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Am I good enough? On FamilyLife Today, hosts Dave and Ann Wilson join author Jamie Ivey to discuss the balance between who we are and who we’re becoming in Christ.
Bob: Author and podcaster, Jamie Ivy, say’s all of us go through seasons in life where we’re trying to figure out who we are and what we’re supposed to do. She says that season can go on for a long, long, long, long time.
Jamie: The same question that people are asked in their 20s—I think that for us, who are 40 and above—we can look at the 20-year-olds and be like, “Oh, you’re just trying to figure out who you are.” Then we’re like, “So are we; we’re still trying to do this as well.” I don’t think it’s like you ever show up and you’re like, “I know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.” We’re on this journey all the time of figuring out: “What has God asked me to do today?” “…and then tomorrow?” “…and the next day?”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, January 20th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I'm Bob Lepine. You can find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. The journey of self-discovery is an essential first step as we figure out how we can best accomplish God’s assignment for our lives. We’ll talk more about that with Jamie Ivey today. Stay with us.
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I remember the day that Mary Ann and I got married.
Dave: I hope you remember that. [Laughter] That’s a pretty big deal.
Bob: I have some distinct memories of that day. One of those is that the pants of my tuxedo split right before the wedding ceremony.
Ann: You’ve never told us this.
Bob: I know; that’s right.
Dave: Were you doing like the splits back there or what?
Bob: I bent over or something, and all of a sudden, I heard this rip. [Laughter] We had to get that fixed quickly. Then it was all covered up; it was good. But I also remember, being back in the back, 30 minutes to the wedding, and thinking to myself, “What if she changes? I’m about to pledge my life: ‘…till death do us part,’ to somebody who might change a year from now. What do I do?”
Dave: —might change?
Bob: See, that’s what I was thinking is: “What do I do if she’s a different person a year from now?” There was a song on the radio—this is a terrible song—but it was on the radio when I was getting married: “It’s sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along.”
Bob: I’m thinking, “What if the right one comes along, three years from now, and she’s changed? How does anybody do this?” That’s what I was thinking.
Dave: Have you told Mary Ann about this?
Bob: She knows all about this.
Bob: It was like God said, “She’s going to change; you’re going to change. I’m still God; I got this,”—right? —“We’re going to get through this.”
I was thinking about that in the context of what we’ve been talking about this week, because we’ve got Jamie Ivey joining us this week. Jamie, welcome back.
Jamie: Thanks, guys.
Bob: Jamie is a podcaster, an author, a speaker, a mom, a wife. Her husband, Aaron, is a worship leader at Austin Stone in Austin. They’ve got four kids—one bio/three adopted—right?
Bob: You talk in your new book, which is called You Be You, you talk about learning to embrace who God made you to be. But there’s a part of the book that says: “But don’t just settle for who you are. God doesn’t want you to just stay who you are. He wants you to be someone more than you are.”
Jamie: Yes, yes. I had a conversation with a friend a couple of years ago; she was talking to me. She works at a church; she worked in ministry—she was a phenomenal writer—material for women. From what I could see, she was just killing it. I had a conversation with her, and she told me she was quitting. I was like, “You’re quitting?” She said, “I looked in the mirror recently and I don’t like who I’m becoming.” I was so taken aback by that; because from what I could see, she was doing all the right things. She was doing so much for the kingdom, benefitting so many people; and she said, “I don’t like who I’m becoming.”
That really—it hit me and it struck me—because I thought, “How many times in our life are we doing so much—and we’re doing and we’re doing—and then we look in the mirror and go, ‘Wow; I don’t even know who I am anymore. Who am I becoming?’” It made me think, “I want to spend the rest of my life becoming more like Jesus.”
Jamie: Hopefully, Mary Ann changed; because she was becoming more like Jesus.
Jamie: But there is this sense of, as people who work in Christian ministry, and we do things “for God”—that’s what we do—but waking up one day and going, “Man, do I love like the attention, and my job, and the success?”—or whatever it might be—“Or do I really love God?”—just saying, “I want to know You more.” That changes who we are becoming when we have this idea of: “I want to become more like You, at the end of the day, no matter what.”
