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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Establishing Clear Boundaries in Your Life

Establishing Clear Boundaries in Your Life

Pastor Kevin Thompson helps you learn how to navigate the roads of life—circumstances, situations relationships—by staying in your lane. By examining what belongs to us, what belongs to others, and what belongs to God, you’ll get a strong grasp on boundaries and how to apply them in your life.
Original Air Date: March 25, 2024

Kevin Thompson: I, I think for so many of us, so often what we do is we deny what’s ours, we try to control what’s theirs, then we fight about what’s God’s. Instead of accepting God, you know what’s best, I’m going to lean into what you’re doing in this moment, I’m gonna trust you and I’m going to accept what’s taking place.

John Fuller: Well, Kevin Thompson joins us today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. And we’re so glad you’re along with us. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, uh, let me ask you, I think, a loaded question.

John: Okay.

Jim: Do you get frustrated driving?

John: Uh-

Jim: (Laughs)

John: (Laughs) Yes, I do, all the time.

Jim: Okay-

John: I’m getting better, I think, but yeah.

Jim: Good answer.

John: How about you?

Jim: No. The same.

John: I mean you’ve sai-.

Jim: I mean, driving is such a, uh, personality profile test (laughs).

John: (Laughs)

Jim: You know? And over the years, it’s funny because I’ve thought about it, you know, uh, personality coming out in driving, the fast personality, like get out of my way, I’m late for something, the middle lane, you know, sometimes you gotta get there faster, but you know, you’re a little bit more cautious, then the people in the slow lane, like why are you not on a surface street?

John: (Laughs)

Jim: Get off the freeway (laughs). But, uh, it is funny. It’s a great anecdotal kind of approach to life-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And how we drive and how that plays out in our personalities. And today we’re gonna apply that to a great guest, Kevin Thompson. We’ve had him here before, but he’s written a wonderful book, Stay in Your Lane: Worry Less, Love More, and Get Things Done. I think it’s a good Christian application to our driving frustrations.

John: Okay.

Jim: So I’m looking forward to it.

John: W- And I think there are practical applications to all of life-

Jim: (Laughs) Yeah.

John: Beyond driving, uh, frustrations. Kevin, uh, is the married life pastor at Bayside Church in Roseville, California, just outside Sacramento. And he and his wife, Jenny, have two children, Ella and Silas. And he regularly meets with and counsels couples and families and is a marriage and parenting conference speaker as well. Uh, he’s written a number of books, and, uh, the one, as you said, Jim, uh, that we’re gonna talk about today is Stay in Your Lane: Worry Less, Love More, and Get Things Done. Stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast for details, or give us a call.

Jim: Kevin, welcome back.

Kevin: Hey. Thanks so much. Great to be here.

Jim: It’s good to see you, as always. I’m laughing a little bit as we get started because Jean and I, when we first got married, uh, we fell into a job where we were traveling the country doing, uh, drug and alcohol abuse shows at high schools. We did that for nine months, and it was fun. I mean, we traveled, I think, 17 states. And given this is a driving analogy book, this is what I think you’ll find funny. So of all the states we drove in, we grew up in southern California. We got to Colorado here, and we, we (laughs) made the decision the worst drivers (laughs) in the US were actually here in Colorado-

Kevin: (Laughs)

Jim: ‘Cause the slowest people drive in the fast lane, fast people drive in the slow lane, nobody uses blinkers-

Kevin: Uh-huh.

Jim: And I was thinking-

Kevin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Man, California drives pretty well.

Kevin: (Laughs)

Jim: I mean, people drive fast in California, but we’re kinda going with the flow. People do use their blinker. They do move over when somebody’s coming up behind them. What have you found coming from Arkansas to California?

Kevin: Oh, it’s amazing-

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: Even the difference between, uh, northern California and southern California.

Jim: Yeah, yeah.

Kevin: There’s a different pace. But, uh, you know, I, I grew up in Arkansas. So I got a f- I got a 16-year-old, about to be 16-

Jim: Okay.

Kevin: Right? Next month. And so we’re, we’re right there.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: And, and I remember it was my grandfather that taught me how to drive, which I think is a great way to go about it, by the way.

