Air Date 08/31/2018

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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, everday moments, and how we can find our identity in Him apart from what we do.

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Sara Hagerty: You know, we tend to see it in such broad strokes - like, I need to make this major shift in my life and introduce a new thing that is talking to God - when really I think our life is one in the minutes. So what if there was one more minute today that you talked to God - just one?

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Sara Hagerty reminding us to draw close to God in those smaller moments. And she’s our guest today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller. 

Jim Daly: John, today, we want to help people find their identity and value not in what you do or accomplish. And that’s hard. We’re so label-oriented. You know, what do you do? That’s what most of us guys ask each other. And I think a growing number of women do as well. What is it you do? What’s your label? But what we really need as Christians to be focused on is what are we in God? Where are we at in Christ Jesus?

We want to remind you that God created you. He loves you. And He sees you even in the midst of the most mundane chores of life. I mean, He’s there with us. And it’s easy for all of us to get caught up in a performance trap where we believe that success is measured by what we achieve, acquire or produce. And God desires so much more from us. And that is a relationship and a friendship with us. I’m so glad that God is a relationship God.

Sara: Yes.

Jim: That makes all the difference. Here at Focus, we want to be there for you. If today’s broadcast touches you, and you want to talk to somebody, we have counselors. We have resources and tools - of course, the book we’re going to talk about today. And they’re here for you. All you have to do is call us.

John: And our number is 800-A-FAMILY. You can also get trusted advice and resources at focusonthefamily.com/radio. Sara Hagerty is the author of a couple of books, including Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed. And she and her husband have six children. They live in the Kansas City area. 

Body:

Jim: Sara, welcome back to Focus.

Sara: Thank you for having me back.

Jim: This is an interesting title - Unseen - and that is so true. We live in a culture - especially with social media today - where everybody’s clamoring for a little glimpse, a little moment on the stage - it seems like.

Sara: Yes.

Jim: Which has really dampened our manners, I think. You know, the more radical we could be, the more outlandish we could be, the more we get noticed. And I think it’s doing damage in the culture. But, you know, many of us - maybe even all of us have asked the question, is this all that there is?

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: You know, really? Is this it? Go to work, raise a family - which has a lot of blessing in it - but there should be more. And I think the opening question - is this kind of the path that you went down?

Sara: Yes.

Jim: Is this it, Lord? What happened for you?

Sara: Well, I think, for me, a lot of my journey in this was before social media was what it is now. So in some senses, I feel like it - this - what’s worked its way into me matters even more now when we have so much access to being seen at any moment. But for me, early on in my 20s, when my friends were having babies and growing their families, and my husband and I were struggling with infertility, I remember going to a baby shower - I mean, this scenario happened several times - and just feeling like I might as well slink back into the corner because the stories that were being shared - the sisterhood of bonds formed over these birthing stories - I just couldn’t relate to. And I felt like my life - because it wasn’t what all these other women’s lives were - wasn’t valuable. And so I remember even driving home from one baby shower going, “Is this all there is? I’m not on the track that they’re on.” And I felt, even then, an invitation from God to find His eyes on me.

Jim: Yeah.

Sara: That I could try really hard to be the thing that all these women were being or to make a life that mattered or had impact on the outside. Or I could hear that still, small whisper that said, “Ask Me what I think of you right now.”

Jim: You know, when I read your story, you were a producer.

Sara: Yes.

Jim: I mean, that’s what I - when I look at you, you would have been the person I would have loved to work with.

Sara: Yes.

Jim: Because you’re a get-it-done person - and through college and teen ministry. And I wanted to ask you about that because so often that high-production person is driving for acceptance or “Maybe the Lord will love me more if I work harder for Him.”

Sara: Yes.

Jim: I’ve heard that. And always it makes me sad because I don’t feel that’s the Lord’s equation. It’s like a bad employer.

Sara: Yes.

Jim: And that’s not the Lord’s heart. But talk me through that and how you managed that in your - you know, your college years and out of college. You just seem like a high performer.

Sara: Well, and I think - I didn’t actually step back and think God needs me to perform for Him in order that He would like me. I just kind of naturally saw Christianity as a treadmill - that we just turn up and run harder and run faster. And I think that’s a lot how the world is. And we tend to transpose what we see in the world on Christianity, especially in our early years. And so for me, I felt better when I was producing. And I felt better when I was producing before I knew Jesus. After I knew Jesus, it still felt good to share the gospel with more people.

Jim: And that’s a good thing.

Sara: It is.

