Hey, this is Shelby Abbott. Before we get started, if you gave to Family Life last month, I just wanted to say thank you so much. The gifts are still coming in, and we don't have final numbers yet, but I sincerely hope that you know we couldn't do this without you. I'm so grateful for your partnership with us at Family Life today, and if you couldn't give, that's fine. We're so glad to have you listening. All right, now to today's show.
We need to be careful and also own the fact that a lot of the reason why the culture is anti-Christ is because Christians have been anti-love. 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 FamilyLifeToday.com or on the Family Life app.
This is Family Life Today. OK, it's 2023. What are you excited about? Come on, give me something you're excited about. This is the year that? What? I have no idea.
I have no idea. Let's start over. This is the year that the Lions win the Super Bowl.
That's what I'm thinking. It won't be next month in February, but it will be. So you're doing stand-up this year then, stand-up comedy. No, this is the year that we get to introduce. Wait, let's start over. I'm doing it right now.
This is real. OK. We get to introduce our listeners to a whole network of podcasts that I don't think a lot of our audience even knows exist. And they're amazing podcasts that will be super helpful. And because it's a new year, it's a great time to introduce some new listening, some ways to draw closer to God, to our families, to our kids. And guys, a lot better than us as podcasters.
They're sitting in the room. We've got Brian Goins in the house with Married with Benefits. And I'm going to have you introduce yourself, but I thought I'd do it a little different. We've got Ron Deal with Family Life Blended.
We've got Shelby Abbott with Real Life Loading. Here's what I thought would be fun to do. Ron, you introduce us to Brian. Oh, my goodness. Brian, you introduced us to Shelby, and Shelby can introduce Ron.
Do I get to go first? Yeah, Ron, introduce Brian Goins. Brian's is a friend. I like Brian. I actually like Brian. He and his wife, Jen, have been with Family Life a long time, speak on the weekend, remember speaker team. Brian's been doing this podcast that he can say a little bit more about, we're going to hear clips from.
But he leads a lot of creative thought around content and vision and how Family Life can better reach into the world and make a difference for the kingdom. Wow, that's good. No pressure, guys.
Yeah, exactly. You got to one up that. I just met Shelby.
This is great. You don't know Shelby? Brian was my boss for like two years. I know. Yeah, but I never saw the guy. Virtually. Exactly. It was pre-COVID and we still never saw each other because he's up in Philly. Yeah.
But Shelby's the one with Crew for what? How long? Like your whole life? 23 years. Yeah, 23 years. Started when you were five. Yes, I did. I think that was the youngest guy ever at Crew on Crew staff.
Just to learn my ABCs. I was really a very rare person in Crew. But what I love about Shelby is not only is he an incredibly gifted writer, he's a great communicator.
He's been EMCed for the first time on the crews this past year or a year ago. But you have such a passion for the next generation. And that's what I love about this podcast is it's really about how do we help prepare people for relationships? Because so much, we don't have those skills coming into marriage.
And if we just try to get them at the point of marriage, we've already lost them. And so I love that your energy and passion is around how to reach the next generation, which you've been doing ever since you started with Crew. Thanks, Brian.
Ron Deal, I've heard his name for several years before I even got involved with Family Life. And the specialty, the lane that he's in is one of the lanes that is so vital to be able to interject, speak to, communicate gospel truth. And you've been doing that as a writer, as a podcaster, as a speaker with Family Life for several years now. I know that you've been extremely beneficial, not only to me, but to many other families who are in a world that they sometimes feel neglected.
They sometimes feel that normal, quote, unquote, family content is not directed at them. And you have flipped it on its head and weaponized it in a way that utilizes the gospel to speak into people's lives and helps them to love Jesus and love each other more as husband and wife in blended families. Wow. Shelby, we introduced us, man.
I was like, wow! Hey, you guys are really good. You should have your own podcast.
Hey, there's another. I got to tell you, I interviewed Shelby for the Family Life blended podcast. He was one of our episodes. We have a series called Growing Up in a Blender, where we interview young adults and adults about their life growing up in a blended family. Very compelling, really insightful interview that I did with Shelby.
I would encourage people to go out and find it. You learn a whole lot about him, about where he comes from, and what makes him tick. It was awesome. When you interviewed me on the couch, because you were my therapist at that, was that Growing Up in a Blender?
Because you were asking me about Growing Up in a Blender family. That's exactly what it was. That was one of the series. That was way back.
