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Better Off? How Limitations Lead to the Community We Need: Kelly Kapic

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 28, 2023 5:15 am

Better Off? How Limitations Lead to the Community We Need: Kelly Kapic

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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June 28, 2023 5:15 am

You're only human. But could that bring the connection you crave? Author Kelly Kapic explains how embracing limitations leads to relationships that matter.

Show Notes and Resources

Purchase Kelly's book You're Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God's Design and Why That's Good News

Watch Kelly Give a Talk at Covenant College about Humility: JoyFul Realism: Watch a live talk with Kelly Kapic on Humility.

The Power of Vulnerability -- Listen to Brene Brown's TED Talk

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If you ask a lot of Christians and you don't set it up, you just go, hey, why should we be humble? The standard answer is, well, because we're sinners. And we are sinners, and the fact that we're sinners should contribute to our humility.

But what you find in the history of the church and in our own experiences is when you build the idea of humility on the foundation of sin, it actually distorts and messes up the whole thing. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.

You can find us at or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. Remember when we first got married, anytime you asked me if I was good at something, what'd I say? Every single time, no matter what it was.

I'd say, hey, can you do this? Are you very good at this? And every time you said, I'm great at this. I really did. I was so … Did you mean it? … naive.

No, I actually thought I was. I mean, one of them was, we go snow skiing. For the first time, and I … She's like, are you good at this? I'm like, oh, I'm amazing.

Now, all she needed to do was, look, I have jeans on. He starts going down the mountain. He hits the snow fence, you know, those … Yeah, yeah. … hits it. The whole fence topples down, wraps around him. Wraps around him. His skis are flying off, his goggles, and he is laughing hysterically.

I thought that was the goal, to wipe out. Yeah, one of my pockets ripped off. And I'm like, yeah, I'm great at this. But I do remember thinking, watching you go down the hill, I thought, it would be a ride to be married to this guy. And it has been. Well, it's been 42 years.

Is it a ride? It totally is. And I love your confidence because I'm the opposite of that. Well, I thought it would be interesting to talk about that, yeah, because we got Kelly Kapik back in the studio. You've read a book called You're Only Human, and I'm, like, acting like I'm superhuman. So, anyway, welcome back. Yeah, thank you.

I mean, I bring that up because I really was self-deceived. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, my mom told me every day of my life.

She was incredible. Single mom. My dad walked out when I was a little boy. But my mom, every day, you are amazing.

You can do anything. I sort of believed it. But most of us don't believe that. It's like, yeah, mom, that's because you're my mom. Well, I shouldn't have believed it because obviously I wasn't very good. I mean, same thing about ice skating.

I couldn't even stand up. Oh, I'm great. So, when you talk about You're Only Human, it's like we have limitations. Is it a good thing? We talked about this already, but is it a good thing to embrace those limitations?

Yeah, so you do have these extremes, right? On the one hand, you have people who have a confidence that's not based in reality. That was me. And we call that arrogance, right?

That's how cold there it is! Hey, can we turn off his mic now? But then we also deal with people, and this is pretty common in certain Christian circles, where we downplay gifts and strengths you have. And I remember years ago, there was this ballet at our college, and one of the students, she was an amazing dancer, and afterwards one of my colleagues said, like, that was so amazing what you did.

Well, it wasn't that good. And I think we actually train Christians to think that's how you're supposed to respond. That humble. My mentor in college, I didn't come to Christ in my junior year, and this senior student actually discipled me, mentored me. I'll never forget, Bill told my story one time. He was mentoring this guy, and he was a young student, and he was teaching him how to speak and preach. This guy gets up and gives this message, and Bill goes up to him and goes, Dude, you killed it. That was awesome.

Great job. And the kid goes, Oh, it wasn't me. It was all Jesus. I didn't do a very good job, but it was all Jesus. He goes, No, no, no. You did a really good job. He goes, No, it wasn't me.