Jim: I don’t want people to hear, you know, “Be lazy. That’s the goal.”

Sara: Right.

Jim: No, not at all. You want to be productive.

Sara: Yes.

Jim: But there can be a point at which it’s harmful to you - when you’re making these things kind of if-then. If I do all these things, then God will - fill in the blank - love me more...

Sara: Yes.

Jim: ...Appreciate me more, bless me more.

Sara: Yes.

Jim: Whatever it might be. But that idea in the book grabbed me - when you mentioned you felt, at one point, counseling teenagers that you were going through the rote kind of delivery of it.

Sara: Yes.

Jim: And you’re having - I can relate to what you were experiencing because you’re having like two conversations, right?

(LAUGHTER)

And you’re going through “Jesus loves you, and He cares about you.” And in the back of your mind, you’re going, “I’ve said this to so many people. Am I just saying this or do I believe it? Do I mean it?”

Sara: Yes.

Jim: Speak to that.

Sara: In the back of my mind, I was thinking “I don’t - I don’t know that I know this God that I’m telling this teenage girl about.”

Jim: What a moment.

Sara: Oh, such a moment.

Jim: How did - how did you connect that? And then what did you do with it?

Sara: I think it probably happened a few times before I started to go, “This is dangerous. I am spreading the gospel that in my own private life, behind closed doors, doesn’t feel real. The Bible is reading to me like a history book. This is a problem.”

Jim: Now is that the description of burnout that you’re talking about?

Sara: I think so, yeah.

Jim: Is that a leading-edge indicator that you’re kind of lost in...

Sara: Yeah. And I think, maybe even more than burnout, it could be just a description of dryness on the inside - that the Bible doesn’t read to us like a love letter, that it reads more like a text, you know, a history text, that our dialogue with God becomes more asking Him for things than talking about the realities of our heart.

Jim: Yes.

Sara: That we want to spend - I mean, now - I didn’t have a phone then because that was, you know, 15 years ago. I had a phone, but not like we have access to a phone now. Now it would be - when I’m picking up my phone to scroll through social media several times in a day when I have white space, that’s kind of an indicator. What’s going on that I don’t actually want to talk to God? Or if when something hard happens in my life, and I find myself right away scrolling social media...

Jim: Yeah.

Sara: ...To me, that’s the indicator. Something in my heart isn’t really seeing Him as tender towards me because if I saw Him as tender, I’d want to talk to Him right now.

Jim: Well, and what you’re describing is a symptom, right?

Sara: Exactly.

Jim: The phone is a symptom. And the core problem is you’re not choosing to connect with God.

Sara: Exactly.

Jim: That’s the issue.

Sara: And I think there’s great things that we can put in place now where we say, “Let’s only use our phone at these times.” But the reality is even those measures don’t address the inner issue, which is oftentimes we don’t really believe the God of His word.

Jim: Yeah, that’s a good starting spot. That is - is that kind of where you started in that moment you felt burned out, you were disconnected? Was that what happened for you?

Sara: It was. And it was semi-unintentional. I actually did need to take a break from full-time ministry. My husband and I stepped back. And I started working at a boutique that sold French and Italian pottery. There were maybe like five people who went into that boutique every day.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Yes, you said you had a long - a lot of good lot of chance to pray and read.

Sara: A lot of chance to pray and read - so I just had white space sort of given to me. And so I started bringing my Bible to work. And when I was being unproductive, not advancing the kingdom of God, asking God to see His eyes on me, there was what was transformative.

Jim: How did He reveal Himself to you in that? You know, we talk in those terms. And sometimes people struggle with that tangible “God showed me this.”

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: So how - you call it hidden moments. How did God fill those hidden moments for you and reveal Himself to you?

Sara: I think for me initially, it was I started looking at the emotions of God’s heart in scripture. So I would read a verse like Psalm 18:19 - “He delivered me because he delighted in me” - with eyes that went, “Most of the time I don’t feel like He’s delighting in me unless I’m productive.”

Jim: Boy, so many people feel that way.

Sara: Oh, I mean, and we don’t even realize we feel it. At the end of the day, how many of us feel really great when we’ve accomplished our task list? Well, what if we haven’t? How does God see us?

Jim: We haven’t even created the task list.

(LAUGHTER)

Sara: Yeah, exactly.

Jim: How about that? And that, it’s so true. And I hope - I hope if you’re in that spot - my goodness - I hope this is ministering to you. Sara has such wisdom. And she’s put this in her book Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed.

