Sarah Banowetz

Difficult to Healthy

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Jeff and Terry explain how to move from difficult relationships to healthy ones. 

Transcription of the Podcast

What happens through the conflict through the movie, the people develop, you see the characters more clearly, they may be grown, they change, they move, they evolve. There’s something that happens through the conflict that makes them better and stronger and movie more interesting.

So think of… A lot of people out there trying to run as fast and as far away from conflict in this kind of difficult relationships as possible. I’m suggesting you kind of dive into them a little bit. Don’t cause them necessarily, but dive into them and try to figure out how can I grow from this? How can our relationship grow from this conflict? 

Hey, hey, hey, we’re here for another Journey podcast, and we’re talking about really a core kind of a thing here. It’s something that’s very difficult. It’s something that a lot of people shy away from, and that is difficult conversations. I’m Jeff. I’m sitting here with Terry.

Hi. 

Hi Terry. So, yeah, difficult conversations. I mean they are kind of hanging out there consistently. How many times or how many instances are there when you go through a day, a week, a month where there’s actually not a difficult conversation that could be had? 

Not too many.

Not too many at all. 

And this is a followup to one that we did a little while ago on difficult conversations. We could call this number two. 

Yeah, number two, and there’s probably number five, 10, 40. I mean there’s a ton of these really to unpack. We had somebody ask specifically after hearing the first podcast we did about difficult conversations… A question came up, and so let’s just jump in and kind of try to tackle these, because, again, this is something that’s not really that easy to do, right? It’s a lot easier to talk about sports or what’s the latest movie, you know, that cool. 

Sometimes it even seems like as tough as politics is, it can be easier to talk about politics than those things that are really bothering us and deeply concerning us in terms of a relationship with another person.

So the question was say there’s someone… Say if I need to bring up an area in my life of hurt or frustration, there’s just some shortfall, you could even call it a sense of misunderstanding, something that’s really, really on my mind and my heart, and there’s this fear that the relationship really can’t handle that kind of a hard conversation. In fact, it might not even be the same relationship if I did bring it up, that the relationship might dissolve or become more distant. 

So what are some ideas of really navigating through something like that, of really getting into that kind of a conversation? 

Yeah, I think that’s… Definitely that’s one of the things that kind of brings fear and trembling to most people. When you think about it, really I think it depends a lot on the individual situation. When I work in my office… I’m a counselor and I deal with a lot of different things, and I don’t like to give advice until I hear the situation specifically, so this is kind of a tough one to give advice on.

Well, and can I just jump in too, because that was key, what you said. You never give advice until you hear what’s going on. How oftentimes in life do I or others may be that aren’t as attuned to… That has sort of that listening ear that you do, give advice?

And that’s kind of the first thing, right? We hear something, we jump right in, hey, here’s the solution. I got it. I got it figured out, and we don’t even have all the… We don’t have all the facts. We don’t even know what’s going on. 

Right. A lot of arguments happen that way. It’s like you hear just a little bit of what somebody is trying to say and you react to that little bit even before they’re done talking. I mean how many people out there have actually found themselves talking over somebody, jumping into the conversation-

What do you mean, like jumping over, like right now? I got that… Oh like that? Okay. I just wanted to show how that works. Go ahead, Terry. I’m listening. 

Well, and I think what happens is we hear a part of the conversation, we think we know what they’re going to say next… And this happens a lot with couples who have been married for a long time, in fact, the longer you’ve been married, the more likely you are to finish each other’s sentences. 

Anyway, when you think about it from that standpoint it’s like okay, I hear something and maybe it’s something at the dinner table or maybe it’s something… You know, you’ve got family coming over for Thanksgiving and uncle so-and-so says something and he starts going off on politics or religion or something like that, and people immediately roll their eyes and start jumping into the conversation, and before you know it uncle so-and-so is yelling and you’re yelling and the whole table is kind of getting ready to scramble and leave. Those are really, really tough kind of conversations.

Well, and it’s that sort of setting it up. It’s that environment, right? Because it sounds like it’s probably not a good idea to bring up those tough conversations just randomly at the Thanksgiving table and say, “Hey, Uncle Joe, who I had this thing I wanted to talk about for years, let’s just bring it up in front of everybody.” 

Yeah, that’s not… Timing is everything. Picking the right timing that says… Maybe take Uncle Joe aside at one point and talk to him and just say, “Hey, there’s something that I want to talk to you about and this has really been weighing on my heart,” and just kind of talk to Uncle Joe from your heart about what it’s like when these things happen.

Something that I have found helps is if I say to somebody, “Hey, there’s just a couple of things that I’ve kind of been thinking about actually kind of bother me a little bit here,” or whatever it might be… You know, just be honest and say, “Hey, something has been bothering me. Can we just grab a cup of coffee, and when would be a good time for you,” so put in… Again, trying to be very open to the person’s schedule and making it a very comfortable kind of a… As comfortable as possible situation.

Just say, “Hey, can we just grab a cup of coffee? When’s a good time that works for you,” so they have a little time… You might even say, “You know, we’ve been dealing with this thing about,” it might be a brother and sister. They say, “We’ve been talking about this situation about mom for a long time. Can we just sit down and you and I can just talk about that?”

