About the Guest
Women today are pulled in so many directions. Author Shaunti Feldhahn says this is precisely the reason so many women are frazzled, frustrated and fed up with their lives. Join us for a frank discussion of the challenges women face when they are not life ready.
Shaunti FeldhahnShaunti received her graduate degree from Harvard University and was an analyst on Wall Street before unexpectedly becoming a social researcher, best-selling author and popular speaker. Today, she applies her analytical skills to investigating eye-opening, life-changing truths about relationships, both at home and in the workplace. Her groundbreaking research-based books, such as For Women Only, have sold more than 3 million copies in 25 languages and are widely read in homes, counseling centers...more
Women today are pulled in so many directions.
Bob: Are you a woman who finds herself exhausted and thinking, “This is not how life is supposed to be?” Here’s author and conference speaker Shaunti Feldhahn.
Shaunti: I think every single woman is feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and “what do I do?” And “I’m torn, I’m stressed sometimes.” This is why we’re not thriving. That’s why we feel stressed and unghh and juggling everything is because we’re not functioning the way we’re designed. We have to know what that is.
Bob: This is FamilyLifeToday for Monday, January 3rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Shaunti Feldhahn joins us today to talk about how women can understand and embrace God’s design for them as women.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I guess one of your New Year resolutions was to try to get women all fixed up. Is that right?
Dennis: That’s a great start to the year.
Bob: Well, I’m just . . .
Dennis: You’re implying women need to be fixed up.
Bob: No, I’m just looking here at this –
Dennis: Is that what you start the day with Mary Ann?
Bob: Not if I want it to be a good day.
Dennis: No, it’s “Sweetheart, you look beautiful. You’re fine.”
Bob: I’m just looking at the fact that we’ve got this great new resource that has just come out for women that – I guess “fix ‘em up” is not the right way to explain it – to help them be all that God wants them to be. How’s that?
Dennis: Very well said, Bob.
Bob: Was that better put?
Dennis: Let’s ask the featured speaker on this new video series, Shaunti Feldhahn, to give us the approval. How did Bob do?
Shaunti: I’m not going to even respond to that.
Dennis: You were attempting not to laugh.
Shaunti: I was trying really hard. Yes.
Dennis: Well, if you don’t know Shaunti, she is the author of a number of books. Probably the best known sold over a million copies, For Women Only. She also has written a book with her husband, Jeff, called For Men Only.
She has collaborated with Dr. Robert Lewis, who is the founder and creator of Men’s Fraternity, which was used in over 20,000 churches across the country, to create a core curriculum, a training package for women today, helping them understand what God’s design is for them. Shaunti, of course, is the lead speaker in this and helped design the material. Explain to our listeners – just give them an overview of what LifeReady Woman is all about.
Shaunti: Well, it’s basically – the perfect description of it is the subtitle, Thriving in a Do It All World, because that is what every woman feels that the world is like today, is we are just juggling everything.
Dennis: You are a mom of two.
Shaunti: I am a mom of two. I have a husband. I have a thriving ministry. I’m always traveling and speaking, and soccer runs, and church activities, and everything else that every other woman is like “Okay, how do I juggle this?” Basically, what this study and the book is doing is to help us as women who are in a modern, very crazy, do-it-all culture understand how on earth do we balance our lives, but from a totally biblical perspective.
Bob: Yes, I like the fact that here on the back of the manual you say, “The difference between doing it all and doing what matters.” That’s really what you’re trying to point women toward, isn’t it?
Shaunti: Yes. And it’s basically digging out of the Scripture. Turns out that there is a fantastic biblical blueprint that a lot of us have missed about how on earth do we balance our lives? We have so many choices and so many opportunities come at us every single day. How do we choose between them?
You know, we have this idea that you can kind of have it all. That’s just a recipe for heartbreak. You may be able to have it all, but not necessarily all at the same time. So how do you choose what you do and don’t do and when? That’s where it turns out that there is this biblical model for us.
Bob: So you and Robert have put together this book, The LifeReady Woman, and the DVD series that goes along with it that’s an eight-session DVD series.
Bob: Explain why you did both a book and a DVD series.
Shaunti: Well, you know the book is basically like more of a basic premise, like here is the starting point for us to know, and it was based on some work that Robert had done years ago based on his years and years of experience as a senior pastor and digging some of this out of the Scriptures. And then what he did is hand it over to me and say, “You’re the one who is a woman. You’re speaking to women. You know what a woman’s life is like. Pull this together and create this video-driven series that women can go through.”
It’s this eight sessions where you can go through it and help women walk through the application of this to their life. Every single woman will walk out of this study feeling like, “Ahhh. I know how to balance my life. I know what I am supposed to do.”
