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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Living Out Loud: Embracing Your Confidence

Living Out Loud: Embracing Your Confidence

Deborah Pegues offers biblical advice to help listeners throw off the weight of insecurity and experience God’s peace. She describes symptoms of insecurity, like envy and people pleasing, and discusses the importance of overcoming perfectionism. Deborah closes by encouraging believers to rest on God’s promises and pursue His peace.
Original Air Date: April 11, 2022

Preview:

Deborah Pegues: We all have some area of our lives where we are not sure of our adequacy. And so I just say, “Okay.” It’s learned behavior. You can learn to be confident, but we learn through what we were told as a child or through authority figures or by failing and somebody poking fun at us about that. So it’s all learned. But the thing is, it can be unlearned.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Well, that’s Deborah Pegues, and she joins us today on Focus on the Family. And your host if Focus president and author, Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, something I tried to drill into my boys as they were growing up was kind of a healthy identity in Christ, right?

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s where it all starts. And boy, as parents, that’s the one thing you have to do with your kids as best as you can. And, uh, they need to know that their worth isn’t in their behavior or in their activities, sports, whatever. Their identity as Christians is in Christ. And I’m convinced, uh, we adults need to hear that from time to time, as well.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: It’s so easy to drift and look for security in things outside of God. It might be the nice car, the nice house, the title, whatever. Um, but left on our own, we’ll always struggle with insecurity and lean into those things that are the more worldly-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … applications rather than knowing who we are in Christ. And today, we’re gonna have a great chat with, uh, someone who will help you, uh, really understand your confidence, not in yourself, but in your relationship with Christ and what the Lord can do with that kind of strong, healthy confidence.

John: Yeah, we, we can have peace apart from all the external stuff that we think is gonna satisfy, and Deborah Pegues, uh, she’s got a background in the corporate world. She’s a Bible teacher who speaks internationally. She’s a really popular guest here at Focus and returns today for a conversation about a book c- uh, that she wrote called 30 Days to a Stronger, More Confident You: Secrets to Bold and Fearless Living. And you can stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY to get your copy.

Jim: Deborah, it’s so good to have you back.

Deborah: Thank you so much. It’s just a delight, and I’m just honored at the opportunity to be here.

Jim: You, uh… Let me start here. You seem like a ball of energy.

Deborah: (laughs) I am.

Jim: Is this how you are all day long?

Deborah: I, I am. My husband says I’m like that hummingbird. He has some pet hummingbirds, and-

Jim: Oh.

Deborah: … they just buzz around (laughs).

Jim: (laughs) I can see that. I mean-

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: … you’re just fun to be with. And, uh-

Deborah: Well, thank you. I, I enjoy life.

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

Deborah: I do, I do.

Jim: Where do you think that came from?

Deborah: Romans 8:28.

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: You, you know I’m a walking Bible. But, but, but everything works together for my good. I mean, the stuff that just, that I can never figure out. I mean, some things happen, even on this trip, that I can’t figure out what the good was, but I’m like, in the scheme of things when it’s all said and done, something good’s gonna come out of that.

John: Hm.

Jim: That is a thriving attitude, though.

Deborah: It is.

Jim: Uh, but not many people possess it.

Deborah: Well, I know. That’s why I’m, I’m on a mission to make sure that people do. I don’t tolerate disappointment very long and sadness, because why would I when God has allowed it? Everyday ordained for me was already written in His book.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: How about that?

Jim: I mean, it re- is really is the basis for what we’re talking about here.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, in your great book, 30 Days to a Stronger, More Confident You, uh, one of the things you say you have to do first is to diagnose your level of insecurity.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: Now, I don’t, I don’t know… I mean, John, do you feel insecure in some areas?

John: A- all the time around you.

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: No, I’m serious.

John: No, I think back to being a teenager, which is kind of where it really hit a high level.

Jim: Everybody’s insecure as a teenager.

John: And it just continues.

Deborah: About something.

Jim: Yeah.

John: But it, but it never really leaves I don’t think for a lot of us.

Deborah: No, it doesn’t.

Jim: So, so what’s that, that check that you recommend people do today how insecure are you?

