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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Finding Real Purpose in Your Life (Part 1 of 2)

Finding Real Purpose in Your Life (Part 1 of 2)

Dr. John Trent and his daughter, Kari Trent Stageberg, provide strategies for moving toward health, freedom, and life. They talk about Biblical truths that can lead Christ followers to a more positive future, as they share their helpful framework for overcoming past pain and challenges. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: October 3, 2023

Preview:

Kari Trent Stageberg: That’s what we’re talking about, ’cause we all need people that are gonna go up the hill with us.

Jim Daly: Yeah.

Kari: We weren’t created to do life alone. And, and if that was missing, that could be a really key reason why we’re feeling stuck.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Kari Trent Stageberg talking about how to move into a place of connection and caring and calm with the support of others.

Welcome to Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller. Today, we’re gonna be talking with Kari and her dad, well-known author and speaker, Dr. John Trent, about a concept called life mapping, which is a big-picture perspective that we all need in life.

Jim: That’s good. And I’m looking forward to it. You know, I think it’s been 40 years since Dr. Trent first did the, uh, the life map, and, uh, there’s been a lot of people that have been helped by this. I’m thinking of the pandemic, all of its aftermath, people… I think we use the term being derailed, you know?

John Trent: Mm-hmm.

Kari: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You just… You just fall out of where you were headed. I saw it with the high school kids that my boys were running with. I mean, many of them didn’t go to college. They had planned to college, but of course, everything was shut down for a while, and they didn’t go to the dorms. They didn’t… Now they’re ski instructors up here (laughs)-

John Fuller: Yeah.

Jim: … and they were smart kids, STEM research kids. And hopefully, that, you know, generation will get back on track. I hope they’re listening to this program about life mapping today.

There are eight steps to creating your own life map, which John and his daughter Kari share in the book Where Do I Go From Here? If you’re asking that question, I think we’re gonna have the answer for you today-

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Kari: (laughs)

Jim: … or we’re gonna help you find the answer, and I’m looking forward to this discussion.

John Fuller: I am as well. And Dr. John Trent has been here a number of times. He’s a nationally-known speaker and best-selling author, and president and founder of StrongFamilies.com.

Kari Trent Stageberg is, uh, also with, uh, StrongFamilies.com, as a writer and speaker, and co-founded a consulting company, I believe. Uh, they’re return guests here, and the complete title of the book, published by Focus on the Family and Tyndale, is Where Do I Go From Here? LifeMapping Your Way From Personal Chaos to Purposeful Calm.

Kari: Mm-hmm.

John Fuller: And you can learn more about the guests and the book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Uh, John and Kari, welcome back.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Hey! Thank you. Great to be here with you.

Kari: Yeah, thanks for having us.

Jim: Yeah. Always fun.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: I enjoy… Now, you’re living down in Arizona. I love Arizona.

John Trent: Oh! That’s just wonderful, and, uh-

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: … uh, never gets hot in the summer.

Jim: Oh yes! (laughs) Yeah, right!

Kari: Oh my gosh.

John Trent: (laughs)

Jim: Well, I was gonna say I love it especially in January, February when it’s, like, minus 40 here-

Kari: Yep.

Jim: … in Colorado.

Kari: Yeah, that’s when my husband and I come down. We’re up in Seattle, so we-

Jim: Okay. (laughs)

Kari: … we move in for the winter basically.

Jim: So mom and dad, that’s it, right?

Kari: Yep.

Jim: That’s the winter visit.

Kari: And now that we have grandkids, they’re okay with it, so-

John Trent: That’s right.

Jim: That is good. Well, listen, let me start with, John, I think the right question for those that don’t know about life mapping is what is life mapping, and how did it come to be such a big part of your ministry?

John Trent: Well, um, it really is. We’re coaching people all the time now, not just to create a life map but we’re, we’re training life mapping coaches which has really been fun. Um, but it all kind of goes back to really what’s going on today so much, and really what you’ve mentioned.

Uh, I’m here to tell you we live, it’s… There’s so much chaos, there’s so much change, and unfortunately for a lot of people, what happens is, in the midst of that, it’s almost like we just get, you know, we just get stuck. We just shut down and there’s that sense that, you know, we’re, we’re just stuck. So isn’t that weird? At the same time everything’s changing, we don’t wanna change, we’re just stuck. We don’t know what to do.

