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How to Overcome Loneliness: Brant Hansen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 18, 2023 5:15 am

How to Overcome Loneliness: Brant Hansen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 18, 2023 5:15 am

How can we overcome loneliness? Brant Hansen shares practical ways to finding peace in Jesus in this disconnnected world. Tune in to learn how to stand firm and the importance of community and meaning!

Show Notes and Resources

Connect with Brant Hansen and catch more of their thoughts at branthansen.com

Find him on social media on Insta, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

And grab Brant Hansen's book, Blessed Are the Misfits: Great News for Believers Who Are Introverts, Spiritual Strugglers, Or Just Feel Like They're Missing Something

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Before we get into the show today, I wanted you to hear one message that was left for us.

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You can go to familylifetoday.com to learn more. All right, let's get into the show. What I have to do is not change the world. What I need to do is walk with God daily and ask Him to make a way for me. I'm not going to worry about tomorrow or what the big plan is.

I would really encourage people who are listening now to make that your thing. Pray for your daily bread. Let God handle tomorrow. Just say, help me to have the resources to do what I need to do today for whoever comes across my path today. Give me the grace I need for that, the fuel I need. And then tomorrow I'll do the same thing.

And let's see what happens. 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 familylifetoday.com.

This is Family Life Today. So, each year we go to the NRB conference, National Religious Broadcasters Conference, and there's thousands of station managers of all the radio stations around the country, Christian radio. And it's a great conference because you get together and see what God's doing around the world through radio and you hear messages and presentations. You meet a lot of network with a lot of great people.

Yeah, we've done that for several years now. But this year, this year I had to get in late, but when I got to you at the conference, you said, oh, my goodness, we had the best talk I've ever heard here. Yeah, you missed it by like 30 minutes. I mean, it was a lot of great conversations and it was really good. But that talk by Brant Hansen, who's sitting right now in our studio at NRB in Orlando this year, right here at Local, was powerful. And so, Brant, first of all, thank you. Thank you. And I'm glad you're back.

So glad to be back. And we're going to talk about it. We want to sort of walk through what was on your heart that day.

Yeah, I'm honored. You're a radio host, you're an author, so you're connected with what's going on in the world through your network, especially what God's given you as a gift in terms of radio. And a lot of what you had to say that day had something to do with what you're seeing going on in our culture. Yeah, I think you'll think this is interesting even if you're not in Christian radio or Christian media or whatever, because it's all of us that are involved in this moment. The culture has changed radically in the last several years, not going back even 30 years or 20 years. And my thing was, in talking to Christian media, was like, we have to acknowledge that. People are lonelier than they've ever been, that we have any record of.

Maybe ever. More isolated, more desperate. There are more deaths of despair from addiction and more disconnected from community, family.

We have to acknowledge that. People are desperately searching for peace. I was just thinking as somebody who's in Christian media, I have to change to meet that need that people are anxious and angry. I need to address that and be a non-anxious voice that can speak into that.

So, it's hard for people to get their head around this. I do a blizzard of stats, but you can look it up on Google about the epidemic of loneliness. There's a minister of loneliness in the UK now. There's a minister of loneliness in the Japanese government. Like, they literally have a department. What?

Yes. So, it's not just the United States. It's throughout the world.

It's advanced culture, Western culture. Since the pandemic or before? Before that started. We already had, you can look it up, search epidemic of loneliness. It was already huge before the lockdowns.

Obviously, that didn't help. Right. The level of desperate loneliness and disconnection is so common.

The mental health issues that we run into as a whole culture, it's not just like a pocket thing where, yes, some people have these struggles. It's an absolute earth change. And if I'm going to get on the air, like I used to when I first started in Christian media, I'd talk about whatever's going on. Hey, did you see that show last night, American Idol or whatever? I don't have time for that anymore. I still have a sense of humor.

I open the air, we goof off some and stuff. But it's like, I'm more and more focused on Jesus himself. So, you're feeling an urgency.

Yes. And what's fascinating about this, so the more I have said, let's talk about Jesus himself, the basis for hope, capital H, because people don't have it. They want hope. They want no anxiety.

They want a place of peace. They want to be reminded why things are good. This is not just happy, slappy, positive news or whatever.

Just, hey, let's keep everything sunshiny. It's not that. It's actually talking about Jesus and the kingdom. So, we're on these pop stations that play Christian music.