Deborah: Well first of all, I, I say what it, what… Let’s just talk about what insecurity is, because that means to be not sure.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: Okay. That’s what the word means, not sure.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: So we all have some area of our lives where we are not sure of our adequacy. And so I just say, okay, it’s learned behavior. It really is learned behavior. You can learn to be confident, but we learn through what were told a- as a child or through authority figures, or by failing and somebody poking fun at us about that. So it’s all learned, but the thing is, it can be unlearned. And that’s what I like. And it’s really not about developing self-confidence, ’cause I’m adamantly opposed to that concept.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Self-confidence. Think about that. Confidence means with trust.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: Self-confidence means with trust in self.

Jim: Your- yourself. Right.

Deborah: That’s not good. The Bible says, “He who trusts in himself is a fool.” So I’m not trying to be a fool.

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: That’s good.

Deborah: Not trying to be a fool.

Jim: No, that’s good.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: I would also say insecurity seems to be rooted in comparison.

John: Hm.

Jim: I mean, that’s a problem, and our culture is rife with comparison, right?

Deborah: Absolutely.

Jim: What we drive, were we live, what job we have, uh, who our friends are.

Deborah: We’re bombarded with the commercials. Every commercial, and I, I, I consciously watch them now to look for that piece that says you’re inadequate, you need something.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: So every commercial says either you need this new car, or you need this ti-… You need whatever so that you can now be acceptable or, or even superior. So we, we do that. So many people buy, buy self-esteem. You know, I’m a CPA by training, and I oftentimes help people with their budgets, and I see people buy things so, that other people esteem so they can be esteemed, because if I have that item and people esteem that, perhaps they’ll esteem me.

Jim: Your finger’s-

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: … right on it. I mean, that’s materialism, right?

Deborah: It, it is, it is.

Jim: Let, let’s get the scripture in here. Uh, David, who we all adore and for different reasons, but, uh, King David, his brother-

John: Hm.

Jim: … uh, was an example that you used in the book that, that talked about envy.

Deborah: Yeah. Eliab, David’s brother. When God told Samuel to anoint a king, the first thing Samuel did when he saw that tall, handsome Eliab, he said, “That’s the one. He looks kingly.” And God says, “No, no, no. That’s not it.” Because later on when, um, was time to fight Goliath, David came down to the battlefield, and we all know the story. But Eliab’s saying, “What are you doing down here?” And, and all, everybody was running from the giant. But here’s what I like about this story. Eliab’s name meant God is my Father. That’s what it name means. But he was running from the giant. How many of us do that? We say, “God is our Father,” but we’re afraid. We have this giant insecurity that makes us act like God is not our Father.

Jim: Hm. That is good.

Deborah: We act like God is not our Father. Just think about it. If we really embrace the truth that God is omniscient, you know, He’s alway- He knows everything, He’s always present, and He’s all-powerful, and we have that spirit in us. You show up differently, Jim. You show up differently. You show up with confidence, because it’s not in yourself. You know that you have a spirit in you that knows everything. Now, you’re not gonna know everything, but you’re gonna know everything you need to know when you need to know it.

Jim: Yeah. And, and envy is one of the three, uh, symptoms that you state of-

Deborah: Oh.

Jim: … insecurity.

Deborah: Oh, absolutely.

Jim: What are the other two?

Deborah: Well, the other two are people pleasing and workaholism. And, um, and I, you know, d-… Let me just talk about that envy just a little bit, ’cause people, uh, sometimes confuse that with jealousy.

Jim: Uh-huh

Deborah: But jealousy is rooted in fear. Jealousy says, “I’m afraid that you’re gonna take what I have,” and that’s a form of insecurity, as well. But envy says, “I want what you have, and because I don’t have it, I feel ill-will towards you.” So that’s rooted in discontentment. We don’t have to be insecure about what God has given us. You know, as a speaker, we ti- we sometimes compare, you know, or all the-

Jim: (laughs) Yeah.

Deborah: … people who are more popular than I am, they have huge followings. And I have to tell you this real quickly. Just the other day, I said, “I just don’t have anybody. I’m, I’m, I’m… My father isn’t a famous preacher, or I don’t have…” I said, “I’m nobody’s daughter.” I was like, I stopped right in my tracks.

Jim: Yeah, right? (laughs)

Deborah: Oh really?

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Deborah: So at the Lord, I said-

Jim: You of all people.

Deborah: Yeah. You’re nobody’s daughter? Like, oh, you’re not God’s daughter? Oh, okay, okay. (laughs) But we have to learn how to be content with what God, the track He’s put us on. And that, and you show up differently, as well, when you know that.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Because now you can be secure knowing if He’s ordained my path, how can I fail?