And what life mapping does is really helps you take hold of “Okay, what are the pictures of my life story? Does it have purpose?” There are so many people today that just think there isn’t a future, there is no purpose. I mean we’re hearing that constantly is the huge message on social media. And so if there was ever a fantastic time for answering that question, “Well, where do I go from here with all this chaos, with all this change?” And that’s what life mapping does, and we’ll get into that because-

Jim: Yeah, we’ll talk, talk it through-

John Trent: … it really helps.

Jim: … but I really want to capture that person that is “You know, okay, this sounds interesting.” Describe the adjectives of that person that needs this.

John Trent: Yeah, well, I would say for a lot of people, uh, I, I think, uh, John, you mentioned your wife does puzzles.

John Fuller: She does loves puzzles.

John Trent: Yeah.

John Fuller: Yes.

John Trent: You know, and I live with somebody like that for 40 some years, so we have a puzzle out all the time. So now try a puzzle box with no cover, you know, try a puzzle-

Jim: With no picture?

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Let me see it again if that’s right.

Jim: I can’t get even started without the picture.

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Yeah, so tr-, but when you, when all of a sudden you see, you know, just life is a bunch of pieces. ‘Cause here’s something huge, okay? When life isn’t connected, when you don’t see any connections, then it kinda just leads to chaos and it seems like it’s all random. And for so many of us, man, we, we think “My life’s ou- out of order” for example.

Jim: Right, so you’re giving me those adjectives then-

John Trent: Exactly, yeah.

Jim: … out of order, kind of confused-

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: … don’t know what to next-

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: … those kind of things.

John Trent: And, and, and they’re also I think for so many people it’s like, “Well, why bother? What difference does it make to have a clear purpose in life? And, and, and you know, I’m just gonna go with the flow.” But the problem is today that is just throwing you everywhere.

Jim: Well, and that can be, the feeling of that can be a little overwhelming if you’re not a-

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: … process person.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: I kind of lean into “Well, God will open a door, He’ll close a door, I’ll wake up tomorrow and just see where he wants to go with me.”

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: And that can be a little bit freeing, but also a little bit daunting for some people. We’re not all wired the same.

John Trent: Well, and, you know, when things are going well, that’s easy to-

Jim: Mm.

John Trent: … you know, kinda deal with. But all of a sudden, we’re dealing with tons of people where, you know, for example, working with this one guy and he started off playing hockey at five years old, ended up at the pinnacle of hockey-dom. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: And, uh, you know, a pro player. And, um, now think about what that does. Mkay? You’ve got a clear purpose, you’ve got all these friends and associates and everything that is, you know, in-

Jim: Geared?

John Trent: Eh, geared towards that. And then he blows out his knee to the point where his, his whole career’s gone. Now what has he lost? Just almost everything. And uh-

Jim: Yeah. Purpose, direction.

John Trent: Well, purpose, direction, where he’s going. So tons of people who need to a- answer that question, “Where do I go from here?” are in transition. They were married, now they’re a single parent, you know?

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: They had a job, now they don’t.

Jim: Right.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: All those things. Kari, let me ask you, uh, what I love about science often-

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: And you know, y-you’re a psychologist, John.

John Trent: Mm-hmm.

Jim: You’re a counselor.

Kari: Yep.

Jim: Um, in that context, you’re pulling this right out of the book of Revelation-

Kari: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: … I think Revelation 2:5.

Kari: Yep.

Jim: So lay that groundwork for us, Kari, how scripture backs us up.

Kari: Yeah, you know, I think the thing that’s so incredible about that verse is it’s really, you know, Jesus is talking to the church and he’s kind of walking them through. He tells them seven things that they did that were wonderful, but he tells them this, you know, you- “but you have left your first love.” And he gives them a plan to get back to it. And really that plan is to remember from where you’ve fallen, which if you think about it, we- we don’t fall from a low point, we fall from somewhere higher, right?

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Kari: You have to at least upright to fall.

Jim: Right.