Sara, let me go to that subtitle where you’re talking about that - that universal craving to be seen. I mean, most human beings - not everyone - some introverts would say, “I’ve never had that desire.” But, you know, there is that desire to be seen by God.

Sara: Yes, yeah.

Jim: And how do you open up to God truly? I mean, there are people right now - we’re hiding things.

Sara: Oh, all the time.

Jim: We don’t want to open up to God - maybe because of the shame.

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: How do we truly open our hearts to God?

Sara: I think for me, it has been a paradigm shift in seeing that He wants to engage with me in conversation in the middle of my day. So if I can think a little bit different - even just tomorrow, I wake up and go, “He wants to talk to me at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.” Just introduce that thought. Then 3 o’clock comes, and I’m changing the laundry. And I go, “He wants to talk to me.”

Jim: Take a break.

Sara: Psalm 139:15 - “My frame was not hidden from you, God, when I was made in secret.” I mean, Psalm 139 unpacks that His eyes are always on us every part of the day. So introducing the thought into my day that He wants to talk to me.

Jim: Yeah.

Sara: Maybe even just that simple thing - then today, I can add a two-minute conversation that isn’t me just recalling a conversation or stressing over the things that I need to do or worrying about a kid but saying, “For this 2 minutes, God, I’m actually just going to change the laundry and say it’s been a hard day.”

Jim: I like that the vision of that - the idea of it. But the practicality seems unattainable.

Sara: I like that - I appreciate that you said that. I think for me, the starting place has often been taking my raw emotion to God. And that feels a little less poetic and a little more real.

Jim: That’s right.

Sara: Like I am walking up the stairs, carrying a load of laundry, looking at the things that are in my hands going, “We just washed these jeans yesterday” and figuring out my kids got the system down. She puts the clothes right back in the laundry rather than putting them away.

Jim: It’s easier than folding them and putting them away.

Sara: And I’m grumpy. And I’m going up the stairs going, “I cannot believe I’m doing this every day.” And no one sees it. I’m feeling this in my heart.

Jim: I know. I could feel it. Sara, I got a confession. I do that sometimes too.

(LAUGHTER)

I put my clothes in the dirty clothes. It’s easier.

Sara: So maybe replace that with my husband where it’s his clothes because he doesn’t want to put them away. And so then for me, it’s right there going, “God actually wants to have that thought.” Like not even, “I need to stop complaining,” which I think we can tend to placate ourselves with that - but instead, “God wants to hear that from me.” So I go, “God, today feels really hard. But your word tells me that You search me, and You know me. You know this moment right now. You know how hard this feels. You’re near to me.”

Jim: How does a person talk to God? I mean, they may see themselves as Christian - I just want to make sure we’re covering all the bases.

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: But they’re so inundated with stuff in the list and all that. Maybe they’ve even lost or never discovered how to really have a conversation with God. How do you start there?

Sara: Yeah, that’s a great question. I tend to think of it in terms of the closest relationship in my life, the person I feel the safest with. Well, God is thousands of times safer than that person.

Jim: Whoo.

Sara: So the person I feel the safest with and one of our best conversations where I felt really seen and really known and also very much myself - God invites that. That’s a starting point for me. I mean, for me, it’s my husband. I know that’s not the case for everybody who’s married. Or for people who aren’t married, you can think of your best friend.

Jim: Right.

Sara: That’s my end road. But then I also think, you know, we tend to see it in such broad strokes - like, I need to make this major shift in my life and introduce a new thing that is talking to God - when really I think our life is one in the minutes. So what if there was one more minute today that you talked to God - just one?

Jim: I like that. I like that challenge.

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: You have a beautiful story about your daughter, Hope, and her performance at a dance recital. I can translate this being a father of two boys. I mean, it’s the baseball practice or something like that.

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: Tell that story and what it meant to you and what it meant to your daughter.

Sara: Well, she was recently - we had recently adopted her from Uganda. And she was in a ballet class. And she is by nature just very graceful. And she’s a dancer. But soon into the ballet performance, she started to get a few steps behind...

Jim: Okay.

Sara: ...And then a few more steps behind. And she’s new enough to ballet and mechanical enough that she couldn’t quite catch up. So she was still doing the routine just five, six, seven steps behind. And I’m watching her and thinking from all the different angles - knowing her teacher might be a little frustrated right now because it’s a little bit distracting for the rest of the students. I’m thinking the other parents are going Hope’s not necessarily going to be the one who is going to challenge their daughter for the role next year.

