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Remain Seated (with Christ): Heather Holleman

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
February 27, 2023 5:15 am

Remain Seated (with Christ): Heather Holleman

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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February 27, 2023 5:15 am

In pride and despair, we constantly compare ourselves in our unending pursuit of perfection. Author Heather Holleman helps us remain seated . . . with Christ.

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Okay, let's talk about the theology of it. What is it?

Come on, you know, I've preached on this many times. It's like everybody, again, I might be wrong, probably I'm wrong, but I think most of us have an it. Like, when I get it, then I'll be happy. Yep. You know, when I was a little boy, it was a stingray bike. I remember, oh, I'm telling my mom, I gotta have this stingray bike. Ooh, I had that, the one with the high candle bars that were really high. Oh, yeah, and they had the little tassels.

And the banana seat. Oh, and I never got it, so I was never happy. You got it? I did.

It didn't do it. 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. I mean, I remember thinking in middle school it was Meg, the girl across the street, if I could go out with Meg. You know, you always have this thing.

It was a college scholarship. You know what's really interesting? When we were first married, you know what one of my it's was?

I don't think he even knew this. Two cars in the garage. What? I thought when we have two cars, not just one, we're there. We're like, you know, we're successful.

I had no idea. Your brother gave us that car, that beater car. Jim, thanks for that car. Did that make you happy? I thought, I remember standing in the driveway looking at, we had a minivan and that little car and I'm like, we're it.

We've arrived. You know what my it was? And a day later I was wanting something else.

My it was you. If I could marry Dave Wilson, that would be it. I'm so excited to be here. You guys are so fun. I love listening to the banter at the beginning, the bike, you wanting to marry Dave.

This is great. I mean, did you, did you have an it? Yes, I had a list of 10 it's. Oh, did you write them out? I did.

I called them. I framed it like this. It was like a table that I was waiting for an invitation. To have a seat at that table.

So the table with the thin, beautiful women, the table of, you know, prestige, achievement, fame, the table of wealth, you know, the table of effective Christian ministry, whatever it is. I had 10 of them and I, I, it was really a problem for me. I was, I was turning 40. I was waiting for life to begin.

I thought I'm living the wrong life. Yes. I mean, as I read this, Heather, you're an unbelievable writer. You know that. I mean, maybe you don't, but I do. I mean, it's what you do.

Thank you. Yes, I do teach grammar. So I do like helping people.

As a professor at Penn State. Our grammar's got to be driving you crazy. No, no, I love it, but I'll always take a compliment about writing.

That means a lot. And you wrote this book back when? 2015 is when it was published, right? When I was, you know, just turning 40.

So a while ago. Life was not going well for me. I was not mature. I was jealous. I was comparing my life to other people, comparing the lives of my children. I mean, I was really suffering. I was getting depressed.

Maybe, but we do the same thing. Well, the tables can be even more powerful for the image of that for men. You know, where am I in the boardroom? Where am I in the company?

Where, where is my seat here? And some people might say that's not a bad thing to be driven to want that seat at the table. Right. Right.

What would you say to that? Well, I think achievement was a huge idol for me. And I, when I realized really what happened was an encounter with the Lord through Ephesians 2. And what happened when I read Ephesians 2? It's a beautiful gospel presentation if you haven't read it in a while.

I reread it this morning because it's so powerful for me. But Paul says, you know, God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. And I remember exactly where I was sitting.

It was a summer day in late July. And I just looked at that verb, seated. And I thought, oh my goodness, you know, Paul is most likely writing from a room in prison and here he is imagining himself in a different reality. And my first thought was, well, seated, it's a past tense verb.

It's already happened to me. And I thought, well, here I am seated at the greatest table with the greatest king. And I'm 40 years old and nobody has taught me what this meant. I've never heard a sermon on it. I never read a book on it. You know, I knew other theological terms, you know, that I was justified, forgiven, sanctified.

Nobody used the word seated. To tell me who I was in that day is when I made the list of the tables. And I thought, God, the table of achievement was huge for me. And I already had a PhD.

