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Jennie Allen: Lean on Me

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
August 8, 2022 10:00 pm

Jennie Allen: Lean on Me

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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August 8, 2022 10:00 pm

Is it hard for you to depend on people? Author Jennie Allen discusses friendship in marriage and community—the kind that says “lean on me.”

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So many people tell me that friendship deep, deep friendship is a girl thing not a guide. Women wanted, they love it there good added men don't want it there bad at it were just witnessed out into and here's what I hear from wives itself say I have friends that my husband has no friends yeah and I hear that a lot and they're frustrated because they think they say husband says I'm his friend, and that's all he needs frustrating to the winning team because they know their husband needs different welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationship that matter most and Wilson Dave Wilson and you can find us@familylifetoday.com or on our family life.

This is family life today when we get Jenny Allen in the studio. She wrote a book about friendship and relationship. Go find your people would Jenny welcome back. Thanks Jerry fight for you, Josiah, and there to say I agree with is when I sing it to you yeah yeah you hear that a lot. Do you want to be what you women are pursuing this and and eager to do it and their husbands are slower to do it.

You think that's true about me only got a room that knows what else to do what you think that's true, like you're married to men, did your husband pursuant to other men pursuant I feel like you have so many friends in your super extroverted and watching my brothers and my dad were both coaches. They were all each other's best friend had a lot of friends. He's a lot like you, my brothers, due to his injury, I think, is to let the personalities. I think it's pretty complicated. I think for a lot of men they had bought the lie that we talked on the last show that the individualistic you know hero complex and do it and I think it's sometimes harder for men to be as transparent and vulnerable as I do think probably men their view of friendship and relationships looks a little bit different for my husband. He loves to do things with men right like easy to get one of his friends to man's game in Dallas recently and they didn't talk a lot. He came home and said that was like so much fun with Kirk and Kirk told his wife like me very much like it was like sitting there watching the game with them and not having to talk made Kirk his best friend. I know this is the general joke among women, and I say this even at the weekend. Remember marriage conferences. Dave will go golfing for what's going on with his life house Betsy and you'll be like a blast driver need to. Here's what I wrote up because you know there's husband listened is obviously some wives have always joke you have a motorcycle and I love going on a ride with a guy because you don't talk you stop at a stoplight. You say hey man what's up good.

You take off you come home.

That was awesome. Here's Going on. I think we are so insecure. We covered up. Deep down we want to guy we want to again but were often afraid to go to dark places.

The saviors are struggling with. Here's what I've been thinking about and so we sort of covered up and act like him don't really know you guys at the women think is a guy thing is much I may obvious. Another woman works for you, but I know that we long for were scared of it. Talk of every guy I think it is scary when things happen the last check she was women feel that way too. I think I think we've got some universal problems now. One thing I have seen in my signs and my husband because they're the ones I'm closest to you is, they tend to move towards shame in a different way than women to talk. So when they feel ashamed. They closed right when women feel ashamed they had a feeling, and I notice it and they want to talk about now. I'm saying things really drastically the reality is I actually bind very well with when and when I'm running beside them like we were doing things is saying is this is partly the way we have been raised in our differences and in our gender. But it's also partly our personality and that there's always good to be hundred percent accuracy.

All of this, but in general. What I've seen is that women like to talk more about what's really going on and when they feel a little more awkward to get there but I think that's changing being in the generation coming is actually there actually pretty good authenticity.

They'll do that part pretty quickly. They're not prone to a whole chapter in the book, which is accountability and so I think that's part of the magic at the local church and the magic of a small group is that forum where you actually have some structure to talk about deeper things right. One thing to talk about the book is important for especially spouses to read this together, partly because I'm suggesting a way of life is not just ITS not just a way to think I'm suggesting a whole way of living that it would be a communal way of living.

I'm not suggesting you add something to your plate.

I'm suggesting already on your plate are relationships that you not cultivated and how do you do that as you are going. That's the thing we've missed in the muscle we've really lost in the midst of the pandemic. If you going to do that. It is so hard.

And one thing have heard over and over again as if one spouse is doing the other one isn't that when the one that isn't or is introverted or more confused by it can get really resentful and feel like that person is just running out in front of them. The other, sometimes it's hard because this is actually something people really fight over a lot. Absolutely no summer might be like. I would go out every week at night with my friends, that's me totally other person is feeling like you have to do this this and this and you go I got physical line. I don't really want to go out. So that's why I think you have to get creative and really put on paper and said this is what fills my tank.