Our ratings have gone up, up, up, up, because people are desperate for that. Talking about Jesus. Yeah, they don't want just cookie recipes. You're not watering it down. You're not trying to be cool and hip. No, I'm not trying to be cool at all. Nobody wants cool anymore.

Those days are over. I'm surprised by how we haven't necessarily addressed that. Besides the ministers of loneliness, let me give you something else to think about. You can look this up, how urban police departments now have agents and departments within them just to go to apartments where people have died, or homes where people have died, to find out who they are. Because they're not connected to family.

No one's noticed. They don't have friends. They have content. So, they have to find out who is this person? Where does their stuff go? Do they know anyone? Do they have family anywhere?

That's a task. Why do you think we're so isolated? Like, what's happened?

I think there's a lot of reasons, but I love what Mark Sayers says about this. He's an Australian pastor who's written some books on culture and whatnot. He says humans thrive when we have community, and we have meaning, and we have freedom. So, historically, you'd have all three of those. You'd have some freedom, but you really had community because you knew where you're from. Like, if you're in a village, that's the village, right? So, your parents know everybody else's parents. They've got history. Your grandparents are there still living with you.

You all go to the same plaza during the day. You've got stories about your neighbors. They know you. You're engaged in defending the village together or agrarian things that you're interdependent on each other. You know who you are.

The festivals, the feasts, the religious, like, you're all at the same church or something. That's traditional human existence. So, you know who you are. You know where you belong, what you do. You don't have as much freedom.

Like, if your dad's a cobbler, and his dad was a cobbler, guess what you're going to be? But you know who you are. Not everything's up for grabs. In our culture, we are overdosed on freedom.

Not everything's up for grabs. I don't even know who I am. What am I today? Who am I? Who am I? Who's my tribe? What kind of human am I?

What are humans? What's my meaning? Maybe I'm not.

Yeah, we have none of that. The meaning's gone. I remember seeing, and I did share this, I snapped the photo. It was a Starbucks t-shirt, so this is a huge corporation, but on the back of their t-shirt for workers, it was a quote from Lady Gaga.

And it sounds great, unless you think about it. Yeah, I took notes, dude. Did you? I've got it right here. Is this the quote? Don't you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can't be exactly who you are. Right. Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga. That's kind of like, oh, that sounds nice, I guess. Don't let a soul... What if you don't know who you are? Or what if you don't realize how great you are, how significant you are in God's kingdom? Don't let any meaning come from outside you about who you are.

Well, that's a great way to wind up lonely. Because traditionally humans, your identity is conferred from without, not within. But if I'm a free agent, if our whole culture is set up on that, so we don't have meaning, we don't have community, we don't have, it used to be, you could go to England a couple hundred years ago, you're part of a union, you're part of this church, you're part of this other group, societies were set up for this or that, you're part of all these things, those institutions are just disappearing. So we're latching on to anything.

Anything. And we have this total freedom to decide who I am and where I'm going to move and what I'm going to do. Some of that freedom is good, but you wind up extraordinarily lonely and meaningless. So people don't have meaning, they don't have hope.

And it's a huge crisis and a huge shift that has happened. I just feel like, as a communicator, the phrase I use is, now is not the time to go wobbly on Jesus. They don't need more cool Christians. They don't need people trying to be cool.

Again, I think that's when we look to stupid is when we're trying to be cool. Give them the basis for peace. That's something nobody else can give them. We have the person of peace. It's not a thing, it's not a feeling, it's a person we know.

And tell me if I remember this right, because I didn't put it in my notes, but I remember telling Ann this story. I think he said something like, I was driving up here. From where you live, south of Orlando, you're driving up to speak at this thing and you're feeling these things. This is where the culture is, this is where the world's living.

People want peace, but they don't have peace. And you turn on Christian radio like, I just want to hear somebody talk about Jesus. And he said, if I remember this right, you're like, they talked about the NBA playoffs for 10 minutes. And the NBA playoffs were going on right then. And you were like, that's great, I'm into that too.

I love sports, I do, but I just wanted something. That's all you're going to do for, you know, I'm tuning in for hope and that's what you're going to do. And that's where we often... Yeah, so imagine living in a country where everybody calls themselves a Christian. And that's just the Christian majority thing, the default thing. Okay, we're not there.

