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Ending the Pursuit of the Perfect Life (Part 1 of 2)

Ending the Pursuit of the Perfect Life (Part 1 of 2)

Authors Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory encourage women to stop striving for perfectionism and to cling to the truth that God accepts them for who they are, not what they do. (Part 1 of 2)

Original Air Date: November 17, 2014

Opening:

Excerpt:

Kathi Lipp: I think when we’re stuck in that place of perfectionism, we’re letting other people determine how our lives are going instead of checking it out with God and saying, “How – you know, am I at peace?” Am I doing what I can to be submitted to God and submitted to His plan?

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Kathi Lipp, and you’ll be hearing more from her and Cheri Gregory today, on Focus on the Family about how you can release yourself from unrealistic standards. And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. 

Jim Daly: You know, perfectionism is something that so many struggle with. And today, we’re going to discuss how to identify some deeply rooted beliefs that you may have on this topic and hopefully, help you find your identity in God, not in how you perform. We’re reminded in Zephaniah 3:17, the Scripture says, “The Lord your God is in your midst. A mighty One who will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you by His love. He will exalt over you with loud singing.” And I hope today that as you’re listening along that you’ll hold on to that truth that God accepts and even sings over you. Here at Focus on the Family, we want to help you in your walk with God and for you to grow stronger in your faith.

John: And, of course, a great starting point would be our website where we have resources like the book by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory called, You Don’t Have to Try So Hard. Look for that and the CD or free download at focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Kathi and Cheri are speakers, podcasters, and they’ve written a number of books together, and let’s go ahead and hear the conversation now on Focus on the Family. 

Body:

Jim: This is such a sensitive subject. I think so many people are paralyzed in this area of perfection, particularly Christians and Christian women. So let’s start there, Kathi. For that Christian woman who isn’t measuring up in her own mind, I mean, you said it so well, but you’ve arrived at a point where you can be comfortable in your imperfection.

Kathi: Well, I still struggle with this and I think as human beings, we’re never at a place of,  “Oh, we’ve got this totally cured.” It’s – it’s a daily process. But yeah, it’s a struggle and especially I think with the younger women that I work with on a regular basis, that they have an image of what they’re supposed to be and what they’re supposed to be doing and it doesn’t match up with their reality. So, there’s tension and hopelessness a lot of time in their lives.

Jim: Cheri, in the book you’ve coined this together. I don’t know who came up with it, but it’s this phrase, “Try harder living.” It doesn’t sound good – try harder living.

Kathi: Yeah, that was Cheri.

Jim: What does that mean?

Cheri Gregory: Well, a couple years ago, before the book was conceived, Kathi told me that I was one of the hardest working people she knew. And I looked at her and I was like, “No, no, I don’t.” And she’d been tellin’ me this for years and I just…

Kathi: I thought I was giving her a compliment.

(LAUGHTER)

Cheri: Exactly. And I’d be…

Jim: Well, how did that feel to you when…

Cheri: Well…

Jim: …she said that?

Cheri: …for most of the time, it felt good, but I was at a place in my life where I was re-evaluating a lot of things and realizing that all this hard work had gotten me nowhere. I didn’t have any trophies. I didn’t have any discount coupons coming my way for it and I was realizing, I had worked really hard and pretty much had nothing to show for it.

Jim: What was driving you to work that hard?

Cheri: There was only one thing. I was trying to avoid criticism at all costs.

Jim: Hm.

Cheri: And Kathi shared with me a quote which I will probably slaughter, but basically, to avoid criticism, you need to do nothing, say nothing and be nothing. And I realized, “Wow! I’ve got 20 years behind me of nothingness. And I’d like to actually have a life where maybe I’m the funniest person.” Okay, Kathi’s the funniest person that I know. So, maybe I’m the most creative person somebody knows. Or maybe I could, you know, come up with really good ideas. But hardest working just for the sake of working hard, I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big believer in the work ethic, but I was the person who was trying harder and harder and it still wasn’t good enough. I was the A plus, plus, plus student.

