Embrace This Season of Life
About the Guest
Are you savoring today, or anxiously awaiting tomorrow? Priscilla Shirer, a wife and mother of three, challenges women to embrace this season of life, whatever that may be, and resist the urge to hurry through today. By doing this and not comparing herself to others, a woman can cultivate a spirit of contentment and not miss out on what God has for her at this moment.
Priscilla Shirer challenges women to embrace this season of life, whatever that may be, and resist the urge to hurry through today.
Embrace This Season of Life
Bob: Women today face unprecedented opportunities—which means—they are going to have to prioritize. Priscilla Shirer says, “Here is where a woman ought to begin.”
Priscilla: I think that we will find our greatest blessing and our greatest joy, not in finding success outside of our families, but finding it in all the seeds that we plant today and invest today in the lives of our children and in the lives of our spouses—that we get to see that harvest returned to us 20 to 30 years from now. I have never heard a mother—that is now in retirement age—I have never heard her say, “I wish I would have spent more time working.” They all say to me: “Oh Priscilla, you better enjoy this time when your kids are young. I wish I could do that one more time.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, February 18th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I am Bob Lepine. Priscilla Shirer joins us today to help women think about how to rightly align their lives. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. Whenever we tackle an issue that relates to men—and we do that from time to time— where you will get in guys’ faces and kind of stir them up about being men; right?
Dennis: I will put my arm around them before I get in their face, but yes. [Laughter]
Bob: Whenever we do it, we invariably get a few notes / a few emails from guys, who are saying: “Why are you guys always picking on us, as men? Why are you men-bashing? When are you going to turn your attention to the women? When are you going to let them—I mean, they are not doing everything right.”
Dennis: So we are women-bashing today? [Laughter] We are inviting some fresh emails and letters; aren’t we?
Bob: Well, and we don’t want to get in the women’s face, and we don’t even want to put our arms around them; but we will let somebody else do that. [Laughter]
Dennis: We are going to play a little softball here and just slow-pitch to Priscilla Shirer. Priscilla, welcome to the broadcast.
Priscilla: Thank you so much for having me on.
Dennis: Priscilla is well-known to our listening audience. She and her husband Jerry work in a ministry called Going Beyond Ministries. She has written a book called The Resolution for Women. This is about 13 resolutions that you are challenging women to consider.
Bob: Well, and we should say you wrote this book back when the movie, Courageous, was coming out in the theaters. There’s a scene in the movie where men, at the end, stand and make a declaration that they are going to be courageous men / they’re going to be the men that God’s called them to be. This book was written to coincide with that movie coming out. Although there’s not a parallel scene where women do the same thing, there was a desire to challenge women concurrent with challenging men. Tell our listeners how all of that came about.
Priscilla: Well, the Kendrick brothers and the people that worked with the picture—they just thought that it was an injustice not to also equip women that had gone to that movie—were inspired, not only with the resolutions they prayed that their husbands, and sons, and fathers would be making in their lives—but felt encouraged and inspired themselves to make resolutions that will begin to affect them personally, as a woman, but then also in their position as a wife or as a mother.
It’s been a treat really to kind of just come alongside of them. They called me up and said, “Hey, would you partner with us so that there is a resource that can equip women, as well, to make resolutions in their own lives?”
Dennis: You are really calling women to take a step back and really evaluate their lives and then chart a new course, moving forward. That is going to result in some women being, I think, freshly teachable and wanting to excel still more in their responsibilities as a woman, wife, mother, perhaps a single person.
Dennis: And the book lists those 13 resolutions. Bob doesn’t like me doing this; but is there a fundamental or one of the resolutions that you would consider to be—
Bob: This is like, “Which one of your kids do you like the best?”
Priscilla: Yes, that’s hard; but I can answer this question only because I will tell you the one, for me, that is the absolute most challenging. I am going to read it right out of the book because I want to get it exactly right. This one, I will tell you—it was not supposed to be the first section in the book; and then, as I went through it and I got to this one, I said, “This has got to be number one because it doesn’t matter if you are single or married, if you have children or if you do not, this is one that is just going to resonate with you in your life.”
So the very first resolution of the book says this: “I do solemnly resolve to embrace my current season of life and will maximize my time in it. I will resist the urge to hurry through or circumvent any portion of my journey but will live with the spirit of contentment.”