This is what I need to live this part of life that God has called me to. And so if you just shut someone down because they are pursuing friendships in your marriage and some of you to send this your spouse like you need to listen is upset if you're setting that person down because there pursuing relationships in their life and you don't want to that's not biblical like we've got to have us in our life and were in a culture where were not going to get water down at the river every single day washing are close together so we do have to be intentional about how we find it and how we get it, and those conversations just need to be had, like everything in marriage, like finances, like sex, like everything else you have to lay it out okay. How are we going to each bring our expectations. So what do you use the term communal you talk less about village. What's your vision what you think it looks like we think God's vision is for marriage and family communally.

I think it can look a million different ways.

I heard a story last night about couple that is older now that when they first got married, the wife decided that she didn't want to work because she wanted to volunteer and that that was important to her and so the husband didn't make much money but they were liking away yes were to do this now. She end up taking on basically a full-time job where she cared for women in their church that needed constant care, every single day when their first night was a choice I made a generous living just say no it wouldn't be generous with what time we think we can be and with what convictions we candy for me. It looks like you know early on and when our kids were young.

Having lots of people over.

We would have meals at our house and we would invite five couples and their kids over and our kids would help posted yet that was one maybe did that thing is it's endless you know one thing that I wanted to do forever is to have one Sunday a month where we just make so much food that anyone can bring anyone they want and not simple like chili or soup and we just you know my my name for it was gonna be soup kitchens, and you literally can bring anybody want him just to make a bunch of cornbread and soup and you can be creative with this, but it just means putting people in your life noticing people in your life and doing life, not an isolated way.

If you are married to an introvert and you're listening you yes but he will never do this or she will never do that. I would just say every introvert is actually better at this than I think. Introverts are actually very intentional and deep. They don't want to be a party, but they are great over a meal with another hot one on one right or one on one and so find what works for you. It doesn't have to be a big party. It could be for us once in our life. We just basically said that when you consider every night. On this night, and once a month will go by ourselves and every other time working to bring a couple with us and need a couple for dinner that we had that sitter and then we had a list we made a list of all the names of people we would like to spend time with over the next few months and we would just text people from that list and say hey but it didn't take a lot of thought to the Artie had a sitter and we arty have a plan so my things just make a plan and you can do that as a couple. Together you can sit down layout. This is how we want to live visit. The parties want to have it can look endless. I just think we don't have those conversations very often because the demands of life and kids in jobs and stress. But if I sat down with you Dave. If you as a listener sit down with your husband to say is just talk about friendship. What would you like Area of your life to look like something people do very often. I think you know we talked about. I think a lot of couples or maybe it's the manner the woman are afraid of the intimacy that comes when you invite people in your life to me.

I can't tell you times in 30 years as a pastor couple would come up and they actually want to meet with me for marriage counseling not always yoga you told me would go to. So stop doing that and grow up. You know you are you will I think right but is is I even talk to them there at the front of the church, or if they did come in my office. Often this happened. So who else in your life knows about the struggle they look at each other well know for sure that with anybody you have nobody in your life. I'm your person that you don't even know okay and that so many couple and I'm like why not. I think it's work it's energy they been hurt you all pull away and yet I think your whole book is about. You gotta find your people as can be hard work but you gotta do it you're going to die against the village life that I researched and saw constantly was nobody to hide from each other right to ration the people they never moved so I doesn't open you can hear them fighting interviews. It was so fun because the stories people tell about their childhood growing up in India. Growing up in the slums of Nairobi and Africa and all the places that they grew up that I interview people and one was in Mexico and and she is precious and one of the things that was consistent across all those countries was and this was in our lifetime right. This wasn't decades or generations ago. This was in our lifetime. Everyone had Abuela that knew their name that knew their family yeah and I know Abuela is a grandmother but if you ever seen in the Heights. The idea, and in much of Latin culture is that that there is an Abuela that kind of mother and the whole street near everybody's Abuela and I kept hearing that we were in the slums of Nairobi and Mike this is Jay from Kenya. My grandmother we can have anything slums, but she would put on a pot, whatever we could afford and if kids came and she fed him and they called her grandmother like this. Was this is how the culture has been and so I think what done is we've we've lost all that for the sake of convenience because of wealth we been allowed convenience and therefore we have to choose an assay. Well, I just mean you were not in slums right were not in a village with no doors and hats were washing our clothes together right so probably anybody listening to this, to some degree fits in that category we have what we need to survive the day and therefore we don't borrow anything from our neighbors. We don't need anything from anyone else with Amazon.

What we need and if there within two hours or 12.

And so it's just change the way we depend on people at the same time were also lonely and anxious and depressed inside so so there's something really broken. It's not working.

