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. So as I've been doing this research with the guys, nagging is essentially one of the most explicit signals of I don't trust you. It's I've asked you to do something and oh, by the way, I've asked you to do something again and again, right?
And it's essentially this I am not trusting you to do it or to care about it enough that you will get to it when you can. 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 our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. Do you have a New Year's resolution this year?
2023. Not yet. I thought you were gonna say you're gonna listen to all the Family Life. That's what I'm gonna do.
I'm gonna listen to the Family Life podcast network. And we have three of them sitting in the studio. We have been assembled. It's the Avengers sitting right here. We've got Ant-Man over here. Show me.
Show me Ant-Man. What's Ron? Dr. Strange.
You need to kind of dye the goatee a little bit. What's Brian? He's Iron Man. Iron Man? I want to be Iron Man.
I'm hiding behind a mask. Ann is Captain Marvel or Black Widow? Oh, Captain Marvel. She's more powerful than everybody.
I don't even know why they have the other superheroes. She can just destroy everything. I thought the same thing.
You can destroy us all, Ann. Our entire production crew is in there like, is they thinking this is the intro to the show? Yes, this is the intro to the show.
We've got real life loading. Shelby Abbott's in the studio. We've got Ron Deal with Family Life blended.
And we got Brian Goins with Married with Benefits. These are the Family Life podcast shows that a lot of our audience doesn't know. So yeah, if you talk about a New Year's resolution, if you've never heard these, you're gonna hear little clips today. And I hope you say in 2023, I'm gonna start listening to these and not just that, share them.
There's somebody you know that these would be beneficial to. So we're gonna have a little clip. Who are we starting with today, Shelby?
I think it's me. So what are we gonna listen to? I had a conversation with Rachel Gilson, who is a phenomenal... We've had her on. Yeah, she's been a guest on Family Life Today before. She's a phenomenal writer and speaker.
She wrote a book called Born Again This Way, which is kind of the best title for a book ever. And we talked about stuff that is highly applicable to a younger audience, especially now when we're talking about identity and sexuality. And so the conversation was great. The clip will be great as well. 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. So today's guest is Rachel Gilson. And back in 2017, she wrote an article in Christianity Today that went viral. And in that article, she shares her story about realizing as a teenager that she was attracted to women. She pursued that attraction until, through an odd set of circumstances, she became a Christian at Yale University. I love talking with Rachel, and I think you'll learn a lot through our conversation.
So let's hop into it. So what can you say to people who are involved, like maybe a 23-year-old who's just out of college, they're trying to get involved in a church and they realize that one of their friends is same-sex attracted. How do we help that person engage with their friend?
I would say taking a posture of asking honoring questions and listening really well. Because sometimes I have brothers and sisters who have experienced same-sex attracted brothers and sisters who've said, well, they'll bring it up. And their straight friends are really good at receiving it the first conversation. They're like, oh, uh-huh. And they just never bring it up again.
I think because they're afraid of hurting their friend. And so they're like, well, if I just say nothing, then certainly I won't hurt them. Right, right.
Yeah. And that's hard because you're like, well, I don't want to never talk about it again. It's just weird because I don't want it to be the only thing I talk about. But it is a part of my life. So if I've invited you in, then I want to be able to talk about it sometimes. Because sometimes people can go to the other extreme and every time they see you they want to be like, how's that going? And you're like, it might not be going anywhere.
I've just been watching Netflix and hanging out. So we just need to know where our friend is. Maybe she is in a position where for whatever reason her experience of same-sex attraction is the main source of temptation and spiritual difficulty in her life. That might be true and she really needs support if that is true. But it might be true that that's a part of her experience, but actually her main source of spiritual temptation and struggle is that she works for someone who is deeply unkind and who is treating her poorly because she's a Christian or whatever. You think of a million examples. So I think just being careful to not assume that the person who is same-sex attracted, that that's like the source of all their pain.