Now, wherever you are and whatever season of life you are in, that’s going to strike a chord with you because you can either choose to fully engage—you know, how you can be there, but not really be there? We go through so much of the seasons of our life really not fully engaged in where we are. We are looking forward to the next thing before we fully completed the thing we are in.
It's interesting how you don’t realize the blessings of where you are most of the time until you are not there anymore, and then, that season of life has passed you by. If I am a mother of small children—which I am—I need to fully engage. It's difficult too—“The years”—they say—“are short, but them days sure are long!” So I have got to choose, “Am I going to fully engage in this season of life and choose contentment right where I am?”
So single woman—you have got to choose contentment right where you are. Married, and don’t have children yet? Maybe it's even a struggle for you—you want children, but the doctor is saying, “It's going to be a struggle.” Well, you have got to choose contentment even in that difficulty. It’s a choice and a resolution that we have to make. It’s a skill that Paul said he had to learn, “I had to learn the secret of contentment.”
Dennis: And to that point, Priscilla, it’s not just a matter of making an act of the will, “I’m going to be content.”
Dennis: You’re talking about learning something from the Scriptures and from the Spirit of God as you face your circumstances.
What must a single woman, married woman, a mom—maybe who’s surrounded by some rug-rats, just pulling and tugging away—
Priscilla: I love that—rug-rats.
Dennis: They just take a lot of life from you. You can look around and compare your life with other people. How does a woman maintain commitment? What does she need to learn?
Priscilla: Well, it’s very interesting because you just hit the nail on one of the heads that we really need to be concentrating on, and that is the issue of comparison. Most of the time, our lack of contentment is due to the fact that we are comparing our current circumstances with what we see other people facing. We don’t have blinders on like a horse that has been—like those horse-drawn carriages, where you will see the horse has blinders on each side of his eyes—that’s because the driver wants to know that they are not distracted by what’s happening on the right and the left because that can cause them to get off of their course.
We have to realize and understand and trust the fact that God does have a course for us and that He’s not shocked by the stuff that has shocked us in our life. He’s not shocked.
He had this whole thing planned—Jeremiah 1: 5 says, “Before we even came out of the womb, He was on it with our lives.” So we have to decide: “Will we put the blinders on?”—not compare what our circumstance looks like in comparison to other people’s circumstance—just believe that we are on the track that God has for us.
Dennis: Was there ever a time in your life when you had to narrow the blinders?
Priscilla: Absolutely! In fact, it’s not going to be something we just wake up one day and we’re done. It’s going to be a journey. So this issue of contentment is something that in every season of life I am sure will be a struggle for me. It will be something I’ll have to constantly remind myself daily, “Today, I need to be content with what is happening today, this week, this month,” and not try to hurry up through this week because it’s such a busy week. Not hurry up through it because, in our attempts to miss the parts that we don’t like, we end up missing the parts that we do like. We don’t even get the good stuff when we try to sleep through the bad stuff—you know, “Hurry up because this is a difficulty that we want to miss.” But you’ve also just missed the birthdays of your kids, you’ve also missed this year of marriage with your husband, you’ve missed this birthday.
I start the book talking about my 36th birthday.
It was the only 36th year that I would ever have. If I rush through it because, “I can’t wait until my kids are teenagers,” well then, I’ve also missed my 36th year. It’s the only one I’ll ever get to experience in my whole life.
Bob: You talked about this being foundational. I guess I have two questions. One is: “Do you think contentment is more of an issue for women than it is for men?” Then secondly, “How have you had to wrestle with it?” You say you are going to have to wrestle with it at every age of life; but as you were working on this book, you were freshly aware that this is an issue for you. How did that manifest itself?
Priscilla: Innately, I don’t think that it is more of an issue for women than for men. I think human beings, in general, have a tendency to compare themselves to what they see happening around them. We can trace this all the way back to the Book of Haggai. They are rebuilding the temple. Someone stands back and says, “Does anybody think that what we are doing now is anything to be compared with what would have been Solomon’s temple?” So they stop working on their current project because they are so busy reminding themselves of the beautiful work that used to be.
Bob: The “good old days.”
Priscilla: The “good old days.” It keeps them from building. Then, God finally says to them: “I am going to put My Spirit upon you. Would you just work? And I promise you, that the latter glory will be greater than the former glory.” So, I think it's a human issue.