Kari: And then he says repent and then do the deeds you did at first. And really, so the Bible gives us this incredible outline, or even instructional plan on here’s how you can get back on track when things absolutely derail. And life mapping really gives us a process to do that.

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: And that’s really what it’s based around, each of those elements, the remember, the repent, and the, and the do the deeds you did at first or get a new plan to move forward is all incorporated in life mapping through the beauty of seeing the pictures of our life story.

Jim: Yeah, which is great, and again we’re gonna do that. We’ll post that, at least that framework for the life mapping-

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Oh, yeah.

Jim: … people can get the idea. But we’ll also offer you the book which has (laughs) got everything in there that you’ll need.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, uh, let me ask you, John, you have a story about your first day in seminary. I-I always love your first day things-

John Trent: (laughs)

Kari: (laughs)

Jim: … first day at school, first day at football practice-

Kari: They always go really well for him. (laughs)

Jim: … they really, you are like the epitome of “uh-oh.” (laughs)

Kari: (laughs).

John Trent: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: But that first day in seminary, something occurred, uh, what happened-

John Trent: Well-

Jim: … and how did it teach you something?

John Trent: Well, it really leans into kinda where does life mapping start? So ‘member Kari mentioned “Remember from where you’ve fallen.” Mkay? Now for so many of us when we’re sitting down with somebody, their life’s in chaos, they’re stuck, they’re in transition, all of that. You know, and you ask ’em, uh, “Okay, so tell me about your strengths.”

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: What’s the- (laughs) what’s the- what’s the first thing they say? It’s like-

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: “Well, if I had any, you think I’d actually be in here?” Right?

Jim: Right.

John Trent: And, and it is amazing how challenges and transition can just wipe away, you know, that sense of who we are. So what we really do is help people decade their strengths.

John Fuller: Hmm.

John Trent: So remember from where you’ve fallen, so we use a concept called story boarding where we throw out ideas. One idea per card, and what we’re looking to do is literally put 20 or 30 things in a person’s life story ’cause that’s really what this is. This is like taking the pieces of a life story, even something that big and highlighting those. So just to answer your question about seminary, you know, I’m, I – I – I don’t know a hundred percent where I’m going other than I had graduated from mighty TCU, the horned frogs-

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: … and ended up going to Dallas Seminary. But I wasn’t sure, I wanted to work with families but, you know, you’re there to learn how to be a preacher. But I wanted to be in family ministry. And I walk into The Christian Home which is with a guy named Dr. Howard Hendricks. He was-

Jim: Great doctor, Howard- Howie Hendricks.

John Trent: Oh yeah. The, the Howie Hendricks, you know. And just incredible, and he goes, he was from New Jersey, had this gravelly voice and he goes, you know, “Men!” Cause there were only men back then (laughs) at Dallas Seminary, I’m so old. And, um-

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: … and he, h-he goes, “All right, I want you to- I’m gonna give you a test. If you pass this test, you’ll be successful in ministry. If you don’t, I can almost guarantee you won’t.”

Jim: Wow, okay.

Kari: No pressure.

John Fuller: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: Sounds like a good test.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: And I’m a new Christian, you know, I never took one Bible class before I went to seminary. I’m sitting next to these guys that are, you know, from Wheaton and all these, you know, the Bible majors in college, you know. So I’m thinking he’s gonna ask about the Hebrew kings or something, get ’em in order and-

Jim: (laughs) Get ’em in order. That will prove your success.

John Fuller: (laughs)

John Trent: I know. I’m just thinking what is , and they go-

Jim: We’re all in trouble.

John Trent: So here, he goes, “All right, take out a piece of paper.” And he goes, “I want you to write down your three greatest weaknesses.” And I’m sitting there going, “Oh my gosh, if this is what makes you a really- I’m gonna, I’m gonna be really good in ministry.

Jim: (laughs) Boom, boom, boom. They come to mind quickly.

Kari: (laughs). Only three? Yeah.

Jim: There they are. And only three?

John Trent: Because oh my gosh, I mean I, only- I, I do like 20, you know, I’ve- I get a legal pad out, you know, kind of a deal. And everybody’s writing and I’m always sitting in the back of the room, I’m the back of the room guy, you know. So I’m looking down at a hundred students and they’re, they’re all write- having no trouble coming up with their weaknesses. So then he calls time’s out, and he goes, “Okay, that’s not the real test. Flip it over and here’s the real test. What are your three strengths?”