We just don't know. We shouldn't make assumptions about each other. We should just ask good questions. And the way churches can foster these types of scenarios or ministries is just by having the conversation every once in a while.
I love that, Shelby. I think it's so easy to get locked in fear about something going on in somebody's life that we care about and we're sort of like, man, I don't want to bring that up or maybe I should bring that up. And so bringing it up once and then never bringing it up again and again is sort of backtracking all the time. Never really sure what to do. And then the other takeaway for me was making assumptions.
That's just so easy to do. Sometimes what's a big deal to us may not be a big deal to them. And so we're making all these assumptions about how they're dealing with that element in their life. And one of the things I've learned to do with somebody is to just say, you know, I'd like to revisit this every now and then, but I don't want to bug you about it. So you tell me, would it be okay if we talked about it from time to time? And I let them define the parameters around when, where, how we talk about that thing, whatever that thing is. And now all of a sudden I feel permission and freedom and they feel heard. And now I know the path forward and we don't have to avoid it.
Yeah. I think the temptation a lot as human beings, and I've found this especially true as Christians is we just want a playbook. Give me the play.
Let me run the play, whatever the play is. So if I have a friend who's same sex attracted, let me run the play. It's never that easy. It's always complicated. It's always nuanced.
And the best way to figure out how to care for a person who's in your life who might be same sex attracted or even like a family member or child is to ask questions and get on their level to help them determine how to proceed in the conversation, which is if we're good listeners, we're doing that on a continual basis anyway. Yeah. The word that hit my head was condescend, which we tend to think of as a negative word, like don't be so condescending. But in reality, it's like you, when that word was used in the New Testament, Jesus condescended from heaven.
He came down. It means to go down together, condescend, go down together. And I think that's never a comfortable feeling for most of us. So even what you're bringing up, I think is applicable to whether you're a husband, whether you're a wife, I need to descend into their world.
And that takes energy. And usually if you're going down, I think of a dark place, you're going to a place you don't feel comfortable in, but that's exactly where we need to go and go, how do I listen? How do I step into their world? And you do such a great job in your podcast of going, I'm going to step into the world of those that are dealing with issues that maybe the older generations are not. And so help us get there, I think is really helpful. I love that you're hitting these relevant topics and your audience is 18 to 28. You're gearing it toward that age group. But I am listening thinking, these are topics our kids want to talk about.
And we as parents should have the courage to walk into those conversations. Yeah. And when you think about the end of Luke chapter 14, Jesus is basically calling us to die, to come take up our cross and follow Him. And in dying, others are brought to life.
That's the gospel. Jesus dies so that we might have life and we can do that with our friends. We could die to ourselves, make ourselves uncomfortable in order that others might live, that life might be breathed into them. It's not just for this subject, of course, it could be anything that someone's wrestling with.
If we are willing to be humble and die to ourselves, it brings life to other people. Yeah. And I think, you know, you just modeled that. I mean, in a sense, what we just heard, and again, just a little clip, I thought, boy, you just modeled for parents that aren't 18 to 28, but may have 16, 18-year-old kids. How do I have a conversation about same-sex attraction or any other relevant topic? You just modeled it. Like, listen, let them talk.
Ask questions that are curious—we talked about that yesterday—to draw them out. And don't be judgmental. Every play is going to be run different. You know, I'm a football guy, so every play against different coverages. You like football?
Yeah, when we talk about cover two, you gotta run. Anyway. But also come back to the topic periodically. Yeah. Yeah. Well, thanks, Shelby.
Yeah, of course. We're going to Ron Deal, Family Life Blended. What do you got for us today, Ron? We've had 100 episodes of Family Life Blended. Can you believe that? Wow.
100? That's exciting. And going way back, this next clip comes from episode number 11 with Michelle Cuchat. And Michelle is one of my favorite speakers. She's spoken for us at Blended and Blessed and our summit on Step Family Ministry. Just a word about the recording of this.
