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Shelby Abbott: They’re Craving More than a Big Mac

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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June 22, 2022 2:00 am

Shelby Abbott: They’re Craving More than a Big Mac

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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June 22, 2022 2:00 am

Real Life Loading podcast host Shelby Abbott knows what young adults sinking with doubt and anxiety--crave from the Church. Could you help?

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Shelby Abbott's devotional -- It's a motivational tool-inspiring believers to share their faith.

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Come to me because I want to be a representation of Jesus to you as your kid. So we want to share the gospel with our kids verbally, but we want to share the gospel with our kids in our actions as well. And that's one of the most remarkable ways to do that is to enter into their pain.

That is the gospel. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. So we had Shelby Abbott in the studio, which was really fun.

Yeah. And people were like, oh, now I know a little bit of the story behind the voice. He's like the voice wrapping up Family Life Today every day.

And so we did two programs with him about his life and really passions of his life and helping our listeners get to know him. And then we ended and we just kept talking. Yeah, we thought the mics were off, actually.

You can tell because I keep responding over and over. Bruce kept the mics on as a good audio engineer should do because you never know what you might capture. And our conversation went places that was really good.

Amazing. I mean, it really was a really good conversation. And so we thought, you know what? Let's let our listeners hear what we talked about after we thought we were done talking.

We were still talking. And it's content that I think is life changing. So listen in. The way is narrow. The way is narrow. And by its very nature of being narrow, there are going to be people who are just never going to walk that narrow path. But in humility, saying this is what it is and like being open to our blind spots and allowing people to point that stuff out instead of being right all the time. But narrowness of like, there are going to be people who walk away and people who I would label as like never walking away, never ever walking or like compromising in certain areas and calling evil good. I've discovered all the more but for the grace of God go I and Lord Jesus protect me.

May I never lose my first love. Because I've seen a lot of people, and granted I'm only in my 40s, but I've seen people I went to college with, I went on summer missions with, shared the gospel with, led Bible studies with. Pitch it for something that's just never anywhere close to as glorious as a relationship with Jesus and go, really? I mean, I could have made those decisions too. And I really honestly think that the fact that I have not been successful in the world's eyes and the fact that I've suffered is what's kept me walking with Jesus. So again, while those are bad in some ways, I look at them and go, those are the greatest things that have protected me from walking away. We would say the same. It's so true because you're so needy.

You can't do it without him. And the celebrity status of Christianity is killing us. And it's crumbling now too. Keller's talked about this a lot too. He's like, I didn't write my first book until I was like 55.

Oh, I didn't know that. Paul Tripp got published the first time at 45. Keller's Cancer, Paul Tripp, Kidney Failure, Matt Chandler, Brain Cancer, Piperhead Cancer, David Platt lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, sold everything, went overseas. People who are generally, not always, but generally influential for the kingdom, they're sufferers. I also think what you're tapping into at that 10 year window or 10 or 15 year window, that's a pivotal time because so many college kids often are involved in some kind of ministry. If they're walking with Jesus in college, they're connected. They step out of college. We've seen this over and over and it's like they don't get connected in a church or whatever. They just, they walk away slowly from their faith. Doesn't happen in one year, but in five to seven years, who's speaking into their life?

How are they connected? So you're tapping into that generation. I mean, they may say they walk away at 40 or 45, but it might've started at 20. It started, yeah, a lot sooner. And it usually is a slow drift.

It usually is. I saw this video online of this guy. It must've been overseas, this canal. And he had this sheep who was like wedged into this canal. The video starts with him pulling the sheep out and like pushing him up over the hill and the sheep pops out and it starts running. And he climbs out of the canal and the sheep runs and goes on a U-turn and literally jumps right back into the canal, like sideways again.

So it's completely stuck. And he just throws up his arms and walks off camera. And I'm like, thank God that God doesn't do that with us because that's literally what we do. And he picks us up, pries us out of this canal.

We run, we jump right back in, and he jumps right back in after us. And that's what we need. Young people are going to fail. They just are. And they're going to make stupid decisions. We're going to go, why did you do that? And they're going to go, I don't know. But that's okay.

I did the same thing when I was your age. Let me help pry you out of this canal. It's a good reminder as disciplers. Just stay in the ditch. They're coming back.

Just walk 10 feet north and then they'll meet you there when they jump back in again. The other lie we sort of believe is they don't want moms and dads. They don't want mentors. They are longing for those of us that are a little older and have life experience to turn around and say, how can I help? Am I right?

Maybe yes. How can I help in theory? But let me help you here specifically. Asking pointed questions. Are you struggling with this? Are you struggling with porn addiction? Because the statistics say that you are. And you've got internet streaming into your pocket at all hours of the day, anytime you want to. So don't tell me the right answer.