Bob: Is that the issue for women today, do you think? This issue of balance, and . . .
Dennis: I think there are a lot of women today who feel guilty, who are struggling with all kinds of pressure that other people put on them, because they don’t know what the biblical blueprints are all about for being a woman today.
Shaunti: Oh, yes.
Dennis: There are all these messages coming at them from TV, from movies, from the internet, from even church –
Dennis: -- and their friends and the community.
Shaunti: I hate to say it, but there are – it’s not just the culture that imposes these ideas on us of what we’re supposed to do. Sometimes even in the church, well-meaning pastors and Christian friends can say, “You know what? You’re really supposed to look like this.” And that’s maybe how they’re supposed to look and what their life is to look like because that’s God’s design for them, but we have to go back to the Scriptures and dig out, what is God’s design? What are his callings for me?
What we’ve done is basically said, “Okay, here’s the biblical grid. God has given all of us, men and women, these core callings.” There are three core callings.
And then we say, “Okay, now we’re designed as women, and that means something, and then we’re designed as an individual, and where those three intersect is going to be the place that will feel right. This is correct. This isn’t the juggling and torn and stressed – no this is the way I’m designed.”
Bob: You may not feel that way instantly, right away, but as you walk in it –
Bob: That’s where it’s going to make sense, right?
Dennis: This is designed to last eight weeks, or maybe sixteen weeks, depending upon how the group decides to roll out the videos.
Shaunti: That’s right. Correct.
Dennis: Explain what the eight sessions are that you go through with the group.
Shaunti: Sure. Well the first one is basically talking about the fact that we need a compass and sort of a grid to get us there to begin with. You know, it’s interesting. We as women, we don’t even realize that we’re chasing our tails so much. We’re running around like crazy people that we don’t stop and think about, “Huh. Am I functioning the way that I’m designed? Am I doing this right?” We’re just trying to survive, basically, a lot of us as women.
Dennis: On a treadmill.
Shaunti: Yes. That’s what it feels like. I use the analogy of the fact that we need something to orient us that is firm, that is fixed, that is unchanging that we can look to, which is the Bible. It’s not going to change as the culture changes, and this is the beauty for us as women today. If you have this unchanging reference point, it’s going to affect you, where you are today, regardless of what your life looks like. You can look to it to make those decisions of how to organize your life. So that’s what the first session is all about – it’s getting women on the same page with that.
And then the next sessions are: What does that look like? What is the biblical grid? You know, we talk about that there are these three core callings, that everybody, man and woman, is designed for. So what are those?
Then we talk about, that there are feminine callings. We’re narrowed down, we’re women, we’re designed that way for a reason, so what are those? And then our individual gifts. So we have a grid where people start placing themselves on this map, so to speak, and creating a blueprint.
And then the next five sessions are saying, “You know what? Actually living this way is going to require some serious steps of faith sometimes and some courage to actually walk through this and make some tough choices in order to live with your design rather than against it.
Bob: One of those faith steps you encourage women to is to live from the inside out.
Bob: Explain what you mean by that.
Shaunti: That’s a perfect example where we say, “Okay, our three core callings have to be at the center of our life.” The three core callings, just so you know, are back in Genesis, where God brings Adam and Eve together and he basically gives us as men and women a design. He says, “Here’s your job description. Here’s what you’re designed for. If you do this, life will work.”
He says we’re designed to leave and cleave – leave father and mother, cleave – you know the husband is to cleave to the wife and obviously it works in reverse as well, and become one, and so we’re to be working on that. And then we’re to be fruitful and multiply, and that doesn’t just mean have kids.
Shaunti: That is, we’re supposed to be launching a godly next generation. We’re supposed to be spreading that influence throughout the earth and be part of that, regardless of whether we have kids of our own at the moment. Everybody is supposed to be pouring into that.
And then, third, God says, “Subdue the earth and rule over it.” That subdue and rule is the idea of everybody has gifting, and they’re supposed to be advancing God’s kingdom beyond the home and into the world in concert with their unique, individual gifting. So living from the inside out is taking those three core callings and saying, “How am I using that to make choices about everything around me, rather than letting the world –
Shaunti: -- tell me what my choices should be and pressing in on me from the outside as to what those choices should be.”
Dennis: It’s really a restatement of Romans 12 – “Don’t be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” You’re really calling for women to renew their mind according to God’s blueprints of leave, cleave and become one. What’s another one of the sessions you take people through?
Shaunti: Well, when we talk about the faith steps and these sort of – it kind of requires some courage and it requires being a little bolder, like “Okay, I’m going to, I’m going to do this.” Another one that’s very important for us as women is to live according to our season of life.
