us and she saw this other women's small group in our church who all the women, or kind of similar stage of life.
They were new grandmothers, like very young grandmothers. Um, and they just really had a heart to pour into. Our season of life and they, um, they had came, I think they came to my leader and asked, you know, I don't know what this would look like, but you know, with your girls be interested in it. And so what we did is we spent like a whole night, like a whole session, a small group writing questions for them.
And we, we wrote them in, like we came up with categories and then like within, within prayer. Okay. What do we want to ask them about prayer? Okay. Within marriage, what do we wanna ask them about marriage within like, seeking to become the best future spouse versus like. Looking for a future spouse. What are the things that we want to ask there?
So, I mean, we had so much and for about a year and a half, once a month, they would come and they would lead our small group and we would take one of those topics. And we would just go through question by question and they would divvy out their questions, like in the small group meeting for them prior to coming to us, they would say, okay, they've got five marriage questions.
You know, Robin, you take this one, Sheila, you take this one and they would come prepared like scripture and all Bibles open. Like let's talk about it. And it was the coolest thing we ever did. And we got, we all got so much out of it and we're so thankful for them. So, and that's so great. Then you can follow up with one of them.
Like, it's not this again, awkward. Will you mentor me for the rest of my life? It's almost group mentoring. And I think that is beautiful. Like, I love that. Yeah, that's great. Yeah. And I think we all kind of over time found ourselves kind of drawn to one of them. You know, like there were a couple of times where I met with, um, you know, one of them in particular about a couple of things and, and I know many of the other girls did as well.
And so not only did you get, you know, Kind of that individualized localized mentorship of, you know, over something that you were struggling with, but also just the wisdom, the collective wisdom of all of them. So. You know, if you're listening and you think, huh, we've got a group that might be able to do that or something like that.
It was just a really good example of women just stepping up within the church and saying, Hey, we have the capacity. And we really, we really feel like God is leading us to serve this people group. And so, you know, figure out what that might look like in your own church. But, uh, that was a really special time for us.
So I think another important piece of any relationship I've had in kind of this place is vulnerability. So I would love for you to talk about how do we encourage vulnerability. It's kinda one of those gray areas. You know what I mean of like, how do you talk about how to be vulnerable? Like that's a hard, that's a hard thing.
Right? And so what would you share there on either side of the coin at being a mentor or a mentee about vulnerability? Yeah, I would probably be start with a mentor on that because I do think it is in some ways is up to her to really open the door for you can tell me anything and I'm going to love you no matter what, but also to be vulnerable herself.
Um, and so one of the activities I actually have in the book growing together is called sharing your story. And it just goes through a few questions and you both do it with each other. And, um, and it taught it. I mean, one of the things is what's a sense struggle. You you're fighting on a regular basis and you know, it's going to be different for all of us, but the reality is the apostle Paul.
Was badly in sin. You know what I mean? So if we can, we can realize I'm going to be 80 and the nursing home and still fighting certain sense. And me as a mentor saying to her, I'm still in the battle. It's gonna mean something, you know, she she's being in the battle, says we're alive. And a lot of reason it says there's actually a war between the flesh and the spirit, which is a good sign.
Um, and just being able to have those real honest conversations that we both have struggles. We both have, um, great blessings in our lives, but I think starting there with kind of sharing where we came from, maybe that mentor, that one that you think is so spiritual. Maybe she didn't start walking with the Lord since she was 30, she has a whole past, and she might have things in her story that you'd be shocked to hear, you know?
And I think that can be really helpful to the younger woman. Who's maybe 23 and things. Her life can never be redeemed because some of the choices she made. And so to be able to call back and say, you know, I made some terrible choices and God has redeemed me and he can redeem you. That can be so hopeful and so encouraging along the way.
So I think, um, I think it's necessary and I think it's rooted in the fact. That we never graduate from our need of grace. And so when we both have that humility of, I am messing up today and I'm going to be messing up in 20 years, but by God's grace, I will be walking more deeply with him and loving him more.
Um, That humility to know if I am walking in a manner worthy of the gospel, it's only because of his work in me and not my work in me. And so I think that humility allows her vulnerability because I don't look at a younger woman and say, how does she not have her act together yet? I look at her and say, gosh, you're probably doing a lot better than I was.
