The Purpose and Motive of Vulnerability for Believers | Jamie Ivey | Ep. 43
Vulnerability is a hot topic these days. There is no shortage of research, books, podcasts and lectures available to us from culture about the benefits and challenges of vulnerability. It all sounds so good and feels so right. It feels like we’re raising the bar on ourselves, and we aspire to live a life more vulnerable. But – is vulnerability our end goal? Is being authentic and transparent an end in itself? If not, what should be our true motivation for being authentic and transparent?
In episode 43 of Kindled, guest Jamie Ivey and I discuss the purpose of vulnerability in the life of a believer and how to do it well (ie- with real people). Jamie shares how she has cultivated a community of real life friends who she can be vulnerable with in real life for the ultimate purpose of pointing them to Jesus and them pointing her back in return.
Jamie is an author, speaker and podcast host of The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Her book If You Only Knew shares her story of becoming free. This conversation is challenging for any believer seeking guidance on how to do this tough topic with a right heart.
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Kindled Podcast is brought to you by the generous support of our donors. If you want to join them in making this show possible, visit www.kindledpodcast.com/give. Hello and welcome back to Kindled Podcast, a podcast where women share stories of motherhood, work and the grace we need for both.
You are listening to episode 43. Today is a special surprise Christmas episode, and it is with one of my favorites, Jamie Ivey. Many of you know and love Jamie already. She is an author, a speaker, and hosts her own podcast, The Happy Hour, which is one of my all time favorite shows. I have been listening to her podcast for years and in fact, she was one of the first shows that made me think, “Hey, I want to do that. She makes it sound so fun and easy and effortless.” Anyways, I remember having those thoughts, that that would be a dream.
Jamie has a heart for women and encouraging them, uplifting them and, as she always says, cheering women on. She wrote a book, If You Only Knew, which I highly recommend you get, if you haven’t read it yet. Jamie writes about all the moments of her past that she is not proud of and asks the question, “What if you really knew me?”
Now, I actually got to meet Jamie back in May, when I went to her Happy Hour live event in Austin, with my best friend, Kendra. Some of you who have been listening for a while, may remember that Kendra and I actually recorded an episode in Austin about lasting friendships. That’s episode 16, if you want to check it out.
And I determined at that event that I would ask Jamie to come on my podcast, even though it was super brand new – only a few months old. So after the event was over, she was in the back room of the event space, shaking hands and taking pictures, and I decided to get in line to introduce myself and also ask her to come on my podcast.
I figured if I ask in person, she has to say yes, right? Not manipulative at all. So I asked her to come on, she graciously said she would love to and a few weeks ago, we finally sat down to talk about a topic that she is well-acquainted with — vulnerability. So this is my Christmas gift to you. I haven’t been publishing in December, but I decided to release this the week before Christmas, as a gift to my listeners because I love you guys. And I think that this topic comes up a lot around the holidays as we interface with family, and there are challenges and relational tensions and strife that comes up that we otherwise get to kind of avoid the rest of the year and vulnerability is either forced or necessary in ways that it might not be at other times of your life, so I think this comes at a good time and I hope you enjoy this conversation with Jamie. Here you go.
Alright, well, today we have Jamie Ivey talking with us and I’m so excited to talk with you. Thank you for joining us today, Jamie.
Thank you so much for having me!
This is so fun. I probably, like everybody who’s ever interviewed you, it’s like, the second that you decide you’re going to do a podcast, you’re like, “Oh, I want Jamie Ivey on there.” And I think I told you this in person. I met you in May, but your podcast was definitely what inspired me to want to do similar to what you’re doing, which is sharing stories of women and hope and truth with the world. So, I just thank you for your example in doing that.
Well, you’re so welcome, and congratulations on your show. I love seeing people start podcasts, so way to go.
Thank you. So what I wanted to talk with you about today is this topic of vulnerability and this is kind of a hot topic in today’s culture right now. I mean, it’s kind of trendy, right? I mean, there’s like everybody has got a lot of researchers and we’ve got a lot of information and encouragement coming out to be vulnerable and all these things that, you know, even from a secular point of view. It’s not exclusive to the faith community at all, but I would love to talk with you kind of about your journey to that and what it’s looked like for you and then kind of go through the who, what, when, where or why of what that has looked like in your life and just because I think you’re modeling that really well for a lot of people. So I would love to do that, but before we get into all of that, if you could just introduce yourself because, you know, maybe somebody has been living under a rock and doesn’t know who you are, so I would love for you to do that.
Awesome, well, thank you so much, I’m so excited. So my name is Jamie Ivey, and I live in Austin, Texas. My husband and I have lived here 10 years, we have four kids and he is a worship pastor at our church here and I have a podcast, like you mentioned, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. I recently wrote a book called “If You Only Knew” and I get to travel and speak to women around the country. And we have four kids, they’re all practically teenagers, which is a lot and that’s who I am, that’s what I do.