You know, how much further could I go? God prepared in advance for you to do. And I just, at that moment, I thought, well, I'm seated with you, Jesus. You have good works prepared. My motivation is no longer to achieve.

It's to abide with you and bear the fruit that you've ordained for my life. So it's like shackles came off of my heart and mind. It was such a huge transformation that the people who know me best would say, Heather, what has happened to you? You have become a different person. The jealousy went away.

I was free. And the sadness left, I mean, and the fear. Like, I would see, this was sort of at the height of Instagram and Facebook. So imagine, you know, now it's much worse.

We have, you know, TikTok and Snapchat. But, you know, I was seeing endless photos of perfect families, kids involved in the Nutcracker. And I'd say, oh, I didn't do dance for my children.

We're suffering. You know, we didn't, we made wrong decisions or vaca- you know, I would cry in the church bathroom. This is a true story when women would talk about their spring break plans. You know, for Aruba or they've chartered a boat. And I would cry and I'd say, where is my perfect life?

Why aren't these things happening for me? And I would cry. And then once I understood I was seated with Christ, I found this beautiful quote from the Hayden Planetarium. And it just says, all seats provide equal viewing of the universe. And I contacted the Hayden Planetarium because something about this quote, I was like, all seats provide equal viewing of the universe. And I called the media director and she said that when children race into the planetarium, they all race to the very front row in an arena where there are no best seats. So the museum guide has to say, children, all seats provide equal viewing of the universe. No matter where you sit, you will not miss any part of the show.

And I just burst into tears because my seat was Centre County, Pennsylvania. There's no fame. There's no glamorous life.

There's no retail. I was like, what am I doing? And that day, it's like God opened my eyes to the beauty around me that no matter where I sit, everyone has equal access to God's power, His peace, His joy, His provision, all of the delights, all His abundance, no matter where you are. And I can say that because Paul was most likely in chains as he wrote that verse. So he knew like, look, picture yourself seated.

He repeats it in Colossians 3 where Paul says, set your mind on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. So I had to do that and it really transformed my life. I mean, was it something that was that quick? Did you ever fall back after knowing this truth? Yes, yes. That's actually the number one question people ask me when I speak on Seated or I'm on the radio. They want to know that and the truth is I do have to re-preach it to myself often because I think Satan's primary weapon is this kind of jealousy in comparison because if you think about it, Eve was in paradise and the serpent was able to convince her that she was missing something.

Right? So I thought this jealousy, it keeps coming back and I call it the three A's appearance, affluence and achievement. So I'm going to always go back to if only I were more beautiful, if only I had more money, or if only I had more achievement. So I even read this morning, Ephesians 2, just to remind myself, God's ordained the good works for my life. I'm already seated at the best table with the greatest King.

And then the Holy Spirit applies Ephesians 2 to my heart again and then I move on with my day, ready to bless people, ready to take my eyes off myself. I think that for me was also an incredible transformation because I know that I grew up in a very perfect performance-oriented family. And they were really, really good at almost everything they did. And I was the youngest of four and so I had this pressure and my parents were amazing.

They were married over 70 years and out of a good heart, my dad would say things like, we don't try our best, we are the best. We become the best. We work until we are the best at everything that we do. There was also this incredible pressure of always having to be the best. And so as a young girl growing up, every other girl was my competition. Every other, what I was doing in sports, I didn't want a teammate because I was in competition, even with my own teammates.

And so there was this heaviness and a burden. It's like wearing a backpack of rocks that you're continually trying to be the best. We aren't supposed to be the best at everything.

We've been gifted in certain areas. That we can live in freedom. Jesus came to set the captive free.

And so I had no idea who Jesus was. And all I remember thinking was, I'm only a kid. And I feel so much pressure. I'm so tired of trying to beat everyone. And I don't want to be close to girls because they're my competition with the three A's. Yep, appearance, affluence and achievement.

Yes. And so I couldn't compliment you because you're my competitor. And I remember the day that as I was in the Word growing in who I am in Christ, understanding my seated identity and realizing like, oh, I've been given my own certain gifts.