Jim: Hm.

Cheri: And there was no joy and there was no sense of satisfaction in it.

Jim: You said something there, Cheri I really want to drill in on – the idea that I can avoid pain by avoiding standing out. Kathi, talk about that, because that is profound.

Kathi: It really is. I think that so much of the time Cheri worked really hard to avoid criticism. So, she thought, “I either have to do it perfectly or I have to do nothing at all.” And I tend towards the “do nothing at all.” If I can’t do it right, why even start? And so, we get trapped in not trying new things or not getting into new relationships or not stepping out of our comfort zone, because we’re so afraid that somebody’s gonna criticize what we’re doing or somebody’s gonna look at us and say, “Why are you doing it that way?” We have these fourth-grade teacher voices going through our head that keep us from living, you know, the kind of lives we’re designed to live.

Jim: And it is because it’s comfortable, right?

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, you’re safe there. You don’t have to risk.

Cheri: It’s completely predictable.

Jim: And that gives you a sense of comfort. I’m thinking in a marriage, that can be rather destructive, as well, because if the couple cannot work through this, it would feel like a blanket, you know, where you don’t do things socially. You don’t do things outside of the norm. And the spouse in that way, can feel smothered, I mean, like, “How come we can’t go out with our friends? Or how come you don’t want to?” Am I touching a nerve here?

Cheri: Well, the only more perfectionistic person in our house is my husband.

Jim: Oh, my goodness.

(LAUGHTER)

Cheri: We are opposite personalities, but we do have this in common. But his perfectionistic areas are different from mine. And so, he would try to help. He would try to say, “Honey, you’ve done enough.” And he really, genuinely meant it from his heart. He was trying to be supportive and I would fly off the handle at him. “You just don’t understand. You just don’t know. You’re not supporting me here.” And he didn’t know what to do with that, because I would be up at 11 o’clock at night, reformatting a worksheet for my students, as if somehow the format was gonna make me a better teacher or was gonna make me more effective in relating with my students the next day. It had nothing to do with teaching. It had everything to do with my fear that I wasn’t good enough in the classroom.

Jim: How do we know that line where you want to do a good job and…

Cheri: Excellence.

Jim: …at some point there’s a diminishing return? How do we know when it’s good enough?

Kathi: Well, it’s really interesting. There was a study at Hewlett-Packard, which is where my husband works. And they were looking at men applying for jobs and women applying for jobs. And I found this fascinating, that women would only apply for jobs that they were 100 percent qualified for. But men would apply for jobs as long as they were 60 percent qualified.

(LAUGHTER)

And I turned to my husband…

Jim: Wait a second.

Kathi: Yes, isn’t that crazy? So, I’m looking at that statistic and I said, “Roger, who on earth applies for a job that they’re only 60 percent qualified for? That’s crazy.” And he said, “Oh, I’ve done it all the time.” I’m like, “Why are you applying job – for jobs you’re not qualified for?” He said, “Well, because it looked interesting and I figure, where’s the best place to learn how to do a job but on the job?”

Jim: But what is it really saying that, that stat exists? A woman needs more confidence that she can do it and man’ll say, “Okay, I’ll give ‘em my best shot.”

Kathi: We don’t want to be criticized. We don’t want to be criticized, so we figure, if we’re 100 percent qualified for that job, then that means that nobody can criticize us for trying to apply for it. And it was really interesting, ‘cause Roger said, he goes, “I’ve applied for jobs that I’m probably 40 percent qualified for.” And I…

Jim: And you must have gasped.

Kathi: Yes, I did, but here’s the crazy thing. He gets the job and he does a great job at it. And so, how much have I missed out on in my life, because I waited till I was 100 percent?