Is that a good way to kind of just set up the conversation for success, because people both who are going into it kind of know what happens?

Yeah. You kind of give them a little bit of an idea of what your direction is that you’re kind of… What the agenda is, so to speak. 

Yeah. Yeah. This just seems so from what I’ve seen out there very unusual, because, again, it’s just easier to let things slide, but they don’t really slide, do they? I mean-

Not entirely. I think the other thing to kind of keep in mind does hone your listening skills as much as possible. That’s one of the things that we’ve kind of gotten away from doing. We do a lot of talking and not so much listening and realizing that everybody wants to be heard and they want to be understood, even Uncle Joe, even uncle so-and-so at the dinner table.

One of the reasons he’s bringing up the things is because he wants to be heard and understood, and if we jump in and jump over him and cut him down and shut him off, my guess is he’s only going to get louder and he’s only going to get more obnoxious because he has… Just like you and I, we all have a desperate need to be heard and understood.

So talk the time to listen to uncle so-and-so. Find out what it is… Okay, why is this so important to you that this person gets elected or that people understand this fact that you’re trying to impart. You don’t have to change your opinion, but I think listening and understanding where he’s coming from can help him feel heard and understood.

It’s funny when you’re saying that I think back to… And then you were in the room, Terry when this gal said this. But we were talking about a similar kind of topic and she said, “Well how can I love my neighbor when I don’t even like my neighbor?” 

Yeah, that’s a tough one. 

And sometimes I think ought we not just push through the well I really don’t… It’s hard to feel the love, but I can just… That person is important, I mean they’re an important human being. I may really disagree with them, but they’re still a person that I can care for, and to take that intentional, even though it might feel a little awkward kind of a step to say, “Can’t we just sit down and talk about this, because you’re important, this matter that we need to talk about is important.” 

Does that… I don’t know. Does it just seem like that is one of those kinds of intentional things to do that always doesn’t feel that natural maybe? 

No. For sure. But I think understanding people and where they come from and trying to hear their heart on an issue or on whatever is going on can help us to bridge that gap. I think part of the reason we may not like our neighbor is that we don’t really know them that well, or we know some things about them and we don’t like those things but we don’t… I think a lot of times we make a whole bunch of assumptions, that if I was in this situation I would do these things. Since they’re not doing those things, there must be something wrong with them. 

I think we just have to check to… Besides listening, I think checking your assumptions is really, really huge in working through difficult conversations. Check your assumptions, especially motives. If somebody does something that’s different than what you think they should check your assumptions of their motives. Why do I think they’re doing that? It may not be accurate.

All right. Right. Right. Well, yeah, so that’s kind of huge too, right? Because somebody doesn’t call me back multiple times and I assume they’re just blowing me off or… Again, it comes to the negative a lot of times, right? But until I really find out oh, they’ve been out of the country for a month, they couldn’t call me back, you know.

I mean this has happened a lot. I’ll talk to people in my office and they’ll say, “You know, I made a mistake the other day. I blew up somebody’s messages. I messaged them, they didn’t message me back, and so I assumed that they didn’t care anymore and so I just sent a whole bunch of really nasty messages.”

That doesn’t ever happen. 

Guess what happened to that relationship. 

Not good. 

No, it’s not… And I think it all fell down to the fact that she made an assumption or he made an assumption, whoever it was made an assumption that the other person was blowing them off, and in fact, they were sleeping or something, you know, less destructive than that. 

Right. So, Terry, anything else then that kind of relates to this that you’d like to put out there?

Yeah. I think it’s really important that we consider… I like to use the analogy of a pebble dropping in a pond. When you’re out in the woods or whatever and you see this nice little pond and you take a pebble and you toss it in, if you pay attention to it you see that this little ring of water, this little ripple just kind of starts where to pebble is and it goes out and then there’s more ripples and more ripples, and you see this really beautiful pattern of ripples all going from the center where the pebble is out to towards… It’ll go all the way to end of whatever pond you’ve got, it takes that much energy.

I think that’s a really neat analogy for relationships because if you think about everything that you say or do has that kind of pebble and ripple effect, if I say something kind to my neighbor hopefully the ripples that follow out, the way that they receive it is kindness.

If I get really, really short with my neighbor because they’ve put their trash and it’s fallen over into my yard, instead of going kindly and talk to them I just kind of get really snippy or snarky with them, that’s probably going to ripple out in a snarky sort of way.

Right. Right. It sounds like, using sort of a farming analogy, the farmer, he plants, he sows, and then there’s a harvest, there’s reaping. So it’s sort of along that line, isn’t it, which is actually in the Bible. I mean it talks about sowing and reaping.

If you plant seeds of corn you’re not going to harvest wheat. You’re going to harvest corn hopefully. 

Yeah. So if you really plant positive, affirming, those kinds of good things, ought there not to be more of that good that comes back to you? Not always, right, because there’s always going to be that… You know, this is not a perfect world, but odds are lots more goodput out there, a lot more good coming back. 