Yeah, yeah. And people are desperate for encouragement. The reason I bring up the ratings going on, I just think it's interesting. So this is in major markets, like SoCal or New York City or wherever, where we could be a morning show sometimes, number one, number two in the market. We're not live or local.

We talk about Jesus himself and it beats out the pop stations. What does that tell you? I'm not smooth. I'm not like, hey, I got this and all my friends are artists.

I don't do that at all. That actually sounded really good. Creeps me out.

I know, it sounds legit. I don't want to sound that way because people don't need showtime anymore. They need genuine encouragement, spiritual, actual encouragement. And yet we're thinking in our culture, that's not what they want.

That's what we're led to believe, like the culture doesn't want Jesus. They're desperate. You're saying the loneliness factor in itself proves they're looking. They want peace. They're anxious.

They're sick with anxiety. And we actually have a solution for anxiety and anger. The culture, when they talk about anger, what should we do about our anger? Everybody's angry. What do we do?

Well, you can meditate and maybe that'll help or maybe take a walk or do some yoga or something. But they have no answers, really. They don't know the Prince of Peace. No. And the God of Peace, it says in Hebrews, and the Spirit of Peace.

This is his thing. It's a fruit of the Spirit. So, we're able to offer, here's how you forgive people. Forgiveness is the answer to this anger problem, like letting go of your bitterness and anger.

How do you do that? Well, you do it by focusing on what God's done for you. And you have this gratitude. And now you're equipped to actually forgive.

Or the anxiety thing. Well, how do I deal with that? You replace it with gratitude. You remind yourself of what's true and noble and right and good. This is how you deal with this. You present your anxiety to God and then tell him all the things that he's done that's good for you. There's ways to handle this, to cast your cares on him, to outsource your worry.

I talk about that on the show a lot. People outsource all sorts of stuff. You can outsource your worries to God. They're going to have to take care of this. I can't handle that.

I can't deal with tomorrow. Today's got enough trouble of its own. But we can talk about this stuff and people need that. And you're saying that's what they want.

Yeah. It's not us. It's the fact that the culture has changed so much that people are desperate. Church-going people.

There used to be this idea in Christian media, for instance. There's people in a Christian bubble. All these people are in a bubble. Nobody's in a bubble. Not anymore.

No one. It's a different day, different culture. I know that Family Life has our marriage getaways called Weekend to Remember. People come to it thinking they're coming to a marriage conference.

And they are. But by Saturday morning, I think they realize, oh, we're at a Jesus conference. Because all we end up doing is saying, let's talk about marriage. But the answer is not resolve conflict this way or get your feelings back, which all those matter. It ends up being Jesus.

We do our vertical marriage conferences around the country. And every time we look at each other, all we're going to do is say the same thing again. And you know what we're going to say? If you don't surrender to Jesus, none of these tips are going to help. They're not going to do anything.

You don't even have the power. So it always ends up being, I had this lady come up to me once at my church in Detroit way back in the 90s. And there was another big growing church in the city called the Church of Today. It was a New Age Marianne Williamson church. And this lady came up and says, hey, I'm from the Church of Today. I've been going there for several years.

I started coming here. She goes, you're different. And I'll never forget, I stand in front of the stage and I go, what's different? She goes, you preach different than over there. I go, in what way?

She goes, you talk about Jesus all the time. That's all you talk about. I go, that's a good thing. You know, I'm glad that that's what you saw as the distinction, but I think that's what you're saying, right?

It's like, don't go wobbly. That is what we have to do. No, no, no, not now. Now is not the time to try to be cool. Now is not the time to, like, and I'm not talking about being a jerk, obviously. It's just like, no, but it's like for us to double down on our own pursuit of God, it's time for that. Yeah. And I love what Sayers says about that, quoting him. But he talked about how you can get discouraged. You're like, how do we reach this entire city for Christ?

How do we, you know what? He's like, Dallas is a great football town, right? How many people are on the Cowboys? 53.

53. I knew you'd know. Out of a metro area of how many million. And it's a great football town.

There's only a few people playing. If just us, like, double down on our own commitment to walk with God, to talk with him, to ask him to use us, to humble ourselves, to say, renew us. Well, that changes things. Is that the source of it, you think?

What do you mean? Is that part of why a radio host or a preacher or a leader wobbles instead of going strong on Jesus? Because personally, they're not. Because if you're going to be strong, it's going to be an overflow. It isn't something you manufacture because the culture needs it. It's coming out of your inner soul. And if it's not there, you wobble.

