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Life is Hard. God is Good. Let’s Dance: Brant Hansen

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The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2024 5:15 am

Life is Hard. God is Good. Let’s Dance: Brant Hansen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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April 15, 2024 5:15 am

Worry: Is it just part of life? The thoughts of constantly regretting things you said, feeling frustrated at your boss, and even wishing the present was different can weigh heavy. But what if there's another way? Author Brant Hansen addresses worry—and whether finding joy in life is possible in a world filled with anxiety.

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

So we're doing a show today for our audio engineer, Bruce Goff. It's all about joy.

It's all about Bruce. Yeah. Now here's what I want to ask. Who's the most joyful person you know? Come on. I thought you'd say me. You are joyful, but I don't know if you're the most joyful person. I'm not expecting you to say me. Okay, who's yours?

You! That's why I wanted to ask you. You're just saying that. No, I am not. You are a joy magnet.

You are in airports and walking around the neighborhood. You are a very joyful woman. I love this about you. 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

This is Family Life Today. We've got a joyful guy in the room, too. One of our favorite brands. You're one of our favorites. Yes, you're one of our favorites. We don't say that to everybody. Here's some of our guests listening right now. Like, I guess they don't like me.

But we like Brant Hansen. Too bad, other guests. Too bad. Well, I mean, you've been on here many times. I don't think we've ever really talked about this topic, joy. So you've been thinking about it a lot. Yeah. And while I totally agree about Ann, like, your personality just brings joy to people.

She does. It's not happiness. It's like this pervasive sense of well-being, regardless of circumstances, that we can actually have. All right, all right.

Say that again. That's more important than any joy. It totally is, because you can be grieving and have joy. You still have this sense of well-being, even going through all sorts of stuff, and people can imagine worst-case scenarios. You can worry about it. But if you had this joy, this gift of peace from God, like, you can go through anything and you'd be okay. Literally, Paul's in a prison cell and he's singing songs.

This is just it. No matter what, worst-case scenarios, I'm going to be all right. That is a sense of peace that people are desperate for and almost nobody has. And it's something that's available to us if we want it as believers. Well, it's interesting to think, like you said, of Paul, or any of us in a really hard situation, having joy. Because even when I look at the title of your book, Life is Hard, God is Good, Let's Dance, I think often we think one of those at a time is true, but not all three. Right. Like, life is hard, done.

Right. And I'm not going to have joy. And I'm not going to dance. Then God is good. But life isn't hard and God is good.

They're not together. And the weird thing is, I will talk about this on the air, my own Christian radio show or whatever. I'll talk about Jesus saying, you don't need to be worried. You don't need to be anxious. Be like the birds of the air.

Be like the lilies of the field. And people are like, yeah, but realistically, I mean, we're going to have to worry about something. Like, no, Jesus is realistic.

He's not crazy. And he actually said, and I start the book with this, in this world, you will have troubles, but be of good cheer. But take heart. Like, because I've overcome the world.

So here's God taking on flesh and he's telling us, I know the big picture here. Wink, wink, nod, nod. You don't need to worry about anything.

I got this. And we're going, yeah, but I need to worry about this news story. I saw this thing and this other thing or be anxious about that.

Like, no, no, no. We're supposed to be the people who are not anxious. And you can become a different sort of person over time. So that's what the book is about.

Like finding that sort of a sense of peace. I tried to make the book funny, but again, that's always in the eye of the beholder. That's risky. Oh, it's funny.

It's so funny. It's inspiring. But you start out like your beginning wasn't that easy. And so you've walked through circumstances that have not been ones that you're happy about or most joyful about.

But you have still found joy. The reason I recount that, like going through the problems I did growing up, trauma and whatnot, it's just I'm kind of the last guy I should write this book in some ways. It's another one of those deals where it's like I'm a pessimist by nature. I'm fatalist by nature. And going through that growing up, I'm not writing a happy, slappy book about, well, you just look on the positive side. It's much deeper than that.

Because life's hard. It is. But there's this sense of well-being I can attest to. Even in the worst case scenario, if you trust God, his character, you are going to be okay.

You are. So whatever you want to imagine, and we do imagine these worst case scenarios, but Jesus takes this, one of the things I was right about, Jesus takes his friends out on the lake knowing there's going to be a storm. That was his idea, that story, if you read that. He knows. He goes to sleep on a cushion, it says, and Mark, he's asleep. They're all freaking out because of the storm. He comes out.