Audio is not real great. It was back in the day before we sort of knew what we were doing, but we've learned a few things. But Michelle also, this is part of the conversation we had. You're not going to hear her talk about this, but she had cancer of the tongue three different times.
And at one point they took six inches of muscle and whatever off her arm and had to rebuild her tongue. She's a professional speaker who had to learn how to talk all over again. She has been through some really, really hard things in life and her family and divorce and blended family experience. And so that's a little bit of the context of this conversation. And she wrote a book called Undone, Making Peace with the Life You Have.
Not necessarily the life you want, not the life you dream, but the life you have. So let's listen. I know many of our listeners, not everybody listening has been through a divorce. They've been through some sort of loss. Somebody has.
But maybe even if they haven't been divorced, they can relate to the single parent years that you experienced. Yes. What were those like for you? Exhausting. It's all on you, right?
It's all on me. And I was a young 20-something woman. I lived a thousand miles away from my family, so I had no family backup. I had a bachelor's degree in nursing, but being a single mom of a 22-month-old, I couldn't work 12-hour night shifts at the hospital with the baby. So I had to reinvent myself and come up with a new career.
I went to computer networking sales, if you can believe that. And I know, crazy, but it was a 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. job so I could have daycare. And I just remember those years were very hard. I was very broke. I remember my son and I, he was a toddler, getting up, getting him ready for daycare, dropping him off, going to work, coming home, picking him up, running to the grocery store, hurrying and making dinner.
You know the drill. And we had very little extra. We ate lots of pasta and tuna. But if you would ask my son today, who's now 22, those were some of the sweetest years, too. And then you meet this guy named Troy. Troy. And he's got a couple of kids himself. Yeah, this guy named Troy, Cutie Patootie was at church.
I just thought he was the sweetest thing ever. And he had two boys, single dad, just like I was a single mom of a boy. And you know, we believed it played out just like on TV. So we thought it would be pretty fun to just bring our families together and have a nice happy ending. And was it so? I mean, the dating, take us through that dating period and some of those decisions about getting married. What do you remember or recall? Again, you're asking a woman who's pushing 50 to remember her 20. So be careful.
Okay. Well, dating was both of us working full time trying to pay our bills and take care of our children. And we were very careful about how much we spent time together bringing the boys together. We didn't want them to have more loss.
So trying to navigate how do we spend time together without rushing too quickly and all of that. And of course, I look back on it now and think, gosh, we could have handled all of that so much better. But you know, when you're 20 and you're so hungry for connection and relationship and you are broken, you do all kinds of things from emotion that isn't always intellectually wise. Right. Right.
Let's just jump off there for a minute because I know people listening. We all have regrets. My story is I got married when I was 19.
Okay. And no, we weren't pregnant, you know. I actually did it on purpose.
Like looking back, I think, what was I thinking? Clearly I wasn't thinking, you know, I got married in Iowa. I couldn't even sign my own wedding license. My dad had to sign it because you had to be 20 to sign the license.
I mean, that should have told me something, right? Got married at 19. Nan was 20 years of age. Then we go and do mission work for three months in Kenya with my parents. Like that's another good. I'm going to say that's so helpful for a new man. Exactly. Right. We're establishing our own household and our own boundaries.
And no, you know, we're living out of their pocket. Like, you know, there's so many things. All of us have things we look back at and we have regret over like, what was I thinking? And yet here's the thing that I can't help but notice. Somehow there's enough grace for the day. Like even when it doesn't turn out well, like somehow we look back and God was there and he was teaching and we've learned more. And if it wasn't for those things, we wouldn't be where we are today. We've made decisions because of that. I mean, do you feel that same sort of thing? Absolutely.
Absolutely. You know, Troy and I started dating way too soon after my husband left and his wife left. We had not, you know, we were 20. You didn't know what you didn't know. We didn't know and we did what textbook not to do. Right.
We took all of our emotional pain and tried to find its healing in another person. Right. Not a good idea. It doesn't work.
It doesn't work. Right. And it just leads to more pain and disappointment and more healing required.