I think that may be part of it. Also, you're kind of taught, like, hey, let's not say anything too direct. And I'm talking about being loving. I'm not blasting everybody. It's just saying, look, you don't need to be anxious, and here's why. Let me remind you again. Am I talking to believers?

Yeah, but I know that people who are listening who aren't, they want that too. And the way of Jesus is a better way to live. I remember being 16 years old, gave my life to Jesus. I didn't know one other Christian in the community. My parents didn't go to church. My sister shared the gospel with me, and I'm like, I'm all in.

I'm doing this. And I, because of my sexual abuse in the background, because I'm so performance-oriented in my own life, I felt weary. And 16 years old, I felt lost. I mean, this is way back, but still I felt the heaviness of the culture of what they're telling me will bring me life, and it wasn't. And so, I can remember going to church all by myself.

I drove there at 16 years old. I'd never been in a church that opened a Bible. And I remember thinking, I feel like I'm starving, and I don't want games. I don't want, you know, if we're going to laugh, that's good.

I want to know, like, what does the Bible say, and what does that mean? And I remember our son going to a youth group one time, and he goes, I'm not going back. And I'm like, why? Because we wanted him to go back.

Yeah, we, of course. He goes, they're just playing so many games. They don't even talk really about Jesus. And he was feeling that same thing.

I'm desperate. Our kids had the same thing. They came back, and they're like, we're not going back. It's all about us, they said. Yes, that's it. They're like, we don't. Doing whatever to reach.

Yeah. Why is this all about us? So, those days have got to end. And again, we're pointing people to a way that's going to free them. We're giving them meaning. We're giving them the community that they should have. Like, people are hungry for it. The culture itself is not working, and people are picking up on that. I think so.

I really believe that. Like, this whole project of individual expressionism, like, we can just make up reality. I think some people are going, this is not working. Families are falling apart. People aren't even having children anymore.

Like, what's happening? Are we happier? No, we're clearly not happier. People are depressed, anxious, lonely.

So, we offer an alternative, and it's not to blast. It's because we love people. It's because we love people, rooting for them. And we can bear witness to the fact that this does bring peace.

I think our listeners are all, like, we're cheering. Like, yes, yes, we all agree. Jesus used 12 people, you know, His 12 disciples and other followers to change the world, but I think we feel overwhelmed. Like, what difference can I make? Well, you don't have to change the world. What I have to do is not change the world. What I need to do is walk with God daily and ask Him to make a way for me. I'm not going to worry about tomorrow or what the big plan is.

I would really encourage people who are listening now to make that your thing. Like, pray for your daily bread. Let God handle tomorrow. Let Him handle the big picture. You don't have to start a giant program to reach the whatever.

That's so discouraging. Just say, help me to have the resources to do what I need to do today for whoever comes across my path today. Give me the grace I need for that, the fuel I need.

And then tomorrow I'll do the same thing, and let's see what happens. I think He's got the big picture. He can be trusted with it. Our culture is not working. It's falling apart. I tell younger people this, like, the people who are deconstructing their faith.

I'll talk to a college group. I'll say this. Like, I'm saying this out of compassion here. But if you want to leave the faith, you can.

That's up to you. But does the culture actually work? Like, just take it in the one area, and I mentioned this in the speech I gave, but obeying God in one area, that being human sexuality. Let's say we obeyed Him on this male-female-marriage thing. Sex is only a marriage. Completely out of step with our culture. I got it.

It's really weird, isn't it? But let's say we obeyed Him. We wouldn't have human trafficking. We wouldn't have sexual abuse. We wouldn't have millions of abortions a year. We wouldn't have millions of sexually transmitted diseases that ruin people's lives. We wouldn't have a need for a Me Too movement. We wouldn't have rampant fatherlessness that results in so much hurt.

This isn't a victory lap. It's just saying, it doesn't work. And is God really the fool for telling us to live this other way? Or is actually our culture foolish and destructive? Are we not dropping an atomic bomb on ourselves by not obeying Him?

I mean, it's not working. To give a loving, continuing reminder to people that there is a way to peace, here's how we can do this and follow in the way of Jesus. Do you want to follow? It's called making disciples, actually. And it's a beautiful thing.