We do need each other and so my suggestion is to admit that need and as believers is the greatest context for this right because we actually can admit that me because of Romans 81 there is therefore now no condemnation for those who Christ Jesus. I say that line is the most important line you learn in community because if it's a safe place. If you say your sin if you say what you're struggling with their head has to be met with no condemnation or everybody's in a recoil.

Everyone is being brave and saying I'm gonna say this thing then when you feel like nobody else feels that way you recoil and so we've got to be people that are aware of our own sin and not afraid of others said and it does it changes everything.

So what you do and you mentioned it when you're hurt you've gone there you tried with a group of people, or maybe even in your marriage or maybe another couple, and I think we've all felt that I know thought you said you thought you wrote about it read several stories and there were you were hurt and usually we pull back his community didn't work, you know, it was hard and you have a friend that told you that you don't ever need anything. Yes, a lot of the stories I tell him about our failures on my part and I haven't been good at this and I hope that gives people confidence that you can grow and that you don't have to stay where you are today.

What they meant by that, though, when they said you don't need anything you know that I was a pastor's wife and II was so hurt by people that would use the things against me, that would not keep those secrets or they wed in the right moments gossip about it for the right purpose and I just felt so wounded and I had recoiled and went into the next decade of my life very guarded and it was very hard for me to be vulnerable and I think that came from previous her, but I also think it just came from.

It was exhausting and my personality somewhat looks at the glass and it's always half-full and let's focus on that and I don't want to share it go and just keep going and I want to be burned don't want to suck the oxygen out of the room. I don't want to make it all about me out. My complain I want to be optimistic and they became a good healthy in my mind pattern until I got counseling and they said actually you're just coping. That's not healthy. Pretending that every day when it's not you, not grieving. You're not morning. You're not feeling angry if you should I had to do work even personally in my life with counseling to get to a place where I can even name. What I was struggling with because there was such a guard at even against my own self right like I was protecting myself or myself so you would even allow your side, and will heal you go there Or that's Damien Wilson with Jenny Allen on family life you want to hear her response and what she describes as genuine hell in a minute.

First, in such a connected world.

Life can feel isolating right what we do about that Jenny Allen was on a mission to search for the same answer and wrote all her insights in a new book called find your people when you give today at family life will send you a copy of Jenny's book as our thanks your gift helps others pursue the relationships that matter most. You can give online@familylifetoa.com or by calling 800 358-329-1800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today.

Right now, back to Dave and Anne's conversation with Jenny Allen in a difficult time in her life when it was clear she needed her community. Basically I walk through a season where it was genuinely hell.

I mean, it was hard and it was in every category of life and again there were issues in our marriage, their issues with our kids, their issues publicly in the ministry that I lead. It felt like I could not survive in the pressure was was everywhere and so what my counselor said was you had to be a Navy seal like to get through that season to get to that.

It was like three years wasn't just to see my was, yeah, three years and to get through that season where my husband was in depression and we we are open about this and checked out and I was alone raising a brand-new sent from Rwanda adopted with a ministry that was skyrocketing publicly and costing me more than I ever met for cost and yet I felt called to end my husband and my community felt like I was called to it so it was three years where I had to be a Navy seal I was holding my family together. I was holding his ministry together.

I was holding everything together and that's just three of the multiple other big things. I could name that were going on at the same time we were merging our church and and had a lot of the people that were typically our community really hurt by asked that we decided to merge our church and so did just so much having a three year span every area.

My best friend had a massive stroke in less I look at that season my life was I wrong, could I have grieved or mourned in a cancer is like now some seasons you just have to get through to just survive it and I and I think that was a turning point for me right where I started to go. Okay, I can grease and things now I can start to admit that I'm not a superhero, and I'm scared and I'm I feel alone.

I can start to say those things that I didn't feel like I could say did you do that with people. One of the most life-changing things that I've done that has help me more than anything is I've been part of a little cohort of people that are practicing this way of life. I think being in a small group is a different group that we meet once a month on same where that is the agenda of the day that we say the thing that is hard has helped me say it in other places and I think that sometimes my counselor, it's helpful. I in fact in the book. I say sometimes if you have consistently burn bridges and youth like no one wants to be your friend pay someone to be a friend that that's happening any counselor can help you with self-awareness and I think with that group did counseling that was taught me why and why it was harmful to keep living in that way, and then to how to do it.

I had to practice.

It was awkward. As an example of what that look like with as income to their first gathering was we went to a retreat center so we many of us knew each other, but not everyone in and so we spent it was set in a mess. We spent two days together, sharing life and just and I highly recommend if you want to start a small group getaway together for two days.