So, so there's this, I think, I think having humility on both parts, the humility is share where we're not where we know we might be walking in opposition to God's ways, but also the humility to say, Hey, I, I, I hear you. And I need prayer too on that can really create a relationship where both people can share and no one, no one can be perfect.
So it helps to just acknowledge that on the front end. Yeah, I agree. And I think back to what you said in the beginning about, you know, your goal in mentorship is not to make somebody look more like you, but to look more like Jesus. Well, if that is honestly the truth and you're in a place of humility where you can truly believe that in your heart, then.
That's where I think the vulnerability comes from, right, is in there realizing like this isn't about this. Isn't about me. This isn't about making somebody more into my likeness. And so if I, if my goal is honestly to help them become more like Jesus, then that opens the door for me to feel freedom, to share my past and struggles or things of overcame.
Because in that I became more like Christ and you can too. You know, if somebody is listening to this and they're just thinking, man, I want that, like, I need that in my life. What would you encourage them to do as just some next steps to kind of move towards seeking that out? I would always start with praying to ask the Lord to show you, um, who to even reach out to.
So, and even just telling the Lord, I really want this. Yeah, he hears it. He can make it happen just like he did for you on a running club, you know, but just having the heart that says, Lord, I know I need the assuming going before the Lord and asking him to put us in places. But I also think we can take some proactive steps and one is to choose wisely where you're.
Yeah, investing. So if you look at the church and you say, Hmm, I'm going to join a small group, it might be really tempting to join a small group that has everyone who looks just like you is in your life stage and your, um, You know what doing what you're doing, and that can be really fun. But I also encourage people to say, if you're really serious about this, maybe look for the life group that has a lot of layers.
Yeah. That has single people that has married couples without children that has some grandparents in there whose kids have fun. The nest, like those are some beautiful places of community. Now they're not going to be able to hang out every Friday night. So there are some, yeah. I mean, that's the reality.
But it's, it's great. Cause that's where you might meet those people who could mentor you, or it might be the Bible study at church she joined, or it might be the Sunday school class you choose to go to, or even where you choose to serve in the church. Um, those are great places to be on the lookout. So if you serve in the.
Soup kitchen every week. And you can go with a few other women to do that. Look at the, yeah, those are great times. Um, kind of like your running club, what you're already doing, what do you love to do? And then serve. And often you'll find other older women who are in that same place serving, um, and looking, and then when you locate them, Someone that you think is, wow, wish I could meet with her more regularly.
Just ask her to coffee. Um, and say, can we get coffee? And can we chat about some things? I have some questions I'd love your advice and wisdom or, and so I think that's a really simplistic way rather than, Hey, will you be my mentor, which can be really intimidating to both parties and feel like this. Are we getting married?
How long does it last? Do we need a contract? Whereas. Just a and you know, and if, and then if coffee goes, well, you can say, Hey. Would you read this book with me or would you, you know, I think really being clear about what you want in a relationship can, can help the other person say yes, more easily. Um, and so I would just, again, start with prayer though and asking the Lord, show me, um, uh, want to grow spiritually.
Show me, I'm a person who can do this. And let me say, it's probably not going to be the woman who is teaching the thousand woman Bible study in your church. I just want to encourage you. Look for the woman who might be setting up the chairs quietly or who might be. Just serving so regularly, these women are store houses of wisdom.
And so were the women up there teaching, but so often we're drawn to those women. And honestly, they're normally really busy and everybody thinks they need to mentor them. So, yeah, but look for the women who might be just around, they're going to have more time to invest in you. Um, and they're going to have some humble service that just going to be a huge blessing to learn from.
So I just encourage you. We can, the nooks and crannies. Yes. And you will bless them so much by asking them to invest in you. I mean, that's what we found with that group of women that would come and mentor us. They, I'm not saying at all that they aren't busy because they, man, they helping take care of grandkids and they're running their own house household and all, all the things, but, um, You know, they had the capacity on a Sunday evening after worship service to come for an hour and hang out with us.
And they would say every time, you know, we look so forward to seeing y'all and we always say, you know, every time we leave, we just, we come with a heart, like ready to serve you all. And to be a blessing and we leave feeling so thankful and so blessed by the time we spent with you. So. It just goes back to what we've been talking about.
That it is, it is a two way street when it's done well and right. And it's beautiful. So, yeah. Okay. So there's a question that I ask every guest that comes on the show. It's my favorite question, because everybody's answer is different and that is, what do you think is the best piece of advice anybody's ever given you.
