Living From the Inside Out
About the Guest
Do you fly through your days at 90 miles an hour? Former Wall Street analyst Shaunti Feldhahn, now a wife and mother of two, talks about a woman’s biblical job descriptions. Shaunti encourages women to stop taking their cues from the culture and to live from the inside out instead, by walking with the Lord.
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Do you fly through your days at 90 miles an hour?
Living From the Inside Out
Bob: The song you are about to hear, it’s a lie.
Song: I can rub and scrub ‘til this whole house is shinin’ like a dime.
Feed the baby, grease the car and powder my face at the same time.
Get all dressed up, go out and swing ‘til four a.m. and then
Lay down at five, jump up at six and start all over again.
Cuz’ I’m a woman, W-O-M-A-N.
I’ll say that again…
Bob: Welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us.
I don’t know when that… Was that song ever popular? That was never on my… I just don’t remember it on the radio. It kind of… First time I remember seeing it was on a commercial somewhere. Did you ever even know who sang that song? But it sure…
Dennis: I’m surprised you don’t.
Bob: I don’t. It just became this anthem of what it means to be a woman. “I can do it all, baby!”
Dennis: Any maybe our guest on today’s broadcast can tell us where it came from. Shaunti Feldhahn joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Shaunti, welcome back.
Shaunti: Thanks, Dennis.
Dennis: So do you know who…?
Shaunti: I have absolutely no clue!
Bob: Can you do all those things?
Shaunti: Oh, but let me tell you as a woman I feel like I’m supposed to be able to do all those things. I probably can’t, but I feel like I’m supposed to.
Dennis: Well, if you don’t know Shaunti, she’s the mom of two, wife of one, and she’s just completed a book, along with a brand new video series for women’s Bible studies, called The Life Ready Woman. It’s subtitled “Thriving in a Do It All World.” I suppose that song may be playing in the background.
Bob: I have just been watching our engineer, Keith. Do you have the answer on who recorded that song, Keith?
Keith: 1963. Peggy Lee. Arranged by Benny Carter.
Bob: Is that right? It’s an old Peggy Lee classic.
Keith: But made popular by…
Keith: …in a perfume commercial.
Bob: That’s where I heard…
Dennis: What was the fragrance, Keith? Do you know what the fragrance was?
I can bring home the bacon, Onjole’
Fry it up in the pan, Onjole’
And never let you forget you’re a man
Male voice: Give her Onjole’
Shaunti: I knew!
Dennis: Well, Shaunti, you’ve been working on this Bible study. Undoubtedly you’ve interacted with a number of woman and have heard, you know, incredible stories of the stress around the pace of life they are facing. What are the issues that are really taking the breath away from women today?
Shaunti: Well, you know the front cover of the Life Ready book is a picture of a woman juggling about twenty things. That’s what it feels like to be a woman today. We’re always juggling. That fact of having all those expectations and that everything is just going one hundred miles an hour.
Dennis: One of the things Barbara did when we were in the process of raising our six children is she devised what she called critical thinking. She said, “I must spend some time thinking critically about my schedule, pace of life” and it could be that’s where our date nights came out of.
Dennis: I mean we had a standing date night. It was when the president and vice president of the Rainey Corporation got together and we were deciding how we were going to handle the next week, the next month, and really know how to handle the pace of life.
Bob: As you started to look at Genesis you saw there a grid that enables you to do some critical thinking about how you juggle the twenty things that are flying around, right?
Shaunti: It’s basically a road map. It’s a blueprint. I wish I could say that I came up with it but, oh, I didn’t. I was just as confused as any other women and Robert Lewis, who has been just a fantastic producer of these video series that you guys have been putting out, including the LifeReady Woman, this arose from his thirty-plus years as a senior pastor and in ministry where he had seen and we pulled it together in the video series, that really it goes all the way back to Genesis.
I mean, God has handed us as women a job description and sort of design specifications and says “Here’s how life will work” and you were designed as both woman and men, you’re designed to cleave and cleave with a spouse. You’re designed to be an independent, sort of mature individual and you’re cleaving with a spouse.
You’re designed to be fruitful and multiply. That’s not just have kids, you know, but really pour into them. Advance the next generation even if you don’t have kids yet or even if your kids are grown. Everybody is designed to be able to pour into the next generation. And everyone is designed, women and men, to subdue and rule, to subdue the earth and rule over it and advance God’s purposes for the world beyond the home.
Those three things, to the degree that we will do them, will feel like life will and, to the degree that we don’t, we’re going to have regrets. Every one of us has seen, for example, the dad who spent all of his time and energy working and earning money and his kids are grown and he starts looking around and going, “I missed it.” He has regrets because he was focusing on the going out thing and didn’t focus on the leave and cleave or be fruitful and multiply.