However, here I am. My husband and I, we've been married for 18 years now and, you know, we're defying the odds and we love each other and all I see is God's grace. Yeah, that's great.
God's grace. 19? Yeah. I tell people all the time, yeah, don't do that.
That's not a wise thing to do. Grow up a little bit. But look at you. Yeah. Look what's happened.
I mean, that's the point. You know, God's grace is so much bigger than our failures and our mistakes and our shortcomings and immaturity and we all live with regret. I don't care what kind of life or family you have. We all live with regret of some sort or another. Thank goodness.
We don't have to rely on ourselves. What have you discovered to be one of the keys to not living with regret? Is there one or two that you go, here's consistency. Here it is. Losing my story into God's story. It's the woman at the well who starts her day social outcast, pushed away, embarrassed about life and circumstances and we've talked other times on this podcast, whether it was her fault that she'd been through five marriages or somebody else's, we don't know, but she carried shame around it one way or another and she was pushed out by the community and she meets Jesus and recognizes that there's something bigger going on, that my story is not the end of this thing. Now I get to tell my story in light of what God is doing in my story. So, as we like to say at Family Life Blended, you can't change your story, but you can change the story you tell about your story. And when you finally get that God's working in me in spite of me for his purposes and I have hope for a future because of that, so that way I can leave behind regret. I don't have to live in light of me.
I get to live in light of the cross. Yeah, I think that a lot of times, especially in our Western culture, we think about how does God and Jesus and the gospel fit into my story and then I tell my story and then there's this little moment where Jesus is involved and things change, but one of the things I try to tell students and train them is help them to see that it's not about that per se, it's about how our story fits into the greater story of the gospel and that perspective shift really changes everything. And so, yeah, of course we're going to live with regret. Of course we're going to make mistakes, but the gospel covers that, always covers that. There's always grace for the mistakes that we make. That doesn't mean we want to lean into mistakes on purpose. We want to make wise decisions. We want to listen to people who have gone before us and make sure that we're understanding and learning from their wisdom and not repeating the mistakes of the past, but know that when I fall, when I stumble, not if, but when, there is grace that covers that. And again, God can utilize the mistakes that we make to make our story a better one for someone else in the future.
That's just what He's in the business of doing on a consistent basis. Ron, I just want to thank you and Nan, your wife, that not all our listeners have heard Nan, but you two are incredibly powerful. You love Jesus and you have impacted so many families, blended families, married families, single parents that are raising their kids. You've been so helpful and you've championed the blended family when no one was there really giving guidance and hope that Jesus can give. And I would say, if you're listening and you know a blended family, I do this. I'm always saying, oh, you need to listen to Ron Deal and our blended podcast. It's so helpful. And a good reminder, honestly, in that last clip, which I know every day is a different show and a different family and a different story. But the thing I heard, which was interesting is I think we all do this when life gets hard or when marriage gets hard, it's very easy to go back and say, well, I was an idiot.
I got married at 19. This isn't going to work. We should have known better.
And you bail. And I can tell you, we all know hundreds of couples that has been their excuse, whether it's married too young or we didn't really understand what we're getting into. And she just reminded us and you reminded us and we did it too. We got married too young.
And if you would have looked at us on paper, you would have said, you're not going to make it. We stayed. She stayed. She's 18 years in. You're how many? 36. 36 years in. We're 42 years in. Stay.
Yeah. You probably made mistakes. You probably have regrets. You know what? The gospel covers.
The gospel is going to meet you right where you are. And you're going to have a story. You're going to laugh at this stupid thing you did and say, you know, we're laughing now because we didn't bail.
We hung in there even though it might've not been the wisest decision. You know, talk about married with benefits. Yeah. That's a great segue because that really is, is rediscovering the benefits of saying I do.
There was a reason why you said I do. And so we forget it. We lose it. We have regret.