Jim: You know what’s a little scary about envy is it’s in Galatians 5:19. It’s the fruit of the other guy-

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: … the enemy.

Deborah: Works of the flesh.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s one of his-

Deborah: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … attributes is envy.

Deborah: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: Isn’t that… That’s horrible.

Deborah: Well, it’s horrible, but w- once we, we have to be, uh, conscious of it. So when I talk about assessing your level of insecurity, ask yourself, “Whom do I envy and why? Why do I envy that person?” You know? But then you asked me the question about what the other two were, people pleasing, insecure people like to please people because they’re so afraid of being rejected and alienated. That’s a big deal. We don’t want to be rejected. We don’t want to be isolated. We were born to be in community with people.

Jim: Yeah. Deborah, that one can be difficult because I think we can confuse that with the fruit of the spirit, the right fruit, you know, where we want to be kind and considerate and people pleasing. How do you distinguish where that line should be, and where it’s unhealthy versus, you know, spiritually good?

Deborah: Well, you look at your underlying motive. Why do I want to p- pay for lunch for you all the time? So you can like me.

Jim: I think that’s a great idea.

Deborah: I think it’s a great idea, too, if you’re the one paying.

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs)

John: I heard you just offered to do that.

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: I think we’re going to lunch today. But-

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: … you meant-

Deborah: We want to be accepted.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: And so if that’s the motive, it’s coming from the wrong place.

Deborah: Right. So you have to look at the why. Why am I doing this? I, I’m always analyzing myself and questioning my motives. The, the Psalm says God desires truth in the inward parts, meaning don’t lie to yourself. Just understand what’s motivating you, you know, really. That’s in Psalm 51. God desires us to be truthful to ourselves. And so I have to ask myself that. I’ve done things in my life to ingratiate myself to people. I’ll admit that. I wasn’t just networking. I was really trying to get on their good side, ’cause they had great influence. (laughs)

Jim: Right. So there was motivation there.

Deborah: There was motivation, but there, but what I forgot and, and have to remind myself that favor comes from God, not from my maneuvering my ability to network effectively. (laughs)

Jim: Whew. Uh, that is a huge statement.

John: Mm-hmm.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, that, I-

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: I think Christians as well as non-Christians get that one all muddled.

Deborah: Well, we do, and that’s why, you see, that’s why I’m adamant about people walking out the scriptures and making it a practical part of your life, because there have been times I couldn’t get favor with people, and it’s like, “Oh, you’re relying on them? You’re so insecure and, and, and not believing God that you think that person can have influence on your career, and I can’t? I’m everybody’s Father. I may not be everybody’s Lord. God is everybody’s Father.”

Jim: Right.

Deborah: So I don’t have to know, get somebody who knows that person, who knows that person. (laughs) God’s everybody’s Father.

Jim: And again, when you have that attitude, you’re walking in peace.

Deborah: Oh, now that’s a good word.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Because peace is the opposite of insecurity. Because it’s, it’s anxiety producing to be insecure.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Deborah: But what if you just know and you just, you just show up with the, with the mindset that says, “I’m more than a conqueror. I’m always winning.” See, I mean, you need to say that ’cause faith comes by hearing.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: I need to say that, that I’m always winning.

Jim: When you, when you look at today’s culture, how much of that is in play right now-

John: Hm.

Jim: … when you look at the church kind of bending to cultural-

Deborah: Absolutely.

Jim: … um, appetites.

Deborah: Abs-… A- in almost every area, I am totally alarmed by the fact that now we seem to be more political than biblical. Think about that.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: We’re embracing things that are not all, not always biblical because we’re having alignment with a political party or whatever. And I’m concerned about that. I’m praying about it. I’m not voicing out a lot about it, but I know that prayer works (laughs). And so we gonna have to look at that. How are we influenced by the culture, because we are. I think that one of the greatest problems in the church is that the world has gotten in the church. The church is more worldly, and we haven’t made the world more churchly (laughs), if that’s a word.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: But we’ve become more worldly.

Jim: Yeah. And, uh, that’s the point. Uh, workaholism.

Deborah: Ah.

Jim: Uh, this one’s gonna hit a lot of people, um, that-

Deborah: W- yeah.

Jim: … idea that we derive our value, our worth out of how long we work in a given day.