Right. And realizing you don’t have control over how it comes back. You can do what you can to control the message that you’re sending out, but once you send it out its kind of like that ripple. It just takes a life of its own. You may say something in a very kind way and uncle so-and-so takes offense at it and he comes back with it. A healthy relationship will be kind of well wait a minute, uncle, I didn’t mean it to offend you. How did you take what I just said and… Well, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.

You may not be sorry for what you said, but you can definitely be sorry for the fact that it affected him the way it did. 

Uh-huh. So what do I do when somebody confronts me? I mean they say, “You know, you keep doing this thing to me,” or, “What about this that’s going on what you?” I mean what do I-

Yeah. If you’re uncle so-and-so?

Yeah. If I’m Uncle Joe. 

Well, I think if somebody confronts Uncle Jeff, then I think Uncle Jeff really needs to listen. I go back to that word of listening and just-

What’s that? Okay. 

There’s something underneath the confrontation. There’s something that’s at the heart of what it is. Try to hear what their heart is and try not to take offense. Put the offensiveness on hold.

Okay. Deep breath. Yes. Okay, because I want to get right back at it. I want to just respond. Okay. Okay, deep breath and listen. Got you.

If you can put the defensiveness on hold and try to listen with curiosity it’s almost impossible, if not impossible, to be curious and defensive.

Right. 

If you can try to stay curious… Oh, wait a minute, I’m starting to feel a little bit defensive, but wait a minute, if I can stay curious and figure out why did that offend her, why does it offend people, then you might get to the heart of the issue a little bit easier and save that relationship. 

Right. Right. Yeah. It’s just stuff here that is just… I love talking about this because it’s not talked about a lot, right?

Right.

Don’s Story of God’s Grace

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, special guest, Don shares his story of God’s grace. From self-medication with alcohol to relying on God’s grace to sustain him, Don’s story inspires us in the beauty of God’s grace.

Transcription of the Podcast

Don: Yeah. I’ve been blessed with a few people at my church that are going through Journey as we speak. They want to reevaluate their life and I say to enhance their spiritual growth and let’s face it, Sarah, I mean we can all enhance our spiritual growth. I mean, Jesus wants us to work every day to get… To build a relationship stronger with him. I mean that task and journey are never going to be over.

Sarah: Welcome back to the Journey podcast. I’m Sarah and today I have Don Evans in the studio with me. Hi Don.

Don: Hi Sarah.

Sarah: How are you?

Don: Good. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it a lot.

Sarah: Thanks for being on the podcast. So today we are talking-

Don: Why are you smiling? You’re so happy today.

Sarah: I don’t know, I just like to smile.

Don: You’re smiling because you’re going to ask me about my story right?

Sarah: I know, I got to make you…

Don: Let’s just keep this cool.

Sarah: I got to put you at ease.

Don: I’m at ease, you’re the one I’m concerned about. Let’s go.

Sarah: So today we’re going to talk about the grace of God. And I was wondering if you’d share a little bit of your story.

Don: Oh God, I would love to. Yeah. I don’t know. It’s a journey that started a very, very long time ago. I guess it would probably be… You caught me off guard with this today, which I enjoy because I don’t… And I want everybody to know that none of this is scripted. We’re just talking, aren’t we Sarah?

Sarah: Winging it.

Don: Yeah, and we’re just out there in left field, coming around. Yeah, I guess a history of alcoholism in my life. First got to know a lot about Christ in maybe 01 due to a crash of alcoholism and being in the hospital. Then there was a big gap in there more of that and then really got introduced more so to God when I got baptized in 2006 in a very large Christian Church. And-

Sarah: Don, so why did you end up getting baptized in 2006? What was the catalyst for that happening?

Don: Yeah, I started in 06, kind of leaning into the side of Christianity, watching people, what they were doing inspired me a little bit, I guess to see that their happiness, I guess I’d never experienced that. So I got started in 06 as I said, did pretty good for a while, but due to my lack of faith, I like to call it and my lack of devotion to God. I slid back into my old ways again and managed to stay there for a multitude of years. So we’ll leave out all the middle stuff. But as I said, 06 and I just got sober in October of 2018 so it’s just been a little over a year.

Don: But at that point when I was able to get out and about again about December, it took a couple of months to become human and even be visible in public again. Really plugged in this time, Sarah, and there was a lot of fun and I hope you’ll interrupt at certain points and ask me specific questions whenever you hear me say something that you want to know more about, you could just jump in there and go, wait a minute, what about that?

Don: But I’ll keep going.

Sarah: Well I do want to know about… Okay, so becoming sober in October of 2018 for anyone who’s listening, who may be struggling with that, what was it that caused you to want to go down that route?

Don: Well, what was causing me to stay on the drunk fest or what caused me to want to jump on the Jesus wagon?

Sarah: I almost want to ask both with.

Don: Okay. Big one. Let’s go with the drunk fest. All right. We were talking earlier today, just in an outside conversation about people being lonely. And we just briefly mentioned this morning in the lobby out there and that got me thinking and now you’re asking what created that? Well, it all comes from loneliness. Losing another wife, we won’t count the number of wives. That’s not important. Just was a tailspin in 2015. So from 15 to 18, three solid years, it was drunk every day of the week, seven days a week.

Sarah: And it was dealing with the loneliness?