Hmm. I can think of some funny pieces of advice. The best one, the one that's probably stayed with me was from my very first, the woman who first mentored me. Um, and she was a public school teacher and she ran a fellowship of Christian athletes that I was involved in, in high school. And she used to look at all of us who were helping lead the ministry.
And she would say to us, I would rather you be spending time with Jesus than join all the work for Jesus in the world. And it basically, the message that got through to us was don't be up front and doing everything. If you're not on your knees, in your closet quietly on your own. And honestly, I feel like that is the advice that has anchored my soul in as ministry has become increasingly public.
If that makes sense, like, um, That the most important things I'm doing are the things that are never seen by anyone. And I believe that with all my heart, um, the, the time spent in the word and in prayer that is not Instagrammed. It is not shown to others is what is honestly. It is the 80%. The other is just the iceberg, the tip of the iceberg of what you see of someone, but it will never be sustainable without being fully anchored to Christ and fully connected to him.
And so, um, I think about it. All the time it has. Yeah, I was given to me at 14. I'm now 46. So what does that, how many years ago is that? 32. Is that how many? Goodness. That's awesome. Yeah. I still think about it all the time. Um, I still think about it all the time, so it was good advice. Yeah, man. That's so wise.
And I think, you know, there's a, I would say the majority of our listeners are in some form of ministry. Um, whether that be vocational or not. And I think you bring a really good point. It's very easy when you're writing a book or you're preparing content for a podcast, or you're speaking on a stage to.
Excuse the time that you spend in preparation for that as you know, your time with the Lord. And I've been, I've been reminded so many times. And so I'm thankful that you said it again, just the importance of being rooted in his word, just for the sake of. Knowing your father better. And, um, and it's, and it's true as, as ministry grows and as God opens doors and things get busier, um, if we are forever too busy to consistently be in God's word, then we're too busy, you know?
And, um, I think. You know, a lot of things that don't matter in eternity can get in the way of that, like technology and our phones and especially, gosh, especially in this season, Netflix, all the things we can just, we can get so distracted. And I know I've been convicted of that in my own life in the last few months.
And so that's a good reminder. It doesn't surprise me that that has stuck with you for all those years. So this is one of our 12 books of Christmas episodes, which feels crazy to say, because we're recording this pretty far in advance of Christmas, but I can't wait for listeners to. One listen and get their hands on the book.
And we are going to be giving away a copy of all the books that are going to be a part of the 12 books of Christmas. So I am pumped about that, but because listeners are going to be tuning into this during the Christmas season, we're asking everybody in this kind of run of shows. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
I love this question. Um, I think as I look back, my kids are now. Uh, well, 14, 17 and 20. Oh my goodness. And one of the things I look back on, I'm so glad that we've done is, um, a Jesse tree three year, and I never did this growing up. So Jesse tree basically goes through the story of scripture, starting in Genesis.
And there's a little ornament that your kids get to hang on the tree each day. So you do this for 25 days up to Christmas and Voskamp has some great stuff on it. But what I actually love is my girlfriends and I made all of our ornaments. So each person I made 25 scrolls, somebody else made 25, you know, arcs Noah's are somebody else made 25 apples or whatever.
And so when I look at the tree, not only do I remember those story. Yeah, of, of Christ's birth throughout the whole season, but I also remember my friends and that we had this fun night where we each took one of each other's ornaments. And, um, so it just reminds me both of the community of the church and the good news of the gospel.
And it, it helps. It's just a fun tradition to have with the kids. And it keeps Christmas from all of December focused on Christ and how that story is actually traced all through the Bible and not just in Luke. And so it's really fun to have their thing. I love that I've actually never heard of that. So.
I, this would be right at my mom and I's alley. We've got to make one. So I actually wrote a, I wrote an article about it somewhere. So I'll say, okay, if you want to put it in the show notes, the link. So you can say, cause it has pictures. And some of my friends are really crafty. Mine were not good. So they have to be like, yeah, Melissa, is that crafty?
There's that scroll, but some of them are beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Awesome. Yeah. Oh, this is a project for my mom and I this fall. I'm so excited. We, um, that's always, I would say my favorite Christmas tradition in a nutshell would just be crafting all the things with my mom. Um, that's just always been our thing.