Dave: I think it’s interesting—what you’re talking about, Jamie—I was in a meeting this past week. A guy was up, talking about his vision for the future. I remember sitting there, going, “I don’t know the last time I felt like somebody—a preacher, a minister, a fulltime Christian worker—was leading, and it was so apparent it was an overflow of his walk with God. I was sitting there, watching this young man do this; I’m like, “That’s rare.” It shouldn’t be rare, because that’s—and you talk about it in your book—like, “What is success as a follower of Christ?” Talk about that.
Jamie: Yes, you probably thought, “I’ll follow you wherever, because this is amazing.”
Dave: Yes, you want to.
Jamie: Talking about success—just a couple of weeks ago at our church—a pastor was preaching, and he was going through The Beatitudes. He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” I’ve heard sermons on all of those: “Blessed are the ones…” This hit me; because he said, “What do you hunger and thirst for every day?”
I thought, “If we had to write a list, it’s not going to be pretty some days.” It just hit me, like, “Do I hunger and thirst for righteousness more than success, or fame, or friendships, or love, or good kids?”—or fill in the blank. I’ve thought a lot about that in the past couple of years with this idea of success. I think sometimes, in Christian circles among women in particular, success feels like a super scary word: “Am I allowed to be successful?” “What does successful actually mean?” “Is this okay if I’m successful?” “Am I prideful? Am I full of myself?”—all the things.
I specifically put that word on the front of my book in the subtitle, because I wanted to take some of this scariness away from it; because here’s what God showed me in the past couple of years: “Success is good, but I need to re-evaluate my idea of success”; because the world’s standards of success—it’s like a moving target—it’s constantly changing: “You’re successful in your career if you hit this.” Then you hit it; and you’re like, “I’m amazing!” Then they say, “That’s actually not the best thing anymore,” so you now have three more levels to meet or whatever your career might be.
I’ve decided: “I want to be faithful. I think that when we’re faithful with what God asked us to do, no matter the world’s standards of success, God looks at us and says, ‘You’re successful right where you are. That’s what I asked you to do.’” A particular example that I, often, think of is—I’ve been podcasting for six-and-a-half years. About four years ago, the platform that hosts my podcast, where you would find out how many people listen to your show, they emailed and said, “We’ve been measuring this all wrong. You had “x” number of people listening; now, it’s this…”—for my particular show, it was half.
Jamie: I wake up that day and I think I’m a successful podcaster; by the end of the day, “I’m a failure; I need to quit. I am the worst person that’s ever lived. Why do I even have a job? I’m not recording anymore shows.” [Laughter] Okay, I can be dramatic too.
Do you see what I’m saying?—is that idea of success—I thought I had it. With one email, all of a sudden, I’m a failure. Over the next couple of days, after I moaned and groaned to my husband, Aaron—and he politely listened and pointed me back to the gospel all the time—but I had this moment, where I thought, “I didn’t change anything about my show from the day before to the day after that email; nothing changed. My mission is still the same; my show is still the same: when I create a show, I need it to be encouraging, inspiring and point people to Jesus.”
That email changed nothing about my faithfulness to what God asked me to do. That was good for me. Because numbers matter in work—let’s not be dumb here—people have jobs; you’ve got to get paychecks; you’ve got to make quota—all the things. Numbers still matter in my job, but I’m not consumed by it; because I know, if I’m going to be faithful to what God asked me to do, I’m going to be successful.
You can translate that to anything. If you think, “Okay, a successful mom is one, who her kids always obey the first time; they always say, ‘Yes, ma’am,’ ‘No, ma’am.’ Then they grow up, and they’re in ministry, and they change the world.” But what if that doesn’t happen?
Ann: “What if my child—
Jamie: —“chooses to walk away from the faith?” or—
Jamie: —or “What if they become an addict?” or “What if…” Am I now a failure as a mom? I’m not a failure if I was faithful, every day, to love my kids the way God asked me to love them.
Or if you’re thinking, like a woman: “If I’m a successful woman, then I’m like ‘Woman of the Year’ in my community. We have a party at the end of the year; they’re like, ‘You’re the best woman that this community’s ever seen,’”—if that’s success, then good luck; because that just doesn’t happen. [Laughter] But faithfulness would be: “I’m going to love the community that God’s put me in.” It was this readjustment for me that brought me so much satisfaction and so much freedom to do exactly what God had asked me to do, even if looks different than what she’s [another woman’s] doing.