Each of these core callings will kind of look different in different seasons of life. We have to do them all, and if we do, we’ll feel less stress, not more. We’ll feel like we’re functioning the way we’re designed. But that is going to look different.
Like for me, I have small kids. I have a ten-year-old and a seven-year-old, and there are things that I just can’t do or shouldn’t do, frankly. Choices I shouldn’t make in this season that would prevent me from pouring into my kids at this age, that I’ll be able to do perfectly fine in about ten years. So there is some of that living according to our season of life, and that requires some courage sometimes.
Dennis: I like what you’ve done here, because regardless of whether you’re single or married, whether you’re a blended family, single parent mom, maybe an empty nester, you’ve really given women a grade card with three categories, three assignments in life. I like that idea, because these are easy to evaluate in terms of . . .
Shaunti: How am I doing?
Dennis: How am I doing here? In this new season, am I really being obedient to where God has me to have an impact for Christ in my world?
Shaunti: Well, if you think about it – and here’s really the big picture of what it means when we talk about living according to how we’re designed, what our assignments are, is if you think about it, every creator has created its thing to do something in a specific way. If you function that way it will work; if it doesn’t it will break.
I look at my hand, for example. Did you know that you have 27 bones in your hand? It’s designed so amazingly to do specific things, you know, to grip and carry, for example, but it’s not designed to grab a hot pan.
Shaunti: You know, you’re not designed to run on your hands. That’s what your feet are for. You’re not designed – if you try, you probably could, but it will break. It will break down; it’s not designed for that. But if you use it the way it is designed, it will just feel natural.
Shaunti: It will just feel like it’s functioning that – where you don’t even think about it – and that’s the problem. That’s why we’re not thriving. That’s why we feel stressed and juggling everything – it’s because we’re not functioning the way we’re designed. We have to know what that is.
Bob: But can’t you find yourself in a season of life where you kind of resent the fact that part of your life is getting abbreviated because you have to focus on something else right now? You just go, “I want this to hurry up and I want to get on with the part I like or that I feel good about.”
Shaunti: Yes. Yes. Well, and that’s the reason why we call these five sessions the five faith steps, and that’s why it requires some courage to actually make those choices and live your life that way. But once you do it, that’s when it’s like, “Oh. This fits, and this feels right,” as opposed to “I’m going to miss out on something.”
Dennis: You actually call women after you’ve had a video session where you’ve taught them what the Scriptures teach – in the workbook you’ll call them to form a small group and actually interact around what you’ve just talked about.
Dennis: What occurs in those small groups?
Shaunti: Well, it’s a process that is pretty common for people who do Bible studies in their churches or in a small group where there is a teaching time and then they get together and they talk about it. It is this one-to-many life application help, you know, where you talk about, “Wow. Okay. I was challenged by this, and here’s something I’m really thinking that might apply to my life and I might need to make this change. What do you think, Sarah?” And Sarah says, “You know, I have a totally different thing because I’m having to work on this.”
You help each other, and as you get to know each other over the course of these eight sessions, you’re going to be creating – each person individually is going to be creating a very specific, individual map. It’s going to look different for every woman because every woman is different and their life and their circumstances are different, but the reality is that we as women function better in fellowship.
We help each other, and we have that discipleship and that accountability so when I cannot figure out how am I designed, and her best friend is sitting next to her and says “Well, Sarah. You absolutely love having people over to your house. You love having people over to your house on Friday night. You know what? That’s the gift of hospitality. I bet you could invite newcomers from your church over to your house on Sunday after church. That would feel awful to me; that would feel like a lot of pressure, but for you, it lights you up. That’s an example of subdue and rule and advancing God’s kingdom.” “Really?” You know, it wouldn’t have occurred to her, but in fellowship and community in this discussion group, those things are going to come out.
Bob: You know, some of our listeners are hearing you talk about this video series, and they’re thinking, “Okay. Let’s see. Last fall we went through this one book, and then in the spring we did the Beth Moore study. Hmmm. This sounds interesting.” How do you decide what to do next? Why would somebody say, “This is the series we ought to go through?”
Shaunti: Oh, man. Well, the thing is, I think every single woman listening to our voices right now feels like she’s juggling everything. I think every single women is feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and “What do I do? I’m torn. I’m stressed sometimes.” This is a blueprint that will absolutely help every single woman.
And you know what? Frankly, I’m going to go through this again in about six or seven years because my life is going to look very different, when my kids are teenagers and they’re off doing their own thing and I’m getting ready to be more of an empty nester. I need to redo it at that point, and think about, “Okay, what does it mean for me then?” I mean, there are going to be changes.