Yeah, awesome. Thanks for sharing that. So you’ve been podcasting a while. When did you first start your show?
I have been podcasting for four and a half years, so it’s — next May of 2019, it’ll be five years.
Wow, so how does it feel being five years in?
It feels good.
It feels like it started yesterday or, I mean, you feel like it’s been five years?
No, I feel like it’s been five years, for sure, and I feel like that. We are in a groove now. I feel like it took us a while to figure that out. You know, always people are like, “I want to start a podcast, what should we do?” And I’m like, “Well, figure out what you want to do, but it comes to a point we have to just jump in and do it.” And so I think we’ve figured out a lot along the way, and we’re still figuring stuff out. I mean, we’re still trying to do our best to what we’re doing, but I love my job, I love podcasting so much.
Yeah, because it is your job, it’s your full-time job.
Podcasting is my full-time job, it really is. Yeah, and I wrote a book and I travel and speak and so… But all of those things make up my job.
Yeah, I mean, and I’ve heard people say how much work it was, but I don’t think anything can really prepare you for how much work it really is until you’re actually in it and you’re like, “Oh okay.”
That is — there’s a lot. I mean, because it’s not just, you know, show up and have a conversation. Obviously, you’ve got everything that happens in the preparation of that and then post-conversation, you know, post-interview, whatever, to actually get the show out and then promote it. Yes, yes.
And then plan your guests and there’s just a lot. So, I mean, I don’t have to tell you, I know you know that, but…
It is a lot in and there were seasons when I did all of that all by myself, you know? And I don’t do all that by myself now, thankfully, but I get to do what I do best now, which is, you know, the interviews and stuff like that, so it is a lot. I love it though, it’s great.
Yeah, so you took a few small steps though. Before you started podcasting you — I’ve heard you tell your story about how you got started and it was actually not originally to start a podcast, but rather to host a radio show, right?
Yes, I won a contest to be a DJ in Austin.
Right, okay, so you did that for a while, right? Was it a month or you…?
I did it for a few months. For about four and a half months.
Okay, and then you were like, just, it’s too much or what happened then?
So when I won the job, it was kind of crazy because I had never been in radio, I never worked in radio before and they advertised on the show I was listening to the radio and they had an open casting call and I send in an audition and I ended up, you know, applying and making the top 10 and then making the top five and then I ended up winning and so found myself going from stay-at-home mom to four kids to working on a morning DJ go live on the air at 6.00 a.m. So it was a big transition and I loved it so much. I did — I found that I found something I liked, I was good at it, but family at home was having a really hard time with it, and so it was four and a half months that I ended up quitting.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So, I mean, you got started in podcasting, but you didn’t necessarily have a grand scheme that, ‘This is the direction I’m taking my career and this is my grand plan,’ or did you have any sort of hunch that this would be like what you were going to end up doing or was it like, ‘I’m just going to do the next thing that feels like the next step and see where it goes.’
I wish I could say that this was all a part of the plan, that I had this big grand scheme of plan and I knew where it was going to end, but no, I did not. I literally started podcasting because I fell in love with this medium, this audio talking. I fell in love with that at the radio station and then I was a guest on someone’s show and thought, ‘I think I can do what she just did.’ And so, I started it as a hobby and it was a hobby and then I made a very strategic choice, about 50 episodes in, that I was going to make it a job, and so before then it was just something that I did for fun and it was fun and it was great and people loved it, but I had to make a decision, ‘Do I want to do this as a hobby or do I want to do it as a job?’ And things changed when I made that decision.
Yeah, so, I mean, that’s interesting to me just because I’m almost at 50 episodes, I’m a couple months away from that, so I get why that would be a point where you’re like, ‘Okay, let’s cut the… You know let’s figure out what are we doing here. Is this just like a ministry, in the sense I’m just going do this as a hobby and not expect any sort of income or not require that, so I’ve got to make money somewhere else, if that’s what I need to do or do I want to turn into a business?’ Yeah, that’s interesting, just from my perspective, I’m an entrepreneur, so my tendency is to take every single thing that I am possibly good at and to try and turn it into a business.
And so far, podcasting has been for me more of an outlet to not do that, an opportunity to just, I guess, be obedient and use my gifts in a way that is not profitable, you know? And so, not that that’s better, it’s just been almost maybe a spiritual challenge for me to not just capitalize on the opportunity. Do you know what I mean? Like, that’s just more my bent and so, there does come a point, I think, probably in most people’s experience with podcast, which is why there’s so many that just show up and then go away, because, yeah, you do have to decide, ‘What is my purpose in this? And what is…?’ You know, especially if you’re believer like, ‘How does God want me to use this in my life and in my work?’