We’re designed to be fit with all three of them. It’s going to look different at different parts of life and that’s what we work on in the study. How do you organize your life?
Dennis: Shaunti, comment on women today and how they view children because it seems to me that not only are women delaying marriage until their late twenties or early thirties, but in the process they’re delaying childbearing and childrearing as well.
Shaunti: This is one of the cultural issues. The “bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, never ever let you forget you’re a man” song, anthem. One of the consequences really, of this cultural saturation that we have had with the “I am woman, hear me roar” thing, is that for some people they think, “I probably want kids at some point but I’ll get to that later,” not realizing God has designed times and seasons for things. We look at some actress in Hollywood who’s having a baby at 41, 42 and we as women kind of think “Oh, I can wait on that.”
I certainly did. I thought, “I will wait on that.” I was twenty seven when I got married. Then I decided in my early thirties that I really wanted to have kids and it was difficult to get pregnant. We don’t’ realize that there’s a season or that and it gets harder and harder as you get into your thirties.
This is a perfect example that there are ways that God has designed us and, to the degree that we function with that things will work. And to the degree that we decided “I don’t want to function that way” that we’re going to have regrets later.
I have spoken to so many women when I do my marriage conferences where they were focused on career right out of college, for example, and they didn’t want to go to the singles group at their church on Friday night. They didn’t want to worry about a man right now. Then suddenly they’re in their thirties and they’re like, “Wait a minute. I’ve got to… Now I’m lonely and now I want this and, oh my gosh, what choices did I make?”
The whole point of this study is to think about these choices purposefully, especially to the degree that we can do it ahead of time. But even to the degree that it’s not ahead of time and even to the degree that we are where we are, we’ve made the choices that we made, our life looks like it does right now. We can still start and looks at this design and figure out what it means for us and sort of reboot from this point on. It will completely change the feeling of your life to feel like you are functioning the way that you were designed.
Bob: So you’re saying that there needs to be some, and I don’t want to use the word “balance” because that makes it feel like there should be an equal contribution to each of these three areas, your marriage, your children, and the subdue and rule the kingdom of God, you’re saying there should be some participation that may look different in different seasons of life but you should be participating in all three of those areas throughout your life as a women.
Shaunti: Otherwise you will end up having regrets because that’s how you’re designed.
Bob: So a woman who says to you, “Alright, Shaunti, I hear you, but as a wife and a mom, I’ve got four kids at home, they’re all under the age of seven…”
Dennis: I can hear my daughter Ashley right now. She’s got five boys, ten and under.
Shaunti: God bless her!
Bob: …and she might say, “I’ve put subdue and rule on the sidelines for this season. I’ll get to it later but if I try to wedge that into my life right now, I’ll cave.”
Shaunti: Okay, well this is a perfect example for a woman. We are thinking of wedging stuff in and instead I would ask Ashley, “Okay, setting aside for a minute the stuff that you do with your boys, what is it that you just love to do?”
Dennis: Bible Study Fellowship.
Shaunti: Okay, so Bible Study Fellowship. What is it, maybe for example, that lights you up that you just love it when you do it and if you didn’t have to worry about making a living and you didn’t have kids for example, what is it that you would do? And she might say, “I’d love to go to Bible Study Fellowship.” That’s an example of something that she’s created for. That’s an example where by going to BSF every week and speaking into the lives of those women, that’s an example of subdue and rule.
It is not necessarily go out and have a ministry and fit something else into your life. It is where God has you, to be able to make sure you’re using that for kingdom purposes. That’s an example. If she didn’t do that, imagine the stress that might add to her life, if she wasn’t functioning in that way.
Dennis: Fortunately she’s got a husband who recognizes the need to steward her life in that way and so he stays home with the boys so she can go participate in that small group of women and be able to teach and lead at that point.
Shaunti: That’s an example of the way that God has designed us to function. That one thing, by the way, is really important for women to realize. We are not designed to be able to figure this out completely on our won. We are designed to do this in partnership.
That’s one of the reasons why I think sometimes this kind of independent feeling that we have in this culture kind of lends itself to bad choices because I feel like, “Oh my gosh. It’s totally my responsibility to figure out how to do this on my own.” No, it’s not! I’ve got a husband. It’s just as much his job to figure out how to steward my gifts and how to make sure that that all happens as it is for me to figure out how do I support him in his?
What we also cover, though, and this is important for people to know, is in this study and in this book we are covering those situations where things haven’t worked out in your life the way that you think they should. I dealt with a group of women, we walked through this whole thing for a year, and there were single moms in the group. Their life hadn’t worked out the way that they wanted. One of my best friends has five kids and was just abandoned by her husband. Her life doesn’t look like what she expected.