Tell me the real answer. And then let me help you by talking to you about the areas where I've failed and where I continue to fail. And let's see some success together and drag that darkness into the light. But saying, let me help you specifically. It's kind of like when you have a friend who loses a loved one. And then I've heard this from people who have lost a loved one close to them, a parent or like a child or friend. They often hear from people in the church community.

Let me know if I can do anything for you. Which really puts the weight on them as the mourner, the sufferer. When in reality say, I'm going to bring a meal by tomorrow unless you tell me not to.

Stuff like that. So we can do that with young people as well. Hey, I'm going to meet with you every Monday at lunch to talk to you about this issue, which has been a struggle for me and may not be a struggle for you. But we're going to do that unless you tell me not to. I'm not going to force myself on you, but I'm going to put myself into your life. I was in much need of a mentor at one point in time. And someone told me, they're never going to ask to mentor you.

You're going to have to go to them. And surely enough, I did. I said, well, will you be willing to meet with me? And he was like, yeah, let's do it.

And that's one of the best decisions I made because I moved into him. What if it was the opposite? So what if we had older people who are constantly approaching younger people and saying, how much time do you have this week?

Allow me to graciously insert myself and annoy you enough to care about you and put myself in your life. I think our churches and Christians in general will be changed by that because there's wisdom there that is untapped. When you talk about the next generation, you and it's even in your tagline, anxiety. Yeah. Talk about that, because I know that my generation had anxiety. There seems to be a level that's different.

Yeah. And I'm not sure we all always understand it. So part of your tagline is to help understand and navigate the anxiety of that generation.

What's that mean? This is Shelby Abbott, and you're listening to my conversation with Dave and Ann Wilson. We'll get right back to what some call the anxiety epidemic that young people are facing in just a second. But first, I want to jump in here and say that I joined Family Life's team because I believe in the mission. Biblical truth applied to today's family is arguably more important now than ever. If you feel the same way, would you consider supporting Family Life Today with a donation? When you give any amount this week, we want to send you a copy of my book called What's the Point?

Asking the right questions about living together and marriage. It's our way of saying thanks when you give this week. You can do that online at or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329.

That can be a one time gift or a recurring monthly gift. Again, the number is 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. All right, now back to my conversation with Dave and Ann and the anxiety epidemic young people are facing. Anxiety is something that people would admit to sporadically. And when I work with students, one out of every three would be like, I'm kind of anxious about this.

I'm wrestling with significant anxiety about this. Now it feels like almost everybody. It feels like three out of three are wrestling with anxiety. I mean, to varying degrees. It's not everybody needs to have medicine and go see a counselor.

A lot of people do already, which is great. They're trying to get on the solution side of that. But there's this sense of looming, dark anxiousness over the next generation. And that cloud is very heavy on a lot of young people.

And I think it has to do with a bunch of varying factors. But one of them, think about this. If you live before the age of social media and cell phones, if you were being bullied at school, you would be bullied on school grounds. And then you'd get away. And then you'd be able to get away.

Maybe you'd go to a sports team or something, some extracurricular activity. And maybe it would still happen there, but then you can get away. There are kids who are being bullied 24-7 on their phones. Or if they ignore their phone and they log in the next time, then there's all these comments there. And people are bitterly mean and cruel on social media because there's no repercussions. If you say something mean to someone, you see how they react.

And in your natural way, made in the image of God, you go, that's wrong. I should not have said that. But when you're typing with your thumbs on a phone, you could be cruel and there's no filter whatsoever. And we've seen that over the last couple of years. People are just more and more viciously outraged and angry. But if you're being bullied as a young person, that's formative. Because everybody could point back and go, this was the time when this happened in my life and it was horrible.

But it's maybe one, maybe two, maybe five instances. But if someone's experiencing that on a continual basis, all the time on their phone, they can't even do the normal thing of posting a picture on social media without being mocked for whatever reason. Some sort of physical thing about them or the way that they speak or just because they're not cool enough. That does something to a young generation. So we naturally try to insulate and protect ourselves so we're anxious about that happening again. We want to avoid that pain. And so everybody's got their little button that they don't want to be pushed again because it was happening or is happening currently.

And so they react in certain ways that manifests itself often in I'm afraid it might happen again. And that fear gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And so just trust God. Just don't be anxious.

Those are the platitudes. They're just not going to go anywhere. So I'm all for counseling. I'm all for the chemical aspect of it as well. If it's something wrong in your brain, go get medicine.

I'm all for that. But it needs to be a combination of if it's a chemical thing and if it's a counseling thing, pursue those things. But yes, let's come alongside of you in this process and help you to see that Jesus is the answer to your problem. It's just not going to be maybe as clear cut and easy as you want it to be.