Bob: Here’s my question, as we think about who you are, and who you are becoming: “Should a person be content in who they are and who God made them to be?” or “Should they be discontented—holy discontented; “H” “O” “L” “Y” discontented—that they are not who they ought to be?”
Jamie: I think that, if you are not living the way God wants you to live—like you’re living in sin, and you’re throwing out the opportunities that He’s giving you/the places He’s put you—that’s a story, where you can have some discipleship come in and some mentorship to maybe get you back on track.
But if you’re just looking at your life, and going, “Man, it doesn’t look as good as hers; I’m going to be discontent,”—that’s not okay.
Bob: But if I’m looking at Jesus, and going, “Wait, I’m not like Him yet,” so there’s some level of discontent that I’m not who I ought to be—even as a faithful follower of Christ/even as somebody, who’s not in open rebellion or knowingly violating some Scripture—I’m trying to live a faithful life, but I’m still so far from who I ought to be. Should I be happy with who I am or should I be discontented [that I’m not] who I ought to be?
Jamie: I think Paul tells us the verse that we all know well—it was on the back of my letter jacket when I was in high school, and I didn’t even love Jesus so there’s that—[Laughter]—Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That’s this verse that we’re like, “Yes, I can do it all! I’m good! I can do it!” We see athletes—I mean, it’s just—we like it.
But what we forget is that Paul wrote this from prison; and the verses before that were saying, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, and abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Paul is saying, “How do we fight discontentment?—it’s because I can fight that because of Jesus.” [Paraphrase]
On this side of heaven, I don’t think that we’re ever going to be fully content in who we are: because we’re broken; we have sin; there’s evil in this world that we have to fight against/there are forces at play here that are bigger than what we see in the flesh.
Jamie: We are not content here because it’s not our home. But can we know how to do things in need and abundance?—and how to be brought low and how to abound?—yes, we can. Paul tells us: “Because in all those things, I can only do it through the strength of Jesus.” [Paraphrase]
Can I be content in hard situations on my own?—no—
Jamie: —only with Jesus.
Bob: There’s a hymn we sing at church, from time to time, that includes the lyrics: “Two wonders here that I confess, my worth and my unworthiness.” I remember singing that for the first time and going, “That’s profound.” My worth: I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am created in the image of God; I am accepted in the beloved; I can go through all the things that declare my worth.
Then my unworthiness: I’m not worthy of any of the blessing I’ve received. Like Paul in Romans 7, there are things I hate I end up doing: “O wretched man that I am.” There ought to be, simultaneously, in us—
Dave: —both, and—
Bob: —“I am in Christ; and I am accepted in the beloved, and God rejoices over me for who I am today; yet, He is not satisfied to leave me who I am today.”
Matt Chandler would often say, “It’s okay not to be okay. It’s not okay to stay there.”
Bob: That’s, I think, when we talk about, “You be you,”—which is what you’re talking about in this book—the whole last third is about who you are becoming. That becoming is the ongoing trajectory of our life, where we never sit down and say, “Well, I’m here.”
Jamie: “I’ve arrived.”
Bob: That’s right.
Ann: I think that’s my continual prayer—is: “Lord, I want to fulfill everything You put in me. I want to use all of my gifts. I want to be free.” When Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,”—in John 8—I know that He wasn’t saying, “Oh, Ann, you’re going to be free.” I mean, I want to be free and not shackled by lies, or my past, or the pain that I’ve gone through; because He has renewed me; He has redeemed me. I am a child of the King.
I see so many women stuck and not fulfilling what God called them to do—even if it’s just being a mom—that they’re satisfied and content in: “This is what He’s called me to do, and this is success.”
Jamie: Yes, and I think that we’re on that journey—it’s a big word—but sanctification is that, through the Holy Spirit’s work in our life, that we’re continuing to look more like Jesus every single day. That should be our desire.
That was the whole point of: “I don’t like who I’m becoming; I’m not becoming more like Jesus. I’m just working for Him.” There’s nothing wrong with being in Christian ministry; everyone at this table is. We want to work to see more people know Jesus; but at the end of the day, am I being sanctified to look more like Him? I have to wake up every day and say, “God, that’s what I want.” Listen, God’s going to do that in different ways; but we have to be proactive in that, as well, in our lives.