It's like you guys failed the test. Don't you know that you're safe with me? Even if the ship goes down effectively, no matter what, ultimately you're safe. You don't need to worry. And I have to believe, and I tried to conclude the book with this, but I have to believe that in the end of our lives, we'll look back and go, oh my goodness, I never actually needed to be worried. He was right. I know he's right.

So that's where I'm going with this. Now, are there things that grab your heart that get you to worry? I mean, like certain areas, because mine would be money. I can lay in bed at night, and when the kids were little, it was like, how are we going to pay for college, or how are we going to pay the mortgage?

We raised our own support, and everybody's got something. Do you have something that sort of grips your heart? Oh, sure. I can go through scenarios. If you have people you love, you can go through scenarios that are just like, I wouldn't want to live if that happened, that other thing. I don't think I can handle it. What's wild about that is the people I know who have actually gone through that stuff who are believers, they trust God. They all say a very similar thing, I found, and that is, I didn't think I could get through this, but God showed up in a way I've never experienced before until this happened. So of course, we can't imagine getting through it, but maybe that experience is common where God shows up among people who love Him in a way that you don't realize how you actually could go through that, and He's there.

It's not something you'd ever want, of course. So I can go through those scenarios in my head, of course, all day long. Anybody can. But I do think that over time, and this is what I was trying to say in the book too, you become a certain kind of person that is less anxious. It's more natural. Like all human beings, you can imagine a scenario you can worry about. Yes, all of us.

Right. There's nothing wrong with, like, suddenly I'm worried. Now, what do I do with that? And there are things the Bible tells us, which are absolutely genius, that people don't, they look past or they don't think it's realistic.

It's very realistic. In fact, like, modern psychology will tell you, like, these are things that will help you not be worried, and it's exactly right. Like what? Speaking to yourself, like in Lamentations, Jeremiah is like, my whole country is being destroyed. It's falling apart, and it is. And then he says, yet I call this to mind, and I therefore have hope because of the Lord's great love for us.

We are not consumed. His faithfulness endures forever. His mercies are new every morning. So he's literally like saying, I call this to mind.

I can see all the reality of it. So he's aware. It's not like he doesn't know the news.

He doesn't know what's going on. Not living in denial. Right. Not in denial.

Yeah. But he calls this to mind because of God's great love for us. We're not going to be consumed. His faithfulness has always endured. David does this in Psalms, talks to himself when he's saying, why are you so downcast, my soul? Put your trust in God. There's another way to deal with this, which is thankfulness. Becoming a person who has a discipline of gratitude, it's very difficult to be anxious. Gratitude and anxiety do not coexist.

So literally in Philippians, Paul is writing, so don't be anxious about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He's done. So immediately give it to God. Let Him handle it. Because it's not your, you have to go, this isn't my department. I can't do this.

I don't control next week, next year, what that person thinks, what could happen to our money. God, you have to take care of that. And here's what I'm thankful for.

And then he actually says, Paul says, and then the peace of Christ will guard your heart. And soul. Yes.

Isn't that interesting? It's both. You're right. It's in your head, your heart and your mind, like all of it.

He covers all of it. And that's that peace that will guard you. And then as you lean into that, you become a different sort of person and life gets more lighthearted. It really does. You can laugh about stuff.

You're not worried. You can get better at this. What does that look like for you, Brant? Share some stories or some things that you've watched this happen.

Any one of the 50 to 100 stories of yours, they are awesome. It's a lot of cringe stories, honestly, of me being in cringe situations. So I've had things that you would just be, most people would just be like, oh my goodness, I would want to dig a hole. Like when your face hit a parked car? Yeah, my motorcycle accident in front of a crowd of onlookers. It's just one thing after another. I've done stuff.

It's like, oh my goodness. I tell one story where I'm introducing Toby Mac at a concert and he doesn't come out. There's thousands of people. It's an outdoor amphitheater in Miami.

I'm like, ladies and gentlemen, give a big Miami welcome. And he doesn't show up. And so the people are kind of restless and they sent me back out and I introduced him again and he did not come out. And I was like, I'm done. I'm leaving.

The parking lot's behind the amphitheater. Is the crowd booing or what's happening at this point? At this point, they're just kind of quiet and they're tired of me.

I went to the promoters backstage and they're like on walkie talkies. I don't know what's going on. They're like, we just need you to go out one more time. He's ready this time. Honestly, he's ready. That's what you told me last time. I went out a third time and people are not cheering at this point. I was like, hey, I know this has been kind of crazy, but we're really ready to go now. Please welcome Toby Mac. And he was not ready.