Yeah, and there’s something wrong with it being a hobby. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just need to decide. So, yes.
Yeah, for sure. So, at some point you kind of decided that you would make it a job, at that point of 50 episodes, and then did your strategy shift with how you did your show or was it more… Did it just kind of evolve as you went?
I think both. I mean, my strategy definitely changed a bit, to where I had to decide that I was going to put in the work no matter what. Previously, when it was just a hobby, I mean, I was doing all the editing, I was doing everything that, you know, that goes into a show, I was doing it all. And that’s how most people start out, that’s how I started, that’s how you should stat. And so I was doing everything that it involved, but I had to make some decisions of… I’m not doing what I do best. What I do best is interview and marketing and Instagram, but what I don’t do best is editing.
Yeah, me too.
I’m really bad at editing, really bad and I hate it. It’s miserable and I hate it. And so I had to decide, I need to actually I hire someone else to do this. And so, strategically, you know, this is a hobby — You know, my husband and I are just going to start throwing out all of our money to get someone to edit the show if I’m not bringing the money in. So I had to make plans of how am I going to make this a job so that I can get someone to edit it so it sounds better, so then you can get — I mean, just a bunch of things that had to go into it. Yeah, strategically, yes, a lot of changes were made, but also we still make those all the time. I mean, I just came in from a meeting that we’ve been talking, you know, for four hours about what are the next strategic steps for 2019 for the podcast. So we’re still always looking at what’s next, how can we do this better, what’s new? It is a constant evolving.
Yeah, I am also the worst editor ever. Every time that I have edited — and I don’t edit my own anymore, but when I did and when I have taken the random one that I’m like, “Oh this is just like If I do an episode where it’s not an interview and it’s just me, I’m like, ‘I can handle that.’ There is inevitably like two minutes of white space somewhere. And someone, [inaudible12:19] is like “Hey, I think you might just — you know, maybe check around the eight-minute mark, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, why? Why do I do this? I know better, then — I’m just, I’m a doer and I think like, “I can do it all myself, I got it.” It’s not, it’s never — It never serves me well, so I just need to learn the lesson once and for all, but…
I hear you, I hear you.
So do you find it easy to share and be — Well, first of all, we should probably talk about the definition of what vulnerability is, because I was going to ask. Do you find it easy to share and be vulnerable? But I know that it can be a little dicey when we interchange the word vulnerability with sharing because everybody is on social media sharing all the time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being vulnerable, right? So how do you define vulnerability
You know, I think vulnerability is a very trendy, popular word right now and I’m a fan of vulnerability so… But for me, I always think, “What is vulnerability? What is the end goal with vulnerability?” So if I’m being vulnerable with you on this podcast or on my social media or whatever, what’s my end goal? And is it just so more people know about me? Is it just so more people know about my problems and my failures? Or is it so I can point them to Jesus? So, you know, as a Christian, I always think that my vulnerability has to lead people somewhere. And so it can’t lead people to me because that’s not a good end goal, but I need to lead people to Jesus, and so that’s what I try to do. I think vulnerability can be confusing and you may look at me and my listeners and my readers may look at me and say, “You were a very vulnerable person,” which is true. That is not a false statement. I am a vulnerable person, but the people I’m the most vulnerable with are the people I do life with, so that’s not my Instagram followers it’s not my podcast listeners, it’s not my book reader. Although I am vulnerable there, my true real vulnerability is with my people, my husband, my close girlfriends who they walk with me through everything. So, I think vulnerability is great. I’m a huge fan of it. I think we need some more vulnerability in our life, but I think we need to, when we talk about it strategically, I think we need to be strategic with our vulnerability and that we need to have people in our world that we can be completely vulnerable with, not just a little vulnerable, not like almost vulnerable, but really vulnerable. I’ll give you an example; for me, being on social media or podcasts, there’s only so far I can go with my vulnerability with my parenting. I cannot air out everything that’s hard, I cannot air out everything that I don’t like about it because I’ve got four other people who their lives are at stake and, you know, they might be on social media or their friends, but I have close girlfriends that I can be completely vulnerable with, like everything on the table and they love me they point me to Jesus and they help me be a better mom. And so, I think that we need to be careful with applauding vulnerability that’s online, then someone might not have vulnerability in their real life and that’s backwards. We need to applaud vulnerability within your people and your community and not just applauding someone vulnerable online, because online you’re just telling us what you want us to hear. Like, I am vulnerable online, I know I am, but I only tell you so much because I refuse to tell you everything because I don’t know you.
You don’t know me, you don’t know my kids, you’re not my family, but my people know me and so there’s a really safe place there with my people. So I think sometimes people are choosing vulnerability online and then sacrificing vulnerability with their real people and they’re missing the whole point of it. They’re missing the blessings of it, they’re missing the benefits of it, they’re missing everything because we cannot have true real vulnerability online, it’s impossible.