Dave: You’re saying, “That’s success,”—
Jamie: It is success.
Dave: —that’s the definition.
Jamie: Yes! We cannot continually look around and think, “I’m not successful, because I don’t have what they have.”
This is not a woman thing; this is an everybody thing; this is a middle school thing—this is everybody looking, and going: “They’re good; I’m bad,” “They’re successful; I’m a failure.” Instead, going, “God, what have You asked me to do today in my life?—in my community—where You’ve planted me in my church. I’m going to serve you here.” It’s going to look different, and that’s okay.
Dave: You also say, toward the end of your book—you talk about soul care and community care—it’s like you got to have somebody you’re telling these struggles to besides God—not underestimating the power of prayer, and talking to God, and being honest—but what other women know for women—because I’ve done what you said before, Jamie. I’ve walked off a stage after a sermon and thought, “I was faithful,” and “That’s success.”
Dave: Then an hour later—or a comment later, that didn’t like what I said/that didn’t think it was a 10; it was a 9.8 even—you go from, “I was faithful,” to “It wasn’t good enough.”
Dave: Success becomes: “Did they like it?” or I pop up somebody else online—everybody in my congregation is not just going, “You’re great, Dave; they’re going, “You’re not as good as that guy,”—it goes back to success. If I hold that just to myself and I never tell Bob or a friend, and go, “Dude, I’m struggling right now.” And they go, “Dude, you’re being faithful.”
Dave: You talk about soul care, but you also talk about community care.
Jamie: I went through an intense discipleship in my church in 2011. Those girls that I went through that with—they are the girls that I can say anything to. I mean, I could look across the table and say, “I haven’t read my Bible since December 31 of 2015,”—it’s not true, guys—[Laughter]—but they would love me, and they would counsel me, and they would point me to Jesus, and they would tell me what it true.
I was listening to a podcast the other day. There was a man on there, who was talking about our digital age, and how we are so consumed with it. He said, “When is the last time you sat around a bonfire, or you sat with a friend, and you told the secrets?” He didn’t mean secrets as in like gossip—[but] like the stuff you don’t want to say out loud/the secrets of your soul—he said, “You’ve got to have the person you tell the secrets to.”
I was just—it hit me so hard—I had just had lunch with a friend the day before. I had just cried to her and told her some hard things that were going on in my life. I sent her a message and I just said, “Thank you for being someone I can tell the secrets to. You have no idea what that means to me. I can tell you the secrets, and you love me, and you push me to keep going; you push me to faithfulness. You do all those things.”
I say that we will, as Christ-followers, get to the end of this world, still following Him, because of His Word, the Holy Spirit, and our people. That’s how we’re going to make it. I can’t make it to the end if I don’t have those secret holders/the people that I can be real with. If someone is listening—and they do fulltime ministry, and they’re in front of people—I’m going to say, that is/it’s imperative that you have a secret person; because you can’t survive public ministry without it.
Ann: I’ve always said, “As a woman, I need a woman ahead of me, beside me, and behind me.”
Jamie: That’s good.
Ann: I need someone that’s older than me or, at least, more spiritually mature that I can go to when I need insight/when I can’t figure something out. I need my peer, who’s walking beside me in everything; and then I need to be pouring into someone.
Jamie: So good.
Ann: I let my friend in on a secret that I had; I had said, “Sometimes, when I speak, I’m so attacked by the enemy when I’m done, that I go into hiding.”
Ann: I’m in my house, and I’m just being battered by Satan’s lies. I had gotten done speaking—I had revealed a lot of abuse that I had been through—and I felt incredible remorse, like, “Why did I share that? People probably think I’m this, this, and that.”
My friend calls me; I don’t answer the phone. She texts me; I don’t answer the text. [Laughter] Then she leaves a message; she says, “I know that you’re hiding, because you told me this is what you do.” I don’t answer it. Two days later, she comes to my house. She’s knocking on the door and said, “Come out of hiding! I know you’re in there!” [Laughter] I didn’t want to answer it; I just wanted to wallow in it. I open the door. It was the worst and the best thing that I did to tell her that; because she brought me out, and she said, “I need to tell you the truth of what you’ve been listening to—that you’re hearing Satan’s lies.”