Deborah: Well, I’d have to say I’m the first one who would gave to raise your hand. Every job I’ve ever been on, and I, I work for myself now, my car is the last one in the parking lot. And once I just asked myself, especially when I worked at a church and everybody thought I did a great job, and once somebody tells you do a great job, you want to do a greater job so you can keep getting those accolades. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: So knowing, you have to know when you’re performance oriented. Again, it goes back to asking yourself why. What’s motivating me? And I think I like the fact that everybody says, “She’s a really hard worker. She has her stuff together.” It’s like, “Keep saying that.” (laughs)

Jim: Well, it makes you feel good.

Deborah: It makes you feel good. Rather than just doing as unto the Lord, you know, you’re working as unto the Lord, you want to be excellent, because that’s what God requires. No, I wanted to be excellent because everybody spoke of the fact that I was excellent. So I was like, “That’s, let’s keep that going.” That’s not good. It messes with your health.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Deborah: You know, really, it does. Just, uh, it’ll mess with your relationship.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Darnell finally put some guidelines, though. Okay, on Fridays, you can’t work late. That’s date night. So whatever’s going down, you have to be done about 5:00 (laughs).

Jim: (laughs) Good for Darnell.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: I like that. But you’re, you’re saying this is all rooted in insecurity.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: Whether its envy, people pleasing-

Deborah: Right.

Jim: … or workaholism-

Deborah: Right.

Jim: … that these are to get accolades from others-

Deborah: Absolutely.

Jim: … and feel better about yourself.

Deborah: Right. Feel better about yourself. And we do all kinds of things to feel better about ourselves, and we have to be honest about it. Even when you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” You have to be honest about what your intention is.

John: Well, today on Focus on the Family, we have Deborah Pegues. And, uh, she’s written this great book, 30 Days to a Stronger, More Confident You: Secrets to Bold and Fearless Living. And you can hear the energy and passion in her voice. Uh, it’s a great resource. Get your copy when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Uh, and Deborah, I’m, I’m wondering. Is there a balance between God and my part in what He’s doing?

Deborah: Absolutely. I love to tell everybody we are in a supernatural relationship with God, supernatural. I do what I’m supposed to do in the natural, He puts the super on it. (laughs) Yes. I do what I’m supposed to do. I go, I go to school, I, I get credentials, I work hard, but I don’t let my faith rest there. I have… If it’s so-… Because there will come a time when your credentials and all of that will not be sufficient for the task. You can ask Daniel about that (laughs)-

John: Hm.

Deborah: … who had the ability to interpret dreams. He was skilled in that, anointed to do that. But there came a time when he had to interpret a dream that the king couldn’t even remember what the dream was. He wasn’t skilled in telling people what you dreamed. He’s, he was skilled if you told him what it was, then I can tell you what it meant. And I learned from that. I learned from… I read that story often, because there would be many times, there would be a gap between that, what’s required and what you have available. That’s where God comes in and put His supernatural imp- impression up on it, His supernatural influence. So yes, we are in a supernatural partnership with God.

Jim: I love that.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: I want to take us back to roadblock to confidence-

Deborah: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … because you, you mention perfectionism is one of those roadblocks.

John: Hm.

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: Uh, I think I can relate to that, but give me the definition of perfectionism.

Deborah: Well, perfectionism is that thing that’s, uh, that says it’s got to be exactly right, because it’s, is really, it’s really rooted in the fear of being criticized. So if I can be perfect, then nobody’ll criticize me, then I won’t have to be reminded that I have some vulnerabilities, some inadequacies. So we s- we strive with that. That’s what… It’s rooted in the fear. That fear of being criticized is very real. And you know what, it just makes everybody crazy. And the, and interesting thing is people relate to us on our v- vulnerabilities more than they do our perfections. And so it’s really makes you more relatable when you can say, “I’m not really good at that.” You know, that’s why I willingly confess to people I don’t… I have to still battle fear. It shows up. I don’t like flying. I’m just… You don’t want to sit by me. You may be embarrassed when I… When we get turbulence, you probably won’t know I’m a Christian. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: I’m cutting up. I’m not saying things, I’m just cutting up. (laughs)

Jim: You’re like that woman. I was on a flight one time, and this random stranger woman just grabbed my hand, said, “Can I hold your hand? I’m afraid of flying.” I was like, “Uh, okay.