No. Well and there is a fall sense of connection because, you know, you share something that feels sacred or private or personal to you and it’s like that you’re achieving some level of intimacy by sharing that thing, but you can’t ever — unless you’re also friends in real life, like you said — you can’t ever really replicate that experience of sitting in your living room with a friend, telling them what is actually hard in your life right now and where you really need help or prayer or encouragement or, you know, like pointing you back to the truth, whatever that may be. That isn’t going to happen on an Instagram story or a Facebook post or an email or even in a book, like you said. So it’s that false sense of, “Okay, I’m connecting I’m connecting” and you know, you’ve probably heard the same thing that’s like, we’re so connected digitally, we’re losing that true relational intimacy that we’re intended to have offline.
Yeah, and I think — I’m a fan of online, I do my work online, you do your work online. I love online and I believe that you can have connectivity online, but I don’t think that can be the only place you feel connected to someone, because it cannot do what you need it to do.
Right, right, and you’re share in there should be flowing out of what’s already happening in real life, not a “Okay, I’m super private and closed off with the people who are in my small group, but then I’m going to go on my Instagram and…
… share everything, you know? So yeah.
Because those people on Instagram, they also can’t call you out. Vulnerability also includes people calling you on your mess and so that doesn’t happen online, so in a safe place, it would be your real people, community.
Yeah, totally. So, one description that I’ve heard of vulnerability and I want to see what you think about this is — I don’t know where I heard this, but it was, “Be authentic with all, transparent with some and vulnerable with few.”
I guess vulnerable would be like the max, like it’s all of the above.
Yeah, I mean, I think that quote it sums up everything we just talked about. Is that what this matters, it was with real people that you can hold hands with, that they can wipe your tears away, that they can hug you; that is where that real true vulnerability comes in, you know? And I think about that, even with the book that I wrote. You know, a lot of people like tell you you were so vulnerable in that book and I was so, so vulnerable in my book, but most of that book, most of what I wrote about happened 20 years ago and so I have walked through that, I have cried through that, I have gone through the mud in that and I don’t walk through the mud in that anymore. Like I don’t cry over that anymore, I don’t think about that until I sit down to do an interview. And so I think that that’s important to realize too, it goes along with the whole conversation. Is it that vulnerability that I shared in that book, that was shared years ago with my people.
You know, nothing that came out in the book was news to anyone that knows me in my real life, so I can see how that is true and it’s reiterating what we said, is that vulnerability happens with the real people in front of you.
Yeah. When I was researching and kind of preparing for this conversation, I came across a Gospel coalition article that quoted, they said Andy Crouch’s book, Strong and Weak, which I have not read, defines vulnerability as “exposure to meaningful risk” and I really liked that definition because it’s like, we don’t just share, we’re not just vulnerable for the sake of being vulnerable, you know? Just to [inaudible 19:19] or to get the glory or to have the spotlight on us for a second while we kind of turn heads with those facts that somebody thinks, like exposé or whatever, but it’s exposure to meaningful risk. So, like you said in the very beginning, what’s the motivation? What’s the why? Why are you sharing?
And that kind of gets me to the section that I wanted to kind of walk through, the 5Ws, like the who, what, where, when, why of vulnerability. And you kind of just shared who you’re vulnerable with; your people. The people in your real life, first of all. So, like you said, before you ever went to write a book, you know, you had to share that with somebody and it was years ago. It wasn’t just like right before you write the book, it was like you were actually living life with people and being yourself and having relationships and out of that flowed an ability to want to share that with others right?
Right, yeah, that’s exactly. And, you know, I think when you hear about the who is — I think that we kind of think, “Well, I need to be — I need to have my level of vulnerability with everybody that I come in contact with.” And that’s just not true either, because we can be authentic people, we can be true to ourselves and true to who God made use, but it goes back to my example of parenting and my children. I can be vulnerable to people about that and it’s important that I am, but that’s not vulnerability that needs to be shared with the whole world because it doesn’t do any good in that case and in that situation. I mean, people ask me all the time to write a book or talk about adoption. Three of my kids joined our family through adoption and the problem is there’s only so far I can go before I kind of talk about someone’s story that’s not mine, my kids. That’s their story to tell, not me. And so I can do that in a personal way. If you and I had coffee together, there’s so much I can talk to you about that I’m not going to put in a book, I’m not going to share on a podcast because it’s not my story to tell. So I think that those levels of vulnerability are important for us to remember as well.
And the who, like who we’re sharing with.
Right, right, it doesn’t mean that being vulnerable with the right people, in the right context, is really important.
Yeah, that’s good.
