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The Impact of a Good Man: David & Meg Robbins with Shelby Abbott

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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December 19, 2023 5:15 am

The Impact of a Good Man: David & Meg Robbins with Shelby Abbott

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 19, 2023 5:15 am

Struggling to say no? Embracing your limitations can feel overwhelming. David and Meg Robbins, Shelby Abbott, Brant Hansen, Jeremiah Johnston, Lysa TerKeurst, and Heather Holleman all share insights on how life's challenges introduce the need for learning new boundaries. Join us to discover ways to accept your limitations amidst life's chaos.

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Welcome to Family Life Today, and my name is Shelby Abbott. We're here with some very special guests today. What's the show called? It's called Family Life Today. Okay, Family Life Today.

You might be familiar with it. Dave Wilson and Ann Wilson. We're all excited to be together. Ann just gave me a look like, you are ruining the show, but you know what?

That's what I do. Just another day. 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.

In addition to the Wilsons, we're here with the Robinses, David and Meg Robbins. We're here to mess it up even more. Glad that you guys are here. As I said, I'm Shelby Abbott, and we're back again today, highlighting some of the best moments on our program from the past year in 2023.

You know what I think we should do next year? What's that? The worst moments.

What do you think? This might be one of them right now. Maybe we should do all the outtakes.

Highlights of the highlights. Well, today's theme is accepting your limitations, which, Dave, I want you to pay attention to. I don't want to accept this. This is what I have to live with every day. Accept your limitations.

She points them out. Oh, I think about mine. Oh, okay, yeah, because she's sweet and humble. You know, we all have limitations. We all have them. We just don't always want to accept them, Dave.

But with that in mind... I'm feeling picked up right now. Accepting your limitations is something we want to kick things off with today and collaborate it with a familiar voice. Mr. Brant Hansen, we've had him on plenty of times on Family Life Today. Brant was actually on the program yesterday, if you'll remember, and will be on tomorrow through Friday, describing how he's come to appreciate his own physical limitations as a way God has made him unique and, frankly, more interesting.

And he is an interesting guy. So here's part of our conversation with Brant Hansen. I've been in ministry a long time with women, and there was this one situation where there were three women that people were, I could tell they were kind of running from them. There was an awkwardness in the conversations. And so my friend and I said, let's pray about these three women. And we ended up praying, like, Lord, what do you want us to know about? Like, how can we minister to these women?

Because it felt like they were pushing people away in some circumstances. And as I went to prayer, I'm like, Lord, what do you think of them? This thought came to my mind. I felt like it was from God. Aren't they delightful?

Yeah. I started to cry because I thought, of course that's what you would say, God. They are delightful to you. And you see the beauty in who they are. You're celebrating how you've created them. And I think that if we would just take some time to say, God, what do you want us to know? What do you want us to do?

We would find that God delights in the misfits. Well, that's right. And on a personal level, I talked about my wife and I, how we met. She's really glad that she took the time to get to know me. She thinks I'm a really good husband.

We think you're pretty great too. She says an example. Yeah.

You don't know. Yeah. So she could have been like, he's a little odd. But having a high quirk tolerance, these people are delightful.

It's wonderful. You know what? I had a coworker say something one time, which is, it's going to sound strange.

Like, why was that moving to you? But there's three of us on a morning show. And the guy talked to this coworker of mine, this lady. And he's like, what's the deal with Brandt this morning? And I don't even know what I was doing.

I didn't have a problem. I just looked too intense or I said something too bluntly on accident. And she's like, that's just Brandt. And when I heard that she had said that, now that sounds insulting or something.

It wasn't. It was like, thank you. Just be my friend. It's so much energy to try to be normal. And if you can be yourself and somebody can have a little bit of tolerance for a quirk and they're like, that's Brandt.

We love him. Like, thank you. It makes me feel comfortable. And it's very rare and you don't have to be on the spectrum. You can just be a little odd in whatever way, whatever wonderful way to experience and know what I'm talking about. The relief of that.