John: (laughs)

Jim: If that gives you some kind of comfort.” (laughs)

Deborah: You know, you know what would be funny, Jim, if that, if you were that guy, ’cause I did that with a guy. And he was, he was… I’m black, he was white. And it was way, way back when. And I just grabbed his hand. I said, “Sir, I’m sorry. I’m gonna need to hold your hand until we get airborne. I’ll let you go when we get up.”

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs) it’s-

Jim: Uh, it was fine, but yeah. I never knew that my gentlemanliness could be used in that way, but that was great. Um, Deborah, I do want to come back to something you mentioned there.

Deborah: Okay.

Jim: This idea of perfectionism. And then earlier, we talked about doing everything under the Lord with excellence.

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: So what’s that, you know, for the person that’s struggles to discern where is it my perfectionism and where is it my excellence for the Lord?

Deborah: Motive.

Jim: Okay.

Deborah: Perfectionism is, is based on you seeing me in the best light. Excellence is about making sure the project is done well. It really is about understanding that, because you have… Listen, I ran a department once, and I didn’t want anybody messing up, because I was the first woman to be in that department to head that kind of a thing. And one guy just kept messing up, and I’m like, “Don’t y’all make me look bad.” When now was the goal there really to glorify God? No. It was, like, don’t make me look bad. (laughs)

Jim: Okay, that’s not a good motive.

Deborah: That’s not a good motive. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: So again, that perfectionism, you have to understand why. What’s driving that? I’m trying to make sure I am presented in the best light, and that I don’t get criticized because it’s excellent, but for the wrong reason. But when I just pursue doing something well, I want to do this as unto the Lord, because God deserves the best, therein is the difference.

Jim: Yeah. How you, you-

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: Attitude toward it.

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: Um, explain why Christians today can find confidence in the promises that God made to ancient Israel. I, I love this question, because so many friends of mine that relate to the New Testament struggle relating to the Old Testament. So how do those ancient stories actually play into this idea of confidence today?

Deborah: Oh, my goodness. The… First of all, the entire Bible is relevant for, for everyday living. And I love the stories-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Deborah: … because they show us how to apply them. I like it, uh, when David showed up to fight Goliath, and he was so proportionately inadequate. And he s- and Goliath says, “I’m gonna take your head off.” And he says, “Oh, no. I’m gonna take your head off, ’cause, see, you’re coming to me, you know, with all your armor, but I’m coming in the name of the Lord.” Listen, that gives you confidence. He understood it. He got it. He got it. He knew that God was bigger than Goliath. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: He just knew it, because God is not limited by those kinds of things. And those Old Testament stories help us to realize God’s not limited to stats and facts and all of that. So even when you read about Abraham, and the Bible says he didn’t stagger at the promises of God, he didn’t consider his own body dead. You know, he didn’t consider those facts. The, the, those were realities, but he says, “But I’m not gonna focus on that. My confidence is gonna be that the God who is promised, He is able to perform that which He has said.” That’s good stuff. I read more Old Testament stories. I’ll just go back and read that. I was just reading that other day. He considered not h- the debtness of his wound.” I’m like, “Oh, yes,” ’cause I’m doing a study on facts and reality and how we just get so stuck in our education, and we don’t think, we don’t expect things above that, we don’t go outside of that realm, my experience. And especially women. We, we won’t apply for a job unless we have all the qualifications. They say a man will apply if he has half the qualific- (laughs) half the qualifications.

Jim: Or less. (laughs) I think that’s fair.

Deborah: Yeah, yeah. So those stories are relevant.

John: Hm.

Jim: Uh, you, you know, bringing you into a practical example, um, you had a challenging financing project I think for a church.

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: Uh, how did, how did God show up? How’d you rely on God? It’s a modern-day example of an Old Testament story probably.

Deborah: Well, it, I, I… Several ways He showed up during that project, but we had a, a very complicated financing where they use what they call swap agreements. I wasn’t really familiar with that aspect of financing, but I remember sitting around the table with a bunch of bankers who were trying to negotiate this $33 million dollar loan, and I’m thinking, “God, you gotta show up big time today.” (laughs) But you know what? They asked me questions, and, and I didn’t think I knew the answer, and I’d just say, “God, help me. Just help me.” And He gave me a question that implied I knew the answer, just like the answer was way up here. And they said, “Oh, you’re ahead of us.” I certainly want to say, “No, I am so far behind you. You about to run into the back of me.” (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: I love it.