So that would be super fun. I love it. Well, Melissa, this has been so fun. I am so thankful to have you be a part of this special time in the podcast. And I'm so excited about your book and excited for listeners to check it out and get a copy of it. So thanks for being my guest today. Thanks so much for having me.
It's been so fun.
Okay, Felicia, I am so excited to have you today on day two of our 12 books of Christmas to share about your book. Stop calling me beautiful with our listeners. This has to have one of the best subtitles that I think I've seen in a long time, which is finding soul deep strength in a skin deep. World. And so kind of to jump off, I'd love for you to talk listeners through your heart, for the message and just kind of where the title and all of that good stuff came from for you.
Definitely. So the book title actually originated and the book itself originated as a blog post by a similar name. The blog post was called dear women's ministry. Stop telling me I'm beautiful. And that was adapted into stop calling me beautiful when it became the book and the heart of the blog post, which was actually very short, was.
That women in the church are ready for deeper, richer, more complete messages about their faith. They want more than pink fluff gospel. If you will. I'm talking about identity and beauty, but never really giving them the substance of the gospel and how that motivates them and changes them in their world.
And so women resonated. So much with that blog posts that we realized, this is a much bigger message. It needs to be fleshed out into a book. And, and that is what it became. And so the subtitle, um, finding soul deep strength in a skin deep world really reflects that the gospel is what gives us strength and we tend to as a church, um, treat women almost as if they don't need, or aren't interested in the whole gospel by giving them.
Messages that are halfway true or part of what's in scripture, but not the whole story. And so that's what the book gets into. Yeah, I love that. And I love how you approach this discussion and just share so practically with how we can kind of rightly pursue truth in all of this. And, you know, I think if we were raised in the church, if we've been around a while, we can probably name off and spout off.
So many promises that are, that are true and good in scripture, like you're saying, but the, or missing a piece of it. So I'd love for you to kind of unpack with listeners, maybe some of those phrases, some of those things that we say, and then how you and the book. Kind of help us see the whole picture of the gospel.
Yeah. A few that we might be familiar with are, um, you are worthy, you are a daughter of the King. Um, you're beautiful on the inside. God sees you as beautiful and none of these are wrong. They're just incomplete. So the, you are worthy message in particular, um, is the end point of the gospel? The gospel makes us worthy.
We were separated from God and Christ came to reconcile us. And through him, when God looks at us, he sees Christ. He sees our worthiness in God's eyes that we could never have earned. But when we just start with you're worthy the way you are. We leave out how that happened for the Christian woman. We leave out what, what God had to do in order to have that worthiness put on us.
And I think that that cheapens, the grace of God, it cheapens our faith. It makes us feel like that faith doesn't really apply to life. And we end up not knowing where our worth actually comes from. And so we have to keep hearing that message over and over and over again. Without ever getting the full story on how it happened.
And it's the same with things like your beautiful daughter of the King. Well, certainly in Christ, but how did that happen? Something huge had to happen for us to have that privilege. And how does that change? How I live? How does that change? My view of God? A lot of times we end up with these very self focused messages and books for women, instead of turning the focus back to.
To whom it rightfully belongs, which is the Lord. Yeah, absolutely. And I think sometimes it's, it's a well, meaning, you know, maybe women's ministry, ministry leader is, is well intentioned and, you know, naming their, their conference or their event, you know, in that way or having that kind of core message.
But my husband and I talk about this a lot. My husband's a pastor, I think, um, sometimes. It's it's just very easy to get in that mindset, especially in our consumeristic society, that we're in, where we fear, which I don't think this is from God. We fear that, Oh, if I, if I go with the completeness of the gospel and Oh, wait, the cherry on top is you're worthy because of Jesus, then.
You know, am I going to reach people? And again, exactly what you're saying. It cheapens grace, it cheapens what Jesus did on the cross. And I just, I love that. I love that this is the thrust of your message, because I think that, um, I think it's so needed in our season, in our culture today. And so if you were to encourage women's ministry leaders in the church today with kind of the core of this message, how would you encourage them?
To do better. Well, again, you know, it's not that we stop saying these things, because like you said, I would say 99% of the time, it is well intentioned. It's just not completely thought through. Um, and we need to make sure we have our priorities straight and what, what our goals are in women's ministry.