It's so exhausting to try to do normal stuff. And boy, when a parent says that to his son or daughter, that's a word of life. I love my son and daughter. That's who they are. And that's beautiful. There was a doctor who made diagnoses. I remember I can't remember who it was, but it's one book about Asperger's back when we use that term.

He said when he make the diagnosis, he would tell teenagers or whatever. Congratulations, you have Asperger's. Wow. I embody that in my life. I like it.

I like it. I like people who are on the spectrum. I'm biased.

You're more interesting than normal people that just try to do all the same stuff. I'm biased, but congratulations. The Lord is good. That's good for parents to hear, too, to have kids that are there. Congratulations. Congratulations. You are ready for it. You're going to go through some heartbreak. You're going to go through some awesome stuff. You're going to be so thankful that you have that kid.

Oh, that's so good. You know, that's not the knee-jerk reaction of most parents when they hear stuff like that, but it's often that's the inverted principles of the kingdom of how God works, how he can take things that might seem like horrible news and turn it into something that is wonderful, a superpower even. Meg, I want you to describe a little bit of your experience with one of your sons having some health challenges and limitations and what a great young man he's become. Well, our oldest has a chronic illness that he was diagnosed with right after he was born, and honestly, we found out when I was pregnant at that 20-week ultrasound when you think you're going in to see that everything's going great and, you know, you just could tell right away from the ultrasound's tech that things weren't all great. But it kind of launched, I would say, both of us, but we had actually come in separate cars to that appointment, and I got in the car and was going home by myself, and it was like the Lord just said to me, I don't make mistakes.

And I mean, you actually had a similar experience. I remember walking to the office a few days later, and I was really wrestling with, will this mean his life may be shortened and the Holy Spirit in the same pretty profound way? There is no shortened life.

I number everyone's days. And I think just with time and really in his first few years of life, we felt the Lord just put on our hearts just to celebrate every aspect of how God made him, including this disease that he, you know, unless a cure comes along, which it hasn't, you know, then he's going to be dealing with that. But just to rest and trust that God has a purpose even in that, you know, trusting God's bigger picture, and just praying that God would use even this thing that he has, the chronic lung condition, to draw him close to himself. You know, that that would be the thing that pushes him to the Lord. And honestly, in the last, I would say, 18 months, especially the last year, he's a senior in high school now, we've just seen God just showing up and doing that.

You know, he was asked to write for a school magazine just a little bit about his story and what it's been like for him to have cystic fibrosis. And as he wrote the story, it actually became really instrumental in his faith and for him to see just even God's faithfulness through it, but also kind of made him come face to face with some of the realities that, okay, this is part of my life and it doesn't define him. I mean, I loved that what Brandt was saying, like celebrating who you are and who God's made you to be. It's like that one little thing that you might hear as a parent that you think, oh, it's going to be so hard.

It's like that doesn't have to completely define who you are, but it's part of who you are and celebrate that part of you too. But anyway, just seeing him really having to face that, okay, this could mean hard, hard days ahead. And like David said, what may seem like a shortened life, but God numbers our days. And just seeing for just continually come back to a place of trust.

He's owning it and trusting the Lord with it. And there's been a new wave. There's been a fresh complication this past week that's meant a whole other layer of treatments that's pretty involved every day.

And he's learning that this week. And right before we were going to the doctor, there was a lot of stress going on. And we just kind of peeked in and there had been an overwhelming moment in the house. And he had gone to his room and he had not treated his siblings like he wanted to. And he was overwhelmed in the room. And we went and checked on him and like, that wasn't your character, buddy. What's going on? He goes, it's not school.

It's not the test that's coming up. It's the appointment coming up. And just to see him maturely go, and I want to trust God with that. He's been faithful in the past.

He'll do it again. And it's a treat to watch your kid trust the Lord. Yeah, that's such an amazing step forward for a young person to be able to recognize that kind of stuff and have an acute diagnosis on what it is. And name it for what it is and then say, this is what I'm actually struggling with.

It's the thing behind the thing. And to see your son acknowledge that and move forward toward applying the gospel to that and growing. And a lot of us would not pick the things that we have struggled with in our life. I would never have picked crippling nerve pain from a list in order to figure out how I can grow closer to God.

