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Focus on the Family Broadcast

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

Finding Real Purpose in Your Life (Part 2 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 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: October 4, 2023

Preview:

Kari Trent Stageberg: 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 LifeMapping really gives us a process to do that.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Kari Trent Stageberg. She’s Dr. John Trent’s daughter and co-author, and she’s talking about the life changing process she and her dad teach. It’s called LifeMapping, and we’re so glad to have them back today on Focus on the Family to share more. Thank you for joining us. Your host is Focus President and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, you know, life can hit us outta nowhere. It could be something as simple as appliances breaking down and maybe there’s not enough in the bank account to take care of it. What do you do? Or losing a job. Uh, maybe post-COVID. You haven’t really recovered and some way with getting back to work in the office, et cetera. There’s just so many things that can knock us off our rhythms and I really appreciated the discussion we had last time with John and Kari talking about LifeMapping. I don’t think we pay enough attention to it. We’re such a go, go, go culture that we don’t look back and say, “Okay, where was I headed and why was I headed in that direction? And am I in the right direction right now?”

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s the essence of what we’re talking about, and if you missed it last time, go to the, uh, website, download the discussion, get the app for your smartphone and listen that way, but, uh, it is a wonderful reminder of what God has in store for you.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm. Yeah, a lot of positive, um, movement in the last, uh, conversation and I think you’ll get stepping stones to a better place today as we continue the discussion with Dr. John Trent and Kari Trent Stageberg. They’re speakers and authors, and work together at strongfamilies.com. And, uh, they’ve written a book that is really the foundation for the discussion today. It’s called, Where Do I Go From Here? LifeMapping Your Way from Personal Chaos to Purposeful Calm. And stop by the website to learn more.

Jim: John and Kari, welcome back.

John Trent: Hey, thank you.

Kari: Yeah. Thank you.

John Trent: Great to be here.

Jim: I love this, you know, uh, Ray Vander Laan, who we did the That the World May Know series with, he, I went to Israel, Jean and I went to Israel with him, and there’s a section in his training where he’s just talking about God’s Shalom, his peace.

Kari: Mm.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: And that this world, when sin entered this world, chaos entered the world.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: And Jesus came to take that chaos away from us as believers. And I thought, wow, isn’t that, it’s parallel with what you’re talking about.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: When your life is chaotic, that’s not where God wants you to be. He wants you to feel and sense his Shalom, his peace.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: That’s why he says his yolk is easy, and his burden is light, right?

John Trent: Yeah. Oh man, what a great way to kind of, encapsulate that whole LifeMapping thing because once you realize, oh my goodness, maybe the Lord really was there in the strengths, in the struggles, in the past, and we help them see these pictures. Um, it- it is amazing the energy. We’re trying to get them to regain that first love, you know, and- and, but it’s so helpful, I think, to again, to just have that sense of, man, my story is connected.

Jim: Right.

John Trent: And there really are some things, and so that’s what we just love about getting to do this with you.

Jim: Yeah, we covered last time, and you- you both hit it so wonderfully, how we need our identity rooted in Christ.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: And that gives you a certain confidence. It’s not ego or cockiness. It’s confidence in Christ. I know who I am because I know whose I am.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: Um, Kari, let me ask you this. In terms of the LifeMapping, you speak in the book about, um, image management and authentic living.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: The difference. Talk about, I mean, what I think is image management. Social media, oh my gosh.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: It’s Pinterest. It’s everything.

Kari: Yeah. Yeah, I mean really, you know, kind of just a quick definition of how we look at it. It’s when the public self and the private self-exist, but they’re not the same.

And- and I think you hit it on the head. I mean, not that all of us are image managers on social media, but for the most part, it really is a highlight reel of here are the best moments in life, and maybe we’ll share a couple of the struggles. But the reality is, is we want that public self and that private self to be the same thing. And when they’re not, we run into big, big problems.

Jim: Let me ask you this, I hadn’t thought about it this way, but you look at Paul and Paul writes, you know, those things I don’t wanna do, I do, and the things I- I do, I don’t wanna do.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: He’s kind of getting to that.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: That’s his public reel and his private reel.