What do we want? These women to experience. And, you know, a lot of times we'll hear things like, well, I want to encourage women in Christ. I want to, um, you know, empower them in their, in their faith. Well, how does that happen? What we see in scripture is that happens through the word of God. From knowing the word of God, so they know who God is, and that then encourages and empowers them because you don't want them to be dependent on you as a human, the women's ministry leader forever.
Right? You want them to know where to go to get that information? And so what I would say to leaders is. We've got to teach our women how to study the Bible for themselves. Yeah. I love the Lifeway studies. I've done so many of those. I'm a huge fan of them, but honestly, I think we've created women who can't open the Bible without a fill in the blank structure.
They don't know how to read a book of the Bible without some kind of devotional crutch. And the truth of the matter is that for many thousands of church, years of church history, Nobody had that. And they, they had to study the Bible on their own. And when they finally got it in their language, there was this rejoicing that they could read it for themselves.
And we've actually almost moved backward, um, today to where. We're not taking advantage of the literacy available to us. And so I would encourage our leaders to sure, utilize the books and not fill in the blank studies. I still am a fan of those, but maybe alternate those with teaching your women, how to study on their own, how to read the Bible on their own so that they can truly know, Oh, this is who God is.
I can approach him. And cultivate this rich relationship and go deeper on my own with him. Yeah. I was in a small group a few years ago. It was before we got married and for about a year, we, and I forget the name of the actual format. I should have looked this up, but it just came to me as you're talking.
But what we did was we. Studied several different books and kind of the format of our discussion during small group was we would, we'd read scripture and two or three different translations, and then we would answer the questions. What does this say about God? What does this mean to me? And then what step of obedience?
Do I take because of that, you know, and it was so simple. And so, you know, if you're listening to this today and you think, wow, that seems, you know, intimidating or start, you know, you don't have to start super complicated or, you know, even just having some type of basic structure of questions can kind of, kind of help you as you think through and.
So there are a lot of things that could get in the way of our ability to live boldly. As a woman of God, you talk about a lot of these things in the book. So how do things like legalism shallow theology, which we've talked about a little bit and false teaching, keep us from living boldly. Well, let's look at legalism cause we kind of already touched on shallow teaching.
So legalism is any addition to God's commands, mans. Addition to God's commands. A shortcut to holiness is another way I like to look at it where God has his command. So let's look at say the sexual ethic. Um, he says sex is for marriage. And so we say, okay, sexist for marriage. Um, and we decide dancing leads to sex.
So no dancing. That would be an example of adding onto God's command your idea of how to get to God's command, but then saying. You know, this is what God said, no dancing, which we know isn't true from scripture because we see dancing all through scripture. Yeah. So, you know, that's an example of something that might be a personal conviction for somebody.
Um, but when they apply that to other people that becomes legalism. Yeah. And so with something like that, um, the problem is we start to get confused about whether we're following God and really pleasing God or whether we're pleasing, man. And as. Women who are trapped in legalism, come out of legalism.
It's extremely hard for them to determine what is God and what was an abusive church or a manipulative parent, or, you know, illegal cystic worldview. And they feel very, very confused. We actually see many of these women reject Christianity completely because they. Thought that these rules were who God was.
And so this goes back again to what does scripture really say? What is it teaching us about our values and our choices. And, um, we can live boldly into what God's calling us to do when we can spot legalism. And we can say, Hey, no, I'm really glad that's your conviction. But, um, there is freedom on this issue in scripture.
And so I I'm walking this out differently in my life. Um, false teaching too, can be a limiter of our faith and our obedience because we're deceived by something that's not true. And Paul and Peter say throughout the Bible over and over, keep an eye out for these people who will deceive you. Who will tell you things that are not true about God and about scripture and about our values.
Um, so be aware, but we can't discern what's true if we don't have a standard for what's true. If we've never, you know, had that bar, that moral standard of scripture taught to us. And so coming back again, it's that knowing the word, walking personally with the Lord that takes us deeper and gives us the boldness to know that the choices we're making are right.
Yeah. Yeah. There has been a common theme of a lot of conversations that I've had lately on the podcast, just about staying rooted in the word. And a lot of my conversations have just came right back to that. And I think we're just in a time where. We can be so easily distracted, so easily influenced probably more so than any culture before us.
And so now more than ever, it's just, it's just so vital. And so one word that we've talked about a lot throughout. The interview so far is theology. So for somebody who's listening and maybe they feel intimidated by that term, how would you encourage them to take steps forward in pursuing God's truth?