Shaunti: But you know what? That biblical grid is still there and it’s still helping her make these choices. It’s a perfect example, same thing. But there are some things that she’s so designed for that, if she didn’t do them, she’d have more stress and she’d have more of a feeling of tension and she’d have more of a feeling of burden than if she is functioning in the way she is called and designed.
Bob: So what about the single woman in her forties who has never been married, doesn’t have any kids, and she looks around and goes, “Do I just lock in on subdue and rule because I don’t have a leave cleave and I don’t have be fruitful and multiply?”
Shaunti: This is a perfect example. The be fruitful and multiply is something I guarantee that single woman, because of how we’re created, if she doesn’t look for opportunities to be fruitful and multiply, like maybe her sister has kids or maybe she can go be the real cool aunt at her church’s youth group. She’s the single woman who can go bowling with them and all that kind of stuff and pour into these teenagers’ lives. If she doesn’t do that she will have those regrets.
To the degree also that we are to leave and cleave every person can leave. Every person can work on their character and work on becoming that mature individual in Christ that we are supposed to be. The reality, though, in that cleave thing obviously, she doesn’t have that right now. What I would say and what a lot of people say is, “You know what, you’re built for that.”
For the woman who is in her early forties and would love to be married and just isn’t, so many people in the church say, “Well you know, Jesus should be your husband and get over it.” And you know what? She is feeling that hole in her heart because we were created for that and that’s a legitimate feeling of concern.
But according to all the studies that have been done, ninety-five percent of women will find a mate at one point. The vast majority of women in that situation will. So this is an opportunity to says, “Okay, I don’t have it now. I can still be fruitful and multiply. I can still do subdue and rule. And while I’m waiting, I can prepare to be the best wife ever” and to learn all those things about men, for example, that maybe have kept me from leaving and cleaving up until now. Get myself ready for that. Because otherwise, it is how we were designed, there will be that sense of regret.
Bob: Let me ask you about the subdue and rule side. I’m thinking of a woman who, she works as the bank teller at the bank, and she’s going, “You know, I’m doing this to help support the family and all of that. It doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot of subduing or ruling going on as I’m sitting there going ‘thank you for your deposit.’ You’re telling me that that’s what God created me to do?”
Shaunti: This is a great example of, if she doesn’t look for the opportunities to advance God’s kingdom, it will feel just like “You’ve got to be kidding me.” It’s just going to be one more thing to do in her day. It’s just going to add to her stress. But if she looks for opportunities to advance His kingdom purposes, sitting in that chair at the bank suddenly it’s going to be in line with her gifting.
By definition, that’s what we go through in the study. What is your gifting? So, for example, suppose that she really could care less about numbers. This really is just a way she makes a living. She could care less about the banking side of things. But maybe she’s got a really good listening ear and maybe there’s lots of time when there’s really no one coming into the bank during the workday when it’s kind of dead, and her coworker’s constantly having marriage problems.
She’s asking, “So Brenda, how are thinking going with you and Steve?” Brenda’s going, “Oh, I don’t know what to do and I’m just thinking of leaving the bum.” She says, “Well, what are some of the reasons for that?” She starts working with her on that and they interrupt because someone comes into the bank, and then they continue the conversation five minutes later. You know it could be that God has her there to help save that marriage. That’s an example of something that doesn’t feel hard to her because it’s how she’s designed.
Now there may be some people listening to this and going, “Oh, that sounds awful” because that’s not how you were designed.
Shaunti: But maybe there’s something completely different for you that is your sort of subdue and rule thing and it’s going to fit. It’s going to feel like “I love this,” not “Oh, I have to do this.”
Dennis: A life that is lived by faith is expecting God to be at work. That means spotting ways that you can say a kind word and encouraging a person. I was recently at a leadership development course and they had a guy from Starbucks who talked about how Starbucks trained them, in the fifteen seconds when they deliver the coffee to you in the drive-through, to say something kind to you or to ask you how you’re doing and not just have it be rote but to truly connect with the customer.
Shaunti: That’s awesome!
Dennis: You think about that. If a company can get excited about selling coffee and doing that, how much more should someone…this woman who is a bank teller…how much more should she be excited to think, “You know what? I’m going to touch a lot of people’s lives today.
Dennis: “I’m going to smile. I’m going to ask them how they’re doing. I hope they have a good day.” And maybe even say, not to become an evangelist, okay, because you can’t necessary do that at work all the time, but to maybe say, “May God bless you.” Those people aren’t going to frown on that.
But I like what you’re saying, Shaunti. You’re lifting the eyes of women up to say, “Will you life by faith according to God’s design?” There’s great freedom there.
Shaunti: It’s not just great freedom but there’s also a feeling that it fits. That’s what currently so many of us as women just don’t feel. We feel stressed instead and we feel like we’re juggling all of that and I have to be the superwomen and the supermom and because of that feeling of “Ugg. I don’t have enough hours in the day” we really do need a grid to be able to make these decisions.