Kari: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: I mean, it’s kind of interesting. I never thought of it that way. And the point in there is, we’re striving to be authentic-

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: … down to our core, to be who we are, both privately and publicly, but you know, we’re in a fallen world. There’s gonna be these little-

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: … gaffs that we have. We’re not gonna, you know, we’re gonna yell at the kids maybe or, you know, do something that is incongruent with our Christian faith.

Kari: Absolutely.

Jim: What do you do with that? How do you-

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: Where do you go with that, when you go, “Oh Lord, forgive me for that. I didn’t mean to snip at the kids.”

Kari: Yeah, well and that’s really kind of what we’re trying to help people identify. And- and in reality there are two different types of image managers, right? There are those of us that do that because we’re sinful people and life happens, or man, we made a mistake, or even something in our past is keeping us trapped in bad patterns that we just can’t quite break out of.

And then there’s intentional image management, where there really is that deceit, and we’ve created this false identity for so long that all of our energy is going into maintaining that.

And so, really kind of that first step is identifying where are we at on the scale. Is this, man, I- I’ve got some things to work on because I’m human? Or I’ve got some major things that I really need to look at?

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

Kari: And- and either way, God can provide freedom from that.

Jim: Oh, of course. Of course. In fact, you use a term called flashpoints.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: Describe flashpoints and what they are.

John Trent: Yeah, well, you know, we- we start off looking at strengths. But then we wanna look at struggles, those freeze points that we talked about. But then for some of us, we wanna be aware of, you know, a couple things. One is, a flashpoint, and this ties in a little bit with Kari. Uh, we were working with this one, uh, individual and, you know, God bless her, she was really having trouble connecting with anybody, kind of in her life and so much of it was this lack of trust. And so as we’re- as we’re putting up all these pictures of her life story, I said, “Well, what were some flashpoints? What was something in your life…?” So now, a flashpoint can be good, kind of like, you know, here’s Saul on his way to Damascus, and boom, it becomes Paul and he, the Lord meets him and, you know, the whole-

Jim: That’s like, a literal flashpoint.

John Trent: That’s a flashpoint.

Jim: (laughs)

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: Bang.

Kari: That’s kind of what they are, they’re like, that lightning moment, where there’s, that happens and everything’s different-

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: … positive or negative.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: Well, she’s- she’s in high school. So remember, we’re looking at decades, you know?

Jim: Right.

John Trent: Tell us about your life story. What were some flashpoints? So, she goes, “Well, I’m a senior in high school. I come home from school, my mom has left a note. I’m- I’m-” They’re living on base. “I’m at the commissary, you know, getting- getting groceries. I’ll be back.” She starts doing her homework, there’s a knock on the door, opens the door, and there’s the base commander and the base chaplain.

Jim: Mm.

John Trent: Well, if you’re- if you’re a military kid, you don’t- you don’t wanna see the base comman- her dad had just died, uh, flew into a- a Sam Missile. This is back during Vietnam, and she said, you know, that uh, her mom came back, uh, finally, you know, from shopping, and she just fell apart. And within a year, she was living with her grandparents. They were, all, her whole life, she goes, there was, before dad died, there was after dad died.

Jim: Yeah, it was- it was the tipping point.

Kari: And it was instant, yeah.

John Trent: And it, but so, it, that’s the flashpoint. But then there’s something called untied transitions, and that’s like, where we’re saying, you know, well, “How did you deal with that?” And for her, she had never closed the loop on that.

Jim: Huh.

Kari: Hm.

John Trent: And that was that- that flashpoint. You know, that- that, it’s like somebody walking in and saying, “You’ve got cancer.”

Jim: Hm.

John Trent: Or your kid has cancer.

Kari: Mm.

John Trent: And boy, you look at your life story, and you have such a hard time thinking, well, there isn’t any more to my life story.

John Fuller: Mm.

John Trent: That flashpoint just can sometimes, on the negative side, can just freeze you. So that’s what we’re trying-

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: … to get people to do, is look at the strengths and the struggles.

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: Well, and to get back to image management and authentic living, often times, it’s those things that then create the patterns that we’re living in that create that image management.

John Trent: yeah.

