Hey, for those of you that are married, here's a question. How do you keep love alive? Starting a brand new series, I'm going to talk about the four challenges that great marriages have in common. You don't want to miss it. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians.
I'm Dave Druey. And as Chip just said, in this program, we're kicking off a new series that will address four major hurdles facing every relationship and how couples can tackle them together. It's called Keeping Love Alive, Volume 3. And after each message, Chip will join us in studio to share some additional insight and what he's learned after 40 plus years of marriage. So be sure to stick around for that.
Okay, with all that said, let's join Chip now as he kicks off our series. I'm going to talk about four challenges in our time together that all couples have. And the first one is the challenge of busyness. I mean, you just, when life gets going fast, when there's pace, you don't have time to really talk. When you get going really fast, you don't parent the way that, you know, you want to parent. When you cross each other in schedules and over a time, busy, busy, busy.
I heard recently a TED Talk and it was by a ER doctor. And she said, you know, we've all used this phrase, we're just crazy busy right now. We're just crazy busy right now. Hey, you know, you meet someone and hey, let's get together sometime soon, right? But well, how's it going?
Well, we're just, we're just crazy busy right now. And this ER doctor said, when I get done speaking, you'll never have to say those two words together ever again. And then she talked about that when people come into the ER, immediately, they're either red, yellow or green. And red is they're going to die unless we intervene right now. Yellow is yellow, critical condition, needs care, but not in front of those who are red.
And green is this is a real problem, but they'll live while we get both red and yellow taken care of. And she said, what your brain actually works in a way and I can work in the ER and I've done it many years. And what I've learned is when it's red, I allow the adrenaline to kick in and I operate in such a way. And when it's yellow, I can bring it down and not live with the same crazy intensity.
And then when it's green, I understand that I can do this at a pace. And she said, many, many people are crazy busy because everything in their life is a code red. Every they bring the same energy and adrenaline and urgency and craziness and cramming things together as though everything had the same level of stress.
And actually it does when you look at it that way and it happens inside your brain and the adrenaline, all the things shoots through your body and all the byproducts of the downside of being crazy busy. And so we're going to talk about how not to be crazy busy in your notes. These are six symptoms of misplaced priorities.
Are you ready? I'll go through them rather quickly and rather than overly analyze them. I like you in your mind, not like, wow, two and four really apply to my mate. Maybe think about you. These are the symptoms of misplaced priorities. Number one, I'll just use the word busy.
It's called the activity trap. People who are close to you are saying you really need to slow down. You're always in a hurry. When you walk into the grocery store in the bank, you're constantly looking for what is the shortest line. When you're in your car, you're driving mostly in the left lane and sick and tired of the person that won't get over and allow us to get through.
You're trying to analyze if you don't have one of those little things on the dashboard of your car, how far over the speed limit can I go without actually getting a ticket? You rush. You find yourself eating fast, driving fast, thinking fast, apart from areas where other people will see inside your dresser drawer is a mess. Your closet is disorganized, and your desk is a mess as well because you're constantly going here, here, here, there.
If it's not a mess, it's because what you do before you leave is you stack everything together in a very unorganized order, but it looks good on the outside. And I mean, you are just busy, moving fast all the time. If you have children, the worst symptom is when one of them is grabbing your leg as you're walking out the door and looking up at you like, can I really have some time as you say, you know, yes, real soon, as soon as this is over, as soon as, as soon as you know I get back, as soon as things calm down.
Busy, busy, busy. You feel held hostage. You feel like there's honestly not enough time and you actually have believed the lie that there's just not enough time instead of misplaced priorities.
Dawson Trotman, the founder of The Navigator said, emotion is no substitute for action, action is no substitute for productivity, and productivity is no substitute for reproduction or real accomplishment. The second is emotional stress and pressure. You feel uptight, might have tightening in your chest, trouble sleeping, uneasy feelings, restlessness, can't get your mind to stop, indecisive, decisions are on the line and you can't quite make up your mind, you feel like there's way too much to do, there's too many balls in the air that you're trying to juggle. And it's not the hours of the work, it's the stress and anxiety when you're honest of wondering whether the important things are really getting done. And you feel the tension.