Jim: In a pickup truck-

Kevin: Uh, but-

Jim: No less?

Kevin: In a, in a picku- in his-

Jim: Oh my goodness.

Kevin: Pickup.

Jim: Okay.

Kevin: Do doubt. 20,000 miles. He had had it for 20 years, right?

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: And so I remember the advice that he would always give me is just keep it between the ditch and the double yellow line. That’s all-

Jim: Okay, that’s good.

Kevin: I had to do, right?

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: ‘Cause in Arkansas, I mean, that’s, that’s where I, I grew up driving, right? So a couple years ago-

Jim: Uh-huh.

Kevin: We fly up to Sacramento for the interview at Bayside, and I get out on the interstate. It’s six lanes of traffic going one way, six lanes coming back the other way. And I remember distinctly thinking to myself there is no way I’m moving here.

Jim: (Laughs) Yeah.

Kevin: And of course, what happens? I end up-

Jim: You moved here.

Kevin: Moving there.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: So my mom flies out about a month ago, and I pick her up from the airport. Now we’re six lanes of traffic one way, six lanes coming the other way. I’m going 85 miles an hour, right? My mom, her head snaps and looks at me. She goes, “Who have you become?”

Jim: (Laughs) Yeah.

Kevin: Right? But you know what amazes me, Jim, uh, about the interstates in California? You get all the pictures around the holidays and things like that of the gridlock. The gridlock doesn’t surprise me. The amount of traffic that’s being moved, of course that’s gonna happen. What amazes me is when it works well-

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: How fast we can go and with such tremendous proximity. I can almost reach out and touch-

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: The person next to me. And, and there’s absolutely no danger. And do you recognize the technology that allows that to happen is paint on concrete (laughs)?

Jim: Yeah, it’s pretty in- pretty intense.

Kevin: That’s all it is-

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: Is paint on concrete, that as long as the two of you are going to stay in your lane, I know what you’re going to do and we can move with tremendous speed in great proximity with no fear. And yet the moment one of us gets in a place we should not be, it’s chaos.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: And that’s true not only in driving. I think it’s true in life.

Jim: No, that’s true. And in fact, you’re in Arkansas driving on something with fresh pavement, no paint, and it was chaos, right?

Kevin: Oh, well, even, even recently, my, in my neighborhood in Auburn, California, uh, they redid the roads, and we got a little bit of rain, which is unusual where I live-

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: And so they couldn’t put the lines down.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: And, and this little neighborhood-

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: Was in total chaos because nobody knew where the turn lane was.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: Nobody knew what to do. Th- And it’s funny to me, is we were already going so slow, and that was actually more dangerous without lines than going 85 on the interstate with lines. And it just shows the power of boundaries within our own lives.

Jim: Yeah, and now you’ve taken that application to life. And I think that’s great. That’s what we’re gonna spend our time talking about. Let’s kick it off with Bob and Sarah’s story. Y- You’re a pastor. You’re hearing very difficult things most of the days that you’re working. What was happening with Bob and Sarah?

Kevin: Yeah, so this was a scenario where they would always take an annual family vacation, and everybody loved it, and adult kids and grandkids, and of course, grandparents absolutely loved it. Uh, but the daughter-in-law was having some difficulties. She came from a background that didn’t have quite a- as healthy of a family. Then there were probably some attachment issues that were basically going on. But in the previous trip, it had gotten extremely uncomfortable. And, and, and now here they were coming up on the next trip, and the, the, you know, the grandparents paid for everything. It was their trip, and they were really concerned that some of their kids weren’t gonna go. So they just came to me to ask, you know, “What do we do? How do we reconcile all of this?” And, and so I just took out a sheet of paper. I drew a couple lines, and, and I wrote the questions out, “What’s mine? What’s theirs? What’s God’s?”

Jim: The three lanes of traffic.

Kevin: The three-

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: What are the three lanes of life?

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: I think in many ways. And, and I said, “Hey, y’all just need to… Let’s just work through this and figure out what do you own? What do you not own? And ultimately, what does God control?” And, and I, and I looked at it this way. Think about what’s mine. What do I control? What, what is it that I actually control? What’s theirs? I can’t control that. I can influence it. And then what’s God’s? I can’t control that either. I have to accept it. Control, influence and accept. I call it the CIA. You need-

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: To know the CIA ’cause the CIA knows you.