On the other hand, we live in a culture that, I think, perpetuates it in a different and unique way in women. I think men have it, too, with success and other areas of life— drive and ambition in terms of their careers. I just think that it is perpetuated in a different way with women—some in the same ways because success is not described as “staying at home with your kids,” in this day and age, in some circles.
So to make that choice—there is a sacrifice to make that choice. We still have to choose, again, to put the blinders on whatever our choice is going to be / whatever we are choosing to do for our lives, whether—again, that’s just an illustration—but whether we stay home with our children or not. If we live in a way that is honoring to God, whatever that means for you and your family, you have to put blinders on so that, when the culture is saying something contrary to your decision, you are still choosing to go with God.
Bob: So how has that been fresh for you as you were working on this book?
Priscilla: Well, in a number of ways. In our ministry, there are many opportunities that we have to do things that are extraordinary opportunities—to stand in front of groups of people in nations that are far off and to teach God’s Word to them, there are opportunities to be a part of writing materials and books, and participating in conferences with people whom we all admire. Most of the time / 80 percent of the time, I have to say, “No.” The reason is because, while in some people’s view that would cause me to be propelled to whatever kind of status would be considered successful, I know that there is a season of life that I am in right now that I cannot do both of those things and be successful at the main thing, which is making sure that I am a mom to my boys and that I am a wife to the husband God has given me.
It's just being content with this season; and again, seasons change. There is an investment you make in one season, choosing to be content where you are; and again, I am so not perfect at that. I have got so much work to do in that area; and yet, it’s just a journey that the Lord bolsters us through.
Dennis: I think contentment comes as a result of us placing faith in the God who does order our steps and does call us to make heroic choices. This book you have put together is a call for heroism in women.
Priscilla: Yes; that’s true.
Dennis: You faced a decision when you were working for Zig Ziglar, speaking nationwide. There really came a crossroads, as I understand it, for you, where you had to decide, “Which fork in the road am I going to take?”—a key step of faith for you that demanded courage.
Priscilla: Yes. It was right out of college that the Zig Ziglar Corporation® called and asked if I would come and lead a Bible study. They have a Monday morning Bible study every week. I came in, fresh out of college, did a Bible study and got a call that afternoon asking if I would be one of their—they have a handful / maybe five speakers that will go out and do motivational sessions or teach Zig’s curriculum. For about eight to ten years, I did that. I was kind of just one of Zig’s few speakers that would go out from his company, and I enjoyed it.
I remember standing in front of AT&T®, or Coca-Cola®, or some of these big companies. I am talking to them about Zig’s curriculum, positive mental attitude, or customer service skills. All the while, I am thinking to myself, “But are you saved?”—that’s what I wanted to ask them. I wanted to know, “I hope your attitude’s right,” but I also want to know, “Are you going to heaven?” That’s not what the people at Coca-Cola hired me to come in and do. [Laughter] So I had to be very careful, obviously; but I remember the Lord using that time to stir in me a desire for ministry.
There was a hunger / there was a passion to want to open the Bible with people. It just didn’t make sense because I was fairly successful doing that—it paid the bills / there was a financial reward for doing that. So yes, it took courage. I will be honest with you and say that I hesitated and procrastinated in making that decision for quite some time. So it wasn’t until probably three or four years after I first felt that gnawing of God to completely finish with that and move fully into ministry that I actually said, “Okay,” and did it.
Dennis: Yes. And Priscilla, you wonder what kind of hangs in the balance as someone contemplates a decision like that.
Dennis: I mean, because God’s placing upon your heart and upon your life, a call; and at that moment, you have to be obedient to fulfill that call. Now, looking back over it—how many years since you made that decision?
Priscilla: Oh gosh; it's been at least a decade, if not more.
Dennis: Was it the right choice?
Priscilla: It was so the right choice!
Dennis: And that is the will of God—it's “good, acceptable, and perfect” [from Romans 12: 2]. It comes about as a result of placing faith in God and you are stepping out, many times, not seeing what the future has / not knowing what the result’s going to be—but you are trusting God. That’s the call of Scripture.
Bob: Well, and you said it was the right choice, without hesitation. Although, I am sitting here thinking, “I bet the money was pretty decent with Zig Ziglar.”
Priscilla: Well, it wasn’t bad!
Bob: I bet if you would have stayed another ten years, that would have been some serious coin; but without—without hesitation, you said, “No, it was the right choice.”