So, I was just trying to refocus Christian media on that, rather than the panoply of other things that we can go off on. We need peace internally. We need people of peace. We know the author of peace.

Yeah, and then we see what he does. Well, here's the thing. Most of our listeners are not going to be Christian media people or on a radio station. So, I was thinking, Bran, as you were just saying that, it's like every wife, Christian wife, is saying to her husband, please don't be wobbly on Jesus, every husband is saying. And our kids are saying the same thing. So, I would say to the mom and dad, live it. Be strong in your faith. You think your kids don't want that, you're trying to be cool and you're trying to, no, they want a mom and dad that are living it and they can see it.

And your neighbors want the same thing. They're not going to have to turn on Christian radio, but they're watching you. And they see wobbly, they're like, yeah, you're just like everybody else. They see somebody standing and they see peace as a result, they're drawn to that. That's what I mean, by being wobbly, like the way of Jesus, the way of living that he's given us, he is the way. But this is, your kids see that, that you're not anxious.

You're at peace. Things can happen, we'll be fine. God's got the big picture.

He can call them to see and if he doesn't, we'll be fine if he doesn't. He's got it. We know how all this ends. That's the strong hand we have. We know how this ends. So it's like watching a game on DVR, right? You know your team wins, you already know it.

You can watch it, the refs rip you off, this other thing happens, the other team makes a run. You're like, yeah, yeah, yeah, but I know how this ends. And that's the strong hand you have. People need to see that. We stand out so much when we're not anxious or angry. And we love. Yes.

Love well. But that's going to come from actually pursuing God. Exactly. That's where that's going to come from.

You can't fake that. Yeah. And I tell you what, one of the reasons I'm sitting where we're sitting right now with Family Life is it's a ministry that we've known about for 40 years, been a part of for 30 years that doesn't wobble. Never has wobbled. It's been rock solid.

It still is. We make a promise to you right now as a listener, Anne and I, we will not wobble. I mean, I was inspired that day believing and agreeing with you, but also looking in the mirror saying, have we wobbled? Well, we won't. We're not perfect.

Yeah. And so I'd say to you, if you're a partner with us, it's year-end time, it's December match, jump in with us and help us to take a non-wobbly, is that a word? You know, secure, strong message of Jesus to families all around the world because we are going to point them to what Brandt said, the only one who can bring peace is the Prince of Peace. This is so rare in this culture, a billion messages a day that people are getting or whatever the figure is, but to have somebody go, there is a Prince of Peace. There is hope. You do have meaning. Things are going to be okay if you just trust him. Who else is saying that?

So you don't want to lose that, you want it to grow. So I hope people do jump in because you guys are doing it. Yeah, hearing that reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 5 verses 23 and 24, it goes like this, Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And then verse 24 says, He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it.

I'm Shelby Abbott and you've been listening to David Ann Wilson with Brandt Hansen on Family Life Today. He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it. We need to be reminded of that in times like this, when it's the holiday season, things seem crazy, there's a, like Brandt said, there's a billion messages coming into your brain a day, there's tons of stuff going on. We need peace and the one who provides soul peace is the one who wants to give it to you because he is faithful, he will surely do it. We ask him for peace this season because we definitely need it.

I'm going to go ahead and confess that I definitely need it. And you know, we need you with this ministry, we need you to partner with us. David Ann and Brandt were talking about this earlier, but we have so many monthly partners who make this ministry possible and we want you to join our team, to partner with us, to make Family Life Today one of those things that can go on and on into people's lives, into homes, so that Jesus can be spread across this nation and across this world.

Would you partner with us to make that happen? It's very easy to do it, so you can go online to familylifetoday.com and when you get there, at the top of the page, there's a little yellow button that says donate now. If you click on that, it'll take you through the process of being able to give. Or you could 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.

So you got two options. You can go online to familylifetoday.com or give us a call at 800-FL-TODAY. Or if you want to, you could drop us something in the mail.

Our address is Family Life 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, FL 32832. Now tomorrow's show is going to be a fun and unique one. I am going to be sitting down with David Ann Wilson along with David and Meg Robbins. We're going to talk about the power of accepting your limitations, embracing your uniqueness, and then finding peace in your identity in Christ. It's a fun and lively conversation with me and David and Meg Robbins tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. 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 donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-18 06:39:18 / 2023-12-18 06:52:13 / 13

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