Jim: Right.

John: Here we go.

Kevin: And, and so if we can figure out the things in life that we control, influence and accept, it changes everything. And what happened to Bob and Sarah is they were so wrapped up with the chaos in their family, they lost sight of the control they had. And they w- began to fixate on trying to control things they could not control-

John: Hmm.

Kevin: Which is their daughter-in-law’s behavior, the, the behavior or the decisions of their other children. Th- And I think that’s where we spend a lot of time. That’s how we don’t stay in our lane primarily, is we tend to ignore what’s ours and try to control what’s theirs, and that is a recipe for disaster. That’s worry, that’s concern. And, and so we just began to list out the thing that they control. The number one thing they controlled that they had no idea, you’re paying for the trip.

Jim: (Laughs) Right.

Kevin: You control who you invite. And, and the, the concept of not inviting their daughter-in-law was unacceptable, which that’s totally fine. If you don’t wanna do that, that’s totally fine.

Jim: But you do have control over that.

Kevin: But you have to see that-

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: That you are making a decision here in who you invite and those kind of things, the conditions that you allow. Th- And so basically what happened at the end, I did not show them exactly what they should do. I, I helped them begin to see the decisions they actually had and to fixate on those and to give up trying to control things that they simply could not control. And what that did is it gave them a sense of agency, gave them a sense of empowerment, and it lessened their, their anxiety.

Jim: Yeah, which is good. And this is why we want to explain these things to the listeners, the viewers, so that they can apply these things to their marriage, to their friends, to their children, their grandchildren, whatever might be, uh, their life experience, right?

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, so let’s, let’s crack it open, the what’s mine category. So in that, uh, why do we as (laughs) human beings have such a strong desire to control everything around us? There’s an answer, huh? Is that called the Garden of Eden?

Kevin: No, I would say so.

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: I think that goes back to the very foundation, origins, uh, of who we are, right? And, and so we have this desi- And it’s fascinating to me that God has given us so much control that we don’t take hold of, and then we spend all of our time trying to control things that really aren’t our concern or our business. Th- And so what amazes me is how much control God has given me over-

Jim: Hmm.

Kevin: My own energy, my own effort, my, my own inputs, my own sense of attitude, my sense of hope, all these things, my character. All these things, now, belong to me, my relationship with God. He has made the pathway where I can have a relationship with him, and now I’m supposed to work out that salvation with fear, uh, and trembling. All these things that now are actually in my possession on a daily basis I almost push to the side and think I’ll get to that later, I’ll worry about that later, or I, I lose sight that I have that kind of control. And then I fixate on things that are in no way mine, which is what is Jim gonna say next? What is… How is John feeling in this moment? And, and, and I just try to control other people, not in a, in a cold way, but with a caring pastor’s heart-

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: Uh, of… Part of it is love. Part of it is probably an anxious attachment where I’m trying to get my identity out of you liking me in some way. But anytime I begin to fixate on these things that I don’t control, I lose this sense of empowerment. And, and, and the next thing you know, I feel somewhat helpless and hopeless in life. And I think that’s where a good number of our listeners are today, is they are in situations and they feel like there is nothing they can do. And I can almost assure you there is no situation in life in which you are totally helpless and totally hopeless. The key is get back to what is it that you actually control? What’s mine?

Jim: You, you speak to the power of owning our “no.”

Kevin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I think of people pleasers. I can do that from time to time. I think we all can as people. I mean, we want to… And even in a Christian context… we wanna make sure we’re doing what we can to serve you, to please you. Uh, but you do use that power of owning your no. I see that specifically, being able to say no to some invitations, uh, being able to say no to the church asking you to maybe do things on an already overloaded plate, or, or even your work or whatever it might be. But speak to the power of owning your no.

Kevin: Yeah, I wrote that section of the book while looking in the mirror-

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: Because I, uh, I don’t-

Jim: That’s honest.