Kari: You know, so out of that, she didn’t deal with it, so she couldn’t get close to people and have healthy relationships because she was so shut off and fearful that someone else was gonna bail out on her that was really important.

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: And when she saw that, she could begin to move into authentic living with Christ and with others.

Jim: Yeah, that’s a great outcome. John, I wanna- I wanna go back a little bit to the process because some people have heard us, last time and today, elude to, uh, kind of storytelling, and as a person who is talking with you, you’re anticipating about 20 to 30 3×5 cards that they’re gonna mark up, which are these milestones in their lives.

John Trent: Right.

Jim: Good and bad-

Kari: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … with all these, uh, you know, labels we put on them. The hill people from last time-

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: Flashpoints. In fact, um, this began to evolve for you, these- these points in your life. I think it was a dinner, an anniversary, first anniversary dinner?

John Trent: Well, oh yeah.

Jim: Now, okay now, let me just say, all the wives, go ahead and turn down however you’re listening to this right now because this is really bad.

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: (laughs)

John Trent: It was pretty bad.

Jim: What is it? First anniversary-

Kari: …with him and my mom.

John Fuller: (laughs)

John Trent: Yeah, but well, so you know, if you think about if I had a life map, you know, okay, maybe I’ve got some strengths, but you’ve got this freeze points, and then some flashpoints of tough things that have happened, and- and- and I… But I hadn’t really kind of closed the loop on them, and remember the image management we just talked about, you know? So now, I’m- I’m a youth pastor making all the good money.

Jim: Oh yeah, you’re in the dough (laughs).

John Trent: And we’ve been- we’ve been for a whole year-

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: And um, and for our anniversary, we- we decide to go to a marriage conference. And you guys do those, you know?

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: And, uh, Greg Smalley and you guys do such a great job at those. But I was in two softball leagues, I’m in my doctoral program, working all the time. We have no couple friends (laughs) ’cause we’re working all with kids. And uh, but I think we’re doing great, right? So, we go to this conference and we’re driving back and we have a Maverick. And- and there were-

John Fuller: That word, Maverick.

Jim: Jean had a Maverick.

John Trent: There were never a…

Jim: My wife, Jean, had a Maverick.

John Trent: Okay well, bench seats.

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: That’s how you get two other couples. So there’s, so we could get-

John Fuller: Six, three and three.

John Trent: … six people in the car. Three and three, three up in the front, three in the back, and we drive back, and I go, “Hey, let’s do something. Let’s go, you know what? We’ve just been to this great, uh, marriage thing,” and- and- and I had canceled some softball games to go, so I’m thinking I’m, you know, let’s go around and one to ten, just talk about how, you know, where we’re at on our marriage.

Kari: No.

John Trent: We’d all been, all in the same Sunday school class, all been married a year or less.

Jim: All together.

John Trent: Yeah, all together-

Jim: Yeah, good.

John Trent: … in the car, and uh, so I go-

Kari: This is a bad idea.

John Trent: Cindy, we’ll start- we’ll start. I know. We’ll start, and Cindy goes, “Well-”

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: “Uh, I don’t wanna do it.” And I thought-

John Fuller: (laughs)

John Trent: Oh, really funny.

Jim: That may have been the first clue.

John Trent: Oh, and I, but I- I- always with the jokes, come on. She does know I was joking. She goes, “No, I don’t wanna do it.” No, come on, you know? She goes, “Well, I- I’d say we’re probably a three.”

Jim: On a scale of one to 10.

John Trent: Yeah.

John Fuller: Hm.

Kari: Oh.

Jim: 10 being good.

John Trent: I’m telling you, the tension level in the car goes “zzzzzzttttt,” right to the top. Nobody else wants to share their one to 10.

Kari: (laughs)

John Trent: But I- I drop off the first couple, “Oh, real funny, Cindy.” Drop off the second couple. And as soon as we get around the corner, you know, I’m going, I- I mean, you, otters have teeth, you know? We’re- we’re, you know, you and I are pretty verbal, and I- I go, “Do you know what they’re doing right now? They’re calling the senior pastor. We are toast.” You know? And do you have any idea, and she goes, “Well, you know what? If you,” she, and she has beautiful blue eyes, so when she looks at me and she goes, “Look at me.” She goes, “If you don’t want me to answer a question like that, then don’t ask.”