Don: That, losing everything that I had, through the divorce. And I’m a man, I’ll man up if it was my fault and in this particular marriage it was not. And I’m not going to say any more about it, but I was not at fault and everybody knows that and they’re like, wow, we just can’t believe that she just left and took everything you had. I was on the road trucking at the time, on my own truck. then when the… I call it the resurrection in October, that was only because if I’m honest, which I am because I followed Jesus, like Andy Stanley, I’m a Jesus follower and I love it because I have severe cirrhosis of the liver and I almost died the end of October again and had to go to the hospital and do some procedures there.

Don: And At that point I think, I really think the day that my brother took me into the hospital, I just kind of… God got ahold of me that day and said, you’ve had been playing this game for 18 years of in the hospital, 40 years of drinking. And I just felt, any standard, we’ll call it a nudge, I felt like a thump in the back of the head. Okay, I need to get this and this possibly is my last opportunity. So that’s when I jumped on the Jesus’ bandwagon.

Sarah: What did jumping on the Jesus bandwagon look like, entail?

Don: It always inspired me. It really did. Even years back before I ever even attended church whatsoever. And I just want to know more about it.

Sarah: So what did you do? What steps did you take then? So you leave the hospital and then what was your first step after that?

Don: Go home and start reading the Bible a little bit, but I wasn’t really good at that and started going to church right before Christmas in 18 and since then I’ve stayed plugged in there.

Sarah: And how did you find a church?

Don: I had gone to this church prior years, in the past. Yeah. I actually went to this church, started there in 08, left there in 10 to move back to Illinois to accept a job. It was a job moving venture. And then when I came back in 15 I was too drunk to pay attention. So I didn’t show up at church until December of 18. And so then at that point, I really got plugged into the church and enjoyed doing volunteer work and helping with homeless and seeing their struggles just really led me to think, man, I was almost there, almost homeless person. So just the little bitty things you keep doing on a daily basis, monthly basis. I just really started enjoying it more and seeing how it was affecting me spiritually. And then I took kind of a Christian class that was really in-depth in regards to where our faith is and asking us questions in regards to how we feel about God and Jesus.

Sarah: And was that class through the church?

Don: Yes. Yeah. It was a 10-week class and it was phenomenal and I learned a lot from that. I think if I’m being honest with everybody, which I am, I don’t know why I even say that. I can tell you this, Sarah, that I’m convinced that I found my Holy Spirit in the eighth week. As we were going through the class, we spoke about, I believe it was the eighth week, and getting to know our Holy Spirit was the topic and I did not know my Holy Spirit. It was quite obvious. So I left that meeting that night and went home and I did a lot of praying about it. And it’s just different. I can’t put some sophisticated word on like, oh, it was a revelation or oh, I don’t know how to address a word to, but it was very moving for me.

Sarah: So if I’m hearing you right, the steps you took were reading your Bible, then getting into church, then getting connected in church and taking that class, which gave you a foundation and then just knowing you, it’s being continually connected.

Don: Yes, absolutely. And then I was fortunate and I call it blessed to be volunteering for the church at a Casting Crowns event. I got to be specific on that. And Zack Williams was playing and they just… There was a booth, it wasn’t our church but it was members of my church that invited me to help with the compassion booth and that was quite interesting to see all these people signing up, taking care of these kids in foreign countries and stuff. I was really inspired by that and that’s where I met your mother. She was one of the volunteers at the booth and we talked about this class at church and then she shared a little bit of journey coaching with me and introduced me to your dad, Jeff, and we became friends and connected and then built a relationship.

Don: And then I believe it was about May, after getting more information about what Journey had to offer and the ongoing relationship that I had with Jeff, decided to step into the Journey coaching thing, which was designed to be approximately seven weeks. And I ended up spending, with the coaches, 13 weeks and there they had put more emphasis on reading the Bible when you’re answering questions, and I think I said this in another podcast, that by their patients and grace, they inspired me to pick up that Bible and politely told me to be reading it every day.

Don: And it’s really been so great to do that but to be plugged into various, I guess you would call it, you’re a young person, the media network and the social media. I watch other ministry preachings and things. You’ll hear me refer to Andy Stanley, which I know there’s… He’s on some of the Journey websites I’ve seen as I cruised around and explained Journey coaching to people and send them there. I hear him say that, oh yeah, I see that they got Andy Stanley on their website and I’m like, yeah, he’s pretty cool. So that’s kind of how this all got to where it is today.

Sarah: Well, and I think one thing that’s interesting for our listeners to understand is that… So one of the core things that I took away from doing Journey coaching was working in your strengths. And so in the process of you working with the Journey coaches, you build a relationship with other believers and you looked at what your strengths are and what’s been really cool just in the last several months is that you’ve been working in your strengths and helping build up Journey coaching too.