I mean, there’s lots of things that people in the audience are thinking. And I’m looking at her going, “There is so much story behind this kid, who a year ago was on the streets of Uganda. And she is dancing on stage in a ballet leotard.” And it was so beautiful to me. And then in that moment, I went, “But to God, she’s fire. She’s wonder. She’s beauty.” I mean, I see one sliver of her life. And He looks at her and sees the whole of it. He sees who she’s going to become. He sees Hope at 50. He sees Hope when she was born. And as I watched that, I went, “That’s how He is with me too.”

Jim: Let me ask you this - when you share that story in this way, why do we have such a performance orientation about God’s character?

Sara: Yeah. You know, I think we transpose on God our experience in the world. And this, to me, is the crux of it. I feel like my journey in finding God’s eyes on me when no one was looking and no one was applauding, the times that were really frustrating because I wanted someone to cheer me on, and I didn’t feel like that person was there, only God was there - that, for me, was unraveling years, layers of understanding of God that did not line up with who He really is. And His word tells a different story. But I think so many times, we approach His word already having half the story made up in our mind...

Jim: Wow.

Sara: ...Instead of going, “Nope, I’m gonna come here and actually open the Bible,” which this a prayer I pray probably every week, and say, “I barely know you God. I have been a believer for 25 years. I barely know you.”

Jim: That’s quite a confession, really, but it’s honest.

Sara: It’s real.

Jim: Yeah.

Sara: And we really do barely know Him. I - when I became a believer at 15, I carried with me 15 years of understanding about God that wasn’t necessarily accurate.

John: This is Focus on the Family and Sara Hagerty is our guest today. Uh, we’re so glad you joined us. We have her book Unseen at our website. You can get a CD and a download of our conversation, as well. That’s focusonthefamily.com/radio. And, uh, I love how you’re framing all this, Sara. I’m wondering about Nate, your husband. What’s his approach to these concepts that you’re sharing with us? Because there are a lot of guys that are like, “Uh, yeah, unburdening...”

Jim: Come on, speak for the guys.

Sara: Yeah. Yeah, that’s good.

John: “...Unburdening my heart to God...”

(LAUGHTER)

John: “...You know, transparency, that - not so much, thanks.”

Sara: That’s good.

John: How does Nate process this?

Sara: I love that you asked that. He’s actually considering writing the male version of this book, so...

Jim: What does that look like?

Sara: Well, for him, I mean, not just practically speaking...

John: It’s a much thinner book.

Jim: Yeah, it’s like...

Sara: Yeah, it actually really will be.

Jim: ...A three-page book.

Sara: For him, it doesn’t - it maybe looks a little less poetic. But, you know, just a simple practice for him has been every time he takes a sip of coffee or gets a cup of - I don’t know if it’s takes a sip or pours a cup. I actually don’t monitor how much coffee he drinks in a day.

Jim: That’s probably a good thing.

Sara: But kind of having that in place that he clears the cache, so to speak, of what’s been in his mind and his heart and just has a quick dialogue with God. How do you see me right now? What do you think about me? Now, it’s very different for a male because I think, in some ways, the heart language is not as natural. And that’s how God made us, right? But I think, on the other hand, “Man, I feel like watching him, he needs to know just as much as I do.” He’s the CEO of his company. He needs to know that when things are - right now, they’re in the middle of deploying a new project, and he’s going, “Is this going to overwhelm my team? Are we gonna have the finances to do it?” And his private conversation with God is “Whether this fails or succeeds, God, how do you see me?”

John: Now, that’s not a - I’m sorry, Sara, I don’t want to go too far down this road, but it’s not a how-am-I-doing-Coach question, is it?

Sara: Not at - no.

John: Or is it?

Sara: Yeah, no, it’s not. I mean, for him, it’s been the same - in some ways, the same journey. I think Nate often says, “Sara, I failed way more than you, so I got on this journey a little earlier.” But he just - you know, for him, it is the same thing as looking at the word of God and going, “Who are you as a father? What does a tender father look like to a 40-year-old man? And how do I talk to You?” Not so much “How am I doing?” Because he can do the “How am I doing?” You know, he can do that, “Well, I’ve got these numbers in the bank, and I’ve got this many employees, and I” - he can do that. But the actual, “Okay, when this looks like it’s failing,” which has actually kind of been the entry point for his conversation with God, “When something feels like it’s failing, how do you see me?”

Jim: Boy, that’s a big question.

Sara: And for a man, I think, even more so than for women.

Jim: Yeah, it strikes right at the core of our identity.