Not only that, I guess it's been eight or nine years ago that my husband began to feel kind of the gnaw and pull away from his position. He was a Vice President of the International Operations for Hilton Hotels. He left that very lucrative job to start what would become Going Beyond Ministries, the umbrella of that ministry. So, here we both are—leaving what looks like a position of success to do what God has called us to do.
Bob: This really ties to one of the other resolutions in your book, Resolution for Women. It's all about having the right priorities and making sure those priorities are where they are supposed to be.
Priscilla: Yes; absolutely. It's one of my favorites in the book as well. I am going to read it to you so that you can know exactly what it is. I think it's a great one—Number Five: “I will seek to devote the best of myself, my time, and my talents to the primary roles the Lord has entrusted to me in this phase of my life.” There is the resolution. I thought this was an important one, as well, for women because most of the time we are spreading ourselves too thin. We have a perfectionist mentality, where everything has got to be perfect.
Before we know it, we are exhausted. We can't be the wives that our husbands would prefer for us to be / we are not able to give ourselves fully to what God has for us.
So, I think one of the most important aspects of that resolution is determining what the primary roles are—determining, “What is it that God has called you to in this season?”—and then, you can bring yourself fully to those two or three things instead of doing a thousand things for the glory of God, which you cannot do. You can choose one / you can choose two for this season and be fully devoted to those.
Dennis: I was impressed in your book that you modeled what you are actually talking about here. You were in a relationship with an older woman who was a mentor to you.
Priscilla: Yes; yes.
Dennis: And I can't underline that enough / underscore that with our listeners. Women today need older women, who are a lap or two ahead of them in the race of life, so you can just interact with them. They can say: “No; it is okay,” “It is okay, Honey. That’s exactly what you need to be feeling right now,” “It is okay that you are struggling with that.”
She gave you an illustration, though, about boxes that helped you a bunch.
Priscilla: Yes; yes, it helped me a lot. Her name is Jill Briscoe. We have such admiration for her—so many people do. I was speaking at a conference with her. Anytime I am at a conference with someone or meet up with someone who—you are right—is in a season of life where I have seen them model ministry, and marriage, and motherhood well. I sure do pull them aside and sit with them for a while.
Throughout the conversation, she said many incredible things; but the one thing that stuck with me was—she said:
Priscilla, most women think of balance as if they had, for example, ten boxes that symbolize the ten—let’s say they have ten priorities in their life. They have got ten boxes that symbolize those. “Balance” to us, most of the time, is when each one of them is filled up equally with our time, our talents and our attention. When they are all full, across the board, we think, “That is balance.”
But she said:
That really is a picture of chaos. That is a picture of frustration and irritation because nobody can maintain that.
What balance is—is prayerfully seeking the Lord and saying to Him, “What are Your primary boxes for me in this season of life?” and then, having the courage to rearrange all your boxes—
—to move those two or three things to the front and let everything else lag behind. Then giving yourself permission to fill up the two or three at the front and leave everything else at a two, or a one, or a three because you can't invest everything into that season.
There will be a time when you need to shift the boxes again and you need to rearrange—and something else will be more fully-invested—but giving ourselves permission to realize that balance isn’t everything being equally full. It is devoting ourselves to the primary things that God has for us for today.
Dennis: I can hear a woman, right now, going: “Yes; but that works for you, Priscilla, because you are kind of wired for 220 volts. You are kind of a high-energy, three-ring-circus woman. I am only a one-ring-circus woman.” Priscilla, do you ever get tired? Do you ever suffer from fatigue?
Priscilla: I am tired right now. [Laughter]
Dennis: If I had a dollar for every time Barbara, as we were raising our family—and even now to a lesser degree—but if I had a dollar for every time she said, “I am just so tired.”
Priscilla: Oh, you would be rich!
Dennis: Do you ever get tired?
Priscilla: Oh, my goodness! I feel like a friend of mine says: “I am magnetized to mattresses. I just feel like I need a nap all the time.” [Laughter] So, yes, my day is like every other person’s day that is trying to raise a family. I am just getting up and making lunches, and making breakfast, and trying to finish last-minute homework that we didn’t finish the night before, and trying to get everybody dressed—except there are dirty clothes, and they are not all cleaned, and they don’t have the shirt they need—so I have got to wash clothes really quick, and then dry them real quick, and then throw them on them half-damp.
Dennis: I am tired—you are making me tired!