Jim: Hmm.

John Trent: “You know, what’s God put in your life?” And so that’s what we do with life mapping is we start off remember from where you’ve fallen. You want to get to back to that kind of that first love with Christ, that sense of, uh, just being in love. You know what love does is it g-gets you moving. And, and so we start off with helping people see their strengths. And, uh, Kari, we even use something called the Connect Assessment-

Kari: Yeah, absolutely.

John Trent: … that Dr. Dewey Wilson helped us with.

Kari: Yeah, and we- we’ve been on here talking about lions and otters and Golden Retrievers-

Jim: (laughs)

Kari: … and beavers and you know, Focus has published The Two Sides of Love which is all about that. And so it- you know, for a lot of people, like you said, they come in and they’re- they’re going, “Well, I don’t have any strengths.” Or “I don’t see them.” Or “I thought it was a strength, but someone just told me it wasn’t.” Or you know, “This season has confirmed maybe that’s not it.” And so we’re helping them through using different tools and, and memories of the past to really identify, “Man, this is who God created me to be. This is about my identity.” Um, and these things, regardless of circumstances, are unshakeable.

Jim: No, that’s good. In fact, you created a quiz, correct?

Kari: Yeah, the Connect Assessment.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: Connect Assessment.

Kari: Yeah, where you can- so you can take that and find out what animal you are and-

Jim: Right.

Kari: … all the fun things.

Jim: I think I know, I- you and I are both otters.

John Trent: (laughs) Yeah, I think so.

Jim: If I remember correctly.

Kari: Yes, slightly. Slightly otters.

Jim: These are the party guys.

Kari: Right.

Jim: Come on, let’s go have fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.

Kari: (laughs)

John Trent: Absolutely, yeah.

Jim: So the lion. Everybody dreads the lion.

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: The can-do person, let’s go, take the hill, and so on.

Kari: That’s right.

John Trent: Yeah, and the- but think in this- we have Golden Retrievers in this room.

Kari: Yes. (laughs)

John Trent: And, and-

Jim: And the beaver. (laughs)

John Trent: … and the- and the beavers that are actually taping this, you know.

Kari: Yes. (laughs)

Jim: My wife’s the beaver.

Kari: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jim: You know, let’s do everything exactly right.

John Trent: So-

Kari: [inaudible 00:13:01]

Jim: Let’s make pancakes exactly to the amount-

John Trent: Exactly.

Jim: … required.

Kari: Exactly.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: Let me ask you, Kari, why do you think… you’re hearing your dad, you know, talk about that moment writing down his strengths became very difficult-

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: … why is that so difficult for us to do?

Kari: You know, I think for so many of us there have been things that have erased, or are trying to erase our identity. I mean we have an enemy that’s actively trying to do that-

John Fuller: Mmm.

Kari: …and especially the voices a-and this culture right now are trying to do that in so many ways-

Jim: Oh boy, yeah.

Kari: … or to tell us we don’t have a purpose, we’re not valuable. Or the way that we were created isn’t right, it’s wrong, we need to change everything about us. And so it’s just under attack right now. And that’s really again where we want to give people that sense of identity of this is who Christ created you to be and, man, that can change the world. And I know for me, um, you know, when I was in an abusive situation, I just wasn’t able to hear it. I had people that were willing to tell me things about myself that were true, but I couldn’t hear through the lens of what was happening to me. And I remember he actually gave me, uh, tricked me into meeting him. He offered to buy me new tires, which you know, who’s-

Jim: That’s the worth the trip somewhere.

Kari: It was, it was- I was like yeah, a thousand bucks.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Kari: Time with dad, you know, I think I’ll do it.

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: And, uh, but he gave me a list of ten truths about who I was.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Kari: And at the time, I didn’t even want to take the paper.

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: But I did and-

Jim: Yeah. Wow, that’s amazing.