Yeah, that is a good question. I think theology is reminiscent. Of mahogany studies and Oxford and Cambridge and Tweed suits and yes, Louis and black and white photos. And you're like, Nope, that's not me. But theology by definition is simply the study of the nature of God. And Christian theology would be the study of the nature of the Christian God.
So father, son, and Holy spirit understanding the nature of God is the responsibility of every Christian. So by the definition we just gave. Every Christian should be a theologian. And I call this an everyday theologian so that people don't feel like they're taking a title that they don't deserve, but pursuing theology doesn't mean that you have to read these massive books that are 500 pages long, unless you want to.
There's a lot of great resources that are smaller, and really it's just piece by piece, pursuing a deeper understanding of. Christianity and God how he works, how he operates, things like the Trinity. You know, we accept that, but do we know where that comes from? Where it is in scripture? What it means, the more you know about God, the more confident you are in your faith.
And so one of the things I love studying doctrine actually leads you to devotion. C S Lewis has a quote in a, um, in an early forward to another book where he says devotionals are great. And this is back in the fifties. Um, devotional books are awesome, but if you ever struggle with feeling connected to God, What you might need is to study doctrine.
And you'll find that you feel closer to God by studying it because you're learning so much more about him. And I think once we give people the meat, you know, kind of the harder stuff that challenges them a little bit, especially women, they feel like, wow, I really am capable of understanding this. I am capable of going deeper.
And when they do it, they feel more confident sharing their faith with others and more connected to the Lord. Yeah. Have you and Mary Wiley connected? I don't think so. Okay. She did a study that Lifeway put out this year called every everyday theology. I think that's what it's called, but it's, it's really good.
And I had her on the show a couple of months ago and she, I think y'all would y'all are cut from the same cloth. So you need to connect with her, but she said something and I thought it was really good. And she said, you know, We all have our own version of theology. It's just a matter of how invested we are in like, pursuing God's truth day to day and walking with him.
But, you know, we so often get intimidated by that word, but it really just is the study of God. Right. And so, so yeah, I think it can kind of, it's a word that we use and we throw around, but it really just is. Walking with God and studying those. It is, it is. And, and she's right. Everybody has a theology, even people who aren't Christians, they have a theology.
The question is whether that theology is true. Is it, is it true? Does it match up with the objective standard or is it not true? Cause you can believe things or assume things about God that aren't actually true and you're basing your life choices off of. Your understanding of how he works. Um, we see this a lot with prosperity gospel, an assumption that, well, you know, if something's going wrong in my life, I guess I didn't have enough faith.
Well, that's a theological assumption about God and how he operates. And so we have to check that, does this line up with what scripture says about God and about me? You know, and it changes how we interact with people, how we make decisions. It's so important that we say, Oh, you know, I wonder if that's actually true or if it's just something I adopted.
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And another piece that you talk about in the book is experiencing God's presence and painful circumstances. And so I'd love. For you to encourage somebody current to the listener who is kind of in the thick of a painful season, it's been a hard year. So I know, but even by the time people listen to this, we will have kind of endured quite a, quite a year.
Um, so how would you encourage them to know they can experience God's presence like never before in this type of season, man, that is it's very relevant for 2020, but also for, um, Our life personally, my husband and I, um, in June of 2019, I broke my leg in a soccer game and was taken to the hospital to get a plate and eight screws put in my leg.
At that point, we had a three-year-old three and a half year old and a one and a half year old and he was working full time and couldn't take. He couldn't take any time off. They, they didn't, they wouldn't let him. So I was on bed rest for two and a half months. Um, and then not walking for four with small children.
Um, and it, you know, it just kind of rolled into the next year. We had some major challenges in the next year, um, two, and then the whole world had to face challenges. And so in circumstances like that, It's very, it can be very hard to see beyond our circumstances. They loom large. But fortunately we have in scripture, these beautiful models of people who experienced God's presence in the midst of pain, you can think of people like Hagar, who is in rejection, thinks she's going to die.
Things. Her son is going to die and God needs her in the desert. And he blesses her family and he frees her son. You've got Hannah who is struggling with infertility and being mocked and derided by her family members. And the Lord visits are and comforts are, and then gives her a child. You know, you have all these examples of women in particular, who were in painful circumstances and the Lord was with them.