You're not going to be able to take a pill, swallow it, and then you'll be better. Jesus loves us too much to let it be that easy because he wants us to rely on him. Not just as, again, as this destination one day to rely on him and arrive, but rely on him in the process of going through anxiety.

I've found that in my life when it comes to my fear and anxiety, he's intent not so much on getting to the solution side of stuff, but on throwing his arm around me and walking me through it so that I can get to the other side and let everything unrest. Look back on it and see that it wasn't that big of a deal. Not that that thing is the thing itself I need to dwell on, but on the fact that Jesus' arm was around me in that process because it helps me to appreciate my relationship with him instead of dwelling on my circumstances all the time. I wish I would have done a better job as a mom with high schoolers.

Because I'm thinking about when high schoolers are feeling that angst or they're worrying or they're anxious or they're struggling. As a parent, you hate that. You hate for your kids to be fearful or anxious.

We hate for them to feel any kind of raw emotion where they're suffering and hurting. And so as parents, what do we do? I tried to get them out of that. Yeah, protect them.

I'm trying to protect them. And what my kids have said now is, Mom, you just tried to fix us. It's like you tried to put a Band-Aid, like, well, stop looking at your phone or just stop. You know, I had these pat answers that was basically I'm bleeding out and you're putting a little kid's Band-Aid on it and it's not working. And I remember saying to our kids who were in their 20s, like, what should I have done? Because I hated seeing you in that much pain and I just want you out of the pain. And they said, I just needed you to sit in it.

Quit trying to fix me and just ask me questions. Now, I don't know if at that point, even as a 16-year-old or an 18-year-old, they could have expressed what was really going on. Sure. Right, of course. But I wish I would have been OK of just sitting and empathizing like, wow, that's got to feel really bad.

Yeah. And whether or not a teenager is recognizing that, what they're doing is they're asking you to move into something that's uncomfortable and difficult as well. We're like, let the pain stop. And I'll do that by trying to help you to let the pain stop. And if we're honest, it's I want to help you for the pain stop because I love you, but I want the pain to stop with me, too.

Yes. But by the nature of the issue itself, they're inviting us into their pain and we're going, I'm not sure I want to do that because we roll our eyes at teenage drama and that kind of thing and call it all stupid. But it's real for them. It's very, very real for them. And while we might have the, quote unquote, right answers stepping into the pain with them, coming alongside them, this is what we see with Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus.

This is exactly what we see. Jesus doesn't say, hey, Mary, Martha, it's going to be fine. It's going to be OK. Stop crying. Wait for 10 minutes. Yeah, get your stuff together.

It's going to be fine. I'm Jesus. No, he steps into it. He moves into it and he weeps with them.

Why? Because he's our suffering servant, like that's what he does. And so our kids are inviting us. It's an invitation whether or not they recognize they're inviting us into it. They're inviting us to be a suffering servant alongside of them. We can be the physical manifestation of Jesus to our kids by suffering along with them.

And that comes with a measured level of authenticity, discernment, of course, but authenticity, realness and not trying to fix their problems all the time. I remember one of our sons, he had a friend that was running track and he told me super honest, he said, Mrs. Wilson, I have panic attacks before I race. And he was really gifted.

He had a scholarship for college at a Big Ten school. He said, I'm so anxious and nervous and I can barely function before a race. And so it's so crazy. I just took this little flat rock and I wrote a scripture verse on it. I can't even remember which one. And I never knew this until maybe 15 years later. He came to my house. He had that rock.

No way. Wow. And he shows it to me. He said, I want you to know that I have carried this with me all through college and all through my adult years. And it has gotten me through just one little scripture verse. Beautiful.

Isn't that crazy? Not even knowing the impact that scripture and the gospel can make. As I'm listening to both of you talk, I thought, you know, earlier, Shelby, you said, you know, Jesus puts his arm around you and walks you through the suffering.

And I'm guessing that's usually through a person, a human being that God usually uses. And even as Ann said that about Joe coming back to our house, I just thought I want to be that parent that our kids run to in pain, anxiety, doubt, loneliness, all the things you're talking about in your podcast. I want them to run to mom and dad rather than run away to someone else. I want to be able to be the hands and feet, the arm of Jesus in such a way that they feel safe.

They know I've struggled with the same things. That's what we want to be as the church. But I think even as parents, it's like, man, if we have empathy and we're willing to listen and just sit with our children when they go through this, they're going to want to come to us rather than we're the one that fixes it and tells them they shouldn't be feeling this way.

And here's what another Bible verse says, even though all that can somewhat be true as well. We want to be the place they're running to because people ran to Jesus not away from me when they were in pain. It's a conscious decision that you make to enter into their pain and their sadness.