And you know there's really important things and you're moving and you feel it inside and it's eating at your soul. If it happens long enough, some people burn out. If it happens long enough, some people break down. And depending on your personality type, sometimes you blow up.
It causes marital tension, outbursts of anger, where if you stuff it, you find yourself after a while getting really depressed. Busyness, emotional stress and pressure, low grade, nagging guilt. You feel bad about yourself. It's a different kind of restlessness.
I'm not fulfilled. A lot of things you know that are really important that you're actually telling other people how important they are and that they ought to do them, but if the truth is known, you're not even doing them yourself. Relationships are more and more superficial, little time for celebration, daily pressures push aside the need to envision and plan and pause. You have that feeling down inside like, I know this is the kind of man or the kind of woman, the kind of Christian, the kind of mom, the kind of dad I'm supposed to be and I'm juggling and I'm moving and I'm juggling and I have this low grade nagging guilt that tells me that I'm a hypocrite. And I will tell you one thing about life, everyone hates hypocrites. But what's really painful is when you look in the mirror and realize that person you're looking at is you.
And so you fake it and you skim and you juggle and you pose and you find yourself projecting that things are better and find yourself in moments that aren't really good inside and then someone you know, yeah, hey man, yeah, right at you, man, good to see you again. And these things build and some of them have some really deep causes. A fourth symptom that your priorities are misplaced is financial debt, financial problems, money's tight. You used to give the first portion to the Lord and you look at your finances right now and think, man, I would love to, I don't see any way. The fact of the matter is that debt gets higher and higher. And see when you have busyness and emotional stress and low grade guilt, what you do is, a lot of us at least, is it really feels better short term to go buy something or to go out to eat or to buy a toy or to pay for a vacation because you really need to get refreshed with money that you don't have. And then about 30 days later when the credit card comes and they tell you crazy things like, well, you only need to pay a minimum of $16.44 on the $499 that you just charged. Except that you do that and you keep pushing that can and you realize you're paying 23, 25% interest and you're getting robbed. And the hole gets deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper. And the car's on time and the TV's on time and this is on time and this is on time and the credit cards come and the mortgage issues come and pretty soon you start drowning. Over half of all marriages that fail, fail because of financial pressure.
And the issue has nothing to do with finances. The next one is, I just call it prayerlessness. It's leaky junior devotional life. When you get going really, really fast, it's not like you don't pray, but instead of, you know, you know those times when you're walking closely with God and you find yourself where you've built in times and you realize you have nothing to bring to anyone unless you are with him and you know you sit down and you make time and maybe it's not, you know, as long as you would like, but it's not rushed. And you're in his word and you close your eyes and you think about it and you really pray and you process and he brings things to your mind and, oh yeah, oh, I'm sorry.
Father, thank you so much. And then you think about what's coming up and those issues that do bring anxiety and then you being one by one cast them to the Lord and you know, I don't know how it's going to work out with schooling and this is going to happen with the finances and, and there's a sense that you're walking with God and when prayerlessness kicks in or there's leakage, pretty soon when you praise like in the car, when you can turn off the radio and you pray on the run or you meet with someone else and you pray with them. But, but what you realize again, it's like you start to skim and then there's this, just this weird feeling like someone moved, but God feels distant.
You know what I mean? You close, you close your eyes, you're ready to pray and it's like, I mean, I know that what the promises say, but he just, and then it creates low grade nagging guilt and then the low grade nagging guilt causes you to buy stuff that you really don't need and then that causes more emotion and anxiety and as you're have more anxiety, I don't know what it is about where the maybe the only species that we think when we don't know what to do, we'll do what you don't know faster, right? I remember sitting on a plane and feeling so overwhelmed and a mixture of all these things and, and I, and I opened up my, my phone and, um, and unlike some people who want to get it down to zero, I just sort of, ah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And a bunch of it's a bunch of junk and you unsubscribe and it seems like somehow they resubscribe you somehow. And I remember, and I remember sitting on a plane doing this, delete, delete, delete, delete. I looked down, I deleted 166 of these things and I had this little feeling like I accomplished something and I thought, is that sick or what to think that deleting an email that is meaningless, but I just wanted to do some kind of activity that made me feel like I was actually accomplishing something when I felt paralyzed and anxious and struggling. And what I really needed was to clear all the decks and draw near to God, have him draw near to me and get refreshed in my soul.