John Fuller: Mm.

John Trent: And I kind of drop my head, and she goes, “And I gave you a point,” because you know, “I- I gave you a point.” And I go, “Well, thank you, one whole point.” So let’s get this straight-

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: I’m- I’m in seminary. I’m being paid to be good. I’m on a pastoral team, and I’m at a two, and it’s been a year, you know, so you see what I’m getting at?

Jim: Oh yeah.

John Trent: And I remember just, all of a sudden, ’cause this leads to kinda getting that clear plan, I remember saying, “Okay,” you know, dropping my head, and I said, “Well, all right, help me. What would be one thing that moved it from a two to a three or-”

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: “…or a four?” And we began to again, kind of create a… ‘Cause I had a clear plan on how to have a crummy home. I was living that out, okay? What I didn’t have was a clear plan that really got me moving towards God’s best.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: So, that’s what we do kind of, in LifeMapping, is when that person comes to the point where, all right, forget the image management. Forget you know, trying to be perfect. Okay, it’s time to, for me, I had to deal with some of the struggles and some of the untied tr- see, you know what I mean? I, so, you know, and so, just we began to say, with our marriage, you know? In our spiritual life, you know? We began to use those cards to come up with a plan-

Jim: Right.

John Trent: … that really, and man, just having a plan. Um, I- I, there was a interesting study and done years ago with Easy Bake, uh, you know, Betty Crocker has this Easy- Easy Bake kind of a thing, and they made it too easy.

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: So- so-

Jim: I wouldn’t know anything about that. I’m sorry.

John Trent: I know right now is you have to add an egg.

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: If they just added one step, you know, so oh, I got a plan. I can add one, I can just throw in an egg and I can do this. But they needed one, they needed a plan. They needed something. People need-

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

John Trent: … that sense, and so that’s what this is all…

Jim: Kari, let me ask you. In there-

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: … you- you refer to three key words for people to keep in mind when considering their plans and their goals. What are those three words?

Kari: Yeah, you know, I mean, credibility, confidence, and communication are- are really kinda those three Cs. And- and really what we’re talking about here is sort of a process for- for creating energy and movement forward. Um, you know, so far we’ve looked at the past and then, why, where am I stuck? But really now, we’re trying to build that momentum to get people moving towards a positive future.

And one of those key things, um, really is the confidence to do that because even just having a plan adds that extra layer of confidence. Well, I’m not just shooting in the dark, I- I have a step in front of me.

Jim: Right.

Kari: Even if it’s a small step, I can do that. And so, it’s really encouraging people to begin that process of movement. Um, and also, to do that within community, which is kind of that communication piece. I mean, we were not created to do life alone and you know, a lot of us, we’ve got challenges, but we don’t have people to walk with us.

Jim: Right.

Kari: And so-

Jim: Back to the yesterdays.

Kari: Absolutely.

John Fuller: Yeah, yeah, the comment.

Kari: Um, which is critical, you know? And we- we’re going to get farther down the road and we’re going to stay on track when we have those people. And so it’s really encouraging people to build that kind of community and connection around that.

And then that credibility piece of, you know, we wanna be the real deal. You know? This isn’t just about behavior modification and you know, you shared that in the story. There was a heart change and a humility that had to take place in order for that to really begin to change, you know, your relationship. And so-

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: We wanna be authentic from the inside out, not just change our behavior.

Jim: You know, so often though, that authenticity, some people, if they’re not perfect in it, then they’re not authentic-

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: … and that’s not-

Kari: Well-

Jim: I don’t think perfection is the point.

Kari: No, not at all.

Jim: It’s driving toward being more who you are consistently.

Kari: Yes.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: And-

John Trent: And- and you know, we’re all image managers to a degree.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: Sure.

John Trent: You walk up, you go out to dinner and the waitress walks up, you’ve had a crummy day, and they go, “How you doing?” And you’re gonna go, “Fine.” That’s-

Jim: (laughs) No. Worse, worse, when the food is terrible.

Kari: Oh yeah.