But what's the alternative? The alternative is that they don't come to you and they go to someone else. And so not in a jealous way of like, don't go to someone else, but come to me because I want to be a representation of Jesus to you as your kid. So we want to share the gospel with our kids verbally, but we want to share the gospel with our kids in our actions as well. And that's one of the most remarkable ways to do that is to enter into their pain.

That is the gospel, Jesus entering into the pain of humanity. Boom. It's good. You can turn it off now, Bruce.

We gave you four more days. I feel like for the first seven minutes of that, I was like, we're just talking. That's what it needs to be.

Yeah. I'm Shelby Abbott, and we've been listening to my conversation with Dave and Ann Wilson on family life today. And my upcoming podcast for 18 to 28 year olds is launching in the next few weeks. So I wanted to give you a sample of that right now.

So here's a sneak peek of family life's newest podcast called Real Life Loading. Today, I'm talking with my friend, pastor, apologist, speaker and author, Sam Albury. Sam, my friend, what do you think it would look like for a young person to make themselves uncomfortable for the sake of the gospel, specifically when it comes to kind of threading the needle of standing for the biblical sexual ethic and then treating others in the LGBTQ plus community with dignity, gentleness and respect? Yeah, we don't get to choose between those two things. And if we think one excludes the other, we've understood neither. So the moment we think our sexual ethics mean that we can demean someone.

Actually, we've not understood the sexual ethic because the very basis by which we might think we can demean someone else. Actually, Jesus puts us all in the same boat. So whatever we're giving them actually is due to us as well. But similarly, the dignity of human people doesn't cancel out some of the challenging things Jesus does say about sexual ethics.

In fact, it accounts for it. It's precisely because we are worth so much to God. It's precisely because we are dignified as his image bearers that he actually cares how we handle our sexuality. So that means as Christians, we have to both be those who really do create a sense of safety and compassion and dignity, whilst also holding some beliefs that will be very countercultural to most of the people around us and to do both of those things at the same time. That is, I think, how we try and step into the space that Jesus himself occupied so beautifully.

We're going to go deep today in the best possible way with Paul Tripp. Can I talk about the other side of deconstruction? Yeah, please do. I think there's a way that I should always be deconstructing my faith. But here's what I mean by that.

Yeah, unpack that. I think that I ought to always be humble enough to revisit my system of belief, to see if there are personal and cultural corruptions in there. If things have been pulled in to my faith that are more American culture than Christianity, or more personal preference than Christianity, or more political than Christianity, I should be humble enough to say I have to look for what I need to ferret out of this system of belief I'm doing. I think that's a very positive, humble, God-honoring form of deconstruction.

She's an associate teaching professor of English with over 25 years of experience in the college classroom. Dr. Heather Holloman, help me understand what you mean here. Because you're seated in Christ at your own seat, this day will look nothing like your best friends, your co-workers, or your neighbors. That's about jealousy in comparison. That's about waking up and wishing you had a different life. And I know because I'm also on TikTok with all of you guys. I come from wealth.

I have family members that get to enjoy a totally different life than me. And I wrote that sentence because God was really teaching me, wherever you are, I've ordained this for you. This is part of your seat in Christ, your seat at the table.

This is what your seat is and the good works I prepared in advance for you to do. That's the end of Ephesians 2.10, that He's designed and ordained the fruitfulness of your life. So the day is not going to look anything like anyone else's, and it's not less beautiful or powerful. And so I don't normally struggle with jealousy anymore. And if I do, I just remember Ephesians 2.

Let's get into my conversation with Recab Grey. One of the things I love about up-and-coming believers, they are not okay with theology for theology's sake. They're asking the question like, yo, so what is this producing in culture? How are we making an impact upon those around us as opposed to just looking inward? And it's a beautiful thing about this generation. And it's like, this is Jesus' words, like He will one day say, well done, good and faithful servant. But I do think that though that's what Jesus says we're looking forward to, what I think we've trained so many, not only Christians, but pastors, is to believe that Jesus won't be saying well done, good and faithful servant. He'll be saying well articulated, good and faithful theologian. And when you get those mixed up, you disciple towards well said.

Even who you pick as leaders are well said leaders rather than well done leaders. And I think, you know, we really do need to have a shift in of like, man, our well articulated theology is only actually good if it becomes well done practice. And I think we can grow enough for sure. That's a sample of Family Life's latest podcast that I'll be hosting called Real Life Loading.

It's about to launch in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that. Now it might be tempting to believe that abuse only happens in marriages outside the church. Unfortunately, that's not even true at all. Tomorrow we'll hear from Dr. David Clark on the importance of recognizing abuse and what to do about it. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. Join us next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, to pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-11 19:08:45 / 2023-01-11 19:19:27 / 11

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