It was not his fault. I don't know where the communication breakdown was going on, but I literally it was outdoor amphitheater parking lots behind the band shell thing. Everybody can see as I walk off the stage, I picked up my keys, went into the parking lot, got in my car. So the crowd could actually see me just leave the stage, get in my car. So I presume he came out at some point. You didn't stay around to find out. No, but for an introvert, can you imagine?

That's like a nightmare scenario. But even in the moment, I'm thinking this is funny. You can take yourself so much less seriously when you're not worried.

I think it's part of being humble, not in the like, oh, I'm such a worm sense, but like, it's not all about me. I don't control everything. God's good. Be of good cheer. There really is truth to this.

It's not pie in the sky. Well, you just came into the studio and shared a story that just happened to you. And I was like, whoa, you shared that with us. But then the outcome was joy. Yeah. In the end, everything's pretty funny.

Like when stuff happens to you that's embarrassing or whatever, it's OK. Well, you got to share that story. Well, OK, so I have a neurological condition and you can't see it right now if you listen on the radio. I get that. But my head has to move back and forth for me to see straight. I've had this my whole life. What's it called? It's called nystagmus.

Yeah, you put it in your book and I tried to read at the end. I'm like, I can't pronounce this word. So my eyes move back and forth. So for me to see straight, I have to compensate. And I do it unwittingly. But when I'm driving, I'm shaking my head back and forth.

Well, I came to the outside of the studio here, the security hut. And the first thing the guy says, I pull up. He's like, I was getting ready to say hello. He's like, what's the matter?

Are you shaking your head? I said, well, sir, I have a neurological condition. And he was crushed.

He's like, I'm so sorry. I said that to you. But we laughed about it. And I told him, I said, you know what? I'm always trying to come up with something funny to say that lets people off the hook because I don't want you to feel bad. He must have felt awful.

He did. But I was I don't. It's OK. Even if you look dumb, it's all right. You're making yourself vulnerable. I mean, it's in life. It's OK. And I've learned to take risks socially, even though I'm not naturally social because people are worth it.

It's OK to be vulnerable. So I try to tell a lot of stories in there, too, about like trying to be a blessing to people in our neighborhood, trying to throw more parties. If nobody comes, it's all right.

Start things in the neighborhoods like, hey, we're going to get together and talk about how to follow Jesus. It's an experiment. We'll just do it for a few weeks.

Call stuff and experiment ahead of time. That lets you off the hook if it goes down in flames. You just be like, well, we try.

Yeah. The amazing thing to me, even about the security guy at the security hut is you started sharing like, it's OK. He felt bad, but he starts sharing his story with you. And then you you guys are laughing by the end. You had made this connection. Buckled over laughing. And he was talking about, he's like, well, I have a neural condition, too. I just had a brain tumor removed not long ago. And then we started talking about that. And he was really thankful to God that he's OK. And then we started laughing about some other stuff, but like made a friend. That's what happens, too. I've noticed is if I look dumb, a lot of times you just wind up making friends.

Because people are vulnerable. You've got nothing to lose. I keep saying, if you don't want to live with anxiety, just say, God, I have today to be faithful with.

That's it. So I ask God, please give me my daily bread. Give me what I need to get through today, whatever the resources are. And you make a way for me, please. Like in the big terms of life, like the future, 10 years from now, five years. Can you just make a way?

I don't have a big plan. I just want to be faithful with what comes across my path today. This is very counterintuitive to the way the world works. I get that. But I found that it works.

And I found that God has honored that in my life. And I don't know what I'm doing. I don't have a big picture plan. But he's made a way for me that I could never, ever have charted myself.

So I do recommend this. But that way you can be focused on that person in front of you today. Your kids, your relatives, your neighbors, your work people. You can actually focus on it because you're not worried about next year. God's faithful and he can make a way.

I'm just convinced of it. So how do you take the worry that you cast? I think in 1 Peter 5, cast your cares upon him because he cares for you. And I remember once in a sermon, I literally brought a fishing pole on stage and put anxiety on the hook and cast it. But I find in my own life, I'll cast it. And then 30 minutes later, or maybe 5 minutes later, but 2 hours later, it's grabbed me again. Almost I don't even see it coming. And next thing I know, it's like, oh my goodness.

I remember the word worry in German is to choke. I feel like my life's being choked because I'm thinking about something. I don't have an answer.

It's like I have to just keep casting all day long. Yeah, so this isn't a thing where you can just go, I'm not going to worry. This is about becoming a different sort of person. Don't worry, be happy type deal.