Hey guys, I’m sure you are loving this conversation with Jamie. I wanted to ask you if you would give me a small gift in return for this surprise Christmas episode with Jamie Ivey. My only wish is that you would share Kindled with at least one friend this season and that could be through text, that could be sending them the link to listen to it on their podcast app, that could be sharing a screenshot of this episode in your stories on Instagram or texting that image to a friend and just letting them know, “Hey, I think you would like this, check it out.” We all trust our friends a lot more than we do random strangers on the internet, so share Kindled with a friend who you think would love it and there you go. I mean, problem solved. You now can just check my name right off your Christmas list, now you don’t have to worry about the shipping of that amazing gift that I know you’re going to go grab this weekend because we are getting a little close to the holidays and you were cutting it close anyways and shipping was probably going to cost extra to get it here on time. So yeah, now you don’t have to worry about it, just consider it done. Thanks guys. And now, back to my interview with Jamie.
So then, as far as like what, this is a huge question obviously. You know what do you share? And this is something that sometimes I even struggle with, knowing, you know, in my own life, having a platform, having a place to share what I’m going through, what I’m processing, what God is doing in my heart, in my life, in my work, like all of those things, it can be easy to feel like, “Okay, if I have a platform, I should use it.” You know, and that is not the filter through which I could make that decision ultimately, but I do, I have found myself recently really having to pray through, “Okay, I do sense that you’re starting something in my heart, God, that maybe you will want me to share at some point, but I don’t know if now is the time. Help me to have wisdom. If this thing that you’re doing and it’s like, whatever it is you’re revealing to me and working through in my own life is intended to help others by me sharing it or it is just intended for me, you know? And it’s just for me and you and our relation — Like, not everything has to be divulged, obviously, but I would just be addressing it here, kind of how you continue to do that, because obviously you still have a podcast and you still share and you still are living your life totally outside of that, you know, at the same time. So then how do you make those decisions about what you share?
Yeah, I mean, I think that it goes back to — You know, when you’re using the example of, “Is this something that you want me to share, God?” I think sometimes people feel as though whatever is happening, whatever God is doing in their world, whatever they’re walking through, that they need to figure out a way how to make that look best on a blog, how to look that best on an Instagram post or how to make that look best on this. When I think a lot of 24:19 were skipping over a couple of steps, which should be, I’ll say it again and I’ll say over and over again, who are the real life people that you’re walking through this with? And so, I think that anything that goes out, whether you’re in a blog about it or whatever — Have you walked through that with people? You know, have you walked through that with people who you can discuss this with and talk about it? I think that’s one of the first places that we can do, is how do we become vulnerable with the people around us before we are able to share that with the world on whatever platform God may have given us?
Okay, so when? When would be who, what and when? So this is another thing and I think it over. I mean, a lot of this dovetails, of course, and it’s kind of an overlapping conversation, but when you’re dealing with an issue in your life or you’re working through something or you Like for me, a lot of times, I feel like I will be in the midst of being taught something, whether that’s a spiritual lesson by my real tangible life and I’m like, “Okay, clearly, God is doing something in me and this, in a specific thing and I see it, but when I share that can really, very much influence what I end up sharing.” Because if I, this happened recently, where I launched a course and I was super — It was a very rough experience for me on a lot of levels and it was really hard and my gut reaction, like after all of it, literally right after, was to be like, “Oh my gosh, okay, here’s all the things that I’m learning, here’s all the things that God is trying to show me and this is what it means and I’m going to draw a conclusion and here’s what I want to share.” And I really did feel like a very strong prompting from the spirit to just be like, “No, don’t share any of that. You don’t need to say anything, you don’t need to tell anyone, you just need to sit in that for a while with me and see what I do and it’s like you just know, don’t do that.” And so I didn’t and over the next few weeks that I kind of worked through what I was dealing with, I came to a very different conclusion, totally not where I started, you know? And that was through a lot of prayer and like talking with God and talking with my husband and so I felt really grateful that he prevented me from, honestly, just probably making a fool of myself, like getting out there and being all ready to share and being like, “Okay you guys, I have — Like I’m bringing something back to you, here’s what I have to say.” And it’s like, one, I need to know that God doesn’t need me to do his work. If I think I’ve got to share this because he needs me right now to do this thing, that’s a misunderstanding of my role in his work. He will do it either way, but he invites me to be a part of it. And so that frees you to not be pressured when it’s not time. So that’s my own experience. I don’t know how that has worked in your life and I know, with your book, a lot of the stuff, like you said, happened 20 years ago, but how do you decide when to share?