I didn’t even tell Dave all of that.
Dave: Yes; I’m hearing about it right now. [Laughter]
Dave: Honestly, but I’ve said on here before, there’s two ways to live: conceal; reveal. Conceal equals death; reveal equals life—it’s biblical—if you keep it in the dark, the dark wins. If you have the faith to tell a trusted friend, including God, you are going to step toward life.
I would say to the listener right now, “You’ve got a secret. I think God’s saying, ‘Today’s the day.’” If you don’t have a friend, you’ve got to find one; and don’t blame: “Nobody cares about me.” It’s on you; go find that friend. I bet God’s already brought you one. Tell them the secret, and you’re going to start to step toward healing.
Bob: That is such good counsel.
We started with me talking about my fear that Mary Ann was going to change after we got married. She did, and I did. What I didn’t consider that day is that she would change for the better.
Dave: She’s saying the same thing about you, Bob.
Bob: That in Christ, if we’re pursuing Christ, she’s better than I could have imagined who I was marrying on that day—that’s the point—it’s almost like the subtitle of your book, You Be You, should be You Be You: But Don’t Stop There.
Jamie: “Keep going.”
Bob: “Be the you God made you to be.”
Dave: I’ve got to add this; because I know somebody’s listening, and they’re going, “Yes, but my wife didn’t change for the better,” “My husband didn’t change,”—that’s what we do—
Dave: —we go right there. You know what?—it’s not about your spouse; it’s about you. Are you changing?
Bob: Yes; “You be you the better you [that] you can be.”
Jamie, thanks for the book. Thanks for the conversation; this has been so good.
Jamie: Thank you.
Bob: I hope listeners, who have not yet tuned in to your podcast, will start tuning in. You can go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com to find a link to Jamie’s weekly podcast called The Happy Hour.
You can also get a copy of Jamie’s book. In fact, we’re making it available this week to those of you who can help support the ongoing ministry of FamilyLife®. If you’d like to invest in the marriages and families of people in your community, who listen to FamilyLife Today, and people who are listening all around the world, finding practical biblical help and hope as they tune in, you can make that investment today and request a copy of Jamie’s book as our thank-you gift.
Her book, again, is called You Be You. We’re happy to send you a copy when you make an online donation at FamilyLife Today.com or when you call to donate at 1-800-FL-TODAY. We are grateful for your partnership with us and your support of this ministry; and we hope you enjoy Jamie’s book, You Be You.
We’ve had a lot of FamilyLife Today listeners, who’ve been wondering, “When is the Weekend to Remember® going to start back up again?” We do have plans for Weekend to Remember getaways happening this spring. Of course, all of that is fluid, based on what’s going on with the pandemic; but we’re hoping to have some of these events later this spring.
In the meantime, our team has been working to develop a resource that is designed to help couples continue to have meaningful interaction with one another, even when you can’t get out for a weekend away. We’re developing something called the Dates to Remember date box. David Robbins, who is the president of FamilyLife is here with us. David, share with our listeners a little bit about the purpose for this date box.
David: Yes; it goes back to a few months ago, when our team was embracing, “Okay; we look forward to getting the Weekends to Remember up and running again as soon as possible, but we’re embracing that’s going to be a little longer than we were hoping.” Our team said, “The magic of a Weekend to Remember is that time together over timeless truth, where you look each other in the eye, and you have conversations that were prompted that you probably otherwise wouldn’t have.”
That is what our team has created with this date box. You get it in the mail; you unpack three unique moments that form and craft conversations that you probably would be having, and it’s done in a creative and fun way. Our whole goal is to certainly frame up some timeless truth that encourages you, but really gets you really looking at one another’s eyes, talking about intentional things in this very unique season.
Bob: If you’d like more information, we’re going to be talking about this more in the days ahead; but you can find out more about the Dates to Remember date box when you go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com.
David, thank you for that.
I want to encourage our listeners to be with us, again, tomorrow when we’re going to acknowledge the fact that this Sunday is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and talk about the value, and worth, and dignity of every human life, beginning at the moment of conception. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Bruce Goff, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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