I've been created by a God that loves me with a plan. And instead of these girls being my competition, I can love them so that they can come understand who they are in Christ. And I'll never forget the first time I complimented another girl. That's extraordinary for me.

It sounds so trivial and ridiculous. But I remember I was working at this club teaching aerobics when we were in seminary. These classes were packed.

It was the day and age where this was happening. And I got to add here, because she'll never tell you this, Ann Wilson had the biggest class because she was the hardest. Because I had to be the best. Aerobics class and all the guys wanted to take her class because it's like she kicks your butt.

Yes. But I remember. She was the best and didn't even recognize it.

Exactly. There was this girl, Maria. She was beautiful. She was stunning. She was so sweet. She was kind. And I hated her because she was amazing. I love that you're like, and I hate her. Because she was my competition. And I'll never forget the day she's in the locker room and I went up to her because I realized I don't have to be in competition with her. I can love her.

I can love her and see her the way Jesus does and see myself as that. And I went up to her and said, I am so jealous and bothered by how beautiful you are. What a compliment. I'm so bothered by your beauty.

Wow. And she's like, what are you talking about? I'm like, seriously, you're so intimidating. I've been so intimidated I haven't even gotten close to you. And I'm so sorry because if you're going to be this beautiful, you could at least just be mean or something.

That's hilarious. And we became so close. And it was a transformation that has taken years for me to understand so that I can celebrate other people. But isn't it the enemy who wants us to constantly be in competition and comparison?

Yeah, he divides people. Well, I mean, listen, I think you must be a lot like Anne. Anne compliments everybody everywhere now.

We'll be walking through the airport. I'm like, seriously, you're going to go over and tell that woman that she just does. It's beautiful. I love that. It's because, and I want to hear what you have say about this, because when you understand you're seated in Christ, your identity in Christ. Am I right? It leads to a freedom.

Well, it does. And the image that helped me and my daughters as I was trying to understand seated with Christ was King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Because we were watching Merlin, which is it has some scary parts, so it might not be family appropriate, but we were watching it. And at the time, you know, my daughter was crying because she couldn't find a seat in the lunchroom because the popular girls didn't want her to sit at the table with her. And I really needed an image to help her understand she was seated with Christ. And I pulled her up on my lap that day when she goes, you know, she was crying.

I said, you know, what's wrong? And she said, I can't find a seat in the lunchroom. And I said, look, I remember that.

Everyone remembers that moment when you know you're not popular. I read Ephesians 2 to her and I said, it's really hard to picture, but think of what we saw at King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. And she really did get it and experience God's love for her. So much so that her senior year, her senior photo, she wore a necklace that had seated written on it as the bar. But the reason why the King Arthur image helps with what we're talking about with complimenting women not being in competition, if you remember the reason why it's a round table.

Do you guys remember? So no one's inferior and no one's superior. So often I'll say to people, there might be people you feel inferior to or superior to.

Both are terrible. Both are self-obsessed. So when you're seated, you can look at other women and know that in their seat in the heavenly realms, God has blessings for them and gifts for them and joy for them. And you can celebrate it because it doesn't diminish the gifts and the blessings He has for you. It's a beautiful way of living. It's a beautiful way of understanding the table.

Yeah. I totally agree when you said that in your book. And we're sitting, as we interview, we're sitting at a round table and everyone has a great seat.

Everyone has a great seat. But I was going to ask you, did your work ethic change? Because I kept working as hard as I- No, my work ethic hasn't changed. I love work.

Me too. Right, but the motivation changed. That's it.

I don't need to achieve. I just work out of an overflow of whatever it is, you know? It's different. And I work for the king. Yes. There's something about, like, I'm working for the king. And today he has something for me, he has someone for me that I get to interact with or I get to talk to.

Right. And it's very much, as you said, Dave, is taking my eyes off of myself. And Heather, you're praying that, Lord, who do you want me to see today?

Who do you want me to talk to? Well, I wonder, you know, both of you are moms. We didn't have daughters.