You can even think of Mary mother of Jesus, who would have been completely shamed for what looked like an illegitimate child. And God. Visited her. The Lord is with you. This idea of God. As a manual, we talk about at Christmas, he is a manual God with us, that name carries over beyond Christmas. He came to earth to be with us.
He came to be a manual, but he never left because he gave the Holy spirit to be with us. And so a manual is the name that we get to call him through every single circumstance and every single trial. And that's. The character of who he is, is what we trust, not the circumstances. That's so good. So there's a question that I ask everybody that comes on the show that I'm excited to ask you.
And then we're going to get into our Christmas question, which I'm super pumped about. But first, what do you think is the best piece of advice that you've ever been given? I wish I could have like a, you know, Topic for each, you know, like a top five, top five pieces of advice. Um, so this is kind of like a little jaunt, a little bit of a different direction, but this is the advice I always think of this.
Um, my husband and I have been married for almost seven years. And the advice you were given by an older Christian couple was it wasn't even advice so much. It was a statement is every Christian marriage should be an excellent Christian marriage. It was very simple, but it's something that stuck with me that God's heart for.
My marriage is for it to be excellent. It's not to be mediocre or average or miserable. That's his heart. And if it's not, then that's something I can walk with the Lord into improving and we have not had an easy marriage. So that's been something that's been really encouraging to me to remember, like God has for my marriage.
Something that we kind of come back to frequently. Wow. Yeah, that that's really good. I've never, I've not heard that before, but it's so right. And that encourages me. We're about a year into marriage and I joined my husband down here when we got married. We knew each other years ago and have been friends for a long time, but, um, I kind of jumped into marriage and baptism by fire, into ministry and moving and coming into a whole new church family.
And so the last year of our lives has been quite a roller coaster, but God's walked with us and, and yeah, that's just a really good. That's a great reminder for me today as well. Okay. So last question, and I'm asking this of all of our authors that, that are going to be a part of the 12 books of Christmas.
And that is what is your favorite Christmas tradition? Okay. So I'm big on Christmas traditions and combining them from faint, you know, you get married and you combine the traditions and you have all these things. But fortunately my husband and I live where I grew up. So I get to kind of, co-op some of the traditions that you had when I was a kid and I have quite a few, but.
What they're kind of connected together. Um, one of them is we always go and cut down our own live Christmas tree, if at all possible we go and we cut it and we bring it home. We decorate it. And then shortly after that, that's right after Thanksgiving, we go to a local reenactment of the Christmas story it's been going on for like 35 years or 40 years.
And I know some people do like the live nativities, but this is like, you. You walk through these rooms and their church that they've decorated, like ancient Israel, and they have different sets. Wow. You like, you go outside and then you ride a wagon over to where the shepherds and the angels takes place outside.
And we live in Northern Michigan. So this is all in the snow. So, um, You finish it up and they have cookies and hot chocolate where everybody can sit around and talk and they get hundreds of people who come through every, every year. They only do it for two weeks and it's completely free because it's a ministry, um, evangelism opportunity.
I just love it. Cool. That's awesome. Oh, I bet. And how old are your kids? Remind me. Um, they are five and three and we have a newborn baby. So fun. So fun. Um, Okay. I love that so much. And Christmas is just my favorite. So it's so fun that I'm, we're recording this quite a bit before Christmas, but it's fun to hear about everybody's traditions and I'm going to make kind of a guide for people to be able to maybe try some new things and maybe people can find I'm sure there are other reenactments like that.
That sounds. Like it would be a lot of fun, so, Oh, I'm sure. Yeah. Lime nativities or ours is called journey to Bethlehem, but I've seen similar options in other States too. So they might be a similar kind of construct. I love it. This is off script, but it made me think, have you visited the Holy land yet? No, no.
I had the opportunity last year. I was invited to be a tour guide to Israel, um, teaching on a, on a tour bus for the museum of the Bible, because I had a connection there, but, um, it just wasn't working. We our schedule. And then she left the, she left the museum. And so I was like, wow, that was good. That I didn't end up doing.
Yeah. Well, whenever, you know, if God leads or you have the opportunity to go, I think you would. Man, it, it just makes the Bible come alive. I went with my husband and two people from our church last fall, and we were over there for about nine days or so. And it just totally changed the way I read my Bible, you know?