It was. So we've probably got eight or 10 different episodes that are Growing Up in a Blender episodes. It's really helpful. You know, student ministry leaders, children's ministry leaders listen to those things and go, oh, that's the kid I'm serving right now in fourth grade.
That's the kid in my youth group who's wrestling with going between homes. That's why it's so insightful, I think. Yeah. And each of your podcasts are very unique.
They're really similar because it's about marriage and family, but very different and distinct to a different audience. And so today we get to introduce our audience to all three of you. So we're going to start with Ron with Family Life Blended and hear a clip. I'm not even going to set it up.
It'll set itself up. And then let's just respond. Hey, welcome. This is Family Life Blended and I'm Ron Deal. This donor supported podcast helps blended families and those who love them pursue the relationships that matter most. When we're talking about blended families, I know that for years when it came to Christmas and birthdays, I was making up for them being in a blended family. We were overbuying, overspending, over celebrating.
And I may have had a little competition going on with their mom. It was my own need to be loved and accepted by these very important people in my life who I felt so much rejection from. And when I could finally kind of calm down and say the stuff doesn't represent our love, it just doesn't. When I finally had to get to the place of this is going to take years. This is not going to happen overnight. This is going to take years. Roger and I kept on telling each other five years.
We've heard from other families that five years can really make a difference. And we got to a point where my stepson would not participate in our wedding. He just he refused to. He didn't want to be there. He wouldn't come to our wedding unless his mom came. I mean, it's just it's a whole bunch of mess to the place where he's called me for advice, to the place where he's gotten off the phone with his dad to talk to me to find out how I'm doing.
You know, I never thought we would get to that place. So I had to calm down with the stuff and just understand that it takes some time to build into that place. I think that's so helpful to hear someone's honest interpretation about what they're dealing with as a stepmom and then even trying to understand their stepson. Like I remember my stepsister at my parents wedding when I was six and I remember her being sad the whole time.
In fact, the wedding pictures with all of us as a family, her eyes are puffy and red and tear-stained. And that is the reality for a lot of kids out there as they're seeing the quote unquote finality of the death of the hope of their parents getting back together. And so I appreciated that clip in so many different ways, knowing also that there's hope on the other side.
It just takes time. Yeah, I think one of the things I appreciate you, Ron, is that you were able to paint the picture of what a family that maybe, like I know for me, I've not been in that situation, I didn't grow up in that situation, but it gets painted so clearly on your podcast. I now have the confidence to walk in and have a conversation with somebody and ask the questions that might help uncork what's going on in their hearts to know that holidays are the toughest time for a lot of blended homes.
As my radar up, as my antenna up, and so what I love about the blended podcast is that it helps me identify with people that are right in my neighborhood, right in my corner of the world, but I may not have the info I need to be able to go in and have an honest conversation with them. I'm thinking of other women just hearing that even as a stepmom thinking that's happened to someone else too. I'm not alone. Like this can be normal for families that are blending and adjusting and it makes you have hope like, okay, so someone else has gone through this. I'm not alone in it. And that feels good. You like to use that metaphor about like a blender versus a crock pot. But it does make me feel a little uncomfortable when you say you have to cook a stepfamily differently. I feel a little off. It's better to find that one.
That's right. We had Kathy lip speak at the last blended and blessed event live stream to the world. And she talked about a little bit further around some of the things we just heard in this clip. This idea that man, it started difficult, started challenging, had a stepson that wouldn't even come to the wedding. And now they have a relationship where he calls her for advice.
I mean, that tells you the level of trust that he has in her. And that's the message we want blended families to hear. Yeah, there's some speed bumps. Like, I don't know, you guys, you're talking to young adults and couples and families and who hasn't had speed bumps in the midst of life and parenting and whatnot. We all have. And if we hang in there, we keep going, walk faithfully with God, trust things get smoother, then you get to those places where you see the reward and the payoff of the relationships.
And that's a beautiful day. Be okay with the fact that the Christian life is messy. Like it is messy. And that doesn't mean God is absent in those moments when it's messy.
It's not all about these destinations of getting to a certain place. God is just as much present with us in the mess as He is in those better situations at the end where we want things to be. And you guys give so many great stories of if you stay in the game, you'll see some victories. So unlike Detroit Lions, blended families have hope. You're exactly right about that.
You are exactly right about that. But there is hope because we have another podcast we're going to introduce you to. Brian, your podcast Married with Benefits. I guess you can respond later, but we want to hear a little clip from yours and then we can all take shots at it.