Don: Yeah, I’ve enjoyed that because it’s just after going through it. Yeah, I have a huge passion for it because of how it affected me and I’m kind of a hard nut to crack. So yeah, I’ve been blessed with a few people at my church that are going through Journey as we speak. They want to reevaluate their life and their… And I say to enhance their spiritual growth and let’s face it, Sarah, you mean we can all enhance our spiritual growth. Do you know what I mean? Jesus wants us to work every day to build a relationship stronger with him. I mean that task and journey are never going to be over until…

Sarah: Well, and that’s the really cool thing about Journey coaching too, is anyone in there, whatever place they are in their walk, they can pick up Journey coaching and it can work for them with them. Because I did journey coaching and I’d been walking with Christ for 30 years when I went through Journey coaching too. I have my own struggles and stumbles and things like that. But it was impactful to me too. And we just came… We just started our coaching journey just in different places in our life. And yet it just works for so many people.

Don: It does. And I’m glad you got on board with it early. At your young age because that’s a regret. I’m not going to drag it around, but it’s just, I regret that I didn’t, what they would say, maybe see the light.

Sarah: But then again… Well, I’m going to interrupt you here because then the other thing I want our listeners to realize is that DOD is getting ready to start coaching himself. And even though you have those regrets, the thing is if you hadn’t, God works, what is it by mercy? He works mysteriously and he works all things for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. And the thing is that because of the story that you have, you’re able to show that grace of God to other people because he is a Redeemer and he is a savior and he is a protector and he can use you to help show the grace of God to other people who have had similar struggles. And if you hadn’t gone through that, then how would you minister to those people?

Don: Right. I know it’s just like he ministered to the 12. Look at those characters in the Bible.

Sarah: They were Don.

Don: They were Don and then a whole bunch of other people, they were Don’s and Sarah’s and everybody, every couple of life. But none of them were Christians per se. I mean, it was just… You can do anything you want. And I think what I really found out about this whole… And let me interrupt myself and say this because you were just getting ready to, I think. No, you don’t have to be a Christian to do Journey coaching.

Don: I want everybody that’s listening to be crystal clear on that. I’m not going to bang on your door or be your coach and go, if you don’t accept Christ, I’m not going to coach. No, that’s not what I’m saying. So yeah, this is for anybody. But I can tell you this, I’m just going to warn them. You’re not going to go through Journey coaching and not want to know more about Christianity. That is a given and you might as well be forewarned. And it’s fun. And when you go through this, if you are true with yourself and you’ve had these coaches as I did, I was blessed with two very great coaches that they’re coaching this guy that I brought through.

Don: You just have a sense of now I need to take the ball and run with it and go coach some people. You just mentioned that I’m going to start coaching and I am. You’ve even hung me out in a tree because I’m going to coach your son. So that’s a big challenge for Don and as a teenage kid and if you trust me with him, everybody listens to this butter too, huh?

Sarah: Well, and my son’s been through some things. So I actually asked you to coach him the day that I met you back at the beginning of August. You were sharing a little bit of your story during the leadership summit and my son was there attending the leadership summit and I just stopped you. I said… We had just met and I was like, wait for a second, I need you to stop talking right now and that you’re like, what? And I called my son over and I’m like, okay, you can start talking again now.

Don: Normally I don’t like getting interrupted but with you, I made an exception.

Sarah: But I needed you to stop talking so that I could go have you… I wanted you to finish your story in front of my son because my son is not my biological son and he’s got a story himself and I wanted him to hear your story too.

Don: He was really cool. I mean, we had a good conversation and we’ve talked to him, I’ve talked to him since then. He’s looking forward to it. So we’re just getting our timings all lined up and that’s going to take place. So I guess if we weren’t doing podcasts today, I could probably go coaching him. Right. Seriously, there’s a ton to my story and I don’t say that boastfully I’m just saying we can’t put it all on the air. It would take forever.

Sarah: No, we have… Yeah, we just have to have you keep on the… To keep coming on the podcast and for others to get to know you too. Okay. I want to end this podcast with one question for you. If there is anything that you would want to mention right now about the grace of God and you would want people to know about the grace of God, what would it be?

Don: There’s a lot of things I could say about that, but I will say this and you’ve again done your work and caught me off guard.

Sarah: Wait, I’m going to interrupt one thing and I’m going to mention to our listeners that the grace of God… Grace, because I have a story about the grace of God but I won’t share right now. But from that story, I know that grace means God’s unmerited or unearned favor for mankind.

Don: Yeah, that’s cool. I guess to summarize, God for me would be, he has given me more hope than I’ve ever had in my life and I’ll be 61 years old and I’ve never had this much hope nor faith or conviction of my own wrongdoings that I’m addressing on a daily basis.

Sarah: Well, let me jump in there. Conviction of your wrongdoings, but yet that sounds counterproductive. Like how can you have so much hope if you’re so convicted of your wrongdoings too?

Don: Because now I can admit all my faults instead of pretending that they didn’t exist. See, most of the things that went wrong in my life, in my marriages were Don’s fault. But Don was blaming other people. So when I used to be bad, I said that wrongful conviction. But it’s allowed me to have peace and get rid of it. I’m no longer carrying that stinky bag over my shoulder anymore because God’s given me the glorified grace. He’s forgiven all of us. You know that as well as I do. I’m preaching the choir, looking across the room talking to you, but we’re all forgiven. God has given us… We didn’t have to fight for the promised land. God has given us the promised land and we need to accept that and help lead other people into faith with Jesus Christ. I know that’s more than one sentence.