John Trent: (laughs)

Jim: And they walk up and say, “How’s your food?”

John Fuller: [inaudible 00:15:43]

Jim: And you go, “Oh, great.”

John Trent: Okay…

Jim: And you were just talking about how bad it was.

Kari: Yeah (laughs).

Jim: That’s the most unauthentic moment of my life.

John Trent: It is. It is.

Jim: This is horrible. Oh yeah, it’s good, good. Thanks.

Kari: Great.

John Trent: But- but- but that’s totally different than trying to go home and be in an image management where you’ve got a public self and a private self and they’re two different things.

Jim: Mm.

John Trent: So, get that plan. I mean, with Cindy and I, man, I had to start, I needed to get in a small group, for example, that connection.

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: I needed, uh, I needed just a friend, uh, who would say, you know, uh, “How are you doing really?”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: You know, and- and that kind of a thing.

John Fuller: Mm. Our guests today on Focus on the Family are Kari Trent Stageberg and her dad, Dr. John Trent. And we’re talking about some great concepts, uh, getting traction in life, moving toward a plan. Uh, this is such helpful stuff and you’re gonna find so much more in their book. It’s called, Where Do I Go From Here? LifeMapping Your Way from Personal Chaos to Purposeful Calm. And of course, we have copies of that book here. Our number’s 800-A-FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Kari, what does it mean to live in learned helplessness?

Kari: Yeah, you know, learned helplessness is a term. A scientific study was done and I’m not gonna go into details because it’s horrifically sad, but essentially, the purpose of the study was to determine, can a specific type of animal- animal become so hopeless that they just give up? And the reality is, is yes. And even if the threat is removed, they’re so conditioned to just give up, that they’re not gonna move even when the threat is gone.

Jim: Right.

Kari: And that can happen to us as people-

Jim: Huh.

Kari: … as well. We’re so conditioned. Man, I- I’ve tried so many times and it hasn’t worked. Or I’ve tried and I’ve- I’ve failed, you know, and- and we- we get so conditioned that we just can’t move forward. And so, really what we’ve built into LifeMapping is the opposite of that, which we call learned hopefulness. And it’s actually planning to fail, which is my favorite part of LifeMapping because you know, I’ve got enough otter in me where I create a plan and it’s basically laughable-

Jim: (laughs)

Kari: … that it’s gonna actually go according to plan. And so, but when you have a plan for when things get off track, or when things get hard, or when you blow it big time, you’re a lot more likely to actually get back on track.

Jim: Mm. No, that’s good.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: And I like that, that idea of hopefulness. That’s the goal, right?

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: It- it is, and you know, do you remember a long time ago when, uh, GPS first came out on your phone?

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: Do you remember that voice?

Jim: Barely.

John Trent: Remember that voice that would go-

Kari: Recalculating.

John Trent: Recalculating-

Kari: Recalculating.

John Trent: … or rerouting.

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: Rerouting.

Jim: I think it still does that actually.

John Trent: Yeah, I know, I hate that.

John Fuller: (laughs)

John Trent: You know, now, on most phones, now it just, you know, it just takes you, okay, you got off track-

John Fuller: (laughs)

John Trent: But see, that’s life. People think life is linear, and it’s not. You know, we- we talk about how it seems like chaos, but what we’re trying to say is, God has been there in every step of your life.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: In the strengths, in the struggles, when you were an image manager, I mean, when that was almost professional, and when you decided, no, I wanna be the real thing. And I’m gonna get a plan. Uh, but anytime you get a plan, you’re basically begging that plan to be blown up.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: You know?

John Fuller: (laughs)

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: And then at that point, you know, though, you’re saying, “Okay Lord,” uh, let me give an example. You know, working with this lady and she’s making a bunch of progress individually, and then all of a sudden, she had a- a kid that went off the rails. And so, let’s push pause on the life map. We gotta deal with this over here. Now, she comes back to it. Well, then her husband had a, there was a challenge with her husband. She had to push pau- do you see what I’m getting at? So, there’s that sense in which it was like, rerouting, rerouting.

Jim: Right, okay, yeah.