Kari: … and, uh, when things would happen or my ex would say things, I found myself going into the bathroom and pulling out that paper and going, “I don’t know if that’s true.” And then, “I kinda want it to be.” And, “Well, maybe that could be.” And so we’re really trying to help people change those pictures where maybe they’ve been told they didn’t have value or purpose or who they are is wrong and giving them a sense of getting back to that identity in Christ.

Jim: That’s good. Wow, powerful.

John Fuller: Our guests today on Focus on the Family are Dr. John Trent and his, uh, daughter, Kari Trent Stageberg. And we’re so glad to have them talking about finding the positives.

And, uh, you can find out a whole lot more about this concept of life mapping in their book. It’s called, Where Do I Go From Here? LifeMapping Your Way from Personal Chaos to Purposeful Calm. Of course, we have copies of that here at the ministry. Give us a call, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast

Jim: John, one… additional important part of life mapping before we get into some more of the pictorial approach to this is identifying high hill people.

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: What is a high hill person?

John Trent: Well, all right, so think about it again where there’s, there was three parts to life mapping. You know, there’s that, you know, remember from where you have fallen, all right. You do have some strengths. God can use you, you know. You don’t have to just deprecate, you know, anything you’ve done because you’re not perfect or you’ve done it out of order.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: Because so many of us think, “Well, I did life out of order.” You know? “I did this and this so none of it counts.” But, you know, that’s not true. Uh, so we start off by helping ’em focus on their strengths.

But who was it that just thought you were awesome at some point in your life? And here’s where it all comes out is, uh, University of Virginia did a-a study where and it was a visual perception study. A guy named Prophet that did this study, and they would take students, so picture, you know, you’re walking on campus and there’s a big high hill right there on campus and they would grab people that were by themself and then they would grab people that were with somebody. So with the people that were all by themself, so you know, you put this backpack on ’em, you’re looking up this high hill. And it’s a perception study, so how high is it, and how hard is it to climb?

And when you were, the people that were by themself, every one of them overshot.

Jim: Hmm.

John Trent: Eve- it was higher and it was going to be harder to climb.

John Fuller: Hmm.

John Trent: But when you had somebody standing with you and they put their hand on your shoulder and they got a backpack, they’re going up with you, and guess what, the mountain shrank.

John Fuller: Ah.

John Trent: What I’m getting at is, is what we’re saying is, all right now who is it that was absolutely crazy about you? When you walked in the room, man, their eyes lit up and, and Kari explained we-we’ve got-

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: … kind of a thing we can we coach them right now to do.

Kari: Yeah, so wherever you are right now, kind of think back to where were you when you were ten years old. Um, you know, and if you lived in an apartment, you can kind of levitate or whatever-

Jim: (laughs)

Kari: … but you’re ten years old and you’re looking in your home. Is there somebody there whose eyes just lit up when they saw you? Who was it that was crazy about you? And, you know, unfortunately for a lot of us, maybe there wasn’t anybody or, you know we hear, we honestly hear this all the time, it was the dog. The dog was excited, my family wasn’t-

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: … but my, you know, we-

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: … had- I at least had a pet that wa- Maybe it was a coach. Maybe it was a teacher. Maybe it was a friend or a random stranger or somebody that just really made a difference and you could just tell, man, that person is so excited to see me-

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: … and their eyes just light up. And that’s, that’s what we’re talking about ’cause we all need people that are gonna go up the hill with us.

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: We weren’t created to do life alone. And if that was missing, that could be a really key reason why we’re feeling stuck.

Jim: A hard concrete example of that, I think, was a teacher that you noticed and she, or he, was helping a student named Mark and you, I think that was in the, the book.

John Trent: Yeah, yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Well, and basically she got, uh, these students, you know they were all- it’s the end of the year, everybody’s having a tough time staying focused, you know. (laughs)

Jim: Never! (chuckling)

John Trent: And so she stopped everybody and she goes, “All right, quit the- I want you to take out a piece of paper. And she had written down everybody’s name from the class on this piece of paper. All right. It was actually two pages. So you had everybody in the class. And you had to write down the thing about them that you like the most, or you thought was really neat about them. And then she collated those, she took ’em all, went home, collated ’em all, uh, all the responses. And so each kid got like 30 (laughs), you know, or 25, however many students were in there.