Yeah, I think there’s a couple. I mean, you talked about one really clear. It’s just really asking God and the Holy Spirit, that’s why he’s giving us the Holy Spirit to guide us and to lead us and so we have that in us and so it’s a great opportunity for us to trust that and to trust God when is a great opportunity for me to share. You know, looking back years and years ago, when my husband and I first got married and he was a student pastor, every time I would talk with a high school or middle school girl and I would think, “I think I want to share some of my experience with her,” I would really pray and ask God to show me, show me who to share with and how much to share with and when to share, because it can feel really kind of overwhelming. “I think I have so much to tell her, but oh, I don’t know if this is too much or is too little.” And it was a really good time for me to truly rely on the Holy Spirit to say, “Hey, you tell me when. I’m going follow you. You’re in the lead here, you tell me what to do.” And so the first thing is just to ask God to show you and He will, you have to be faithful with that to show you. The second thing is, I mean, I’m just, I’m really a big believer in having people that you can confess to and that you can talk about all kinds of things and they’re not going to look down on you, they’re not going to think bad about you, but they’re going to hold you to a high standard. I mean, it’s not like they’re just like, “Oh, good for you, Jamie, I’m glad you’re continuing in the sin of envy. You just keep on going.” But they’re going to call you to something bigger and better because of what God has for us, but the ability to be able to say something to them about it. And so I would say that also in those moments, it’s good to confess then, it’s good to confess struggles, because then they get brought into the light and then we have someone that can also help us and point us back to the Gospel and, you know, hold us accountable. And so I think that things like that, when you think, “When should I share this?” The Holy Spirit is such the perfect guide for that because that’s his job, is to help us know when to do things. And so I say, you nail them on the head when you’re like, “I’m just going to pray and ask God to show me.” And he will.
Yeah. So then, I know this might feel redundant, but then where do we share? Because I know not everybody has a platform, not everybody has a podcast, so it’s not like most people are like, “Should I put this on my show?” Most people are like, you know, probably asking more of the question, “Should I, you know, should I share this with his friend? Can I trust this person?” So ‘where’ probably means, for most people, in what form or like what venue is that? Is that a small group level discussion? Is that a one-to-one level? Is that just with your husband? Is that with your family, your mom, your sisters, whatever? I mean, when you’re — I know you’ve said you have these people that are like your people who you would go to, what’s the — Do you have an order of — I mean, I would assume your husband comes first or like God, husband, then friends? I don’t know. Does it depend on the person and their relationship with their family for instance? I mean, where do we share?
Well, I think the question is not — I think ‘where?’ is such a question for our generation because there are all these venues to share. I mean, 20 years ago, ‘where?’ would be like, “Oh are you writing a book, because there’s 100 authors that are writing and now there’s hundreds of thousands.” So I think the question ‘where?’ is kind of hard to talk about, because for most people, you know, it’s like social media or my people and I just think that it should be more of when and who am I talking to? How am I sharing instead of where do I share? It would be like, who are your people? Who are your people that you need to share with? So that’s kind of what I would think of more than just where, is, you know, who and when and how, that kind of thing.
Okay, so where it flows out of the other things.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And then there’s probably — I feel like if you’ve got those other things down, the question of where reveals itself, you know, because if you know your ‘who’ and your ‘what’ and your ‘when’…
‘Where’ has probably already been determined.
Totally, yeah, yeah, and that’s not — It’s kind of, it’s not ‘where’ isn’t a good question for everyone, because it would mostly just mean like with your people, I mean, that’s where you would need to do it. Yeah, yeah, and then praying through whether or not it’s something that — If you do have, for instance like a blog or an audience, like there is actually a higher level that those who are teaching or have a platform will be held to. So it’s like, be careful…
… with what you decide is worthy of everybody’s attention.
So then what would be the right reason to be vulnerable? And this is a big one, I think. Like, what is the ‘why’? Because — And I’ve said this before on this podcast, that often I feel like these conversations are therapeutic for me and I don’t think in a way that’s wrong or like I’m using the podcast for my own benefit, but just I verbally process a lot and so — But how do we “do vulnerability”? I kind of hate that word, that phrase, but how do we engage with the right, even with the right people on the right topic, for the right reasons and not, you know, for possibly to appear like holy or, I don’t know, do you know what I’m saying? Like, there’s definitely a way you could probably do it that would be wrong, so how do we look at that and how do we decide what is the right motivation?
Yeah, I mean, I think that my motivation for being vulnerable with people always has to be reporting back to Jesus, because if I’m just being vulnerable, just to show everyone my stuff, then that’s like putting the spotlight on me. Let me get some more glory, even if it is you seeing, you know, my struggles and my sins, but if I can be vulnerable with that to point you to Jesus and that’s awesome. And then, within a community, like maybe I’m vulnerable with my friends and maybe I’m vulnerable with the people that I do life with. The reason I’m vulnerable with them is so that they A) they can see the real me and know the real me, but also so they can point me to Jesus, so they can point me to the one who’s going to help me, otherwise we’re not able to point anyone to Jesus because we’re acting like we don’t even need Him, you know? And so, I think that by presenting our need for Him, gives people the opportunity to point us to him.