John Trent: So, I wanna- I wanna live out this cool life plan ’cause that’s creative and it’s energy-

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: … and what God gives us to move towards him, but learned hopefulness is that- that sense of, “Okay Lord, even if that, uh, you know, if something challenges that,” uh, can I give you a real quick example? Going home for Christmas-

Kari: Mm.

John Trent: We work with a lot of people where, we’re looking at their life maps, and what’s something that could blow up your plan? And it’s so funny, but a lot of people go home and they’re back, and they’re-

Kari: They’re in high school again.

John Trent: … They may be a 35 year old, but they’re 16 years old when they go home. Or that, maybe their parents, you know, don’t know the Lord, and they’re showing your kids stuff, and you’re just, you’re thinking, oh my gosh, you know, here I am, I’m trying to, you know, and it’s, so it’s all right, what are the things that are, that could, you know, again, blow up that plan? And then starting saying, “Okay Lord, uh, I- I’m gonna anticipate that,” and- and it- it really is a huge help in terms of getting people to move forward.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: I’m thinking, you know, someone’s listening. The key, to me, is a person that’s feeling helpless, “What’s my first step to feeling hopeful?”

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, that- that’s gotta be the right question they should ask.

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah, and I- and I think so much of that is, you know, more of the same never brings change. And a lot of times, our actions dictate feelings, not the reverse, and so when we actually start moving, all of a sudden, we begin to feel that energy, we begin to see that difference. And I think for so many people, this is the place where they begin to realize things can actually be different.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: Because they go home and they’ve anticipated some of those challenges, and it’s like, “Oh, I don’t have to do it the same way that I’ve been doing it.”

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: There is a way out or, you know, I wasn’t perfect, but man, it was 10 times better than what it has been.

Jim: Why do you think we- we avoid changing if the outcome is the same for us in certain situations? What-

Kari: I mean, change is hard. It- it is.

Jim: Yeah. Is that the simple answer?

Kari: It- I- I think so. I mean, I know for me, change is hard-

Jim: Right.

Kari: And- and also, we get comfortable in those roles, and a lot of times, it takes effort and energy to break out and do something different.

Jim: It’s very illogical.

John Trent: It is.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, it really is.

John Trent: But- but I’m telling you, when you have somebody telling you, “You’re pathetic. You can’t do it,” a lot of times, that just erases. We go right back there and just, we’re kind of where we started on day one, where we talked a little bit about how, do you remember how- how you just cannot, uh, move forward because you’re just, you know-

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: … the key to change is in the past. Boy, they never liked me, and so, here I am over here with my plan, but boy, this can’t change, and all of a sudden, you begin to realize, when you look at the totality of that LifeMap, that was over here. The Lord’s with me over here. I really can change.

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: You know?

Jim: Let me ask you this, the f- final part of the LifeMap process is creating a memorial marker.

Kari: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, I guess, what is a memorial marker, and how does it relate to the memorials that God has his people in the Old Testament go through?

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Well, real- real quick, the um, terms of the scriptural example, remember one of them was, where you know, he leads the nation of Israel not only across the Red Sea, but also across the Jordan at flood stage.

Kari: Mm.

John Trent: And then, they go across on dry land and then they come back and get those stones and pile them up. So that’s the memorial marker. And then it’s like, bring your kids back here and look at that, and let it be a reminder.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: So, what we try to do with people is say, “Okay, what’s something that can give you a picture of where you wanna go,” I’ll- I’ll give you an example, and for those that are listening, I’m opening a- a- a piece of paper.

Jim: An old piece of paper.

John Trent: A really old piece of paper that’s taped together, and this would be an example of a memorial marker. Now, it could be anything. You know, it could be a rock, you know? We went to, uh-

Jim: Right.

John Trent: … camp and I got a- I got a rock when we were up in the mountains there, in Colorado, and- and it’s on your desk and it’s a reminder of some decisions you made, uh, you know, to-

Jim: That’s cool.

John Trent: But for me, you know, I used to hate my dad, and so much of my energy… And then I became a Christian, and I just intensely disliked him. And then I began to grow in Christ and realize, I’m becoming just like him, and I don’t even know him, you know?