Deborah: Yeah. But God, He’s, He’s done that consistently throughout my, my, when I was in corporate America, just showed up with responses and answers that I didn’t know I had. And then I remember that the scriptures say that He will not only bring things to your remembrance… But see, there were times I wasn’t in, it was never, it was never in my memory. I’m like, “What about those times?” Well, I read. It says, “He will teach you and bring things into your remembrance.”

Jim: Huh.

Deborah: So God will teach you on the spot. You just gotta get to that place where you expect him to do that. And you don’t expect with anxiety, you show up with s- confidence knowing, like, whatever it is, He’s gonna bring me through this.

John: Hm.

Jim: Yeah. That’s so good.

Deborah: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: Let me press ahead with criticism. That’s one of the things that are examples of good habits of confident people that you’re able to receive criticism.

Deborah: Oh, yes.

Jim: Uh, whether it’s at home or in the workplace, kind of what you described earlier. Uh, you use an example from the Bible about Apollos, and how he managed criticism. Tell us about that story.

Deborah: Well, you know that he was a Jewish teacher, and it was a Aquila and Priscilla that took him home and taught him a more excellent way, because he hadn’t really been filled with the spirit, but he had knowledge of the scriptures, and he was very powerful in that. And they said that he took him aside. Now keep in mind, these were tent makers, blue collar workers who took this man aside and said, “There’s a more excellent way.”

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And he listened. I, I’m impressed with his umil- humility. And it goes on to say that he was a great blessing to them. You see, we h- we can always learn from somebody. Everybody brings something to the table. And so that’s how you can increase other people’s confidence. I like to try to find the gold in people and, and say, “You bring something to the table.” I know when people sometimes feel intimidated by me. I don’t like that, so I try not to carry myself in a ways that people thing, “Oh, I’m not good enough to be with her,” ’cause, trust me, you really are. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: And, and everybody brings something to the table.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: And I l- I like to be able to say that.

Jim: Well, you’ve managed people, and you’ve worked in that corporate environment. Sometimes giving feedback isn’t well received. Uh, I think you had another example where you were editing, I think, your company’s annual report.

Deborah: Oh, my goodness.

Jim: And something went wrong.

Deborah: Well, you see, and that’s one of the great signs of, of, uh, h- uh, habits of a confident person. They can not only receive criticism, and they can give that kind of feedback. And a lot of people just aren’t comfortable, because they know how they will feel if somebody were to give them some feedback, so they don’t give any, as well. And so, uh, yes, I did, I did have an example where I hired a guy, and, uh… Oh, no. This was when I was doing the annual report. And it was my first year on the job. And I edited it, ’cause I am a writer, so I was making it more succinct and making it grammatically correct. (laughs) Oh, it started a fury. I’m telling you; everybody was upset. “How dare you change my work?” I’m thinking, “Don’t you want it to be good?” (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) Well, that’s-

Deborah: No.

Jim: That usually inspires people.

Deborah: (laughs)

John: Not.

Deborah: You know, it’s just, it’s not correct. Don’t you want it to be correct?

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And so, you know, and I’m thinking I, I don’t think I would have responded that way. I love input. I, I ask for input all the time. Like, evaluate it. Tell me how this went. What can I do better? I, I do that.

Jim: But then how did you go back and correct that situation? Did you have a chance to say, “Okay, I’m sorry.”

Deborah: Oh, absolutely. That’s, I’m, I’m, you know, I’m, I’m sorry this is… B- because they had never had anybody to do that, and I had seen some previous years reports, and it was for a non-profit. And they weren’t well done. I’m thinking, “It’s my first year on the job. This has got to be good.” (laughs)

Jim: Right. I’m gonna prove-

Deborah: Not because I’m here, no. And yeah. And I’m, and I had just gotten there. It was my first year on the job. So (laughs)-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … so I want them to know this is what excellence looks like. We’re trying to take the organization to another level. But it wasn’t well-received.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And so I said, “Okay. I guess next time, I should have sat with that person before I just changed it and published it.” See what I mean?

Jim: Well, and from that, you, you stated in the book four principles that you derive from those experiences; Listen, look, learn and leave.

Deborah: Yes. I s-… Yes.

Jim: Des- describe those.

Deborah: Okay. So the Lord gave me these one night when I was totally brain dead, so I know it was totally from Him.