Kevin: I don’t do that very well at all.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: I am a people pleaser. I’m a pastor, right?

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: All those kinda things. Uh, but, uh, I was on stage doing a live Q&A a couple weeks ago, and, and they were looking back to the holidays. And they said they h- they had some family that came over and they didn’t leave. And they said, “Kevin, what… how do we help them-

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: “Understand next time to leave?”

Jim: See the door (laughs).

Kevin: And, and I said, “Well, the, the problem there is actually not your guests. It’s you. You gave them, ‘Hey, why don’t y’all come spend the holidays with us?’ No beginning date. No end date. You left everything to them, hoping that they would read your mind of what you want. Now you’re frustrated that they haven’t properly read your mind. Why didn’t you from the get-go say, ‘Hey, we’d love to have you come spend the holidays with us. We hope you show up around these dates. What’s good for you? Uh, we’re, we’re gonna have some other plans around these dates. When do you want to leave,’ and to have clarity before all that shows up.” But what happened is that couple now took the invitation and put it into the what’s theirs column and then was frustrated when they didn’t do it right.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: I- I- Instead of understand, no, I control what’s going on here. And so, uh, one of the things is all the time, if you look how often we hope that people will read between the lines and hear our no, in- instead of just coming out and saying, “You know what? That’s not something I wanna do right now.”

John: This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and our guest today is Kevin Thompson. He’s, uh, written a terrific book called Stay in Your Lane: Worry Less, Love More, and Get Things Done.

Jim: (Laughs)

John: And you can find out more about the book and ways to donate to Focus on the Family online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Uh, Kevin, let’s move to the second one, ’cause, uh, that… These are three great ones. I was laughing there because of the title. It’s so funny. Worry Less, Love More. Uh, s- feels so good. And get something done.

John: (Laughs)

Kevin: (Laughs)

Jim: I think I’m resonating.

John: Do life.

Jim: Gets more, get more things done. I like that. I must be a goal-oriented person. But in that regard, the second one is what’s theirs? And this can be a little tricky because this is where we play back in the garden. You know what? I wanna own some of those outcomes. So I’ll, I’ll own what’s theirs.

Kevin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that’s not a good place-

Kevin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: To go.

Kevin: So this is a human condition that goes all the way back to the garden. It continues in the New Testament.

Jim: (Laughs) Yeah.

Kevin: Uh, you know, think about-

Jim: It’s called sin nature.

Kevin: Exactly.

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: After the resurrection, uh, the disciples are out fishing, right? Jesus is on the shore, right? John 21. Uh, disciples swim… recognizes Jesus. Peter swims to the shore. Eventually Peter and Jesus are on a walk. This is now the restoration. That’s when Jesus ask Peter three times, “Do you love me?”, all those kinda things. And, and the text says that Jesus told Peter, “Hey, whenever you were young, you went wherever you wanna go. Whenever you’re older, somebody else is gonna dress you.” And the text says Jesus told him this, to tell him what kinda death he would experience. So think about this. Jesus is prophesying to Peter about the future. Peter’s first question, “What are you gonna do with John?”

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: (Laughs) Now-

Jim: Hmm.

Kevin: Consider that.

Jim: It’s tying down the other guy’s stuff.

Kevin: No, exactly.

Jim: (Laughs) Yeah.

Kevin: It’s this idea of, okay, if that’s my deal, I’m okay with that, as long as John doesn’t get a better deal? And in that moment, he is more concerned with what God is, what Jesus is going to do with John than what he’s gonna do with himself.

Jim: Right.

Kevin: Right? And, and what amazes me, uh, about that concept is how fixated we become on the decisions and the choices of other people and how that ruptures relationships, how it strips us of, of any ability of agency within ourselves and how really this is what begins to increase our anxiety level, specifically as parents. As we’re trying to own things that don’t belong to us, we become helpless. And anytime we feel helpless, anxiety is gonna skyrocket.

Jim: Well, in fact, and then that behavior may multiply.

Kevin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s the irony of it.

Kevin: Oh-

Jim: That anxiety then produces more of that.

Kevin: Exactly. And, and then we’re also modeling for other people this is how you go about it.