Jim: Well, let’s get practical. We need some road signs. I mean, some people may not even realize, am I perfectionist? You talk about the four bullies of the perfect life. I find that fascinating. I almost got beat up by a couple of bullies in school, so this got my attention. Cheri, what are the four bullies?

Cheri: Well, the four bullies are perfectionism, people pleasing, “performancism” and procrastination. And perfectionism, we got a great line from Ken Davis. He says, “A perfectionist is not someone who is perfect. It is someone who is miserable, because they can’t get it right.”

Jim: Yeah, that’s a big difference. I think people misunderstand perfectionism. That’s Jean’s point. She’s saying it just – “I don’t feel like I can get there.” And that leads to a lot of guilt.

Kathi: Well, and I think the trying to get to perfect makes people crazy. And you know, one of the – the statements that came out in the book that people are really resonating with is, perfectionism isn’t Christian; it’s just crazy. It’s – we’re trying for something that we’re not meant to experience and…

Jim: But it’s hard and here’s what I’d like to have your response to. As Christians, we want to live as perfectly as we can…

Cheri: Right.

Jim: …in our – in our life, in our behavior. We don’t want to sin. We want to try to live sinless.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: Although the Lord is saying, that’s gonna be impossible and that’s why…

Cheri: Right.

Jim: …I sacrificed. How do we and particularly Christian women, how do you balance the drive to be perfect with the reality that you’re not gonna be?

Kathi: You know, I think there’s a difference between the desire to live a holy life and the desire to live a perfect life.

Jim: What’s the difference?

Kathi: Holiness is: my one desire is to please God. And perfect, trying to live the perfect life is: trying to avoid all criticism, all problems. It’s saying to myself, “If I do everything right, everything’ll turn out right.” And…

Jim: So, the formula?

Kathi: Yeah, and it twists us up and the reason we call these “bullies,” the perfectionism and the people-pleasing, is because they follow us around and they beat us up. They follow us around and they say, “You’re not doing this right. You should be doing this differently.” And you know, there are small truths and sometimes I’m not doing the right thing at the right time. But what the perfectionistic bully is telling me is, “You are never going to get it right and you can never be satisfied. You can never be okay with who God created you to be.”

Jim: Oh, that is big.

Kathi: Hm.

Jim: That is big.

Cheri: Well, and they are entirely externally focused. You have to look good. You have to have the appearance of perfection. What’s going on in your heart doesn’t matter. What’s going on in your relationships doesn’t matter. It’s what is on the outside. And you used an interesting word. You used the word “being driven.” There’s a huge difference between driven by perfectionism and being led by God.

Jim: Hm.

Cheri: And if I’m being led by God, then I’m gonna be praying for discernment. Do I need to keep working on formatting this worksheet for my students? Or do I need to be still and know that He is God and leading me in my preparations for my lesson plan? I didn’t pray over my lesson plans for years…

Jim: Oh.

Cheri: …because it was much more like, “Well, I got the training. I’m the teacher. It’s my responsibility, you know. God saved me, but the rest of the job is mine.” And I’m – been coming to the realization, “No, everything is His.”

Jim: If – let me ask this as a litmus test, if you’re a Christian and you believe in Christ, and the Word talks about and Jesus said, “My yoke will be easy,” if you’re kind of confounded by that, because I don’t feel like my Christian life is easy. I’m trying to be perfect and I’m not measuring up, there may be a problem there, right?

Cheri: We actually use the phrase “litmus test” and it’s peace. If we are following Christ, rather than being beat up by the bullies, then our life may still be a mess. It may still have trouble. We may still have conflicts that need to be resolved. We may still be wincing because we don’t get things done the way we want to, but there should be an overall sense of peace.

Jim: Well, and the reality is life is all about all that unsettling stuff.

Cheri: Right.

Jim: That is life. It’s the wayward child, it’s the spouse that isn’t responding. It’s the, you know, the family member that’s going through addiction or something.

Kathi: Well…

Jim: That is life.