But that's ended up being the thing that has brought me the most close to God. And so not everybody has something like a diagnosis like cystic fibrosis or is on the spectrum. But what's far more common, I've found, especially dealing with young people and interacting with the next generation, and honestly with people that I come in contact with, even in my church and grown-ups, is the element of anxiety. It's all around us. Anxiety and depression are really crushing our culture right now.

And it's not just non-Christians or even immature Christians. In fact, we had a Bible scholar, Jeremiah Johnston, on the program this year. And by the way, Dave and Anne, phenomenal programs with Jeremiah this past Easter on Family Life Today about the evidence of the resurrection.

Those were fantastic. But we had Dr. Johnston on the program to talk about his own battle with debilitating anxiety. Listen to this. Through an interesting series of unrelated events, I began to realize I was struggling with debilitating anxiety.

And I have a high capacity. I work eight days a week. I haven't slept in six years since the triplets were born.

First name basis with a guy at Costco buying 700 diapers a month at one time. You have five kids. You know what I mean?

Yeah, five children, travel and speak. I mean, I'm not a wuss. I'm not weak. But at the same time, I found myself wracked with so much anxiety. I was in an airport lounge, like the United Club, and I had a panic attack. And I'd never had one of those in my life, and I never want to have one again.

And I'm being very transparent because I think I can be vulnerable on this show. Did you know it was a panic attack? No, I thought I was dying. What was going on? I couldn't breathe. I had so much anxiety, and I didn't know how to manage the anxiety and uncertainties of my life. What were your symptoms of a panic attack? I was coming home from a great ministry. I felt like I was having a heart attack, couldn't breathe, had to sit down, worried I was going to die. Went catastrophic thinking, and it was all related not to physical challenges, but to anxiety. And this was coming off an incredible minute.

I mean, everything outward looks great. I was speaking at a church, flying home, doing my thing, blowing, blow up, blow out for Jesus, and going home to the next thing, and it was a miracle I got home that night. And Audrey, my amazing wife, said, Jeremiah, I think it's time that we talk to someone, and I think this is the first time I've ever said this on media, but I went to a Christian psychologist. You mean, Jeremiah, you have a PhD in New Testament, you're an expert in the resurrection, you've written 14 books, you're a dad, you've been married 20 years, and you had to go to a Christian psychologist?

Shame me all you want. Yes, I did, and it literally transformed my life. When you are going through anxiety, you believe a lot of lies. You believe lies that you're a second-rate Christian because a real Christian would never struggle with this like you. Maybe you're not even a Christian at all because you're so depressed.

Maybe there's something wrong with you. And I became paralyzed by these thoughts, and I have a mind that already won't quit, but at the same time, not being able to grab, crush, and kill every one of these intrusive thoughts was starting to debilitate me. So as I mentioned earlier, the next generation is, in particular, suffering from crippling anxiety, and I had a conversation on my podcast with Family Life called Real Life Loading with a campus minister recently who not only sees this in the next generation as a pretty blanket diagnosis for almost everybody that he's talking to. Of course, there's different things, elements in their lives that cause anxiety, but he ended up being a person who wrestled with anxiety pretty severely to the point that he was bedridden for several months without being able to get out of bed, and he ended up going to a Christian counselor.

There's no shame in that at all. He also went to a number of different doctors to try to help him in this whole process, and he found out that what was really going on was the main element in his life that was debilitating him was his anxiety. And so he worked through a program that really embraced 2 Corinthians 10 of taking every thought captive, and he went from being in bed unable to move on a Monday to playing with his kids on Friday by being intentional to apply Scripture to his mind that ended up flowing into his heart. It was an incredible story that I loved hearing about how anxiety can be dealt with, not only through counseling and through medication, but also through applying the truth of Scripture to it. So, Dave, I wanted to ask you— Oh, you're going to go to me? Yeah, I want you to describe this time, your story in Boston where you were overwhelmed with your limitations as a husband.

This kind of connects to anxiety, but I wanted to hear that again. You want to hear it again? That was not a good moment. A honeymoon the second night? The second night. Yeah, and it was out of nowhere. We got lost in the subway or something. I can, you know, brand new, one of the greatest weeks of my life. I just married the dream of my life.