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: And- and uh, so then I meet my great uncle. And my great uncle is my dad’s uncle, and it was a total accident that I met him in Texas. But he ended up becoming the closest thing I’ve ever had to a dad. And long story short, uh, he writes me this letter when he’s dying, okay?

Jim: Hm.

John Trent: And he goes, “It’s gonna come a surprise to you, but I’ve decided to do a living will.” Anybody, have you ever had-

Jim: Sure, yeah.

John Trent: … to do that, where you’re the one that’s saying it’s time, okay?

Jim: Right.

John Trent: And so, he says his lawyers gonna contact me and- and all this stuff, and he goes, “Thank you, John. You’ve helped me so much in the past and I’m sure you’ll continue to do so because you are my son.”

Jim: Hm.

John Trent: And I can’t even tell you, I had somebody, remember those high hill people?

Jim: Yeah.

John Trent: I had somebody in my life. Now, my dad, I carry his name, but he never chose to bless me-

Jim: To be your father.

John Trent: … or to say something, yeah. And, uh, even to the day he died, I held- I held his hand for eight and a half hours as he cussed at me for praying for him, and I didn’t preach. It’s just, he died of congestive heart and lung failure. It’s a terrible way to die. And I just prayed for mercy for him, um, but I never got the blessing from him, but I’m telling you, I got it in print.

John Fuller: Hm.

John Trent: So- so, it’s like, okay Lord, can I really change? Remember Josiah?

Jim: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: In scripture? His grandfather was horrible. His dad was just as bad. And he says, “And Josiah walked in all the ways of his father, David.” Wait a minute, his father was actually this other, he had to switch fathers. Do you see what I’m getting at?

Jim: Yeah, oh, I do.

John Trent: Josiah had to-

Jim: Identity again.

John Trent: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: The identity. And so, you know, I’ve got Jesus. I- I’ve got at least one person in my life that said, “You’re my son,” and all of a sudden-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

John Trent: … you know, that purpose begins to be there and- and so that’s what we love about LifeMapping is when people, you know, find something. Uh, we heard of a guy where he, you know, got blown up in Afghanistan, and he still kept the boots from, uh, they had blood on them and everything, but they were a reminder that, okay, I lived and, you know, God’s not done with me.

Kari: Yeah.

John Fuller: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Right. Well, this is all so good, and you know, it’s hard to capture this, but-

John Trent: Yeah (laughs).

Jim: We’ve got the book.

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: And, you know, that’s the place to go, and I hope you can get in touch with us and let us provide that to you. It’s called, Where Do I Go From Here? And the people that you’ve done this with, it’s really changed their lives.

Kari: Yeah.

Jim: So, that’s the proof in the pudding.

John Trent: Yeah.

Jim: So, get ahold of us here at Focus. We have caring Christian counselors. We can start there if you’re in difficulty.

But if you’re connecting with this and you’re saying, I just need a map. I need to know what to do. Let’s do it together. And if you can make a gift of any amount, uh, monthly or one time, we’ll send it to you as our, the book, as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry. If you can’t afford it, we’ll get it to you. We’ll trust others will cover the cost of that. Just get in touch with us and let’s change what you’re doing for the better and for Christ.

John Fuller: Hm.

John Trent: Amen.

John Fuller: Yeah, we’re a phone call away. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word, FAMILY. 800-232-6459, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: All right, Kari, John, thanks so much for being with us. This has been really good, thank you.

John Trent: Well, thank you.

Kari: Yeah, thanks for having us.

John Trent: What an honor to get to, you know, I started with you guys in Arcadia, California-

Jim: (laughs)

John Trent: And uh, and now-

Jim: That’s a few moons ago.

John Trent: … That was beautiful Arcadia.

Jim: (laughs)

Kari: Yeah.

John Trent: That was a little bit ago, yeah.

Jim: But it’s so good.

John Trent: It’s great to have Kari here, too.

Jim: Yeah.

Kari: Yeah, it’s been three generations right here so.

Jim: Yeah, there, right. Number two is on the way.

Kari: Number two is on the way.

Jim: That’s fantastic.

John Fuller: And thank you for joining us today for Focus on the Family. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I’m John Fuller, inviting you back next time as we 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

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