It was all Jesus. And finally Bill said, I looked at him and said, It wasn't that good. That's brilliant. But that's sort of what we do.

We have that balance, right? And I was obviously, I was arrogant. Hey, listen, I'm not on the clock here.

I'm not getting paid to perform the marriage counseling thing right now. No, I'm not saying you're arrogant, but yes, there is one extreme that is arrogance and the other is kind of self-hatred and belittling self. And part of thinking through Christian humility is rethinking it a little bit. Let's rethink humility.

You talk about it in your book. I want to know, how do we understand this? Well, you see this particularly in the second option of those two extremes is if you ask a lot of Christians and you don't set it up and just go, Hey, why should we be humble? The standard answer is, well, because we're sinners.

And we are sinners. And the fact that we're sinners should contribute to our humility. But what you find in the history of the church and in our own experiences is when you build the idea of humility on the foundation of sin, it actually distorts and messes up the whole thing. Because what's happening is then, because we all like, yeah, we should be humble. So how do you grow in humility?

By focusing on how bad you are. That can breed self-hatred, all these other kinds of things. But if you realize, no, no, no, humility is based on the goodness of God's creation.

And before they're sinner fall, we were, as we talked about in day one, we're made to be dependent on God, dependent on our neighbor, and dependent on the earth. Those dependencies are fundamental to humility. Humility is a right recognition. I am a good creature who's dependent on God, dependent on my neighbor, and dependent on the earth.

It's just what you call realism, right? And so you're able to speak truthfully about strengths and weaknesses and those kinds of things. And so there are ways to grow in humility.

It's not sometimes people are like, either you have it or you don't. But actually, rather than just beating yourself up, you can cultivate humility by learning to delight in other people. Rather than viewing everyone as competition, even if it's subtle, even in some Christian kind of baptized ways, to actually learn to look for other people's gifts and delight in them and enjoy them.

And does that make sense? I mean, think about even when we're talking about families, one of the things that my wife and I are very passionate about is resisting sibling rivalry and from early on trying to help kids learn to delight in one another and to celebrate one another. And that is hard. I'm not naive as a parent, but you've got to do it. And a lot of us parents, without meaning to, cultivate this competition between the kids, which is really unhealthy and hurts them.

So humility is this recognition of the joy of being dependent on God and others and the earth. How did you do that with your kids, the sibling rivalry thing? Yeah, I mean, some of it's, I have permission to tell the story, but my son, who's older, two years older, has dyslexia and dysgraphia. We didn't find out until later.

But that means, for listeners who don't know, reading in school has been super hard. And his sister is two years younger than him, has always been amazing. And so when they were little, we had them share rooms until they were much older. And she would read to him every night. I'd kind of do devotions and stuff, but she would read to him. And even as he was older, he would need her to read to him. And yet he was this amazing kid with Legos and some other things. And it was trying to help her to learn to celebrate that. It actually did cultivate in them empathy. But it was like, no, no, no, this is your brother's time now, or this is your sister's.

We're gonna be here to support. I think those are some concrete examples. I remember there was a mom who was older than I was, and we were talking about sibling rivalry. And she said, I never complimented my kids in front of the other one.

And I remember thinking, man, I don't know if that's a good piece of advice. And so what we started doing is we started complimenting and seeing and noticing, and then saying the gifts each child had. Isn't it cool that CJ is so good with tech stuff? Who coop is like him? He's unbelievable.

And then Cody and then Austin. And so to say distinctly, God makes us all so different. Isn't it fun to see how different your brother is?

But if you only have things like, hey, I'm gonna give everybody $5 for getting an A. The son that's struggling in school, what's that gonna be like for him? So I think that's really wise that we're celebrating each other. And I was like, Terry, thinking of your daughter reading to your son. But he's delighting in that she's reading to him.