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: You know, and for one kid, it made all the difference. In fact when he… died, he was, uh, a soldier that was killed. Um, when he, when he died, that was- his folks at the funeral gave the teacher that and said, “Guess what he had in his pocket? You know, in his wallet?

John Fuller: Hmm.

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: When he passed away.” He had kept it for years, it was all taped up.

Jim: Well, yeah.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: In fact that’s exactly what Ecclesiastes says, right? “That two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one-

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … to help them up.”

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, again, it’s rooted in this great scriptural truth about the human dimension.

Kari: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: Well, it-it is. We were created for connection, a good friend of us, Kenny Sanderfer, wrote a great book with that title. And there’s just that deep sense, that deep need we have. Man, remember from where you’ve fallen ’cause ‘member, we want to be loving so starting with strengths is huge.

Jim: You know, that does give me a little pause about loving your neighbor as yourself.

Kari: Mm.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: Have you spent time contemplating that?

Kari: Yeah. Well, I mean it is really hard to love other people when you don’t love yourself. It’s, it’s-

Jim: But even that makes us wince a little bit as Christians.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: Like, how do we do that? It sounds-

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: … like lacking humility.

Kari: Yeah, exactly, you know. But I think there’s a big difference between saying this is who God has created me to be and holding that in confidence. ‘Cause it’s not us, he gave that to us. And when that’s in order, it’s not pride, you know. And really he gave us these gifts to bless and serve and love other people-

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: … and to show his light and love.

Jim: Which is good.

Kari: So I think when it’s in order, it feels, that pride kinda element disappears a little bit.

Jim: Yeah.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Another aspect of the book is, uh, identifying your freeze points.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: So what, what are freeze points? That’s not when I stick my tongue on an ice cube.

John Trent: (laughs)

Kari: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: Which would be good actually. That’s a great movie we watch every year.

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: But, um, you know, it’s interesting. There’s really two aspects to freeze points. So we’ve looked at the strengths, right? And so picture on their life map, they might have 20 things up there that are the positives. But now it’s time to say okay, what are the seasons of hurt? So for example, my dad leaves, you know, when I’m two months old. He took one look at my twin brother and I, and, and that was, that did it-

Jim: Aw, that’s sad. I’m sorry that, you know-

John Trent: … you know. Well, I know, but it’s like, it’s just you know he was an old third Marine division guy that came back from the war hating God and man and just couldn’t deal with it. And still trying to drink away all the pictures and couldn’t do it. And so he took one look at twins, and tha- that was, you know, he took off and I never saw him again until college. But the interesting thing, you know, is when you think about that season of time, now it’s- it- so that’s what a freeze point’s done is- Here in Colorado, does it get cold enough? Do the lakes ever really freeze?

Jim: (laughs) Never.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: Okay, okay, but I mean-

John Fuller: They do, yes.

John Trent: … it gets really cold.

John Fuller: Yeah.

Jim: Oh, they’re totally frozen.

John Trent: Oh, they are? Oh, okay-

Jim: They do ice fishing.

John Trent: … I didn’t know that.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: I’m from Arizona, so.

Jim: Yeah, okay, s- you’re bragging.

John Trent: All right. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Kari: Yeah. He does that to me all the time-

John Trent: But I know, I have, I’ve been in-

Kari: …”It’s not raining up there, is it?”

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: … Minnesota and saw people drive on the lakes.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Well, that’s true, if we have a foot, they probably have four feet of ice.

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: So, um, but what that does is, think about that, over that layer of time then so much is, has piled up and boy, if our goal is to be more loving, to be like Christ, uh, live out all this purpose and direction, you know, but what a freeze point is, is what is that season of time?

Kari: Yep.

John Trent: Maybe you worked with somebody that was a really tough boss. And man, it was just every day you would walk in and then you’d start getting sick, you know, real easy. And your, wa- the doctor’s going, “What’s, what, why are you getting sick so much? What’s the stress in your life?” And it’s that thing. Or you’re in a long season of hurt.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: But here’s the interesting thing, why we get ’em to talk about, “Okay well, tell us about that season of hurt.” Do you- in, in, uh, Hebrews 5:8, did you know, uh, it’s interesting, but it says that Jesus was trained, mkay, by the things he suffered.

Jim: Huh.