It’s also fantastic as an outreach, because every woman wants to know how to balance their life. Can you imagine? Invite your friends – They’re going to have hundreds of friends who want to learn how to balance their life.
Dennis: Yes, and they’re looking for friendships and relationships in the process, and a small group study like this really enables people to connect their hearts to one another.
Shaunti: Well, and it also is done in a way that is very attuned to how women need to do a study like this today. I can’t do a study on “How do you juggle your busy life,” and then give you hours and hours of homework during the week. I mean, I’ve done the Bible studies before and I love them, like Beth Moore’s Bible studies. I love those, but I always find myself – I start off real good and then I kind of don’t finish the homework, and I’m having to do like four days of homework on the last night, you know?
Shaunti: And the reality is, for some women that’s just not realistic, but they still need the application, and so what we do is we do the application in the middle of the group time. So I’ll have a teaching time and then I’ll say, “Okay, we’ve talked about this for the last ten minutes on this video. I’m going to put a clock up on the screen, and for the next five minutes, individually, sit there and go through this exercise. It’s an application: How does this apply to you? What does this mean to you?”
And you chart it out or whatever that exercise is, and then the five minutes are done and we come back and we continue the teaching time, and may do that once or twice. Then, you know, you go to your group time feeling like, “Okay. You’ve already got your individual application started.” And then – you know, some people will want the personal devotional time. Some people will want the homework, so we have that as optional for those people who want it.
Bob: I think one of the things that is really refreshing about this series is that you’re not stepping up and saying, “Okay, ladies, look. I’ve figured this out. I got it wired.” You, in diving into what the Scriptures teach about this, this was catalytic in your own life, wasn’t it?
Shaunti: This was transformational for me. When I first was sort of confronted – When Dennis first called me and said, “Would you be interested in talking about this?” I looked at what Robert Lewis had developed over the years of this grid of the idea of the three core callings and leave and cleave and be fruitful and multiply and subdue and rule, and using that as a starting point, as a decision matrix, and I went, “Oh, man. How am I doing in those three areas? Am I using my gifts to further myself, or am I using them for God’s kingdom purposes? How am I doing at leave and cleave and be fruitful and multiply?
I’ve got the subdue and rule thing down pat, probably. You know, I’ve got all these books and I’ve got this ministry, but how am I doing with my kids?”
It’s shown me how to fit those together in a very, very special, very important way. That’s for me, and for another woman, for a woman sitting next to me. You know, I got a group of women together to go through this, all different ages and stages and backgrounds, and the woman sitting next to me was very different in how she went through it.
Dennis: The thing I like about LifeReady Woman is that it is solidly biblical, but it allows people to apply it in their own calling, where they’re living today.
Dennis: And another reason why I like this is I think this is going to put a great tool that is virtually a turn-key ministry tool, put it in the hands of somebody who wants to make an impact in her neighborhood, her church, her community, and invite some friends over, or invite several hundred over. . .
Dennis: . . . and make it an event and break people down in small groups and defeat the isolation that is occurring because of the pace of life, and help women succeed where they live day in and day out.
Bob: So you’re thinking that not only can this be used in a church women’s ministry environment, but a woman could just say, “I’ll do it with a group of friends and we’ll get together every week and brew a pot of coffee and do it.”
Dennis: I think it can be four or five women together in a living room with getting their manuals out and working, or it can be four or five hundred.
Dennis: Personally I hope it’s both.
Shaunti: Me, too.
Dennis: I hope people will blow the doors off and take this into communities and really invite those who may not be Christ-followers today, because, as you’ve heard Shaunti here on the broadcast, she’s authentic. She’s not saying she’s got all of life wired perfectly. She’s in the process of making her own choices and being courageous as a woman.
Dennis: Yeah, aren’t we all?
Dennis: We’re all trying to follow Christ and do what the Scriptures say. But Bob, I think it’s just a great opportunity for outreach all across the country, and we’re looking forward to hearing the stories of how a lot of women become LifeReady.
Bob: You can see clips from the video series if you go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. We posted some sample clips from what Shaunti has put together in the LifeReady Woman DVD series. It’s almost ready to ship out; I think a couple of weeks from now we’re planning to ship, but you can go ahead and order the series from us when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com.
What is ready to go is the book that Shaunti has written along with Dr. Robert Lewis, called The LifeReady Woman. You can find information about the book on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can call to order a copy at 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800 “F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word “TODAY.”
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We hope you can be back with us tomorrow. We’re going to hear a message from Crawford and Karen Loritts about how we can do a better job of supporting and complementing one another in our marriage relationships, in a way that makes our marriage more vibrant and in a way that honors God. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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