Kathi: …and I think that when we get into this perfectionistic mode, what we’re trying to do is show the rest of the world that we’re okay. Everything’s okay. And that’s when we really get beat up by, you know, trying to keep a stiff upper lip and make sure that everybody thinks that we’re doing all right. And one of the best ways to kind of beat up the bully is to get with other women and find your “me too” people.

You know, “My kid is running off the rails.” “Me too.” And when you start to have those kind of conversations, you can let your guard down a little bit and realize: I think when we’re stuck in that place of perfectionism, we’re letting other people determine how our lives are going, instead of checking it out with God and saying, “How – you know, am I at peace?” Am I doing what I can to be submitted to God and submitted to His plan? But when we’re letting those other things rule our lives, we’re letting other people have input into that.

Jim: And that’s a good point. Find people who can be real with you.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: And you can be real with them.

Kathi: Exactly.

Jim: Cheri, in fact, I read with a smile on my face an encounter you had with a project in grad school. Talk about that, ‘cause I think a lot of us will connect with it.

Cheri: You know, I’m just gonna say up front, I was insane. I recognize that now, but at the moment and you know, this is – you said you wanted some signposts along the way. When a woman is in the middle of it, it feels like the only normal, it feels like what has to be done. And you were quoting the bullies. And for me, it was, “You have to do this or else. You have to do this or else.” And what I felt I had to do was, I was taking a literature course and I was gonna do a presentation. So, I decided, “Well, let’s be efficient and I’ll sign up to take the snacks on the same day as my presentation.” And I ended up making the snacks. The presentation was on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Birth Mark” and it’s in the shape of a hand. I mean…

Jim: And you’re an English major…

Cheri: I’m an English major.

Jim: …just so everybody knows.

(LAUGHTER)

Cheri: Yes, yes. That’s insane, too, but that’s another – that’s a…

Jim: I didn’t want to say that.

Cheri: …different kind of insane.

Jim: But…

Cheri: It’s okay. I have no red pen with me. So everybody’s safe.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: She’s correcting my notes right now.

Cheri: No, not at all. Not anymore. Two years ago, I might have. But I, you know I made tea sandwiches and I bought a hand-shaped cookie cutter. Now that’s just weird, to eat tea sandwiches in the shape of a hand, but I thought it – you know, this is what I felt I had to do. And then I had nothing to wear, of course, that would make me feel worthy of this presentation. I didn’t feel like anything I could do on my own was good enough, so I kept, you know, work – trying harder and harder. So, I sewed a completely new outfit and the jacket I sewed had piping trim in it.

Kathi: Which by the way, if you are not a sewer, let’s just – let me tell you, that’s crazy.

(LAUGHTER)

Kathi: It’s crazy, hours to prepare.

Jim: I’m already overwhelmed.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: Or in awe. I don’t know which yet.

Cheri: Well, and I had a newborn, who had been born…

Kathi: Yeah!

(LAUGHTER)

Cheri: He had been born prematurely with some complications. I – it was a crazy time of life and instead of doing what everybody else here is thinking, like, “Why didn’t she take a quarter off school? Why wasn’t she taking care of herself and her husband and her children?” This is what perfectionism does to us.

Kathi: Yeah.

Cheri: It takes us away from those we love. It makes us so we don’t take care of ourselves. But we think we have to do this or else we are not a good person. We’re not gonna be loved by God. We’re just – I mean, really if you took it to the extreme, we do believe the world would come to an end and I – if you had told me that when I was busy making those sandwiches, I would’ve been, “Don’t be silly.”

Kathi: Yeah.

Cheri: “I’m making sandwiches.”

Jim: Yeah.

Cheri: “This is cool.”

Jim: I’m exhausted just…

Cheri: But I was…

Jim: …thinking about all that.