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: Because we are wrapped up in our success.

Sara: Right. Well, and the...

Jim: Are we achieving something?

Sara: And the beautiful part’s that, I mean, he provides for our family of six. Like, he’s got a weight on his shoulders.

Jim: Sara, in that regard, when - uh, for folks that may be just joining us, and they missed the top of the program, we touched on some of this. But beyond just facing that spiritual burnout that we talked about, uh, you faced the challenges of infertility. You touched on that. Um, I think also the death of your father happened...

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: ...All in the same time. You then adopted, I think four of your children are adopted because of that, I would imagine, that infertility...

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: ...And your husband started moving in that direction. That is a lot right there. It - for someone listening saying, “Oh, yeah, she’s got it all together.”

Sara: Oh, no.

Jim: “She talks to God.” But that - that really provides the heart for you - that you have gone through hard stuff.

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: You and your husband. Describe some of that emotion in there and taking that rawness to God saying, “God, why? I love You. Why did I not have children the same way all my friends were having children?” Just those burdens.

Sara: Right. I’m so glad you brought that up. I mean, this is not something that’s just a discipline that I’ve applied. This has come from a decade of really hard life where the things that I hoped for, the things that I dreamed, the plans that my husband and I had, pretty much in every way, they fell apart.

And multiple times, when we thought, “This could not get any worse,” the next day, something terrible happened. I mean, we really felt like we were in a crucible for about a decade. And it was out of that time where I kept going, “Everything I desire is failing right now. Everything I want from my life feels like it’s sand in my hands. I have it for a second, and then it’s gone.” It was in that time that I really started to feel the invitation of God to find out who He really was to the brokenhearted. And that - finding Him as near to the broken - first, seeing myself as broken - going, “My life is not working like I thought, I am not producing like I thought, I’m not feeling the success of being a Christian in this world. So who are You to me?”

Jim: That is a profound question. I think one of the biggest mistakes we make - and we make it often here in the U.S., and I think Western civilization particularly - because we’re so fixated on the external achievements...

Sara: Yes.

Jim: ...That it blinds us to our internal failures.

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: That those things inside us that are not healthy. Let me put it this way, when you look at suffering, of course, the word of God says, uh, suffering leads to endurance, which leads to character, which leads to hope.

Sara: Yes.

Jim: But we, as Christians, run from suffering. And I was going to ask you, in that 10 years that you’re having infertility issues, and your father passed away, and all these other really hard things going on in your life, you learned so much in those moments. Would you exchange them for something easier?

Sara: You know, I wouldn’t. I’ll tell you a story. The morning that we - so we actually had a heart for adoption long before we walked down the road or even knew that we would struggle with infertility. So we - we really wanted to adopt. Post-adoption, it still had been 13 years, and we hadn’t conceived a biological child. The morning that I found out that I was pregnant, when I told my husband, his very first words - and this was not like a theological statement, this was just his guttural response - was “Has the favor of God lifted from our lives?”

We had found so much fruit in pain. And honestly, both of us could say we fell in love with God when the outside parts of our life weren’t working that it felt almost like when our circumstances shift - and they did - they shifted. When they shifted, we went, “Who are You in a new place? Because we found You in suffering, and You were so close. I mean, I, at times, felt like You were so close that I could feel your breath on my neck, God. You’re that near to me when I feel like my world is falling apart.” So yes, I would look back and go, “Thank you, God, for that.” I would not change what we had.

Jim: Yeah. And there’s one of the nuggets out of the program. And if you’re in that spot, again, we’re here for you. I want to hit some practical points right at the end of the program here. Uh, you invite people to grow in wonder and friendship to God. I love that description. Uh, what does it look like though at a practical level? How do you grow and wonder with God?

Sara: For me, it’s just looked like slowing down a little bit and not slowing down in large chunks. I still think of life in minutes. So if I - you know, part of my run, in the morning, I listen to a podcast usually. What if I just turn off my phone for 10 minutes?

Jim: You’re killing me. You have enough discipline to run. Okay, part - it’s over now. I know. Okay.

(LAUGHTER)

John: Oh, and she’s not - it’s the Focus on the Family podcast, right?

Sara: I have six kids. It’s survival.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: I said practical advice - practical.

Sara: Okay, ignore the run. Think about your - my - I have a longer walk to the mailbox.

Jim: Okay, there you go.

Sara: And on that walk to the mailbox, I can be listening to something on my phone or running over a task list in my mind, or I can go, “On this walk to the mailbox, I just want to see what You have outside for me, God.”