The final one is I've, I've alluded to maybe in a sense, but it's escapism behavior. It's the quick fix. It can be the vocation or the vacation, but, but often, ah, it's binging on a Netflix.
It's logging onto porn. It's going to the refrigerator and eating food that you're not hungry for, but you just feel better for a little while until about three weeks of that. And then your clothes don't fit. Then you don't feel good about yourself. Then you buy some stuff that you don't need that you buy them another size.
Then you can't have them anyway. These are just symptoms. And then what we tell ourselves, and this is the lie.
This is from someone who was a class a workaholic. And that, that grew, that grew out of some of my father issues. My dad loved me, but he didn't know how to put his arm around me.
I didn't hear him say those words. I love you until probably he was maybe in his fifties. Not because he didn't, but, and he was a Marine. He was a great athlete and he was a school teacher, math and science.
So other than needing to go four to four up the bat, scoring a lot of points, getting a basketball scholarship and getting almost straight A's all the time. And when you did that, it wasn't enough to then you get a degree. And then at the graduation, instead of great job, it's not bad. So you, when are you going to get your masters?
And when you got your masters, oh, that's pretty good. And it didn't matter. You know, you go three for four. How many times have I told you? It's Hey, it's an inside curve ball. When you open your hips and step here, you'll always going to ground out for the shortstop. Come on.
He was drafted by the St. Louis Browns, amazing athlete. And I can just tell you this. He loved me, loved me, loved me, but it did not matter what I did.
It wasn't quite enough. And I've lived a big portion of my life learning. My Heavenly Father's not like that.
And my adult boys would tell you, Dad, you recovered a lot and you made a lot of progress, but whatever he was passing down to you, you gave us a pretty good dose of that yourself. So what I want, here's what I want you to know. Those are just symptoms.
They're not the root problem. And the lie that those of us that live like this more than we want to admit. And by the way, for whatever level right now that you're saying, yeah, and others are a little bit more like, yeah, you know, I got a little bit of this, you're in denial. And what we say is, this is only temporary. As soon as we get into the house, as soon as we get relocated, as soon as the kids start school, as soon as we can sort of balance our finances. In other words, it's when, then. When, then. I just want you to know, then never comes.
It's a way to stay in denial and keep your life always focused around symptoms. And what I want to talk to you about is how to get a hold of your life because you break out of busyness when you get your priorities clear and get them God-honoring, receive God's grace, make some very hard decisions, learn to say no to some things, develop some new habits. And we heard about the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
I'll tell you the one that everyone misses. The very last one is self-control, self-discipline. And I'm not talking about a God who everything has to be in cookie-cutter order, but I'm telling you about a God who is a God of order. And so let me shift gears and open your notes and let's get to the solution side. You might wonder, then, so what are biblical priorities?
What do they actually look like? I'd like to say that turn to First Priorities, Chapter 7, verse 3, and I will line this out for you, but there is no book of priorities. But Paul wrote two twin epistles while he was in prison. And the first half of Ephesians 1, 2 and 3 is doctrine or what's true about us. The first half of Colossians, Chapter 1 and 2 is doctrine or what's true about us and what's true about God. And the beginning of the second half of both books, he talks about, therefore, walk or live in a manner that's aligned with God's will and God's wisdom.
And I put it in your notes, and so I'm not going to go through these, but I mean, just look. Each one of them start with your relationship to God, then your relationship with your mate, then your relationship with your family, relationship with your work, relationship with your ministry. Now, here's for years how I used to think about this and it never worked. I thought that means every day, seven days a week, 365, then the order of what I do is it's got to be God first, then I guess I meet with my wife, then I meet with my kids. Well, wait a second, one kid's in ICU.
Oh, wait a second, I've got to be overseas. Priorities don't work. They're lined out in terms of what's most important.