Cheri: …I was terrified. I was terrified that I would not be enough. And the end result was I did a great presentation and the teacher thought my dress was fabulous. And what I was waiting for is people to like me and come close to me. And what I didn’t realize is, for those of us who are these kinds of like perfectionist above the perfectionist bar, is we intimidate people. We…

Jim: Oh.

Cheri: …try to impress them so they won’t criticize us, but we push them so far away and I spent years lonely as could be, having no idea that I was – I was doing so much that people felt like they couldn’t come anywhere near me.

Jim: They couldn’t compete.

Cheri: No. And I didn’t want to compete. I – instead of intimidating, I wanted intimate relationships, but I was doing the opposite of what it takes.

Jim: Oh, that’s interesting. You’re listening to Focus on the Family. This is good stuff, and this is where most people are living. And…

Kathi: We’re finding that our as we talk to women, that every woman deals with one of these four bullies.

Jim: We’ve gotta give ‘em again. Let me…

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: …hear ‘em again.

Kathi: Okay, so we have perfectionism, “performancism,” procrastination and people-pleasing.

Jim: Let’s talk “performancism.”

Kathi: Ism – yeah. And which is saying that I’m going to do – well, I mean, Cheri just gave a great example of it. You know, I’m gonna give the A-plus presentation, while making the hand print sandwiches…

Jim: That are themed to the book.

Kathi: …that are themed to the book, while I have a newborn and I’m going to sew this outfit with piping. You know, it’s – we say, we’re going to perform, not 100 percent. A hundred percent is for losers. We’re gonna do it 120 percent, so there’s no room for anybody to say, “She didn’t try hard enough; she didn’t work hard enough.” And that’s why I think at some point, when I first would tell Cheri, “You’re the hardest working person I know,” at first it was affirming something in her. But when she really started to realize that “Performancism is not getting me where I need it to get me,” it started to become as a critique, like you’re trying so hard and you’re still not doing everything you need to do.

Jim: I can think, too, for the spouse…

Cheri: Mmhmm.

Jim: …and I’m thinking of Jean and myself.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: And I uh, I think I’m getting better. I’ll have to go home tonight and ask Jean.

Cheri: Check in.

Jim: But you can heap coals on that person, too…

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: …by wanting less perfection and more of her in that way of, you know, just emotional intimacy, to say, “Let’s just talk.” “Well, no, I got too much to do.” How can a spouse be better equipped to help? How did your husband help you, Cheri?

Cheri: Oh, you know, that’s a hard question to answer, be – patience large – a lot of longsuffering patience. I would have left me a long time ago. I don’t why he…

Jim: Well…

Cheri: …stuck around.

Jim: …and it’s almost anything that you say is a lose, ‘cause if you try…

Cheri: Right.

Jim: …to say, “Hey, don’t work so hard,” “What? Am I workin’ too hard?”

Kathi: Yeah.

Cheri: In the moment, it looks like a problem that needs to be solved and you know, my husband is the classic problem solver, so he would look at the worksheets that I was obsessing over and he would say, “Well, let me help you with it.” Well, the problem was never the worksheet. The problem was how I felt and I felt like my worth was based on my performance. Well, he can’t fix that.

Jim: So, he could solve…

Cheri: He can’t help that.

Jim: …the symptom, but not the core problem.

Cheri: Yes and so, we did better when I wasn’t under the pressure so much and we would have some discussions like, he would just look at me and say, “I miss you.” And when he could do that in a time that we were both a little bit relaxed and he could do it in a tone of voice that wasn’t accusatory…

Jim: Right, that didn’t make you feel like a failure.

Cheri: …it was just honest. It was just, you know, sometimes it would just be – we’d be sitting and enjoying something and he’d say, “This is so nice. I wish we could do it more. I miss you.”

Kathi: And the bullies keep us from our relationships.

Cheri: Yes, they do.

Kathi: They say you haven’t worked hard enough, so you don’t get to go spend time with your family. You haven’t done everything on your to-do list, so you don’t get to go out to lunch with your kid, because you haven’t done all your checkmarks. So…

Cheri: You don’t deserve it…

Kathi: Yeah.