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs) How to receive criticism, first of all, you listen. You don’t interrupt. You know, when somebody’s giving you feedback, you don’t say, “I… Well, uh, this is because I was doing this,” uh, justify it. Just listen, all right? Same letters that spell silent spell listen. So be quiet. Stop talking. And the other (laughs) is-

Jim: That’s good.

John: It is good.

Deborah: … look, look for the truth, look for the element of truth in what that person is telling you.

Jim: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Deborah: Learn from it. Be open, seek first to understand, don’t just be defensive, but learn from it. And then leave, the unwarranted part, leave it. You don’t have to embrace it just ’cause somebody’s telling you, ’cause sometimes people, they can be as wrong as two left shoes (laughs) if they’re=

Jim: Yeah. And so that’s the-

Deborah: Yeah. So-

Jim: … the untruthful part-

Deborah: That’s the untruthful part.

Jim: … that you can discern.

Deborah: Just leave it.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: You don’t have to say, “Eh, you’re off on that one.” Just don’t say it. Just say, say, “Thank you for that input,” because you know what that does, that positions you as a person who’s open to, to input. And people would be more likely to give it to you. Once you’ve proven that you can’t take that kind of input, nobody’s gonna tell you.

Jim: I totally agree with that.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: That’s a management philosophy that I’ve tried to, to follow is-

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: … you know, let’s just see the grains of truth and don’t pay too much attention to the stuff that’s emotional.

Deborah: Right. And we don’t like being c-… I, I don’t like being criticized, and, but I, and I don’t like hearing the really bad parts, but I know it’s good for me (laughs).

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: Especially-

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: … those parts.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: You also, uh, use an acronym, P.E.A.C.E. What does P.E.A.C.E., the acronym, stand for?

Deborah: Well, we know that peace is the opposite of being anxious and being insecure. So P, the P is for prioritize every aspect of your life according to God’s word. What’s important to God?

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: There’s a certain amount of peace that comes with just knowing I’m doing the right thing. And then the E is for expect more from God. Don’t, stop expecting things from people. Expect more from God.

Jim: But that works in marriage.

Deborah: Less from people. Oh, absolutely.

Jim: (laughs) That’s a good reminder.

Deborah: Yeah. And I want people to remember that. It’s in Psalm 62, “My soul wait only upon God. My expectation is from Him.” I’m only expecting God.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: My highest exepa- expectations from God. A is acknowledge God in all of your decisions.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: Don’t just make a decision in your own head. Acknowledge God. He will direct your path if you do that. And then C is to cultivate. Cultivate an attitude of contentment.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: That’s hard, ’cause we’re sou- surrounded with things that say don’t be content. And then E is to eliminate unrighteous behavior. Eliminate unrighteous behavior, and that’s a daily battle. This is not something we do just one time and it’s all done. It’s a daily battle, and you know what? Because the Bible says, “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Isn’t that great?

Jim: It is good.

Deborah: They have come together. There’s an intimate connection between doing the right thing and experiencing the peace of God-

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: … and not being insecure.

Jim: Deborah, this has been so good, and the time has flown by. Uh, thank you for being here. And I want to remind you, our listener, that Focus on the Family is here for you. Uh, our main goal is to help you, uh, develop your relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s job one. We love talking about marriage and parenting, and we believe that’s right from the Lord’s heart to promote the institution of the family. If you don’t know who Jesus is, I want you to get in touch with us. We have a great booklet online called Coming Home. And it’ll describe what it looks like to trust in Christ. And of course, we recommend you get a copy of Deborah’s great book, 30 Days to a Stronger, More Confident You. Uh, partner with us in ministry by making a pledge of a one-time gift, and we’ll send you Deborah’s book as our way of saying thank you.

John: Well, donate today as you can, and request Deborah’s book when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. And as Jim mentioned, we also have that Coming Home booklet. And to get the free download, stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Well, coming up next time, Jeff and Sarah Walton share how they learned to trust God through heartbreaking family troubles.

Preview:

Jeff Walton: And that was something that I wrestled with often. Um, you know, I think it was easier. Uh, kind of a tug and pull. On one end, I was able to get out of the house, catch my breath and try and transition, compartmentalize and, and go do work. And then I come back, and then it’s entering into chaos. And how do I enter back in? How do we get back on the same path and the same track?

End of Preview

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

Today's Guests

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30 Days to a Stronger, More Confident You: Secrets to Bold and Fearless Living

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