Can I give you a picture that's different of priorities that I think will really help you? Have any of you ever seen one of those, maybe like at a wedding or a super fancy hotel, a chocolate fountain? Okay, so you know there's this, they shoot the chocolate up and it's here, right? And it's in a little circle, and then it has like a little V, and it goes to another ring, right? And then it has another ring, then it has another ring, and so it's like these, I will date me, but for like really old people before ice makers, they used to have ice trays. And you would fill the ice trays, and in between all the little diggity-dos, I don't know what you call those things, but there would be a little V so that as you poured the water in, it would go from this one to this one to this one to this one, and then no matter what you did, you spilled it when you put it in. But you get the idea, okay? When this one got filled, it would fill the next one.
When it got filled, it filled the next one. Am I going too fast for you? You got this?
Okay. I want you to think of your priorities as a chocolate fountain, and at the top cylinder, and do you remember what Jesus said to the woman at the well? He said, if you knew the gift of God that I have, and then he talks about my life is like living water. It's like it's an overflowing fountain, and what it is is the Spirit of God in your new life, what he wants to do is have you abide in Christ, talking with him, being in his word, the company of God's people. So the first priority is being filled with God, abiding in him.
Now, depending on where you're at in your life, what happened that day, but what do you need? I mean, you don't feed a baby the same thing as a 335-pound lineman, right? So we all have a little bit different diet, but what of God's word?
What time? What prayer? And then what happens is now when that's full, guess what? Now you have something to give to your mate. So you're commanded to love your mate if you're a man the way Christ loved the church. Well, what's that mean? Die for her. That's not hyperbole. I mean, if you need to physically die for your wife, die for her, but actually it's much harder to live for her, to put her needs first. Love is giving another person what they need the most when they deserve it the least at great personal cost.
That's the cross. And I am to serve my wife in that way. I can't do that.
It's impossible. So I need filled up with the grace of God and the power of God so that I'm having this kind of relationship with my wife. As we connect and love one another and we build intimacy, that builds tremendous security in these kids. But she's more important than them and she's more important than my job. And as we connect then, that overflows into the life of our kids.
And as that, you get the idea? So the real issue in your priorities, it's going to be different, different days. I mean, there's time where I might be traveling overseas and teaching in China or the Middle East or something.
I'm not there. But as a general rule, what am I doing in my life so that I'm full of God, so I have the wisdom and the discernment to know on each and every day? And then I have to structure in, right? I got to structure in time and energy and connection and relationship with those things in my life.
And that's how it works. It's not a matter necessarily of doing one before the other. It's viewed as giving my first and best attention to the most important to be filled, to be connected and to overflow so that the fullness of the relationship spills over into the next.
Dwight Eisenhower, General Dwight Eisenhower said, the urgent is rarely important and the important is rarely urgent. I mean, there's all kind of pressure and tension. But, you know, a four year old doesn't say, hey, dad, you keep being the kind of dad you are right now.
I'll be a rebellious teenager. I think we need some time. A wounded wife or a wounded husband who begins to withdraw, got your feelings hurt, sees patterns, don't feel heard, don't feel like we're connecting, never have enough time. We've talked about some issues.
There's never follow through. We never really sit down and really talk or, you know, I've talked about praying together and yeah, yeah. Or could we do a book together or, you know, we talked about, you know, just before the last time that we needed to get some external help or we would actually start going to church and do it together. And, you know, just it's important. But it's urgent, urgent, urgent, urgent, urgent, urgent, urgent. What we can ask ourselves is what really matters and how do I get a hold of my life so I can invest my life in what really matters. And so I'm going to give you two words, two tools to start focusing on the important.
This will literally be sort of like to get you started. But two words that hold the keys to enjoying the peace and the power of a prioritized life. That's really what right priorities do.
And by the way, do they flex? Of course. There's no rigidity.
There's not legalism. Here's a prioritized life is give me your phone. Give me your calendar. Give me your checkbook. And if I could, I would hook something up so I could see what you're dreaming about when you daydream. And I could look on your phone and your calendar and where your meetings are. And I could tell you within, I mean a millimeter of accuracy, the trajectory of where your life will be 10 years from now.
But absolute certainty. Because as a man or woman thinks, so you become. Chip will join us here in studio with his application in just a minute. You've been listening to the first part of his message, challenge number one, busyness, from his series Keeping Love Alive, volume three. If you were able to press pause on life, take a step back and really evaluate your marriage, how does it look? Is it just a little out of sync?