Jim: Uh, Rosie and Troy were an example that you used in the book. Describe-

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: Their situation, which may be a little different from Jesus and Peter.

Kevin: (Laughs) Th- This is one of these fun s- meetings you get to have as a pastor, right? A great family, raise great kids, now they’re kinda college-aged, some are just out, but, but all in that kind of young adulthood, right? So somewhere in the house, some work, some were back home for college. And, and they were just kinda having a little bit of frustrations. And so we sat down, and, and I’m just gonna assist them as best I could. And in the midst of the discussion, the mom mentioned that the, one of the sons had a girlfriend that, that she didn’t necessarily care for. And, and that’s totally fine. You have every right not to care for, for a girlfriend, right? Especially if you’re a protective mom. And I said, “Now, you, you didn’t tell him that, right?”

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: And, and she goes, “Oh, yeah, yeah.” I said, “So, so he asked you?” And she goes, “No, no, no. He didn’t.”

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: I said, “Hang on. That, that’s a problem. Y- You, you’re still treating him as though he’s 14. He’s 22. He’s 23.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kevin: “Now, if he comes to you… And I hope that he does. That’s wisdom to come to your mom and say, ‘Hey what do you think? What do you see in this relationship?’ But, but until he does that, you, you literally kinda need to hold back to some extent and, and allow him to make the decision that he’s gonna make.” Uh, I tell my kids all the time, right, 15, about to be 16 and 18… We sit around a dinner table with six chairs. There’s four of us. Sometimes we have guests, but I tell them often, “H- Hey, guys, uh, eventually you’re gonna get to pick who fills these other two seats.”

Jim: Hmm.

Kevin: Now, I do have a standard. It is my house. And, and so if it’s, if they’re unsafe, I can say they’re not gonna be here, right? At 15 I get to choose if your girlfriend’s coming to Thanksgiving dinner or whatever. But a day is gonna come where you’re gonna choose who sits in those seats. My task will then be to love them to the absolute best of my ability. It is your decision who sits there. It is my job then to respect the decision that you’re actually making. But that is a very difficult thing, uh, for parents.

Jim: Well, and I think, uh, I mean, this is really critical, so we gotta slow down for a minute and speak to the parent that is parenting a 20-something the way they did it at 15-

Kevin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: 16. Uh, y- you’ve got to punch this (laughs). I’m living in this right now.

Kevin: (Laughs)

Jim: I didn’t say punch me.

Kevin: (Laughs)

Jim: The, uh… But you, you do. These are lingering aspects of parenting.

Kevin: Hmm.

Jim: And, uh, but you have to mentally change gears or suffer the consequences of the damage of that relationship. So, yeah, just, uh, if you could hit that again in terms of how a parent disengages from a teen parenting approach with a 20-something-

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: And h- how you really let go. This is their stuff now. And you’ve done your job. And you have to look in a mirror and say, okay, I did, I did the best I could do. Hopefully Focus provided some resources that helped you in that journey.

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: But, I mean, that part of it is done. How do you pull back the over influence that you might be demonstrating?

Kevin: So when Ella and Silas were born, what’s mine, what’s theirs, what’s God’s? Everything is either in the what’s mine category or the what’s God’s category. They had no ability whatsoever. Nothing belonged-

Jim: That’s-

Kevin: To them.

Jim: Parenting a child.

Kevin: Right. That’s, that’s an infant.

Jim: Right.

Kevin: Well, about the time of two or three, they started experiencing the power of their own choices. And, and so every day I have to take things out of the what’s mine column and put it into the what’s Ella’s column, what’s Silas’ column? And the older they get, the more and more I need to be shifting over. And, and the image I get is imagine driving down the road and you see a solid yellow line and a dotted yellow line. What does that mean? Uh, that means the car on one side can go over to the other lane, but the car in the other lane can’t come over this way. It’s not an equal relationship-

Jim: Does everybody know that rule?

Kevin: As, uh, as far as-

Jim: (Laughs)

John: (Laughs)

Kevin: (Laughs)

Jim: Not in Colorado.

Kevin: I know that rule. I don’t think others know that rule.

Jim: Not out in eastern Colorado.