Priscilla: Yes! It's chaos! It's before 7: 00 a.m., and it's chaos! [Laughter] It is complete chaos. Yet, somehow, we have to just say: “Okay, here are the two or three things I can do fully; and they are not going to be perfect. They are still going to be messy because motherhood, and marriage, and even being a single woman with a career—all that stuff can be really messy. It's not supposed to be perfect. It is supposed to just be covered by God’s grace as we fully are contented in and giving the best of ourselves to the primary season God has.”
Bob: You know—this movie that has come out, Courageous, is really calling men to align their priorities and make family the top of the list.
Bob: Do women need to be doing the same thing?
Priscilla: I think we better be doing the same thing. I think that we will find our greatest blessing and our greatest joy, not in finding success outside of our families, if we have one—not finding that outside of our families, but finding it in all the seeds that we plant today and invest today in the lives of our children and the lives of our spouses. That we get to see that harvest returned to us 20 to 30 years from now.
I have never heard a mother—that is now in retirement age—I have never heard her say, “I wish I would have spent more time working when my children were little.” One has never said that to me. They all say to me: “Oh, Priscilla, you better enjoy this time when your kids are young. I wish I could do that one more time.” I can't imagine that right now with all the craziness and chaos; but I am trying to remember that every single day, when there are Cheerios® all over the floor and there are accidents that happen—
—I am trying to remember that I better milk this season for all that it is worth because the season will change, and I might not have an opportunity to do this part again.
Dennis: You continue to come back to the theme of contentment. I keep having this verse bounce around in my brain—1Timothy, Chapter 6. I would really commend the whole chapter to our listeners, just to brush up on contentment because it talks a lot of about it. Apostle Paul writes—he says [verses 6-8], “Now there is great gain in godliness when accompanied with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these, we will be content.”
Now, most Americans are nowhere near living out that passage because they are not looking at life through God’s eyes—living out a wise life / making choices according to His design—what the Scriptures call us to.
And that’s really what you are calling women to do in your book, The Resolution for Women. You are really calling women back to the Scriptures and calling them to—not just believe them intellectually—but make a commitment / a resolve to live them out.
Bob: Well I think it’s interesting because what you’recalling women to in the book is parallel with what Barbara is calling wives to in the new book that she’s just written called Letters to My Daughters that we’ve talked about already this week. There is a need for wives, and moms, women in the marketplace to be focused on God’s design for them / God’s priorities for them. Both you and Barbara are calling women to that in the books you’ve written.
By the way, we have both of those books in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Our listeners can go to FamilyLifeToday.com to order copies of either book—The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer or Letters to My Daughters:
The Art of Being a Wife from Barbara Rainey. Order them from us, online; or call 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY,” if you’d like to order either or both of these books from us by phone.
Now, today is a big day for some friends of ours who live in Severn, Maryland, and listen to FamilyLife Today on WAVA. Trevor and Rhonda Richards have been married 21 years today. We just wanted to wish them a “Happy Anniversary!”
We are congratulating people on celebrating their anniversaries this year. FamilyLife is the “Proud Sponsor of Anniversaries.” We are celebrating our 40th anniversary as a ministry during 2016; but as we’ve been saying throughout this year, it’s not really our anniversaries that matter—it’s your anniversary that matters.
In fact, that’s why FamilyLife Today exists. We exist so that more couples will celebrate more anniversaries, year in and year out, with more joy and with more contentment in your marriage relationship. Our mission is to effectively develop godly marriages and families, who change the world, one home at a time.
We’re enabled in that mission by those of you who help support us as donors to the ministry—and especially those of you who are Legacy Partners—thank you for your support as monthly donors to FamilyLife. This month, we are hoping that in each of the states where FamilyLife Today is heard, there might be 20 new families who would step forward and say, “We can be a part of the monthly support team for this ministry.” If you’d join us as a Legacy Partner, we would be grateful. It’s easy to do.
You can get more information, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com when you click the button on that says, “DONATE”; or you can call and say: “I’m interested in becoming a Legacy Partner. Tell me more about it.”
Our toll-free number is 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-”F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY,” if you’d like to call to become a Legacy Partner.
Now, tomorrow, we want to talk about how a woman can calibrate her life in such a way that she makes sure that what’s really important does not get sidelined. Priscilla Shirer is going to be back with us tomorrow. Hope you can join us as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I am Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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