That'd be great. Welcome to the Family Life Podcast Network. I'm Brian Goins, host of Married with Benefits, where we're passionate about discovering the benefits of saying, I do. This week, we're here with Shanti Feldhahn, Harvard trained researcher, author, marriage speaker. You know, this is probably the number one question that Shanti gets after every conference that she does. And that is, how can I help my husband hear me?
He always seems to go right into Mr. Fix It mode. Well, I can fix that problem for you.
Or really, Shanti can. She's got some tips to help you feel heard every time. Do you remember the video, the nail? The nail video? That is one of the funniest videos, I think. Now, how is you as a woman watching that?
Did you relate to it? You're like, Oh, this is here. Oh, come on. She's an idiot. She's got the nail on her head. And for those that if you haven't seen it, if you just look on YouTube, look up the nail. It's not about the nail.
It's not about the nail. You'll find it. It's hilarious.
But how did you feel watching it as a woman? You actually have to listen to the case. And here is what guys don't get.
Okay? And so ladies, this is what now you can share with your husband, because this is truly what men don't understand when you say, I don't want you to fix it. I just want you to listen to your husband. He is, I guarantee you, because I've talked to thousands of men about this. He is thinking to himself, I have been listening for 10 minutes.
I just want you to listen, like I've already been listening. And here's what the difference is, is that they don't realize that for us as women, what that means is I want you to listen to my feelings. And here is the hard part for a guy. And when Jeff and I do marriage conferences, we see the men all lean forward when I explain, here is what you need to do. Guys, you have trained yourself, and you can tell your husband this, you've trained yourself your whole life that emotions and feelings and all those jangling feelings are gonna kind of get in the way of solving the actual problem, what you think is the actual problem, which is the splinter. The boss embarrassed her in front of all of her colleagues, and she's upset, she's talking about it evening. And so you're like, okay, we have got to set all these emotions aside because we gotta figure this out.
We gotta get the hit list out. What are you gonna do tomorrow when you walk into the office so you get into this go-to mode? And instead, guys, what you need to realize is that all those jangling emotions that you're trying to filter out in order to get to the problem, those emotions are what she most wants you to listen to. And so if you can tell your husband, I know this is gonna sound really strange, but I want you to ignore the actual problem for a minute. I want you to set that aside, that's step two.
Step one is truly focus in on all these feelings that I have. Okay, well, as the guy, like, how do I? Notice who's laughing right now, the woman at the table. Because Shanti kept talking and explaining.
But Brian, I think that's the thing I love about you and Shanti, you get super practical. In marriage, we're wondering, like, what do I do? And you guys so often answer that in a biblical way that's so helpful for marriages.
I just listening to that, every woman is like, I need my husband to hear this, and I need to listen. I wanna know what a jangling emotion is. Yeah, that is an interesting, I don't know. I was trying to listen for the answer. It's just these emotions that are out there that we're supposed to try to bring in. Ann, do you have any idea what a jangling? Yeah, they're out there, you guys. They're just jangling around, and you have to kind of pick them up. In other words, it's work.
You have to try to chase that thing down, whatever it is. I got a funny story on me. I was really good at academic studies around marriage and family relationships. I can't imagine you being good at that, Ron. Until I had to go into my first practicum where we had to sit with another person on camera and practice listening skills, listening for the emotion below the surface sort of stuff. I bombed every time.
And the video would go in front of the whole class, like, and everybody's going, you get a grade from the professor and from your class about how you're doing. I didn't know the words, I couldn't pinpoint anything. I sort of said, well, it sounds like you're a little irritated when they were enraged.
I was totally, levels were off and everything. And I just had to work at this a long, long time. And I think the message that I take away from that little clip is some things come more naturally to women and men, and this is one thing that a lot of us guys have to work at. We don't just naturally connect into what those emotions are or even have a vocabulary for it.
We gotta work at it. I mean, you've heard this, and I won't go into details, it's in our vertical marriage small group curriculum thing, but the day that Ann was sharing a bad day, I go upstairs. I had told him I'm having the worst day.
It's been terrible. Yeah, he goes upstairs, he prays, and he comes down with a piece of paper. And I hand it to her. Literally like, this is from God.