And I think their closeness goes all the way back to some of that. That's so sweet. So when you tell the story about a well-meaning parent saying, listen, I didn't compliment one kid in front of another. One of the things that happens, and Christians, we do this all the time. It's kind of like when you jumped up and played the guitar before we got started.

Like, I hate you. Because I so wanted to learn guitar. And I remember I went through the stage where your calluses form on your fingers and everything. But when I would go from one song to the next, they all sounded the same.

And I had a friend who just picked it up, and it was amazing. And he could play a 12-string and all that. And here's where I think it's interesting. We're more comfortable recognizing part of the reason diversity matters is people with different experiences and backgrounds help us see our blind spots. But people also help us see our strengths. And I think Christians sometimes unintentionally were like, oh, he's good at guitar. We don't want him to become arrogant, so we'll never say anything nice about it. And I just want parents and Christians to know that's called manipulation.

That's what we're doing. We're manipulating people. And I remember dealing with a former student whose father was a pastor, and he never, for some reason, never told her she was beautiful. And she's beautiful, but she's married with kids.

It's still an issue. She doesn't believe she's beautiful. And just trying to have to work through some of those things.

So Christians can speak truthfully, and it's beautiful, and we don't have to worry about that. But don't say things that aren't true. Don't say, Kelly, you're amazing at guitar when I suck. If your kid's no good at soccer. As a college professor, part of what we deal with is kids who've been told they're amazing, and all of a sudden the best and brightest, and all of a sudden they realize they're not.

And the wheels start to fall off. So it is about speaking truth and trying to figure out strengths and weaknesses. Lean into that. There are people who will walk up, three or four people will be talking, and that person walks up and everyone just relaxes and feels comfortable. And they don't even realize it, but they've got the gift of hospitality. And other people need to help them see that they have that gift so they'll cultivate it. They'll use it without being nervous. I think that's really true. And probably, Dave, that's why I go up to people that I don't even know very well. This is fascinating. You should never read a book about this.

Yeah, she should. I'm like, can we get on the airplane? But Kelly, it's because I was so insecure growing up in my early 20s, too, and I have such a performance-oriented background that everyone was my competition. So I would see great things about people, but I would never say it because I felt like that whole, I hate you.

And then I couldn't get over it because it made me feel worse about myself. But as I start to learn who Jesus says I am, I see these great things in people. And now I want to tell them. And I can't tell you how often people have said, no one's ever told me that.

I'm like, what? It's so obvious you have such a gift in this area. I wish we would do that more as Christians. And it's easy for me, so I'm not saying everybody can do it. Well, I also think, back to humility, it's hard to do if you're not humble. It takes humility to see greatness in other people.

Because if you're not humble, you don't want to say anybody else's. It just hit me. I remember working out, a guy I started church with, Steve, was such a platter, cheerer of other people.

He had a great room, like a club. And it says, you know how it goes, you watch guys put so much weight on the bench press. And you feel smaller. And you're like, what are they doing?

And they'll lift it, and then they'll walk over to get a drink just so everybody can say, hey, I just threw up 400 pounds. And you're like, you are so insecure. You're just trying to show everybody your thing. Wait, that's what you're thinking, Dave?

Yeah, everybody's thinking. You never go, dude, way to go. You just act like you didn't see them. You got 118 pounds on there. But my buddy Steve, first time I ever went to a gym with him, he walks right over to the guy, dude, look at you, man.

You're throwing out more weight. He's poking the guy's chest. And I'm like, what are you doing?

You're breaking all the man code. And this guy was following Steve around the gym like he's his best friend. And it was like Steve was humble enough to go, I don't care what people think about me.

I'm going to celebrate somebody doing something good. That takes humility, right? Yeah, and probably freed the guy from pretending so much. There is something about that. It is just kind of getting caught up with what's true and what's real. And I think part of the reason why recognizing our own gifts are difficult is because they're more natural. It doesn't mean we don't have to work at them.

But because they do come a bit more naturally, we just assume everyone, like I told you, I can't spell this in my life. I'm not good at numbers. And I'm a professor and write books. I just can't spell. But you can write books.