Jim: Wow.

Sara: You know, just like our kids, right?

Jim: Yup.

Sara: Our kids have wonder. They don’t have to practice it. God - that is God inviting us to approach Him like a little child. It’s turning off the music in the car line and going “What’s in the sky for me today, Lord? Like, what are You - the heavens declare the glory of God. What do You have for me?”

Jim: I love that. I tried to do that with my boys since they were very little.

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: Look at the sky. Look at the clouds. Look at what the Lord painted for us today...

Sara: That’s awesome.

Jim: ...On the sunrise on the way to school. It is. It’s a simple thing to do, but it sows a seed in their heart, too...

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: ...That God is thinking about them...

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: ...That He painted this picture for them today. You share that your family takes a weekly Sabbath, and it’s, uh, hard for you to do as that high-achiever. But why is it so difficult, especially now that you’ve got a better handle on God’s desire for you to be resting in Him?

Sara: I think any of us who turn off our phone or turn off - I don’t turn off my phone for the whole Sabbath. But any of us who don’t do something for an hour of our life can attest to what it feels like to not be productive.

Jim: Yeah.

Sara: And so every week, I feel some of this angst of, like, who am I when I’m not - I’ve got nothing to show for it but a stack of books that I’m reading. Um, so Sabbath, for me, does, to some degree, feel like a discipline because I really want to put myself in the position of going, “God, your word tells me this, I think You like me when I’m not producing for You.”

Jim: Man, that should hit just about every person because, again, I think we’re so geared that way, Sara. Man, thank you for the beautiful reminder today that God sees us even in our mundane laundry duties and the unimpressive moments of our lives. Um, in a minute, I want to ask you, though, the last question and - and get your opinion on something.

John: And, um, we’ll just real quickly say you can get a copy of the book Unseen and a CD or a download of our conversation with Sara at focusonthefamily.com/radio. Or call us, if you’d prefer, if your phone is on, 800-232-6459. When you get in touch, donate generously to support the work of Focus on the Family, please. And, uh, when you do so today with your gift of any amount, we’ll say thank you, uh, by sending a copy of Sara’s great book to you. It’s our way of saying thank you for being part of the support team here at Focus on the Family.

Jim: Sara, here’s the question as we close: speak to that person who wants to have that kind of friendship and closeness with God that you’ve described, but they pray and they don’t feel like they hear anything. They don’t feel that closeness. They’re back at the beginning of your journey where you were feeling almost like those feelings of being fake.

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: So what do you say to that person right now? What can they do?

Sara: I think I’d say two things. One, give yourself permission to get a little more honest with God. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be grumpy. He actually welcomes that kind of dialogue - maybe even as your starting point. We don’t need to be - put all Christianese on this to make ourselves feel like He’s really enjoying us. The second thing I would say is the Psalms are a great place to start. I always say the Psalms are like lanes for our emotions. And so when I have been really stuck not knowing what He thinks about me, what I feel about Him, I feel like the Psalms have given me language when I don’t have it.

Jim: Right. I like that because if you think of the Lord’s heart for David and, of course...

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: ...David writing most of the Psalms, that’s a great place to go - to emulate...

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: ...David’s heart for God.

Sara: And David - I mean, one of the most powerful Psalms was written after, like, a horrendous sin, so take your big, messy heart to Him...

Jim: That’s...

Sara: ...Just like David.

Jim: That’s what He wants to see.

Sara: Yeah.

Jim: Great to have you with us.

Sara: Thank you so much. 

Closing:

John: I’ll encourage you to get a copy of this conversation on CD or a free download, and of course, Sara Hagerty’s great book Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed. You can tell we enjoyed the conversation. These are great resources. Call right now: 800-232-6459 or stop by our website, focusonthefamily.com/radio.

I hope you have a great weekend, and be sure to join us on Monday when we hear how to avoid using shame in your parenting.

Teaser:

Kelly Flanagan: Shame is a great short-term motivator. No one wants to feel it. And so we’ll do it with our kids because, you know, if we need to get them studying, um, shaming them is a great way to motivate them.

Jim: But long-term it’s unhealthy.

Kelly: Long-term it’s unhealthy because shame ultimately de-motivates us.

End of Teaser

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Guest

Sara Hagerty

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Sara Hagerty is a blogger who writes about motherhood, marriage, adoption and faith. She is also author of the book Every Bitter Thing is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things. Sara and her husband, Nate, have five children. Learn more about Sara by visiting her blog, www.everybitterthingissweet.com.