She's sitting right here 43 years later. And we're in Boston having this great time, and we're on the subway, and we are totally lost. I'm like, this is so funny.

This is so fun. And you did not think it was fun or funny. And let me add, Dave, we got off the subway.

We made it back to our hotel room. He gets into the hotel room, sits down in a chair, and just starts sobbing. I mean, not a little cry.

I had never seen him do that. I'm like, what's wrong? And he said, I can't do this.

I'm like, well, we made it back from the subway. Fine. But that was it. Yeah, it was this overwhelming anxiety, fear.

I was just scared to death. Knowing that you're limited. Right. Yeah. And so our limitations are something that can lead us to fear, anxiety, depression even.

Or we can get to a point where we need to say, I need help. And when you're in that point as a Christian, that's always a good thing. Jeremiah was sitting right where you are, telling that story in the studio. I was shocked. Me too. Because he is a, like he even said, he's a put-together guy.

He's a 10 out of 10 on intelligence. You're like, this guy doesn't struggle. And I got to tell you, I hope our listeners feel the same way. That's why I love what we do. We get to be that raw, that honest. Because I know there are listeners sitting there going, I feel that right here, right now.

And there's hope. Your anxiety is not a surprise to Jesus. And he wants to meet you right how we met Jeremiah, how he met me. He will meet you. And I get, it's amazing that we're in your kitchen or in your car or in your family room right now that, you know, God allows himself through this program to bring himself to you. Let him minister to you right here, right now.

Yeah, we know everyone's normal till you get to know them. And every person, we are all in need of Jesus to meet us in our current. And every one of you listening right now has a current story going on.

And it's why we're passionate about what we do. And that's why I'm grateful that Dave and Ann and Shelby every day bring the truth of God's word applied to your backstories and what's going on in your life. It's amazing to me to hear the God stories of how he uses the timeless truth that's talked about on Family Life Today in your stories and how he changes lives. And that's why we're inviting you this month to join us this year in for this matching challenge to give today to help us meet the full match and continue to minister to stories that are going on in people's lives in the year to come also. Every dollar that you give will be doubled this month, dollar for dollar.

So you can go online to familylifetoday.com with your donation, or you can give us a call at 800-F as in Family, L as in Life, and then the word TODAY. So David, one time I wanted to get a phone call with you or maybe a Google Meet with you, and you shared with me a snapshot of your calendar that week and said, pick a time. So David, you sent Shelby a picture of your calendar? I love that. Shelby's a good friend. I don't normally send snapshots of my calendar to people.

I wasn't trying to impress anyone. I promise, I'm not just putting you on. I really do want to connect with you.

Here's a few spots. You're giving you the proof. Yeah, I believe that. But your calendar just made me incredibly anxious. But at the same time, I follow you on Instagram, and I see the pictures that you post at your son's games, at your daughter's volleyball match, at the different activities that you're doing after school and on the weekends. And so my question is, maybe not just for you, David, but also for you, Meg, how do you say no to good things when you're in the thick of life with kids who have full lives of their own and your schedules are busy all the time?

How do you figure that out when it comes to limitations? Everybody's waiting to hear the answer, right? Well, it is through wilderness times where whatever has been shaped to help me pursue the relationships that matter most to me, it's through wilderness and really hard times where we've had to wrestle and get really honest with each other, because I do put my identity in what I do, which I've always been in ministry. And the Lord is not the one on my shoulder begging me to sacrifice my family and my wife for ministry. I end up putting that on myself based on my own backstory.

And so it's through our own journey that we have the health that we do and that we have to keep growing. Because we all know, we got to do an audit like four times a year, you know, like it just gets out of control so quick. But one of the realities is I do really hard cutoffs unless there's a very unique season. But yeah, you know, if the calendar ends at five o'clock that day, because there's a six o'clock baseball practice like yesterday, I was out of here. There was a few things that we could have tied up, but everybody knows that, yep, David's going to be heading out because there's baseball practice. That's why you hung up on me that one time.