Sarah: I love it. I love it. So we’ve got to close out today, but I do want to just encourage everybody to keep listening to the Journey podcast because obviously Don has to continue being on the podcast with us.

Don: I look forward to it. I had a lot of fun with you, Sarah.

Sarah: Thank you for being on and we just hope that you feel encouraged and connected and determined to develop your strengths and live out your purpose and find us on journeycoaching.org and reach out to us on social media or email or we have a phone number on journeycoaching.org too, and keep listening, like and subscribe and we will talk to you later. Thank you very much. Bye.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

Relating With People Who are different Than Us

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Jeff and Terry discuss how to effectively relate to people who are different than us. We want to encourage you that by practicing acceptance of another person’s perspective, you will be able to relate to those who are different than you.

Transcription of Podcast

Terry: You know, in the workbook, we talk about telling your story, we talk about your strengths, your weaknesses, your goals. How do you set a roadmap for your life and the future? Those sorts of things. What was missing was that piece about, how do I look at the world? We’re going to use the word worldview, but it really means, what’s my view of the world, and where does it come from? I think it really fits well into this concept because of the fact that nobody has the same worldview.

Jeff: Okay, today we’re going to talk about a challenging topic, and that’s how to have these conversations before the tough conversations, and why we really need to have the pre-conversation to the tough conversation. Which relates to, how do we relate to people that are different than us? So, relating to people that are different than us, that’s a key, key concept if we’re going to have those tough conversations.

Jeff: With us today, we’ve got Terry. She has had many tough conversations and many ways to relate to people that are different because she is a licensed, full-time counselor. So, you have lots of-

Terry: I do, yeah. Well, there are some, yes.

Jeff: Like, every day?

Terry: Every day, okay.

Jeff: Every hour.

Terry: Maybe every hour, not so much.

Jeff: I would assume that people coming into your office are not all the same as you, they’re not females that are … so on and so forth. They’re different-

Terry: Oh, yeah.

Jeff: Correct?

Terry: For sure.

Jeff: This is not just a conceptual topic, this is something that you have to deal with every day.

Terry: Yeah, yeah. We have some clientele that is similar to us, but, for the most part, people come in from all walks of life.

Jeff: Right.

Terry: They have all kinds of different issues, all kinds of different beliefs. It’s not my place, as a counselor, to change their beliefs, it’s my place to make sure that they’re aware of what those are, and how those affect them. Then, maybe, go from that point on to asking, is that something that you really want to hang onto?

Terry: No, there’s a lot of differences. As councilors, any other counselor that’s out there listening is going to understand this, that you have to know how to relate to people who are different than you.

Jeff: Right. For the other 99% of us in the world that are not councilors, we need to get a lot better at this. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of polarizing topics out there, there’s a lot of tension in the world over certain topics. Before we really can sit down with somebody and address those topics, we need to have the conversation before that tough conversation.

Jeff: So, let’s just jump right into it, with the first, really, focused point. How do we do that? How do we relate to people who are different than us?

Terry: Well, I think that’s a great question. I think, first of all, I think the very first thing we need to do is that there are people much like us, and look at the similarities versus the differences.

Jeff: Well, I just heard that the other day, that’s really a key point. So oftentimes, there’s this polarizing, pointing out differences, and that’s done a lot today. How is this person different? Pointing out those differences in a negative way. But, really a key point, isn’t it, of saying, okay, there are going to be differences? We are just made different. Isn’t that a huge starting point to say, well, what are the similarities?

Terry: Oh yeah, definitely. That’s why it’s so hard to do. Often, our differences are typically the things we focus on. We see skin color, hair, makeup, clothing styles, and so on. I think if you think back to someplace like middle school, or those years when-

Jeff: Oh, those dreaded middle school-

Terry: Yeah.

Jeff: Oh, no. Not that!

Terry: Well, I think that’s when we really start to notice the differences, and we’re affected by them. We start to be aware of what the norms are in our society. By society, I mean that society in middle school. The kids, the other kids, the ones that, if you wear the wrong kind of shoes or clothes, you get picked on. If you don’t have your hair exactly the same way as everybody else, you’re ostracized, basically, for not fitting in. I think that’s where the underlying message we get is that you have to fit in, or you won’t be accepted. In that way, comparing ourselves to others makes us weary of those things that are different, and it becomes an ingrained habit for us.

Jeff: Well, just going back to that whole middle school for a second. I mean, some things in life … For example, I’m looking out a window now. If I see a little bunny rabbit crossing a street that gets hit by a car, at my age I go, oh that was sad. The little bunny rabbit got hit by a car. It doesn’t really ingrain too deeply in me, right?

Jeff: But, take that back to junior high and middle school, and those kinds of times in our lives, and those things, and the way we see things, and the way that people respond … I mean, the bullying, for example, that goes on. It just really does get ingrained in our psyche, doesn’t it?

Terry:

It really does. It gets even worse than just ingrained, I think it turns into a series of different kinds of fears. It’s not just from middle school, it can come from influences such as family members, friends, neighbors when we’re growing up. Whatever the source is, we start to feel comfortable and safe with those things, with others who are like us, and we start to become fearful of those who are not. I think that’s where the problem really turns into a deeper problem.