John Trent: Okay, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. So wait a minute, how did Jesus learn anything? We think he learned everything and yet he- we know that he also, you know, grew- but there is something about going through seasons of hurt that on the other side of it, you can learn, “Okay, Lord, what have you taught me through this?”

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: So that’s the second area, freeze points.

Kari: Yeah. And, and I think it’s important to note too to mean these can be individual, you know, like you talked about your dad bailing out or a season of abuse or a prodigal kid, but these can also be collective.

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: You know, we all just went through COVID. Which was a huge freeze point for all of us, you know, together. You know, think about seasons like the Great Depression and different things. So these can also be collective experiences that impact everybody as well.

Jim: Sure. Right at the end, we’ll pick up next time. But here, how do you thaw the freeze points?

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: Which I guess would be the goal.

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Yeah, that is absolutely-

Kari: Yep.

John Trent: … but a big part of it is where, um, you begin to look and see okay, what was it that that produced in my life that God actually- and, and this is hard. It’s hard to get people sometime to think about this. So there’s nothing positive about my dad bailing out, mkay? I’m not saying that at all. But it was- when you begin, when I began to look at it, we had to take responsibility really (laughs) early.

Jim: Right, you grew up fast.

John Trent: Mkay? ‘Cause single parent mom, we grew up fast. I was so open to the gospel because man, I needed a dad. And out, here comes Doug Barem, my Young Life leader that showed up. And John, you were Youth for Christ-

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: … I imagine there was a Youth for Christ leader that showed up in your life. And I was so hurt and in need of things. So all of a sudden you begin to see okay, that was a really tough season but Lord, look at what you created in my life, you know, because of it.

Kari: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: What I learned from it. And, and so that’s really where we’re-

Kari: Yep.

John Trent: … helping people with this whole life mapping process.

Kari: Well, and is there anything in there that we haven’t addressed that might be why we’re still stuck.

John Trent: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: No, that’s all good. You know, I’m thinking of characters of the Bible like Joseph. My goodness–

John Trent: Ugh.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: … did he have stuff stacked against him. His brothers thought of killing him, sold him into slavery, but God used it in a very unique plan-

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: … where he then, you know, ran Egypt-

John Fuller: (laughs)

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: … and was able to give them food so they didn’t die.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, it’s amazing how there is a silver lining and I love that scripture and a good place to end is with, in, uh, Psalm 34:18, I believe it is, where it says, “He’s close to the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in spirit.”

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: I mean that, you- uh, the question is always why don’t we run to that then? Well, it’s ’cause we like comfort.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: But let’s come back next time, pick it up, and talk more specifically about applying this to the life map, doing a pictorial-

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: … what that looks like.

John Trent: Sure.

Jim: This has been really good. And man, if we have touched some issues for you today, um, first of all, we have caring Christian counselors who are here to talk with you, pray with you, give you or provide to you some additional resources to help you move closer to God and hopefully-

John Fuller: Yeah.

Jim: … get unstuck as we’ve talked about today. Certainly one of the best things we could do is, uh, offer you the book that John and Kari have done, Where Do I Go From Here? If you’re asking yourself that question, why not get the book?

We’ll make it so easy. If you can be a, you know, a donor, participate with us, give us a gift of any amount, ten dollars, fifteen dollars, doesn’t matter. Monthly or one-time, we’ll send you the book as our way of saying thank you. If you cannot afford it, we are a Christian ministry. We’ll get it in your hands and trust others will cover the cost for that.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So there’s no barrier for you. If you’re in that spot, we want you to have this great resource to get out of the hole you’re in because God does not want you in that pit-

Kari: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … he wants you thriving in Christ.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm. Well contact us today, donate as you can, and request that book by our guests. It’s once again called Where Do I Go From Here? Lifemapping Your Way from Personal Chaos to Purposeful Calm.

Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, and we’ve got all the details about donating, getting the book, and reaching out to our counseling team at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.

And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we continue the conversation and once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Where Do I Go Form Here?

Where Do I Go From Here?: Lifemapping Your Way from Personal Chaos to Purposeful Calm

Receive Where Do I Go From Here? and an audio download of "Finding Real Purpose in Your Life" for your donation of any amount!

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