Well, thanks to spell check. But I have a colleague who also has a Ph.D. And he's like, honestly, if you just tried harder. I'm like, dude, it's not trying harder. And some of it's just until you meet people who don't have those things, it's hard for you to realize what's a gift. So gifts require hard work, but there is just also difference. And when we're gifted at things, it's hard for us to recognize.

And it's hard. That's why I want to hear what you think about vulnerability, because it's hard to admit our limits. You know, you're talking in your book, Your Only Human is about our limits. I think we spend most of our life covering up our limits. I don't have limits. Wait, I think most people do see all their limits. No, what I'm saying is we see them. We know them. But we're not going to let you see them. Oh, I see what you're saying. Well, vulnerability means I take down the mask. I let you see my, I mean, the church for decades was a place you never could go and show limits.

The people on the stage, the pastor, they're perfect. The other marriages sitting around me are better than mine. And so you put up the, I don't have limits, we're good. When humility and vulnerability mean, no, we're not good. And to be self-aware is to be able to show that. Is that true? Oh, it's so good.

I'm so glad you asked this because no one has asked that kind of question exactly in an interview. And it makes me think of, you know, Brene Brown. And she did this TED Talk on vulnerability.

And last time I checked, I think it's like 60 million views. And one of her later, I don't think it's actually in a written form, it's an audio book. And it's like men, women, and vulnerability, something like that. And she tells this amazing story that I'd love for your listeners to hear because she's signing books on vulnerability, you know, this kind of thing, a huge line. And he says this woman and two daughters come and a husband come. And she starts to sign the books. And the husband says to her, I really love your book.

I love everything you have to say about vulnerability. And she says, thank you. And then the wife says, you know, let's go.

And he's like, no, I have something else to ask Brene Brown. And the wife's like super uncomfortable. And she's like, no, we got to go. And the husband's like, no, I'm going to ask her something. And she's like, all right, me and the girls will be in the back. So it's just her and this line behind him. And he says, I noticed that when you write about vulnerability, you never write about men.

And I love everything you have to say. And she said, when she talks about it later, she said, oh, I thought I had a great answer. She just said, well, because I never study men, I just study women. And he said, oh, isn't that convenient? And then he said, because guys, when we try and be vulnerable, we get the blank kicked out of us. And then he said to her, before you start talking about those mean coaches and unfair dads and cruel dads and all that, he said, I'm just going to tell you, that woman and those girls that just went by, they would rather see me die on my white horse than fall off.

And it was one of these aha moments for her. Because what he was saying is, everyone likes to talk about vulnerability. Men are not really actually allowed. And it's interesting because I've seen that politically. It's not just conservatives.

I've seen it on both ends in various ways. And I think that's worth us thinking through in terms of healthy vulnerability is worth exploring. Do you guys feel like that? Is that true for you?

Oh, now you're going to go after us, huh? I'll let Kelly answer that one. I've never thought of that because I value vulnerability so much. But do you feel like maybe even our society hasn't allowed men? Well, day one, when you told that story about being a 22-year-old newly married and getting lost in Boston and weeping about it, I think it was carrying all of that weight, unspoken.

It wasn't like you were putting it on him. And I do think there is just a weightiness there. That men are caring. Yeah. And I think all of us carry. But I bring up the men part because I don't think it gets enough attention.

And it's at least worth spouses talking about. Yeah. And I definitely feel that we live in a culture that is more open, I think, now to vulnerability. But there's still a sense as a man, as a husband, as a dad, as a worker, I should be good.

Yeah. Not completely vulnerable and weak all the time. And so there's some that I got to sort of hold that. I want my kids to think I can trust dad.

He's strong. But at the same time, I want them to know I'm not going to hide. Right, right, right. And so there's that tension.