Yeah, yeah, that’s really good. So, it can’t be an end in itself, you know? Vulnerability is not valuable just for the sake of vulnerability, that’s not — We don’t do it because it has 33:27 value, it only has value if it is pointing us and others to Jesus.
Exactly, exactly. So my next question I was going to ask you is: Do you ever get weary of what you’re doing? Do you ever, I mean, sort of a silly question, I’m sure everybody gets tired of, you know — You get weary of anything, but do you get weary of vulnerability on this platform, of sharing or is this an energizing thing for you? I don’t know, I’m not sure why. I think it’s interesting to know where people fall because it can be either — For some of us, it can be like I have to always pull back and others, it’s like you’ve always got to kind of step out.
Yeah, yeah. I don’t think I get weary of vulnerability because I’m pretty secure and steadfast in the reasoning behind being vulnerable, it’s to point people to Jesus. And so, if I can talk to you about some of my struggles, it’s not — I mean, from a platform stand, that if you’re asking from platform or you’re asking within my people, there are two different things. From a platform stance, I can be confident and stand secure and being vulnerable because the vulnerability that I’m sharing with you is only to point you to Jesus and so it’s not for you to pointing a light on myself or make myself look better or even worse; people try that as well, but it is to say, “Hey, if God can do this in my life, He can do this for you.” And so, that’s why vulnerability is important from a platform stance. There was an example within my real life community, the past spring. I really was walking through some inner stuff that I thought I had dealt with a long time ago. It was stupid, it was jealousy stuff and I’m not a jealous person, it’s not going to be something I’m going to struggle with it’s not going to — Jealousy is not going to take me out. The list is long, of what I would struggle with, this is not on there, but it came out of nowhere and I struggled with it for weeks and my good friend Amanda had to listen to me talk about this a lot and that felt weary because I kept thinking, “Am I still struggling with this? Am I still having the same conversation over and over again?” And so that felt weary on my end, but what I saw from her is that it didn’t feel weary to her. At least she didn’t act like it did. Maybe it did on the inside, but she didn’t act like it but she just continued to listen and continued to point me to Jesus, and so I look back and I think, “Man, what a great friend” because that would have got kind of old to me. And I moved past it, I moved on, but it got weary in the moment of feeling like, Gosh, am I going to get through this? And I think that’s important for us to realize, is that just speaking something out loud doesn’t change your life, you know? All it does is invite people into the struggle with you. And so that was a really good example of me inviting her into that and her choosing to walk alongside and talk with me through it, so that weariness can come sometimes.
Yeah, yeah, that’s really cool though that you found you have people who, like you said, like they’re not tired of you, even though you’re tired of you.
That’s how I feel all the time, like I’m just so sick of the same sin or the same struggles, like I just want to be done with that, you know?
Yeah, I mean, at the same time, Amanda wasn’t like, “Oh, you can just stay here.” You know, she was actively telling me truth and I was still struggling through it, yeah.
I had a friend a long, long time ago that I got to that point as the listener where I was fed up, I literally, I got up to above my head in the things that she was bringing to me and I pretty much just checked out. I just pretty much signed off. I was like, “I’m done.” I think it was a position that — I’m not saying this was the right thing to do, but I was probably 15 years ago, so I was a lot younger, a lot less mature, a lot less able to handle other people’s junk and it just, I think, put me in over the top. But I do think, you know, what I learned from that is knowing your place and knowing if those things and those conversations were causing me, which I remember at the time were really causing me to stumble over my own faith or my own struggles, then there’s a time to probably pull back or take a step back from being in that position with a certain person. I don’t know that there’s like a hard and fast guideline for how to do that, but that’s challenging when you get to that spot with friends where — or not friends, like acquaintances; I don’t know, there may be people who feel drawn to being open with you and share a lot of their life and yet you don’t want to put yourself in a position of being like Jesus to them, in the literal sense that now they’re looking to you for like…
For everything, fill all their needs and everything, yeah.
Yeah, yeah, so that’s hard. I don’t know if you have any advice or thoughts on what that looks like.
It is hard and I think boundaries are important, you know? I don’t have a ton of close friends, I mean, I have some close, close friends and I don’t have a ton of them because I don’t have capacity for that kind of thing and so the friends that I have are super close, know so much about me, I know so much about them and I trust them, but I don’t have a super, super large number of close, close, close friends and I think that that kind of weaves some of that out.
That would be impossible, yeah.
Yeah, as an adult, I have not struggled with that as much, but I just remember being like, “I can’t, I can’t do it anymore.”