Right, just decide. That doesn't actually work. What actually works is you begin becoming a different sort of person where you're being transformed by God. So I think literally memorizing Scripture is helpful. That sounds like a churchy answer, but I found it to be incredibly helpful because you can turn those thoughts over in your mind. So when that worry hits, you don't just get rid of it and like I was going to clean my mind of any thoughts. You know, I read this, I think with New York Times, there's an article about meditation, like the clearing of your mind actually makes you more anxious.

Really? Yeah, and that's something. And this wasn't coming from a Christian angle, but they were saying that your mind can't do that.

It will fill in with just like gut level stuff that are your concerns, right? So here's the genius again of the Bible telling you, think about what's true, what's noble, what's right, what's pure, what's lovely, what's admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. That's in that same context about being at peace.

Philippians 4, yeah. Yes, so you don't fill it with nothing. You fill it with what's true.

What's true is stuff that you should be grateful for. So when you're hit with these worries, two steps I would say. Number one, you do cast it on Him. This is not my department, God. You have to handle this for me. I can't handle it.

You have to take it and just be like, this is not my department. And then the second thing is now you have to think actively about what's true. So having some scripture at hand that you can turn over in your head, start reciting that, this is not unrealistic. And over time that will change you. It changes your mindset.

You will be able to be more relaxed. That's a process, but it's very doable. Those are two quick things. And if you don't mind, I want to tell a story about this, because I call it outsourcing your worries.

I like that. Yeah, I was reading, it was Tim Ferriss. I was listening to his audiobook. It's not a Christian standpoint.

It was about time usage or efficiency, which I'm horrible at. But he said he has a personal assistant do everything for him, and she's in India. And he would call her every day with like, schedule this, do that. And as a joke one day he was really worried about something. So he actually said to her, hey, I need you to worry about something for me today. And she's like, okay. And then he told her, and he said, and this is what I thought was profound. He said, you know what, it worked.

Because he gave it to her. Yeah, it's like just knowing somebody else was worrying for me. I was able to concentrate on other stuff, which kind of makes some sense because worry at some level is control. Because you think that me worrying about this, doing that, actually is going to help. So having somebody else do about it, that could help. But what I think is so genius about that, like, wait, that outsourcing your worries, you can do that to God, not your personal assistant. He can actually do something about it. It's true. And he's got a track record with you of doing stuff, right?

Because you can rehearse that. How's he been faithful? So you outsource it to him. He's going, this is not my department. You have to take this.

I have to do this myself. And it does help. And it is real. And Jesus' way of life is genius, where he's going, you don't have to worry about tomorrow. It doesn't help you.

So love that stuff. I think when I'm in bed at night, over the years, especially our kids are little, once you have kids, then I'm really, because I don't feel like I have control. So in my mind, I start thinking I'm controlling the situation by solving all these problems, which is really worry. So I'm going through my head, like, what should I do? And then the other thing that happens when I'm worrying is I start going into what ifs. What if they? And I go into the most catastrophic situations, things that would never happen, but they really get out of control of where they can go. And you're right, it does no good.

Even now, as our kids are older, and I'm thinking about their kids and their marriages and their finances, I've realized over the years, finally, Brandt, that my worry does nothing but create more anxiety in me. I mean, it's sort of what you wrote about the bowling analogy. Yeah. Yeah, share that. Where you're leaning.

Yeah. People bowl, they release the ball, and they still think they're controlling it. They'll start gesticulating and leaning, and like, I do that. Just lean this way so the ball goes out like, it's gone, man. Let it go. You've already done what you can.

There's nothing you can do at this point. But that's us. Yeah.

It's so weird, and it's so not childlike in the best way. We think we can control it. Right. So I've got in that habit I've shared before, like, I picture myself handing each one of the things to Jesus, and he takes it.

It's exactly like the woman in India. Yes. He takes it, and I can finally fall asleep.

You got this. I picture it like this thing I'm worried about. Like, I'm sitting at a desk at some office, and somebody brings an envelope.

It's glowing, and it's like setting off the Geiger counters and stuff. And I'm just like, nah, not my department. The radioactive envelope place is down there. Those guys can handle it.

Take it there. Okay. That's a good one. Yeah. They're equipped for it. They're equipped. I'm not. It's the same thing with God.

Like, he's equipped to handle this. You're not. And some people are thinking, but how do you do that? Like, do you actually do that? You think, okay, I'm not going to, and then you stop your head. It's taking the thoughts captive. Yes, it's taking the thoughts. And then, again, speaking truth to yourself.

I like that you're replacing it. Like, you're having to say, so I can get to sleep. And then being thankful. My wife taught me that. She said when she's having a hard time, sleep. And as a mom, when your kids are out of the house, like, what about this? What about that?