We had sons. But I think the appearance thing you're talking about is really male as well now as it is female. It might have been different 20 years ago, maybe 30 years ago. I know that, you know, years ago when I was coaching middle school basketball, I remember, this is probably 25 years ago, saying to the kids, hey, let's go shirts and skins. And they're like, no.

Yeah. And when I grew up, it was like, what? And so I looked down, like, what do you mean? I did not understand. They're like, there is no way I'm taking my shirt off. They're very appearance body centered.

Yes. So as a mom, how do you help your daughters or your sons, again, I'm bringing this back to the family, because they're going to struggle with this. They're not going to grasp this seated in Christ when they're 13, 16.

Maybe they can. But how do you help them understand that? Oh, I'm glad I didn't have daughters. I would have failed miserably.

Well, it's worse now because girls need to feel camera ready at all times because of the phones. One of the things I think of when I'm teaching my daughters about being seated with Christ is how God delivered me from my obsession with my appearance. And he did use his word. You know, I love God's word. We learn in Jeremiah, it's like a hammer that breaks the rock into pieces.

So think about this stronghold. It's a rock inside of you, and you need God's word to really set you free. And so it was Psalm 34, 5 that God used to set me free. And it's just those who look to him are radiant.

Their faces are never covered with shame. And I tell my daughter the story that when I was a young girl in college, a pastor's wife came up to me, and I was really struggling. I thought I had a huge nose with pores that people could see from, you know, I was lathering on the foundation and the cellulite on my thigh.

You know, I'm at a summer camp, I'm wearing shorts. Everything was about me. Every time I walked past a mirror or a glass window, it was checking out, you know, how bad I looked. Well, this pastor's wife comes up to me and she said, Heather, I just want you to know you have a very loving face. Now at the time, I was like, did you mean, are you sure you didn't mean beautiful or pretty?

She didn't. She said to me, no, when you are talking, I can see the love of God coming through your face. Okay, that is the best compliment I've ever received in my life. And it began to set me free because what I thought was when I walk into a room, I can radiate the love of Christ through my face, through my eyes, through how I'm talking. It helped me take my eyes off myself. And I also tell my girls that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.

And the way that they look is exactly how God planned in order to fulfill the purpose He has for them. And the story I tell was, you know, I always hated my nose. I was going to be someone that was probably going to get plastic surgery.

And I tried every product on the market and nothing would heal the pores on my nose. Well, the very first date I had with my husband, he wanted to say what he liked most about me. And he said, I know this is silly, but I just love your nose. I think it's so adorable. And I thought, what?

I am marrying this man. What in the world? Like the thing that I hated most about myself was what God used to attract my life companion. I know I have tears in my eyes right now because, you know, someone, the girls really do struggle.

My girls do struggle. We have to remind each other. And you can't love other people if you're obsessed with your mascara.

You can't. And when you're worshiping God and overwhelmed with awe and marvel, it's hard to also think about your face and your body. I mean, it's hard.

We do talk about healthy living, but I have to be careful not to make it about being thin. We talk about presenting yourself, being well-groomed. But I have to be really careful.

You know what I mean? You probably, as women, you know, you want to look nice. But you don't want your appearance to determine your mood for the day. And I'm going to just be real. When my pants are too tight, I put my pants on one day and they're too tight.

That right there can determine my entire mood for the day. Are guys like that? I don't think guys are like that.

Yeah, I think in some ways we are. I mean, just yesterday, I don't know if I should share this, but, you know, we're standing here. Share it. I shared about my nose pores. Come on. We're standing in the bathroom and I have my shirt off and Ann looks in the mirror and says, You know what?

Your body still looks so good. I'm like, No, I don't. Oh, God. And I literally pulled every little thing. Look at this. We're getting older. You know, I work out. I do all this stuff. And it's still just, you know, she loves me.

Right. And she loves what she's looking at in the mirror. And I'm sure she sees what I see, but she still thinks it's beautiful. And I thought when we can look in the mirror and feel that, that's seeded with Christ. I love, I love what one of my friends would always say.

We'd walk all the time. She raised three daughters. She's listening right now.