The key is once you go through it for you, how God has designed you, and it’s going to be different from the person sitting next to you, but once you got through that, suddenly it is freedom and it is peace and it is a lack of stress.
Dennis: And it’s purposeful too, isn’t it?
Shaunti: And its purpose! You’re right. It’s being purposeful about it because I can tell you, if you’re not purposeful about it, it ain’t going to happen, not in this world.
Dennis: The culture’s got a plan for your marriage, for your family, and for your life and if you don’t know what God’s plan is, you’re going to ultimately be seduced by the world.
Shaunti: This is one of the things we talk about in the study and in the book, is that we call it inside out living rather than inside out living. If you think of it as a circle and at the center of the circle are these callings, we call them the core callings, the Genesis blueprints basically, our calling and design to leave and cleave, be fruitful and multiply, and subdue and rule, those callings are common to ever man and every woman.
Then we begin to layer on our specific design as individuals. First our design as women. Beyond that, God has given us a vast, almost limitless array of skills and talents and design an individuals. These are essentially further design specifications for you, individually. The innate built in things you’re just good at. There’s just never been and never will be anyone exactly like you.
The next two rings in our identity are what are most critical for our discussion today. These are where the battle to live by faith comes to a head. The third level in our identity is our personal wants and desires. This is where we make our personal choices. If my wants and God’s wants for me clash, this is where at times I have to decide whether I will live by what God wants for me or by what I want. This is where we choose whether to live by faith or by sight.
The final ring of this circle represents those values that come from the world that run counter to God’s core design and callings for us. This is how the world is pressing in on you and it’s trying to shape your desires. The world’ values are essentially what you feel like you should want or what you feel like you should believe and, if they are not countered, after a while they are a part of what you want and they are a part of what you believe.
Bob: How does this video series work? Is this a small group of women getting together and doing it? Is this fifty women in the church? How’s it working?
Shaunti: It could be any of the above. It’s designed to be a video teaching session where I’m teaching some of these various principles and then you break up into your small groups, whatever the number it’s going to end up being, into small groups so that you can dig into these things.
The fun thing for women is there are so many of these Bible studies that have tons of homework and--I hate to tell you this, whenever I’ve done those I kind of start off real good during the week and then by the end of the week I’m not doing my homework anymore--so what I did with this one is just recognize that.
We stop in the middle of each teaching session and I put a clock up on the screen and I say, “Okay, we’re going to take five minutes. We’re going to do this exercise right now. And we’ll come back in five minutes.”
So everybody does that exercise right then, rather than having to wait for their homework. To be able to come back and then do that application there and then be able to talk about it in their group time, really changes the dynamic. Then we have optional homework for people who really want that extra devotional time during the week.
Dennis: I’m looking at the study here as you’re talking, Shaunti, and I’m thinking, you know what? This is so good because every woman who attends this, whether single, married, mom, empty nester, regardless of her season of life, is going to have a “take it home application,” a way she can apply this immediately to her circumstances.
Bob: In fact this is something that I think a lot of churches could use as an outreach in the community. You could do this at your church and invite women in. Have the study and maybe follow it with a lunch for the ladies. I think this is something that would be an easy invitation for a woman to ask a friend or a neighbor to come join her at the church for this study.
Or take the DVDs into your living room and gather together six or seven women and go through the material in a home setting. It works perfectly in that environment as well.
You can find out more about the LifeReady Women video series when you go online at FamilyLifeToday.com. There’s a video clip that’s available there with more information about the series. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Or call toll free, 1-800-FLToday, 1-800-358-6329, that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, ”L” as in life, and then the word “TODAY” and we can answer any questions you have about the LifeReady Woman video series.
Let me also mention that Shaunti has written on this subject in a book called The LifeReady Woman. She wrote it together with Dr. Robert Lewis and that book is now available as well. In fact, this week we are making the book available as a thank you gift to those of you who can help support the ministry of FamilyLife with a donation. When you call or go online to donate to help keep FamilyLife on the air in this city and in cities all across, the country, simply request a copy of the book LifeReady Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn and we’ll send it out to you as a way of saying thanks for your support.
If you’re donating online, in the key code box that you find on the online donation form, just type the work “READY” into the box and we’ll know to send you a copy of the book. Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-356-6329. Make your donation over the phone and just ask for the LifeReady Woman book. We’ll be happy to send it out to you. Again, we do appreciate so much your support of the ministry. We couldn’t do it without you. We’re grateful for your financial participation in FamilyLife Today.
We want to encourage you to join us back tomorrow. We’re going to talk about the priority of marriage and of supporting and honoring your husband in what can feel like an already overcrowded agenda. We’ll talk about that with Shaunti Feldhahn tomorrow. Hope you can be here.
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 tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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