Are there a few areas that need some work? Or is your relationship on the verge of completely falling apart? Through his newest volume of Keeping Love Alive, Chip reveals a humbling truth. Every marriage has its challenges, even the ones that look perfect.
So how can you get your relationship where it needs to be? We'll join Chip as he shares profound biblical truths that'll help you and your mate tackle these hurdles together and build a stronger Christ-centered marriage. For more information about Keeping Love Alive, volume three, or our series resources, go to livingontheedge.org or call 888-333-6003.
That's 888-333-6003 or livingontheedge.org. App listeners, tap special offers. Chip, I'm really eager for our listeners to hear this latest installment in your Keeping Love Alive series. And as we've been saying, this time around you're focusing on the challenges every marriage faces. So if you would, share with us a brief overview of what you'll be talking about.
Yeah, I'll be glad to, Dave. And it's interesting, these four challenges, people at first blush may think, oh, really? I hadn't really thought of that. I think we often think of the big major challenges that happen in our life. I think there's some that are far more subtle that kind of like termites, they eat away at the foundation of our marriage and they're so subtle and they're so normal that we don't realize that they will destroy your marriage over time.
They destroy intimacy over time. The first one is going to be, as you heard, it's busyness. I mean, we get so busy and if you're not careful, if you don't get those priorities right, one of the first things you'll see damaged is your marriage. The second one is temptation. There's a world where we're bombarded by thoughts and values that very subtly begin to tell us that what we have in our married life isn't where all the excitement is and where it could be.
The third one is a good thing, but it provides challenges. Children, there are times when they're new, there's times when they're in diapers, there's times when they're in preteens and working through things, there's times when they're teenagers, and there's times when they're young adults. Each one of those times create a level of crisis in a marriage and a level of focus that if you don't understand what's going on, it can really pull you apart. And then the final one is I just call it the silent assassin of a good marriage. It's stagnation. Just over time, it kind of gets old.
It loses the spark, the joy, and the passion that makes you excited about the one that you're married to. So every great marriage will face those challenges and I'm just so excited to get to share with people God has a plan to overcome them. Thanks, Chip. Well, I hope you'll be with us for this entire series.
But if you happen to miss any of these programs, the Chip Ingram app is a great way to catch up anytime. As we wrap up today's program, if you're feeling like, oh my, do I have some issues, if those are sick symptoms of a life where priorities are out of balance, whoa, I might be in trouble. Well, let me just tell you this. The first step to real change is an honest appraisal.
I mean, really being honest with yourself and honest with God. So what I want to do is just walk through these six symptoms of misplaced priorities where busy-ness has overtaken your life. And I want you to ask yourself, honestly, which one of these are true of me? Number one, the activity trap. I mean, you're going, going, going, going, right? Life in the car, quick meals, busy, busy, busy. Emotional stress. You're feeling anxiety and pressure and lack of peace. Third, low-grade nagging guilt.
Not that something big you did was wrong, but just life's not quite right. Number four, financial debt. You just find yourself compensating and looking at those credit card bills and saying, man, how did this happen? Number five is prayerlessness, leakage in your devotional life. You know, you're praying in the car and those set-aside times with God that are intentional and deep are fewer and far between. And then finally, kind of just escapism behavior, right?
You know, hey, let's go on a vacation or hey, let's go do this or hey, let's go out to eat or let's go shopping or whatever. Let me just ask you, are those a growing reality in your life? Then the second thing I want you to do is to ask God to help you, to help you be really honest with yourself and to say, Lord, if I need to realign my priorities, boy, it's going to take some energy and grace and I need your help. I want to invite you to join me for our next broadcast where I'm going to give you two specific ways from scripture to get a handle on your priorities and get on the path where as you seek first God's kingdom, he's going to take care of the rest. As we wrap up this program, just a quick but important thought. Living on the Edge depends on listeners just like you to help us continue to encourage Christians to live like Christians. So would you consider partnering with us on a monthly basis so others can benefit from the ministry of Living on the Edge to set up a recurring donation? Call us at triple eight three three three six zero zero three or go to LivingontheEdge.org app listeners tap donate and thanks in advance for doing whatever God leads you to do. Well, join us next time. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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