And I thought- You have the answer. Here are the tablets that come down from Mount Sinai, from Mount Bedroom. I came down. I thought he wrote me a love letter, like an encouraging note of, you're the best mom. You're a great wife. And so I took it like, oh, hon, thank you. And it's numbered one to 10. I thought, oh, these are 10 reasons why I'm a good mom. And so number one says, get more organized. So how sensitive. And I'm like, what? And then number two said, use your time- That's enough.
You don't need to know what I'm saying. Tell him what you did with it. I said, you think this is like a joke?
Is this for real? And he goes, I prayed about that. That's from God. And I said, that is from Satan. And I ripped it up and I threw it in his face. She threw it in my face. And it was what Shanti just explained. That was the first time I'd ever heard it.
Cause I said, I was that naive. I mean, I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was like, that's not helpful? And she's like, no, this is what's helpful.
And that's the first time I'd ever heard what Shanti said. The goal of connecting into those feelings is connecting hearts. Connectication, right? Is really what this communication is. Is that a word? It's not a real word. It is now.
It's cause he's smart. I'm gonna use that. You know, it's like, you didn't connect. You disconnected.
Definitely. So literally she was downstairs and you were upstairs. There's a metaphor for you, right?
You're in two totally different places rather than really. So this, I get it, man. This communication thing and trying to dig and what's the emotion?
What is she really saying underneath all these words? That's a challenge, but it's gold. And I can't say that's so practical.
It is. And well, Shanti does a great job with that. I mean, she's a Harvard trained researcher. I mean, we're bringing in the brain trust because I've got so many weaknesses.
So we bring somebody else in that can add a lot of value in that moment. I think the thing that was highlighting, it was huge for me, was when she said the first part of fixing a problem is actually understanding the emotion. Like we tend to separate those two versus go, no, that's step one. And then she had equated it to like sucking poison out of a wound. And that's what those emotions can feel like to a woman is that they feel like there's some toxic things that are going on and I'm not quite understanding them. And for a guy to go, I mean, that's a manly image.
Like I want to suck some poison out, help get that snake might work on that, whatever that might be. But to understand it is step one. And then we talk about how, but really step two, we don't want ladies, again, these are genderalities.
That's not true for everyone. But step two is then invite the guy in to actually help. Okay, now what could we do? Once we understand the emotion, if there's a desire, let's work on what the problem is. One of the things that I think for young people in particular, they can listen to this kind of stuff and just immediately tune out because they go, I'm not married, this doesn't apply to me. I'm not going to pay attention.
But as I process this through an 18 to like 28 year old lens, this stuff is gold. You don't learn how to be a good husband or a good wife when you put the ring on. You can actually start to pregame, so to speak, and learn all these things. If you're listening to these kinds of things as a single person or young married, you don't have to have those problems in the future. You can deal with them right now and start to learn how to listen right now. And by the way, as you learn how to listen, that will make you a really good evangelist as well. Because I think most of evangelism, especially in this day and age, is like listening for stuff in people's lives. You mentioned emotion, what's going on here, and that there's something behind what people are saying. You become an all around better human being when you learn how to communicate well.
Doesn't matter what demographic you're in. Well, let's listen right now to your podcast, Real Life Loading. You just set it up, we gotta listen, let's listen, and let's hear about your discussion with how this applies to the next generation. Somewhat anxious, always authentic, this is Real Life Loading. I'm your host, Shelby Abbott, and our desire with this podcast is to help guide you toward the life-changing power of Jesus for relationships in a constantly shifting culture. We're called Real Life Loading, dot, dot, dot, and those three dots at the end of our title are super significant.
The dots describe being in process. We haven't arrived. We're very much in a state of loading. And it's my job to be a trusted friend, to come alongside you and help you walk with God closely in the humor and hardship of life.
Now today, I get to talk with a relatively new friend of mine, Recab Grey. Obviously, the culture is pretty antagonistic toward Christians in general. How do we continue to live for Christ when the culture is so anti-Christ? Yeah, I think the culture is sadly anti-Christ, not only for the same reasons that they were anti-Christ in the time where Peter was writing to the church. Like, we know historically what was going on in 1 Peter.
The reason why I keep coming to 1 Peter, I think there's so much good stuff in there. But one of the things that we know historically is that they had just gone through crazy persecution and were smack dab in the middle of it. There is a passage, I believe it's in chapter four, where he says, let none of you suffer as meddlers or thieves or evildoers. But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not at all be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. So he makes a distinction. There is a joy that can only come when you're actually being persecuted for the name of Christ.