Terry: If we don’t recognize this, and intentionally do something to counteract it, we’re really destined to live a life of just being around people who fit a certain mold.

Jeff: Right, right. Again, going back to those growing up times, it is the … I think back to when I was in school, and it was always fitting in. You know, we want to fit in. At some level, we are all sheep, aren’t we? We’re just-

Terry: For sure.

Jeff: We’re just wandering around, and we want to fit in. We want to not stand out, in either a positive or a negative way. The tough part about that is that we, at the core, are made different, and really need to not blend in. We need to lean into our differences, but when we do that, oftentimes, these negative things can happen. It’s on social media, too, now, right? If something’s a negative, it’s like, oh boy, let’s really pounce on this person.

Terry: I think social media is really a key part of this, too, because as we’re talking about trying to embrace the differences in each other, that’s exactly the opposite of what social media does for us. It feeds us. It learns the things that we’re interested in by the things we click on to read or the people that we connect with. Then, it just automatically tries to send us things that interest us, that’s their whole point. In doing that, we miss out on the opposites.

Terry: If you want to take something like a political point of view, all we end up seeing is that particular political point of view, and we miss out on some of the good things that we may hear from the other side.

Jeff: Right.

Terry: If all we’re getting our news from is social media.

Jeff: Right, right. In social media, it is really about posting the picture of oneself, or with your family and friends, on top of the beautiful mountaintop in Colorado. Everybody is smiling, and it’s a bright, sunny day. So, on that shallow level, life is good. Then, when we do a deep dive, and we want to say, here’s how I really feel about the things that are going on in the world, and in my life. And, I want to come alongside others, and share what I feel with them, and have them share how they feel with me, that’s where those differences come out, and where we have lots of challenges.

Terry: For sure.

Jeff: Yeah. So, then the question becomes, what do we do? What are some ideas? Yeah, this really stinks, this is tough. How do we actually take some deep dives, and get alongside people and really have those deeper conversations? What do we do?

Terry: For sure. Well, I think the first thing we need to do if we’re looking at really wanting to change this is to start to become more accepting of other people’s, and other’s perspectives.

Terry: Going back to the Journey material that we have. We’ve got this wonderful workbook that was put together by some very smart people.

Jeff: Well, that’s a first. I’ve never known you to give yourself a little pat on the back, there. Terry did do a lot of the writing on this, although we had lots of people we took through the coaching end.

Terry: For sure, yes.

Jeff: What was it? Nine or 10 different revisions?

Terry: I think we were on revision 10 when we finally went ahead and had it published.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah. Anyway, it’s a lot of painstaking processes that went into the workbook. Anyway, that’s a topic for another day.

Terry: Well, when we were putting the workbook together, we started with a concept, we put it together, as you know. We went out and coached some people, and then we came back with their suggestions, and their perspectives. We made some tweaks to it, and we went back and coached some more people. We kept doing that, that’s why we had so many different versions of it.

Terry: At some point along the way, we realized there was something missing. That missing is this piece that we’re talking about today. How do we deal with … In the workbook, we talk about telling your story. We talk about your strengths, your weaknesses, your goals. How do you set a roadmap for your life and the future? Those sorts of things. What was missing was that piece about, how do I look at the world? What is my … We’re going to use the word worldview, but it really means, what’s my view of the world? Where does it come from? I think it really fits well, into this concept because of the fact that nobody has the same worldview.

Jeff: Well, worldview being a very specific example of one of those tough conversations, that needs to be had. It’s just like, okay, if we’re going to have a conversation with somebody else about their view of the world, again, how specifically can we do that?

Terry: Well, one good thing, and going back to the material … Session four of the Journey coaching workbook is really where we added that at a later date. We ended up moving some things around so we could put that in, and it’s all about worldview. The whole goal is to help you identify your worldview. Where does it come from? It’s a good way to gain insight into what you see as your perspective of the world. Until we look at this directly, we assume that everybody else has the same type of view of the world. If they just knew what we know, they’d feel the same way. Then, we get into arguments in that way.

Terry: I think the first thing is to understand, what’s my view of the world? Then, I can have a conversation with others about what their view of the world is. We can look at it from a curiosity standpoint, versus trying to talk each other out of their worldview.

Jeff: Well, the material was designed so that people could share their views of the world. So that the person coaching can, at some point, give a view of the perspective that the coach is going through. First of all, that person just has that freedom to say, hey, here’s what I see my view of the world is.

Jeff: In terms of that, what can we do kind of thing, doesn’t that apply, then, outside of the workbook, outside out Journey, as we have those conversations in life? It’s just asking those questions of people? Whatever it might be, whether it’s a worldview, or whatever, and just listening.

Terry: Yeah, absolutely. It’s really, really important that you ask that of yourself, first.

Jeff: Unpack that a little bit.

Terry: Well, that basically means, we’ve got to go back and look at our culture, and our worldview, and look at it from a lens that says, oh, I get it. I know why.

Terry: I was raised in the Upper Midwest. In our culture, if you want to call it that, it’s hard-working people, it’s mostly farmers that settled this area. There’s a lot of autonomy, there’s a lot of, you don’t ask for help until you absolutely need it, and you basically shoulder deep in mud. Then, you can call your neighbor.