Cheri: …and you deserved to be punished…

Kathi: Yeah.

Cheri: …by more work.

Jim: Let me ask you about that in the area of the children of the perfectionist. What are they seeing and feeling?

Kathi: I think for a lot of our kids, they’re seeing that they could never measure up, so why even try? I think there’s kind of a resignation in some of our kids. And so, like, “I can’t make my bed perfectly, so I’m not even gonna try. My mom doesn’t have time for me, because she works so much, why do I even try?” You know, so I think that there is that feeling sometimes.

And this is not to – can I just please, please, please say, we are not tryin’ to make moms feel guilty here, because we know how hard you’re trying. And we understand that all – Cheri and I come from a place where we tried to do more so that we could have better relationships. And what we were doing was we were separating ourselves from our husbands and our kids and our friends, because our trying harder was only separating, but we didn’t know another way.

And so, when we can see things as, “My perfectionism is keeping me from a relationship with my husband” and then we can say, “Okay, so I’m gonna dial back on that a little bit. Can I do this 80 percent instead of 100 percent? And can I spend that time with my husband instead? I have a husband who longs to spend time with me, but I’m saying, the worksheet.” And everybody has a worksheet. For whatever it is.

Jim: The to-do list.

Kathi: The to-do list is keeping me from the people I’m trying to serve? It’s craziness.

Jim: Kathi, I mean, your eyes are wet. You’re about to cry. I mean, this is really deep down inside for you.

Kathi: Because I had a daughter who said, “I miss you.” And I’m thinking, “How do you miss me? We live in the same house.” But she didn’t have the time with me, because I was working so hard to try to provide for her, to try to do the things that I thought were important to our family, you know. And I mean, it was simple as, “I have to clean the kitchen floor, otherwise nobody in the house is gonna be happy.” You know the only one who wasn’t happy when the kitchen floor was clean was me.

And I sound like I’m bagging on moms and I think that’s part of why my heart is hurting a little bit, because I know how hard these moms are trying. And I know how desperately they want to be connected with their kids. And I know how desperately they want to be connected with their husbands. But there’s this mind-set that if I don’t have everything right, there’s going to be a problem in my family. And we are killing ourselves under the pressure.

Jim: How do you start that process to unravel that emotion, to say, “Okay, the house doesn’t need to be as clean as I thought it needed to be, so that I can spend more time with my kids?” How do you make that mental adjustment and become more comfortable with it?

Kathi: For me, it was when my husband said, “I need you more.” And I said, “Okay, here’s what I need. There’s a certain level that I need to be at.” And as I’ve gotten older, that level has sunk just ever so slightly.

Jim: But it’s a good thing.

Kathi: It’s a good thing. And when Roger told me, “I am so happy in a comfortably cluttered home,” I, you know, we – our definitions of “cluttered” are a little bit different. But he said, when he told me that when a house is perfect, he can’t be comfortable and he feels like, “If I put my feet up on the couch, I’m gonna get in trouble.” And I’m like, “I’ve never said that.” And he says, “But when you’re in that zone, when you’re in that cleaning zone,” he says, “It’s hard for me to be comfortable.” And he also said, you know, this was, you know, a really important conversation we had. He said, “When you’re up and cleaning till 11 o’clock at night, I feel like a slug for not being up and cleaning at 11 o’clock at night.” He goes, “But honestly, I look around and I don’t know what needs to be cleaned.”

Jim: Uh.

Kathi: And so, it was a defining conversation for us.

Jim: Yeah and I think, you know, speaking on behalf of the husband’s side of this, I mean, we can do a lot of damage just by non-verbal gestures and walk in the house, I mean…

Kathi: Sighs.

Jim: …going, “Ugh.” You know, “My goodness.”

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: ‘Cause a lot of men, I mean, what they like is order…

Kathi: Right.