But we need to be careful and also own the fact that a lot of the reason why the culture is anti-Christ is because Christians have been anti-love. So we kind of shape the narrative for them on the front end. Absolutely. Just to give like a simple example, you know, Illustration, you thought a little bit about baseball. So like, you know, there's a difference between batting lead-off and then like batting last, right? Your lead-off, second, third, you want some- Some strength. Those who know what they're doing, you know what I'm saying? Your ninth, you're good, I mean- Pitcher.
Yeah, you're a pitcher, right? So it's like, all right, we'll work with you whatever happens kind of happens, right? But for the most part, the ninth is following the suit of all the rest. I think that the church has been batting ninth when it comes to issues of compassion and justice for like far too long.
And the culture is like calling us out. That message right there is so good, not just for, I mean, I'm glad you're speaking your audiences to the next generation to those that are that 18 to 28, but it's like, man, all of us need that word. And so I love that clip. He seemed like a fun guy.
Yes. He's fantastic. And convicting in a lot of ways. During that entire interview, he was spitting scripture the entire time. He wasn't just giving his own opinion about stuff. He was leading with scripture, talking about stuff, and then backing it up with more scripture.
It recaps amazing. Yeah, well, and 1 Peter, you think about it, it's all about being exiles in Babylon. And more and more, that's what it's starting to feel like. And instead of being fearful, I even like how you say at the beginning of your podcast, we're a little anxious, but it's like, we shouldn't be fearful. We feel that anxiety, but yet how do we move into that with faith?
And what I heard him talk about was leading with love instead of leading with- Judgment. Judgment, challenge, calling people out for the group that they may fit into or the way they identify themselves and just sort of going social political real fast and attacking that, as if that somehow earns us influence in their lives? No, that just fuels whatever fire they have back at us. We're losing influence when we take that posture to begin with. I know listening to that through the lens of the people that we talk to on the Fame of Life blended podcast, I think they have felt attacked. And a pretty good segment of that population has felt like they don't really fully belong sometimes within the Christian community or that they sort of have to hide that part of their life. They're afraid of that judgment.
Well, you guys don't look quite like the way you should look. And so then that comes with pain and feeling second class. And so what is always needed?
Whether we're talking somebody who's sort of marginalized within the Christian community or somebody who's completely outside the Christian community is that we lead with compassion, love, see their heart, look beyond the externals of whatever it is that they're saying or doing with their life, but see somebody who is made in the image of God and needs someone to move toward them in love, not in judgment. Yeah, and the next generation is doing that. Like you call people out and say, you know, we have been anti-love. The next generation says, I want to be the solution there. I want to be a part of changing the narrative, flipping the script. When he talks about batting ninth and the culture's calling us out, they're like, let's go, let's do it.
I'm ready to bat first. Young people, if you ask them to go get pancakes at 1 a.m., they're going to do it probably. And I love that kind of spirit of like, yes, we can change the world. And if we're calling people to change the world in the context of the gospel, there are so many young people who get this bad rap that they're just lazy and they're not willing to do stuff. But there are so many young people who want to help change the world for the glory of Jesus.
We just need to give them good tracks to run on. You know, one of the things I heard in just that short clip, and it's probably because of my generation, is I heard a younger person talking about their world and wanting to make an impact for Christ. I've often said, as a pastor for 30 years, I often said on our stage, to the older people at our church, if we do not understand the next generation, and if we don't fill this place with 20 and 30-year-olds, this church will die in 20, 25 years, and it'll be known as, wow, remember, and it's dead. And you know what I often felt from the older generation? Defensiveness. Even hearing that clip, a lot of peers my age would say, we love people, what are you talking about?
Rather than going, we are batting ninth. This isn't right. And so, initially, you would think, oh, real-life loading's for the next generation. It is, but our generation should be listening to this because it helps us understand our kids, our legacy, and what God's doing in the world right now in a time that we're gonna pass on.
So that's what I heard. I was like, wow, that's beautiful. Yeah, the beauty of it, too, is we're airing as a podcast for young people, but we're also airing on the weekends on radio. And so, this is an opportunity for parents and grandparents to be able to listen in and eavesdrop on the conversations that young people are having and help be part of the solution, which is why I'm so excited about it. And now you get to do what you do best, Shelby. You get to wrap the show and get us ready for tomorrow. Well, we're gonna continue this conversation with Ron and Brian and Dave and Ann Wilson. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. ["Family Life Today Theme Song"] Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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