We have pain, but yet God wants us to experience the oneness that really is exemplified by the gospel that the gospel is about fresh starts into beginning. So that's really what this podcast is all about. Let's hear a clip. Welcome to the Family Life Podcast Network.
This is Brian Goins. I'm your host of Married with Benefits, the podcast that is devoted to tackling some of the toughest issues in marriage so that we can help you better love the one you're with and experience the real benefits of saying I do. This season, we have been with Harvard trained researcher, Shanti Feldhahn, and we have been asking questions that we know every wife is thinking, but just aren't sure who to ask. In fact, this question comes in from a listener who asked, why doesn't my husband notice the things that need to be done around the house without me nagging him? That listener happens to be my wife. Honestly, this is a pretty common question. It's not just about why doesn't he notice what needs to be done around the house, but it's this bigger thing of how can I get my husband to do something without nagging him?
Yeah. And I would vote for that. That would be a great thing just to have marriages where, because nagging doesn't work. It's not like there's not been anybody that any guy that is good, you know what, I finally changed because, boy, she just kept nagging and it was, I just wanted to change.
I wanted to change. What is it about nagging that really irritates men? So as I've been doing this research with the guys, nagging is essentially one of the most explicit signals of I don't trust you, right? It's, I've asked you to do something and oh, by the way, I've asked you to do something again and again and again.
Right. And it's essentially this, I am not trusting you to do it or to care about it enough that you will get to it when you can. And frankly, actually to be candid, here's the way I would answer her, at least a starting point. And then I want to hear what you want to say. One of the things when I was asking men, when your wife does have something that she's asked you to do multiple times, can I ask, why don't you do it?
Like what is behind that? And a lot of the men said, look, I have signaled something by the delay and maybe I'm working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and I'm exhausted. Or, you know, maybe I'm incredibly stressed because of something going on with the family or the kids or my boss. And I feel like having one more project put on my shoulders, I'm going to crack. Like it's almost, some guys are like, it's almost a form of, not that they would use these words, but it's like self care.
Like I'm just know that if I try to take on one more thing that I'm going to crack and I need to be able to come home from work and sit in front of the football game and like not think for a while instead of tackling a big household project. And so it's interesting though, the way that when I was asking the guys, what would you recommend? You know, that if this matters to your wife, it matters. And guys said, yeah, I know that it matters and I don't want her to be unhappy. It makes a huge difference if she'll instead approach it like, so when might you want to tackle this? And more of a, hey, can you do this tomorrow? And oh, you didn't do it.
Can you do it tomorrow? Instead say this really matters to me. I really appreciate everything that you're doing at work. I know you've got so much on your plate, but this is important.
When might you tackle this? And that is received apparently very differently. Bro, this is good. This is good stuff. This is not just good for married couples. This is good for all people. And again, not just couples, not just marriages and families. This is good for single people to learn who will one day never get married because it helps you to be a better human being as opposed to just taking, taking, taking and learning how to give and care and pour into other people and listen well and respond to other people's needs.
That is Christ's likeness. And every Christian needs to learn that kind of stuff, not just husbands and wives. You know, sometimes I think delay for men equals you're not my mother. For the people that I'm talking to in the blended audience, sometimes it's you're not my ex-wife. I'm not going to let you do to me what she did to me and tell me how to do everything and when to do it and boss me around. And so you just think you're giving me a task, but it sure feels like you're telling me when, where and how to do that. Like you're my mom. No, you're not.
So I'm not going to give you what you want. I'm going to do it in my way on my time in order to make that posture statement that you don't control me. Now, by the way, it's a silly game.
What I just described, like I've done a thousand times and when I say it out loud, I'm like, how foolish is that? Like just kind of come to her, you know, and have a conversation rather than play a game behind the scenes, passive aggressive. Just come say, let's have a conversation around this. I would rather you say when, where and how.
Shanti got to that. Give me some options. I'll make some choices in this process. See me as somebody who's a partner in this decision rather than somebody who works for you. And I'm just told to do it.