Kevin: I see that as parenting, right?

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: So, so Silas… Now I, I get to swerve into his lane whenever I want to. He, he’s 15, about to be 16. I get that. There are times if he wants to swerve into my lane, I can say, “That’s not your business. This is, this is mine. That’s not, that’s not yours.” But a day is gonna come in which it’s gonna be a double yellow line between us, and I’m gonna have to hand over the full responsibility of his life to him, right? Matthew chapter 19, rich man comes to Jesus, said, “What must I do to be saved?” And Jesus says, “Follow the 10 commandments.” The rich man said, “Done that.” Jesus, the text says, now knowing his heart-

Jim: Right.

Kevin: Says, “Sell everything you own, give it to the poor and follow me.” And the man dejected leaves Jesus.” You know what amazes me about that story?

Jim: Huh?

Kevin: Jesus let him walk.

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: I would’ve chased him down. I’m a pastor.

Jim: “Did you hear what I said?”

Kevin: I (laughs), I would’ve chased him. “All right, hey, that was hyperbole 100%. Don’t give… What if you just sell 10% of what you had and gave it to the church, right? Let’s negotiate in some way.” I would’ve tried to manipulate the man into the decision that I wanted. Jesus, the son of God, allows that man to make his own decision, even the disaster that’s coming to it. He honors the humanity of that man. If Jesus does that with one of his children, aren’t we gonna have to do that with ours? What God does with your adult children ultimately is between God and them.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kevin: Now, it doesn’t mean you’re helpless or hopeless. That’s, that’s the key of this what’s theirs column. It, it’s not that we can’t do anything, but it is this idea of as we control less, it actually empowers us to influence more. It’s, it’s an amazing thing. I don’t know… John, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a boss that likes to micromanage.

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: I mean, hypothetically.

John: Certainly not the current boss.

Jim: Never. Never.

John: But he doesn’t know h- half of what I do.

Kevin: So the more a boss empowers you and respects you, the more likely you are to turn to them for advice to insight, the more they influence you.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kevin: But the more they try to micromanage you, the more frustrated you become.

Jim: Are you talking parenting, or what?

Kevin: Th- This-

Jim: (Laughs) Sorry.

Kevin: The same thing is true of parenting.

Jim: (Laughs) Yes.

Kevin: That as our kids grow, as soon as they are able to make a decision, we need to empower them to do that. And if we will recognize their humanity, it will actually make it more likely for them to turn to us to where we can actually influence. So the irony to me, especially in parenting and other places, whenever it comes to the what’s theirs column, we’re fixated on controlling it, and it causes us to lose all influence. Well, if we, we will give up control, that will actually increase our influence.

Jim: Well, that’s so good. Kevin, we gotta cover what’s God’s obviously, the last of the three lanes. And, uh, describe what is God’s.

Kevin: Yeah. So there are, there are some thing that, uh, some stuff is just God’s stuff, right? And, and, and so you think about a diagnosis that comes in- into your life. You didn’t ask for it. You didn’t-

Jim: Right.

Kevin: Control. And so in the end, listen, uh, we stand on the foundation of God’s providence, under the umbrella of his sovereignty. And we can trust him w- with things that we never would’ve asked for, right? I have a daughter with Down syndrome. And, and, and so when, uh, when Ella was born, uh, the doctor came in, gave us the diagnosis, walked out and left. I walked over, looked at Jenny, and these were Jenny’s first words to me, having just delivered our first child, now hearing this diagnosis we didn’t expect, uh, Jenny said, “Well, this is a road we never would’ve wanted to go down, but I betcha we never regret going down it.”

Jim: Hmm.

Kevin: That-

Jim: That’s powerful.

Kevin: That is accepting what’s God’s-

Jim: Hmm.

Kevin: And then saying, okay, now what do we control? Let’s get with it. Uh, I, I think for so many of us, so often what we do is we deny what’s ours, we try to control what’s theirs, then we fight about what’s God’s-

Jim: Yeah.

Kevin: Instead of accepting, God, you know what’s best, I’m going to lean into what you’re doing in this moment, I’m gonna trust you, and I’m going to accept what’s taking place.