I'm guessing women feel the same thing. Yeah, but I guess I've never, because I value it so much, when you have told me times, like, I feel like I'm getting old and I'm not any good. You know, I'm like, oh. I never said that. Never.

I was just going to say, strike that from the record. I know who you're talking about. But when you say that, it draws me, like, so close to you. Like, I feel that too.

And then I can speak life to you. But Kelly, have you felt that? Even in the position you're in as a college professor, PhD? Yeah.

Yeah, no. My wife and I joke because for us, the chronic pain has been much more difficult than the cancer. But during cancer, she said with a smile, and we can now talk about it. But she said, listen, you got to keep your stuff together and shove it down.

Right. And we laugh because, you know, she knows that's kind of inappropriate. But in another sense, in that situation, she didn't need me bleeding on her. She needed some strength. She needed strength.

So I needed my friends to be, I needed to be vulnerable with my friends. Yeah. So I do think there's wisdom, right?

We don't, this isn't about just like bleeding all over one another. Yeah, yeah. And always, it's like when you say with your kids, you don't tell your kids everything.

It is interesting to scratch below the surface and figure out those areas like, again, that when you talked about being young, when are we carrying weight and we don't realize we're carrying it? Right. And I do feel that with students even, right?

There is a certain sense of trying to be vulnerable, not sharing in inappropriate ways. Yeah. But, you know, you guys do so much marriage counseling and leading. And part of it is you don't want these people have a romanticized view of marriage.

It's got to be more healthy, right? It's got to be, we're in this, we're finite and sinners and we're trying to navigate that. Yeah. I think there's a balance of even on this program or I know when I preached, I was always hoping two things would happen. One, the listener would go, wow, he's like me.

Or they're like me, they struggle in their marriage like we do. But the other side is I'm hoping they're going, but they have a victory in Jesus and a power in the Holy Spirit. I'm not sure I've accessed like that. I want to, I want to be back. I want to learn more.

I want to. So both are true. It's sort of the sinner saint thing.

It's like there is a real righteousness in Christ. Yes. I can see it in you. At the same time, they're admitting that they're limited. Yeah. And they're only human, I guess, in your terms.

But both are true. That's that's a magnet. That's like I want to be drawn to Christ through Kelly. Yeah. No, that's beautiful. And part of what so and I'm so glad you brought up Jesus. I mean, part of what's remarkable.

We bring up Jesus on this show. Yeah, that's good. That's a win.

That's a win right there. That's what we're about. Part of part of what's so stunning about, you know, the eternal Son of God becoming human is he really is like us in all ways without sin. He becomes this sympathetic high priest. And part of the gospel that's so stunning is this sympathetic savior. But he's not just sympathetic. He's not less than sympathetic.

But he's a crucified and risen savior. So he's sympathetic and can do something about it. Right. It's kind of like if a student complains to another student about a grade, they can be sympathetic.

If they complain to me and I have good reason, I can be sympathetic and fix it. And and so I do think there's something powerful about the vulnerability in the incarnation. But it's not just it's not just sympathy. There's promise and the hope like you're talking about. And I think that's a great picture for a family right there.

That's what I was thinking, too. Go ahead. No, go ahead. You can say it. I'm going to be humble. That's always a sign of humility when you say you're going to be humble. That's awesome. I'm the most humble guy in this room.

And now I forget what I was going to say. No, I just thought, Kelly, what you said as a dad and as a husband, I want to be that. I want to be approachable from by Ann and my boys and now my grandkids and daughter-in-laws because they they know he's tender, he's vulnerable, but they also are drawn to strength. And he can he can help fix something.

It's the it's the incarnation of Jesus. We're the good news is we're called to live that out in our communities. But man, especially in our homes, I think, too, as a mom, I want my kids be vulnerable with me. But as they get older and I have sons, I realize, like, they need to give that to Jesus.

They need to be vulnerable with Jesus and their and their wife and their wives. But I remember our son was cut from the NFL. He had pulled a hamstring and he was mad. He was mad at God. He was mad at all these circumstances.