It just makes it a whole lot easier for me to find space to actually follow through. Well, and you're the only wife sitting at this table. You laugh when you first heard this. This is an ongoing conversation with wives. I just talked to a mom with three young kids and they were getting ready for vacation. And the mom has all the kids packed. She has, she and her husband packed. She has the whole house ready to go.
And all he has to do is take care of himself. All he needs to do is now come into the car. The kids are in the, it's hot. Kids are in the car. The car's packed.
Put on some pants. She walks in the house and she says her husband's playing the piano. And she says, what are you doing? We're going on vacation.
The kids are in the car. He goes, this tune just came. He's a worship leader. This tune just came to my mind. And she's so, she goes, I've been telling you for three days, we need to get ready. And you have done nothing. And I have done everything. And she just stomps out to the car. This is an ongoing story.
So you guys, so what she should say, oh hun. No. Okay, tell me. Because in that moment, that's just raw selfishness. Yeah. I mean, it is.
It's just his tuning into himself. But I love laughing at him, knowing that I do the same thing, but I really like pointing out how he's wrong. Well, even with young people, I like to put, this 1 Corinthians 13, 11 says, when I was a child, I spoke like a child. I thought like a child. I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
I gave up video games. The people need to be called to the carpet. They just need to be called. And that's probably an example of that. But I'm also thinking of the young mom who's been taking care of the kids all day, but she's working, her husband comes home. She's just put the kids down to bed and he's watching TV and there's a mess. And she's asked him a million times, can you clean up while I put, and he doesn't.
So Ron, you're saying. And you don't want to be his mom. I don't want to be a neg. And I've already asked him, hey, when the kids are going back down and I'm putting them down, can you clean up? And he doesn't. It's hard not to be a neg, you guys. It is.
Sure. And in those moments, I mean, there's moments of desperation when you're calling for help that might need a little more energy in order to get his attention. It's hard to know what to do to break through selfishness. I mean, part of the problem in this conversation is we're trying to figure out what she can do to help him with his selfishness. That's a recipe for disaster. And for her not to be controlling the situation. Exactly. So she can speak, she can talk, she can pursue, she can.
But at the end of the day, he's got to look in the mirror and go, you know what? I need to jump in here. I need to be part of the team. And we can all say pray. And I really do think, like, I have to take it to Jesus and bend to him first.
And Anne has told me it is helpful. You tell me if I'm wrong, to tell her if I'm not going to do it right now, what she's asked me to do, tell her when I'm going to do it. Because there's times when I'm like, seriously, it's the third quarter, but I will do it by five o'clock. She'll walk out and be okay.
But then you better do it by five o'clock. Don't say it and then don't come through. Brian, what were your thoughts? Oh, no, I just reflecting back on that, that whole conversation, because it's amazing how easy we slip into just passive aggressive. I don't know where I learned passive aggressive conversation, but I speak it really well.
I passively learned. It's a gift. It is a gift and to be ill and it's like, is that really what I want my marriage to be is two passive aggressive people, just not seeing each other.
I think what the wife is really feeling in those moments is, do you see me? Yeah. Do you want to partner with me?
Yeah. Do you see me? Do you see what I'm feeling? Do you see? And so for the husband to break out of his selfishness and to be able to go, okay, why is this important to you? Now can we talk options?
Can we have an adult conversation? That's a good question. Why is this important to you? Yeah. Yeah, I tell you what, it's been a great three days.
It has. Learning about your podcast. I hope our listeners will listen and share with others. And you know, we started today talking about the Avengers. Bruce Goff, our audio engineer said he thinks this might be me.
Oh, yeah. Who is that? I'm Yondu. Yondu from Guardians. I'm Yondu, the blue head. You need to get the mohawk.
I finally figured out who I am. Do you know how to whistle? Are you willing to suction cup a mohawk on top of your head?
That would be pretty cool. We'll talk about that later. Shelby landed. Coming up tomorrow will be amazing, I promise. On behalf of David Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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