Jim: You know, Kevin, when it’s in that what’s God’s category, sometimes, uh, you know… Jesus spoke very bold truth. Sometimes he wasn’t very popular. And I don’t think he was in a popularity contest obviously. He was here to speak truth and to love each one of us and to demonstrate love for God and to turn to us and give us that same challenge, right, “love the lord, your God, with all your h- heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” Those are the elements of what he put on display. The, the question becomes when you are trying to live that life… I mean, look at the culture, and you speak truth in that way, hopefully lovingly. Uh, you are not gonna be a popular person. How, how do we manage that emotionally? How do we, uh, make that decision that… This is true in marriage, true in parenting and true in culture.

Kevin: Yeah. I’m the married life pastor in the capital of California (laughs).

Jim: (Laughs) Right.

Kevin: What’s God’s, the definition of marriage? Not mine. I don’t get to vote. I don’t get to say. I don’t get to… I don’t get to influence.

Jim: You don’t get to edit.

Kevin: He created. He decided. I have to accept that. What’s mine? Am, am I going to speak that truthfully? Am I going to lovingly try to persuade people, influence i- in that way? But if, if I try to start rewriting what marriage is, rewriting what gender is, rewriting what God has actually said, what I’m doing in that moment is I’m not accepting what is God’s. I’m trying to control what is God’s. And, and that’s a recipe for disaster.

Jim: Mm-hmm. Well, you think about that. That is hurdling toward chaos, when you s- when we’re messing, when humanity begins to mess with what’s God’s.

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: And that is really true of, uh, a very clear example-

Kevin: Yeah.

Jim: Of where we’re going to totally mess this up if we don’t pull back from trying to own what’s God’s and own what is ours.

Kevin: Well, it’s almost a guarantee. Here’s the thing. If, if you deny what’s yours, you try to control what’s theirs, uh, and you fight against what’s God’s, uh, I can… that is a perfect prescription, uh, of a way to worry more, to love less, and, and to get stuck.

Jim: Right, get nothing done.

Kevin: And yet if you will-

Jim: (Laughs)

Kevin: Recognize the CIA, what you control, what you influence and what you accept, you truly can worry less, love more, and get things done.

Jim: Kevin, I think you’ve boiled this down to this, uh, incredible application for every area of our life. And it’s a great construct. It’s simple, straightforward. And, man, we wanna, uh, put this into your hands. If you can help us financially with, uh… A monthly gift is great… be part of the ministry, we’ll send you a copy of the book, Stay in Your Lane, as our way of saying thank you. One-time gift will do the same. If you can’t afford it, we’ll trust others will take care of that. We’ll get it into your hands. Just get in touch with us. But, uh, again, if your life is stuck, if you’re not feeling you’re in the right God groove, I’d say the first thing to look at are these three key areas-

Kevin: Mm-hmm.

Jim: ‘Cause I think that will unstick you and get you moving in a direction on the freeway of life (laughs), the I-80 in Kevin’s case-

Kevin: (Laughs)

Jim: Six lanes each way. It’s frightening. I’ve been on that section of highway.

Kevin: Uh-huh.

Jim: But, man, this is the way to go. And why stay there in that mud. Uh, get going. Get out of that. Get with God and go. Uh, don’t be stuck on that interstate.

John: Hmm. Well, this book, Stay in Your Lane, uh, Worry Less, Love More, and Get Things Done, uh, it’s got such great content. Uh, get a copy from us here at Focus on the Family. We’ve got details at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or give us a call, 800-232-6459. Uh, that’s 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: And as we close out, let me encourage you to become part of the ministry here at Focus on the Family. We’re looking for a 1,000 people to join our community of monthly sustainers. Uh, we like to call them friends of Focus on the Family. These are folks who are passionate about helping others and who care deeply about families. I think you’re one of them. Your monthly gift provides trusted resources like this daily broadcast and podcast, our counseling team, and print and online materials as well. Through those resources, Focus on the Family aims to heal families in the name of Christ and strengthen our country. So if you aren’t already a friend of Focus on the Family, sign up today.

John: And you can do so when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Stay In Your Lane: Worry Less, Love More, and Get Things Done

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