Yeah. Oh, is she? She just texted. Michelle just, she would always say, we're talking about this whole obsession and raising three daughters. That was big for her too. She was one of the healthiest people when it came to giving her daughters a view of the importance of looking to God and not your looks for your, just for your identity. And we were talking about it and I said, we can spend so much time gazing at ourselves in the mirror.

And I remember, I'll never forget this. She said, what we should do is we glance at ourselves in the mirror, but we gaze at God. Yeah. We glance in the mirror, but we gaze at God. That's Psalm 27. Yes.

You know, one thing I ask. There's also fun research about this, by the way, social science research about what we consider beautiful. And this is good to share with the family. When you're looking at a face, what attracts you is not beauty, it's familiarity. So the more time you see a face, the more beautiful it becomes to you, which explains why maybe you see someone and you don't think they're cute. But two weeks later, after sitting next to them in math class, you think, oh, he is cute. It's familiarity. So the more you're looking at my face, the more you guys think I'm adorable.

You are adorable. So, I mean, just breaking apart just the lie of it, you know. And the other thing you can do in families is point out people that are deeply respected in the culture for their contributions, not celebrities. But, you know, think about Mother Teresa.

She was old and wrinkled. Have you ever seen a picture of her where she looks like a Victoria's Secret model? Never. C.S.

Lewis, round, stout. He is not, he would never be on the cover of GQ. So think about people that you really respect, that you love. They're often not beautiful by the world's standards.

And that also helps kind of break apart the trap of it. Like, don't be beautiful. Make a contribution. You know, if your only contribution is beauty, you know, what have we been doing? So I don't know.

That kind of helps our girls. I'm thinking about my grandmother, who I loved her. I never once thought about her looks.

No. I never thought about how she loved me and how she acted and how she cooked and how she smelled. Like, all of those were such great memories. But there wasn't one time that I thought anything about her looks. I love that. But she had a, you said it earlier, Heather, a face of love.

What did she say? Oh, the loving face. Yeah, the loving face. Having a loving face. I thought when you said that, I thought, we can all do that.

Yes. I mean, it isn't like a beauty thing. It's like, it's a caring thing. When people feel loved, they look at your face and say, that, I want to be around that person. That's the greatest compliment anybody could ever get.

It is such a compliment. What's our application today? What do you think? You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Heather Holloman on Family Life Today. We kind of cut you off there, but we'll hear Heather's answer in just a minute. But first, at Family Life, we believe God does some of His most amazing work right in ordinary homes. So whether that's a small group Bible study or playing with your kids on the floor or sharing a meal with neighbors, the home can be the launching pad for God's work in this world.

And if you believe that, too, would you help more families experience this by partnering with Family Life? All this week, as our thanks for your financial partnership, we want to send you a copy of Heather Holloman's book called Seated with Christ, Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison. It's going to be our thanks to you when you partner financially today with us.

You can give online at familylifetoday.com or by calling 800-358-6329. That's 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. All right, here's Heather Holloman on how we can apply today's conversation in our lives. Well, one of the things I would want to tell people is that it's hard to transform this mindset on your own. I really believe in the power of God's Word and the Holy Spirit to give us the mind of Christ.

These are deep strongholds we're talking about. And so, Seated with Christ gives you the perfect biblical image to picture yourself and then to constantly put the truth in front of your mind that you don't have to achieve. You can abide. You don't have to worry about affluence because you have access to all the riches of God's kingdom.

And you don't have to worry about your appearance. Just adore the Lord and let Him radiate His love through your face. And I'm thinking, too, just about the fruit of the Spirit. As we abide, we have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

Those are so attractive. And not only that, but they bring us incredible joy as we abide in Christ. We exhibit the fruit. We produce that fruit. Don't focus on the fruit.

Focus on the root. You read the book! There you go. That's good! Have you ever felt like your life is not lining up with God's plan?

I know I've definitely felt that from time to time. Well, catch tomorrow's episode as Heather Holloman joins Dave and Anne again to talk about how she joyfully aligned her messy life into one close with Christ. That's coming up tomorrow. On behalf of Dave and Anne 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 06:45:44 / 2023-02-28 06:57:12 / 11

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