And so a lot of them believe it, you know, even when you think about, when you think about Bethlehem and you just imagine what you think it would be like, it's such a humble, normal place. And, um, there were so many things that. I don't know, we're just such surprises when, cause I had never really looked at pictures of like actual Bethlehem and you know, and so you go and it just was the most incredible experience of, of Sony one day.
Yeah, it's on my list for sure. For sure. Well, Felicia, thank you so much for being my guest today. I'm so excited for listeners to check out your book and all the resources that you have. So tell them real quick, where they can find you connect with you all that good stuff. Yeah. They can find me on social media at Felicia Mason, Heimer, Felicia spelled with a P H Y.
Not with an F and my website is Felicia Mason, heimer.com. Those are the best ways to reach me. My website has all of my eBooks available. I have them on theology, basics, Bible, study, sexuality, things like that. And then on Instagram and on Facebook, I share a lot of different articles and teachings there as well.
People like to follow along with, so they're welcome to join me in any of those places. Awesome. Good deal. Well, thank you for being with me today and I'm excited for listeners to get a chance to read your book. Thanks for having me.
If you follow me on IG, you know how big a fan I am of the Pastors' Wives Tell All ladies. I love their show and the ministry God has given them to encourage pastors' wives. I decided to have them on to talk about 7 Things Your Pastor's Wife Wishes You Knew.
Here's what we chatted about:
This is NOT an episode you're going to want to miss! Also, make sure you listen to my interview on their show about my first year of being a pastor's wife - we had a lot of fun!
I made a new friend when I hopped on Zoom to record with Mary Marantz to discuss her new memoir Dirt: Growing Strong Roots in What Makes the Broken Beautiful.
Mary is a Yale Law School graduate and the first in her immediate family to go to college. She is the author of the book “Dirt” about growing up in West Virginia, and the host of The Mary Marantz Show- which debuted in the iTunes top 200 podcast list. Her writing has been featured by Business Insider, Thrive Global, MSN, Bustle, Southern Living, and Brit+Co.
Go listen wherever you download your podcasts!
Today's conversation is really important! Alisha Illian joins us to talk about her new book Chasing Perfect: Peace and Purpose in the Exhausting Pursuit of Something Better.
Have you seen the "Girl, read your bible" meme on Pinterest? Me too; however, I had no idea that Alisha wrote this meme that went viral about resting our souls in Jesus!
We chatted about:
We're just on a ROLL with interviewing artists this month, huh?
Today, we have the one and only Jamie Grace on to talk about her new book Finding Quiet. Jamie is a singer, songwriter and actress. Originally from Atlanta, the 2x GRAMMY nominee, Dove Award winning artist got her start on YouTube when she was 14. With nearly 1.5 million followers across social, Jamie actively advocates from joy, wellness and mental health. Diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (OCD, ADHD and Anxiety) at a young age, her resilience gives her fuel to create content regularly to encourage others.
Jamie and I chatted about:
Go listen wherever you download your podcasts!
You GUYS! My middle school heart is SWOONING over this interview. I've been a long time fan of Christian band Point of Grace and member Denise Jones comes on today to share about their new book How To Live. I can't wait for you to hear about this new message and more of the Point of Grace story!
Denise and I talk about:
Go listen wherever you download your podcasts!
A few months ago I had a conversation with my friend Chelsey DeMatteis on her show The Living with Less Podcast. She has a beautiful heart to walk alongside her listeners as they live with less of the things getting in the way of their relationship with Christ. We chatted about the true meaning of "courage" and:
Also, be on the lookout - Chelsey is doing an Advent study for the holiday season and I had the honor of writing a devotional for it! I can't wait to share it with you but in the meantime you can see all Chelsey is up to by visiting her website!
Go give it a listen wherever you get your podcasts!
I'm thrilled to welcome my new friend Myquillyn Smith (otherwise known as The Nester on IG) to the show to talk about her beautiful and New York Times bestselling book Welcome Home: A Cozy Minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting All Year Round.
Myquillyn Smith (the Nester) has never met a home she didn't love. She and her husband and their three boys have been fixing up their North Carolina fixer-upper for the past seven years, and her favorite place on earth is floating in the pool in her own back yard. She's the New York Times bestselling author of The Nesting Place, Cozy Minimalist Home, and Welcome Home.
Myquillyn and I chat about:
Go give it a listen wherever you get your podcasts!