If you can, because something not getting away and out of normal life helps you to connect in that way. And so we started a retreat center and the first question was, tell your life story in 20 minutes and he said you can tell any party or life story, nobody can tell their whole life story 20 minutes to tell what you want. So I took everybody into the pressure that I felt at work. While that is a very very vulnerable thing to share for a lot of reasons.

For me, one everybody sees my work. I am online. Let's befall him like my work is very public and so in doing that was a huge risk. Also, I feared, is to be candid, complaining, and why never shared about it was. I for complaining about something that was so obviously good that God is so good in this in this I got to see people's lives changed all over the world and I've so blessed to get to do what I do and so I never say that is hard because that just feels bratty.

It was all risky, but that I told an appointment. I decided to tell my work story will about five minutes and because I never shared that because I'm a Navy seal and because I just do the job five minutes and I and screaming at the top of my lungs. I am bawling my eyes out.

I am standing up like I have all this pent-up anger and just how hard this is that I know I knew that I was enjoying work I need I write in the same way that I used to. I knew I had some issues with work. I wanted to figure out. I know I was angry until I started sharing it and I'm so embarrassed at the end what he has everyday do say so how does that make you feel to hear Jenny story and there were so many sweet comments but one person said something that hurt. And then he turns it back to me is how does it feel to hear what they think, who's that he is yes. He's in there when I look back at them and I say it hurt my feelings that you sent.

Now understand everything about this moment is vulnerable and I don't know everyone in the room super well but it was a breakthrough because when I said that they started crying. They spoke to the thing that I feared and again.

It's why I say use your words in the book because when I said hey, you responded that way to my story is basically that person said to me can imagine what I said some of you are thinking it they said try to punish you. Like you, giving you this good thing pointing but they said something that many feel that way.

And so I was able to say you know what that was so hard for me to share and hurt me that you respond that way. And then that person you forgive me and I am so sorry you're so right, and what I did was build a culture of trust.

Normally I would have walked away and just and hurt.

Instead I said, because he made me say yeah, but we don't need a counselor to make a steady think this is not rocket it is just and that's what I hope.

The book does is it just gives you little handles ways to say things that maybe were not accustomed to say their basic it's just saying what we feel and being candid and allowing the truth.

The truth does rise that is a truth you got was a punishing you the truth.

The truth wasn't a problem in my head.

It was feelings that I had been stuffing for years that I needed to get out and feel loved and understood. How did it feel after that whole process what you feel like even in all the conversations that took place. I have a great story so those people those seven people have in the last year become some of my very dearest friends, because largely in this group.

I have worked through my feelings with work. I was speaking at a very large conference in January and it was 65,000 college students at passion. The culmination of just pressure and things we had worked there and talk through and I was in a different place. At that point, and yet I think I said one of them like I wish I could be there. They all came they all set in my section there is a video of them going nuts when I get screaming their lungs out.

Got my being vulnerable is I got I got this incredibly committed group of people that they committed to me, not because of what's right in my life.

You committed to me because of what is broken and I'm trusting God with right, the reward is so big and the reward is so good. If we do this but it is brave and is scary and is messy but there's something beautiful about they know you know the good. They know the ugly. They know what you struggle with.

I think that's a perfect picture cheering for you and that's what we need.

We need to find someone that sees us for who we really are continuing to cheer for us by Frank or Thompson. I'll call him again and he's in the book a lot to he says that the main thing we want to know is that someone's not leave the room. They were all just looking for friends. I don't think Brandon and I think that's what they did was they said they stayed in my mess with my anger toward God. Even with my previous moment and we know that, especially in ministry right and where they were perfect. They apologized and they asked for forgiveness and we felt safer because right after that I was a second person share. After that, everybody said I feel so safe now that I know I can say that hurt me or that didn't go well and I think that's the sadness in relationships right now as were all kind of bumping up against each other and when we get hurt. We just go find somebody else and we quit and the reality is were supposed in each other and stay for a long time. I love your quote in the book vulnerability is the soil for intimacy and what waters intimacy tears you've experienced experienced you been listening to David and Wilson with Jenny Allen on family life to our listeners know that our mission at family life is to pursue the relationships that matter most.

That means connecting with those around us and serving others with all our hearts.

Right now there are two ways you can join us to impact the community around you. The first is if you feel led to start a small group we want to offer you a discount on all leader materials with the code 25 off. That's 250 FF, and second, you can partner with us financially to make an impact in families as they grow closer in the relationships that matter most. You can find out more about both of those opportunities@familylifetoa.com tomorrow.

David Wilson will continue their conversation with Jenny Allen about how friendships don't have to be hard. They can be as simple and routine is getting groceries on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm Shelby Abbott will see back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life that is a production of family life accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most


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