So speaking to the women listening who are like, “Okay, what does this boil down to?” I mean, I think I could answer for you because you said it over and over; Find people, like find those people in your life. What is like your — You know, how would you encapsulate that? If someone is really like — I don’t have those people and I don’t have a place that I can go that I really truly feel safe to share the realest version of me, what would you say to her?
Man, I would say: find those friends that love God more than they love you because those friends are going to be ones that they’re going to stick it out, they’re going to point you to him, they’re going to call you out on your sin, but they’re also going to be compassionate and sympathetic and loving with your sin and your struggles and so I always say: Man, find girlfriends who love God more than they love you.
I love that, that’s good and hard.
Yes, very, yeah.
39:48 they are going to hold you to that higher standard and I have friends like that and you’re like, “It’s like a good hurt.” You’re like, “I want the truth, but I know it’s going to hurt, I know because…
It’s totally true.
Yeah, you know me and you know my issues and I know that you probably see them before I’ve even confessed them to you
So I guess my last thing I want to ask you about is that, you know, as a working mom and someone that is juggling both four kids, schedules sports, all of that and a full-time job and speaking career and author career, I would imagine you’ve had to make lots of sacrifices on both sides of that equation to do the work that you’re doing, that is obviously God’s purpose in your life right now. What encouragement have you found in your own life and your own walk that has helped you to spell those lives of the guilt or the lies that you can and should be doing everything, that kind of stuff? Because I think that’s something that a lot of women who are working in some capacity deal with.
Yeah, I mean, the biggest lie for us to believe as women is that we’re supposed to do it all and do it at all perfect and we can’t do either one of those. We can’t do it all and we can’t do it all perfect either. And so, I think I’ve had to learn what’s important and what’s not important and I think that can change by season, I think that is different all the time. All of my kids go to school every day. You know my last kid gets on the bus at 7:30 and then Story comes home at 3:30 and so I have this good time that I can commit to working, but there are sacrifices on all of our parts. Sometimes I miss some of my kids events because I’m on the road or because I have an interview, I don’t do home room mom stuff, I don’t hardly ever go to my kids’ schools ever, because I have a job and it’s just not very, it’s not convenient and it doesn’t work out in my life because there’s other ways that I get to pour into them that other moms don’t, so I can get to make sacrifices here, but I also have a lot of great things that are happening as well, so I can make one schedule. And so, I think one of the best things that you can do is look and say, “Hey, what are the priorities of our family, in this particular season?” And then everybody’s going to have to make a sacrifice; Husband, mom, kids, work, you know, vacation, everything might have to have some sort of sacrifice to have that end goal of what are the priorities of our family in the season. And so we’ve had to adjust things as we’ve gone, we’ve had to move things around, we have help when we’re both out of town, we have people with our kids, I have someone who cleans my house twice a month because I just can’t do that any more. And so I think just to look at what are the priorities for our family and how do we adjust every season to go along with that?
Yeah, that’s good. Well, Jamie, I really appreciate your time and just making this work, so your wisdom is going to be just very encouraging to a lot of people and I know that if someone can speak to what it means to be vulnerable today with grace and strength and with the right motivations, I think you are one of those people, so thank you.
You’re so kind, thank you for having me.
Yes, I appreciate it and have a great rest of your day!
Thank you for letting me share my heart today. If this sort of stuff amps up and you want to talk with other real life women who listen to this show about issues like this and more, you can join our private community called Kindled women on Facebook. It’s a great place for you to connect with others who listen to the show and you can share your own story, ask questions, get ideas for well, whatever, really. To join us, go to kindledpodcast.com and click Join the community. I love podcasts, but I hate not knowing who my girls are. Let’s be real digital friends. Join us on Kindled women and make sure you’re also following along on Instagram, which is my favorite place to connect with you guys. Find me @kindledpodcast. There’s so many ways to engage beyond this show, just pick your poison and I’ll see you online. Did I really just say pick your poison? Just go with it. I hope you love that conversation and that it was encouraging and uplifting for you and just spurs you on towards vulnerability that is motivated from a right place in your heart this season, as you spend time with family that you don’t see as much or have hard conversations that you may be dreading. But I pray that this would just give you that piece of heart and mind to know that this can be really good and healthy in relationships, when it’s done with the right motives. And then come on back here December 31st for the re-airing of regular weekly episodes of Kindled. I have missed chatting with you guys and I’m excited to start 2019 off with some space in my schedule because I recorded a lot of interviews in December and I hope that means a little breathing room for me as we enter into the new year. I will talk to you guys in a couple weeks. Have a very merry Christmas with your families and I’ll talk to you soon. Laura Distler is my amazing podcast editor who makes me sound great and saves me tons of time every single week in publishing this podcast.
I’m Haley and I’m glad you’re here!
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