What about? She's like, I just started thinking about what I'm thankful for. And there's a genius thing I heard some neuroscientists talking about. And I did write about this in the book. They said when we get grateful, we usually make a list, like a list of things we think about, which is fine. There's nothing wrong with that.

But it's kind of analytical brain side. They said, try this. Think about an experience you had that you're really glad it happened. It might be just like a moment in nature where you're looking at some mountains or looking down at sunset or maybe when your child was born and you held your baby for the first time or that first time you met that friend who became your best friend. All these things happen.

It could be anything. But they said, just think about that for like 30 seconds and just camp out there. What was that like? And then just say, thank you, God. I'm so glad that happened. Thank you. You're so good. And then they said you can over time when you start getting worried.

You can have a list like that on your phone of notes. You just think, oh, that time, I'm glad that happened. That time I was laughing so hard with a friend. Go back when you're nervous. Think about one of those things.

Camp out there. It uses both sides of your brain now, the emotional side too, to be really deeply grateful. And again, you can't be grateful and anxious at the same time. It doesn't work. So what we're being told to do in the Bible to cast your cares, to outsource your worries to God, it works. It's not a magic spell. It's about you becoming a different sort of person and inhabiting the truth of the kingdom, which is that you actually don't have anything to worry about. That's what Jesus is saying.

He's not crazy. I got into the habit. I walk a lot and I walk several miles. And I started deciding, I'm going to start thanking God for all the things that are going on in my walks. It's the gratefulness is what you're saying. And so when I started, I thought, oh, I got this far in my thankfulness, in my gratefulness. And the next time, I got a little further.

And the next time, I got a little further. And then the rest of the time, I'm praying for all the things going on. But I realized the more I was grateful, the more I started pointing out the things that I had seen God do and thank Him for it, the less my list became of what I needed Him to do. Because as you're thankful and grateful, you know, like, oh, you've already done it before. You're doing it now, and I can trust you for the future.

I don't think we spend enough time with Him being grateful. And that list, I like that list. Here's all the things that I've seen you do and be faithful in my life.

Yeah. That first time I met my wife, I remember the basement of University Baptist Church at the University of Illinois for a study break. And she thought I was weird.

I thought she was pretty. Like, I'm glad that happened. Just sweet moments we've all had. Why not be thankful?

I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Brant Hanson, one of our favorites on Family Life Today. So why is it so hard to be thankful? Even in, you know, the good times in life and the bad times in life, we're just strugglers with people who are actually thankful. Well, Brant's going to share a little bit more with us in just a second about why that is. But I wanted to remind you that Brant has written a book called Life is Hard, God is Good, Let's Dance.

It's about experiencing real joy, even when our circumstances don't really point us toward joyfulness. And this book is going to be our gift to you when you give today. So you can get your copy now with any donation that you make by going online to and clicking on the donate now button at the top of the page. Or you can 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 a donation in the mail if you'd like to.

Our address is Family Life, 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832. So again, why is it so difficult to be thankful in life regardless of your circumstances? Well, here's more from Brant Hansen. The problem is we're so forgetful. That's why we worry.

We're so forgetful, which is why Deuteronomy is full of remember this, write this down, tie it around your wrist, put it on your doorway. You rehearse those stories of his faithfulness so that you don't have to worry because his record is good. And even if you've got questions about his character, good questions. Like, why does this happen?

Why does that happen? Okay, fine. Good question. But overall, if you're like me, you're like, yeah, I have questions. But I have learned I can trust his character. And I don't know why everything happens the way it is or this is going on or why, I don't know. I don't know what's gonna happen tomorrow, next week, after this, after that big event.

But I know enough about his character to know he's actually good. And that allows you to have this lightheartedness in life and a peace and a hope that's weird, like wonderfully weird. And we're supposed to be so hopeful that other people are supposed to say, why are you so hopeful? And we're supposed to be ready with reasons for our hope, it says in Thessalonians. That's good.

Be ready with a reason because people are gonna wanna know, why are you so hopeful in this, like everything's going down. What's the matter with you? It's because I know more.

Mm-hmm. Now coming up tomorrow, Brant Hansen is gonna be back. Woo-hoo! And he's gonna be talking about emphasizing that good days are ahead when we trust in God's ability to handle everything we worry about. And we worry about a lot. So I'm looking forward to hearing from him again. On behalf of my friends, 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 / 2024-04-15 06:06:54 / 2024-04-15 06:20:47 / 14

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