And he had this injury, couldn't even run. And and I said like he was being really he's mad at God. He's mad at everybody. But I remember saying, man, you need to just run or get on your bike and tell God everything.

That's what David did in the Psalms. Tell him everything you're feeling. And he said he got on his bike. He puts on some Eminem music. Oh no! He did. He said, I'm not listening to worship music right now.

I'm just going to, you know, take your best shot. And he said he was screaming at God. And then it led to a confession of this is what I'm feeling. These are my insecurities. And there's this beauty of helping our kids go there.

Like tell him everything because he loves you. Confess. Confession is really huge. Yes. I think it's something we as parents can urge our kids when we can't solve all their problems to go to.

We need to model it as well. I do think a very practical suggestion for individuals and families and communities is actually one of the ways we can cultivate humility and just embracing our humanity is to cultivate both gratitude and lament. Gratitude and lament, they're two sides of the same coin. I mean, when I hear your son's story, part of what's going on there, it's actually an embracing of your humanity. And it sounds like it's not trusting God, but it's actually the opposite. You're angry with God because you actually are acknowledging his sovereignty. And it is like, I mean, the Psalms, 40% of the Psalms are lament.

And it's like, God, where were you? Why this? Why not? How is this?

Those kind of questions. Those are actually laments, cultivating laments help us recognize our humanity. It is an expression of humility. And gratitude is a flip side. It's not making, you know, making stuff up that you're grateful for. There's just so much, you know, all good gifts are from above.

It's interesting. I've worked with some Christian psychologists. One is Robert Emmons from UC Davis and for 20 years been studying gratitude.

Just as a secular, in psychology, although he's a Christian. And they found if you have someone start a gratitude journal and do it for 30 days, and all you have to do is every day write five things you're grateful for. And it can be like a really crisp apple. Someone was nice to me at the grocery store.

You do that for 30 days. There's all these empirical things that change. You tend to sleep a little longer.

Blood pressure goes down. All these kind of, it's fascinating. Well, gratitude is an expression of like, I am not making this whole thing happen. I need others.

I need God. And gratitude is that expression of that. So anyways, I do think this stuff can sound very heady, but just the simple practices of gratitude and lament are really powerful.

They're actually acts of worship. I really liked getting a chance to interview Kelly Capik. He was awesome. Yeah.

What'd you like? I loved his demeanor. I feel like his book about your only human is about our limitations, but he kept, it's just like he kept forcing us back to our identity in Christ and how, yeah, we're human, we have limitations, but we're also powerful image bearers of Jesus, and we can literally change the world because we're his sons and daughters. I don't know. That's what hit me. And I think his words are weighty, not only because he has two kids of his own, but because he's teaching in a classroom of college students five days a week. So he's interacting with kids that are really experiencing this and longing to know who they are in Christ.

Yeah. And I would just say thank you to you listeners who support this ministry financially and pray for us. These are the kind of programs that get to go into the homes of your neighbors. And if you're not a financial partner with us, jump in, jump in and start giving monthly.

It makes this program happen and it makes it possible to share with others. And literally it shows like we just had with Kelly, we'll change your family. I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Kelly Capik on Family Life Today. You know, Kelly has written a book called Your Only Human.

They mentioned it earlier. It talks about how our limits reflect God's design and why that's actually good news instead of bad news. In that book, Kelly invites you to rest in the joy and relief of knowing that God can use your limitations, how to foster freedom and joy and growth and community. This book is going to be our gift to you when you partner with us financially.

What Dave was talking about earlier is really true. You partner with us and you help make conversations like today's actually possible and get into the homes of thousands of people across the country. So if you'd like to partner with us, you can go online to or give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And feel free to drop us something in the mail if you'd like. Our address is Family Life 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida 32832. 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 donor supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-28 07:30:59 / 2023-06-28 07:44:30 / 14

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