Jim: …and peace.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: So, when they get home from the hectic office…

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: …or whatever they were doing, they get home and if there’s more “hecticness”…

Kathi: Right.

Jim: …and chaos, it is unsettling to us, unnerving for some of us.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: So, we’ve gotta realize that and have that discussion, to be comfortable with a lower expectation, that we’re all good with it. But both have to play their part in this. That’s what I hear you saying.

Kathi: Everybody has to jump in and the thing is, you know, happy kids make noise, too. And so, we want a happy home. We want a peace-filled home, but there’s still gonna be chaos, especially if you have younger kids.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: And dads need to love and embrace that. That’s a sign of life in a house.

Jim: Right.

Kathi: That’s a good thing and yes, there may be kids who are arguing and things like that.

Jim: Really?

Kathi: But – I know.

(LAUGHTER)

It never happened at my house, but for other people.

Jim: Ow!

Kathi: But for dad to be able to come in and dads, sometimes I wonder if they know the power they have to come in and sweep in and bring some peace that mom could desperately use.

Jim: These are such good topics and this has flown by and you know, we’ve only touched on a couple here. There’s so much more we’ve gotta talk about. We’ve talked “performancism.” Now that’s coming from an English teacher, so I’ll stress that that’s right and that perfectionism, but there are other things. Let’s keep rollin’ and come back next time and hopefully, give you more hope if you’re living in this space and you are feeling guilt on your shoulders, because you’re not measuring up in your eyes to that A plus, plus, plus type that Cheri talked about earlier. Com

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Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll explains how listeners can find freedom from self-imposed and unrealistic standards of perfection in a discussion based on her book, Breaking Up With Perfect: Kiss Perfection Goodbye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You.

Sara Hagerty, author of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet

Being Seen by God

Offering encouragement found in her book Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to be Noticed, Sara Hagerty describes how we can experience God in ordinary, everyday moments, and how we can find our identity in Him apart from what we do.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

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Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

God designed marriage to reflect His love to the world; and because of this, the enemy wants to destroy God’s beautiful design. Based on his book, Defending Your Marriage, Dr. Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff share about the reality of spiritual warfare against marriages, and how to combat the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Couples will be encouraged that they’re not alone in the fight for a godly marriage and better equipped to be a shining example for the world around them.

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution.  Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biola’s Center for Marriage and Relationships  where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast. 

Defending Your Marriage

Is your marriage under attack? Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to tear your marriage apart. Internal conflicts or external pressures might make you wonder if something sinister is going on. How can you tell if you’re facing spiritual opposition? And what can you do about it? Tim Muehlhoff provides a straightforward resource for protecting your marriage from the threats of the evil one. He looks at what Scripture says about spiritual warfare and how our everyday struggles have deeper spiritual realities. And he provides practical steps for guarding our marriages with the whole armor of God.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

To be an effective parent, you must be a leader in your child’s life, guiding with a gentle hand and setting a solid example. Dr. Randy Schroeder provides the insight you need to be a leader-parent. As he explores the foundational Rs—relationship, routines, responsibilities, and rules—you’ll better understand the role you play in your child’s life. You’ll learn great phrases to employ such as “Either/Or/You Decide” and “When You/Then You”. While there is no perfect parent, this nuts-and-bolts material will equip you to lead your child in a loving, confident manner.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder has spent more than four decades writing, counseling, speaking, and teaching. For nearly 25 years, he was Vice President of Student Personnel Services, Dean of Students, and a professor of pastoral counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He’s also led a successful counseling practice helping individuals, couples, and families to thrive in their lives and relationships.

Cover image of Dr. Randall Schroeder's book "Simple Habits for Effective Parenting"

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

Effective parenting is now within your grasp! With this inspiring how-to comprehensive book, achieve extraordinary results in raising a child to be self-assured, self-reliant, and responsible! You will be able to successfully lead and lovingly encourage your child toward a Godly life!

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.