Did you want to add anything to that? Well, just that we definitely don't do this perfectly. You know, I mean, it is a let's revisit this, come back to the table, reevaluate constantly. And when we get over committed and aren't... Which we do.

Yeah. And when we don't prioritize the people that matter most to us, you know, we have to reorient and change that trajectory a little bit and figure that out. I think it's just like a constant, honest conversation. You know, by my bedside table and there's one I live out the least that I just even want to confess. I want to, you know, people help me continue to do this. Well, I'm the only person that can walk with God for me. I'm the only person that can be the dad to my kids. And I'm the only husband that can be the husband to my wife. And it's that third one that sadly, Meg, the kids end up, you know, I'm going to walk with Jesus and do everything I can to keep that alive and fresh. The kids, I'm going to prioritize them.

We only get these 18 years. It's that third one that really our kids are best when our marriage is strongest. But it can be easy for that to be one that I don't embrace my limitations on and trust that trickle down. And so just confessing to the world here. That is where the one that we do have to reprioritize a lot.

We could all confess it, honestly. We definitely can. So we're talking about accepting limitations today. We're just discussing the importance of that and understanding that we are finite. So finally, today, our listeners get a fresh reminder of how, despite the many limitations we face in life, there are never limits to the grace and goodness and love of God that we can experience every single day.

Here's one of my favorites, my friend, Heather Holloman. If you keep reading Ephesians 2, you're going to get to the most beautiful verse in Ephesians 2 10. You've been seated with Christ and it says, 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 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 I had all this energy 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 Center 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. It's so important to hear. And it's really something that I think many people struggle with, myself included. I'm in the constant business of comparing myself to other people. And it's just debilitating when that happens.

But if I remind myself that my seat is my seat and it's not someone else's seat, I can appreciate their seat for where they're sitting, but not compare myself to them, I will be much more content with the way things have been set up for me by Jesus Himself. Dave, what do you think of when you hear something like that? The thing that jumped off just this time, and I remember when Heather was here, she was dynamic. She was incredible. We just, we love her. Just now listening again when she said, she heard God say to her, you no longer need to achieve, just abide.

I thought that's a word for all of us because we all are achievers and we're Russian and Russian and Russian. And I get it. We have important things to do. But what would it be like to just abide, to rest on our identity in Christ, seated with Jesus? I think it would change everything.

It would change the atmosphere and the aroma of our homes. Especially this time of year. Like holiday season is crazy and we're rushing, we're anxious. We're trying to make it perfect for our families.

And it's hard. We lose that abiding aspect this time of year of just being with Jesus. Even if it's on the fly, even if you're in your car, you can still be praying. You can still be connecting. You can still listen to the Word.

You can listen to family life today, too. Yeah. And I would just add, you know, it's a busy time of year for all of us and often we don't sit. And she kept saying, sit. Every mom just said, we can't sit. I feel like that.

I know. But you can sit for five minutes. And I would say today, figure out a way to sit for five minutes and abide. And as you do, maybe write a note to somebody you just want to say thanks. You are an important person in my life. Thanks. And I'm not kidding.

Maybe you want to write us a note and say thanks for what you do. Bringing Jesus into my kitchen and into my home. There's a Christmas tree probably in your house right now.

That tree represents the most important moment in the history of the world, the birth of Jesus. And you may think this is a marriage and family show. This is a Jesus show.

And you know that. And we get to bring Jesus to your house every day and to your neighbors. And we're grateful for that. And many of you allow us to do that because you pray for us and you give us financial donations.

Some of you have never done that. This is your year. Jump in. You can become a financial partner. Your dollar will be matched dollar for dollar.

It will be doubled. And you can make sure we keep bringing Jesus to your home and to your neighbors' homes. And you can be a partner. Shelby's going to tell you how. You can do that very easily by going online to familylifetoday.com. You can also give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329.

And that's 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And I'm excited to say that Brant Hansen will be back on again tomorrow. I mentioned him earlier. We got to hear from him a little bit today. Tomorrow he's going to be describing how he's come to appreciate his own physical limitations. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David and 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 / 2023-12-19 06:35:54 / 2023-12-19 06:48:37 / 13

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