Jeff: Pulling one’s self up by their bootstraps, right?

Terry: Yeah. That’s the kind of culture that my parents were raised in, and that’s the culture that they raised us in. One of the things I remember my dad saying, over and over again is … We went camping a lot. He would say, “You leave the place better than what you found it.” There were certain values and cultures that came from growing up. Not everybody had those, not everybody saw things from that perspective. They may have some of the same issues, but I think it really comes down to understanding, what is my culture?

Terry: By culture, I don’t just mean the American culture, I’m talking about micro-cultures. Every even home has its own little culture, its own outlooks, values, norms, goals, shared by the group of people.

Jeff: Let’s take a real simple dive down to what that looks like. For example, then, that person out of that environment most likely would say, if I have a place I’m supposed to be at nine o’clock, I’m going to be there at 8:55 AM, right?

Terry: Sure.

Jeff: But, let’s compare that to a different culture. For instance, our daughter has been over in Ethiopia many times. She really loves the Ethiopian culture. I think there, it says, if you have a nine o’clock, if you’re there by 9:15 AM, or maybe 9:30 AM because it’s all about that relational piece. Maybe that person isn’t necessarily … Again, it’s the relating part, it’s the understanding part.

Jeff: We may say, at the shallow pass, we may say, well, that person just doesn’t care, because they’re 20 minutes late to this important thing.

Terry: Right.

Jeff: But, the reality is, they’ve put such a high value on relationships, that they’re probably, in a relationship, connecting with somebody that causes them to be a little bit late. We need, again, to just take a deep breath, go okay.

Terry: Right.

Jeff: They’re not the nine o’clock person, they’re the 9:15 AM person. That’s okay.

Terry: Well, if somebody comes from a culture where being late is actually on time, then, they’re not going to understand our being-

Jeff: Yeah.

Terry: Come on, come on, it’s time.

Jeff: Those uptight people that have got to just be there.

Terry: Well, you can get into the conversation, and we’re not going to do it here, but you can get into a conversation about warm climate cultures, and cold climate cultures, and how they’re different, and how their approaches are different.

Terry: I think the main thing that I want to bring across today is just figuring out what it is that your beliefs, your worldview, your perspective is, helps you to, then, ask the right questions of the other person.

Jeff: Right, right. Again, it comes back to, just that understanding that let’s look at the similarities, rather than just the differences. Let’s take a deep breath, let’s ask some questions. Let’s listen. Then, at the core of all this, is really, love. All you need is love. Wasn’t that a Beatles song, or something? If you’re going to do this … It’s a lot easier not to do it, right? It’s a lot easier to just stay in our little bubbles and move forward. If we, again, take a deep breath, look beyond ourselves, love is important, love matters. Talk a little bit about that?

Terry: Well, what I’d like to do is I’d like to put that onto the next podcast if I can. I think we’ve covered quite a bit today. What I’d like to do is, let’s send people to another podcast. We’re going to have one talk where we discuss, how do we handle heavy topics? I think that might be a good thing to put in there, that unconditional love piece, and unconditional acceptance. I think that’s going to make it really important.

Jeff: This is like a little teaser to actually listen for the next podcast.

Terry: Ah, there you go.

Jeff: Oh! All right. Well, any other summary thoughts, then, before we end this one?

Terry: Not that I … Get involved in coaching! Come on, there’s a good workbook, here. If you give us a call, email, text message somehow-

Jeff: Yeah, just reach out.

Terry: We’re on social media. Just give us a call, connect with us, and we will try to help you find a way to do that.

Jeff: Right, exactly. The coaching is just, again, those one-on-one discussions that focus on relationships, which, again, focus on looking at the things we have in common, rather than the differences. Asking questions, listening, all important things that are just core to what we can, as just human beings, to connect with each other and grow.

Jeff: Anyway, Terry, thanks for coming in, for coming out of the councilor’s office, and talking to the rest of us. Thanks for being here.

Terry: It was good to be here, thank you.

Jeff: See you next time.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at JourneyCoaching.org, and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at JourneyCoaching.org.



IOWA TO BOLIVIA

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, special guest, Shelby, returns to the podcast. Shelby shares her eye-opening story on how moving from Iowa to Bolivia changed her perspective from what was once critical to acceptance and excitement in combining 2 different cultures.


Transcription of the Podcast

Shelby: If you’re listening to this and you think like, “Well, I’m not going to go to a different country and definitely not right now,” you don’t have to go to a different country to challenge some of your perspectives on your own culture. Have conversations with people that are different than you. And like I said at the beginning, have those conversations and let them be influential.

Terry: Today, we’re going to talk again with Shelby. We talked to her once before. Shelby did something really interesting. She left our beautiful state and she went to Bolivia. And when you talk about getting to know a whole other culture, that’s a giant leap. So I want to introduce Shelby, let her introduce herself and then we’ll go on from there.

Shelby: Hi, I’m Shelby. I’m so happy to talk about cultures today. I’m no expert, I will say that, but I have I guess a different experience than maybe some living here in Iowa. So my husband is from South America. We have children who are being raised in a bi-cultural, bilingual family. We continue to travel to South America and it’s just interesting to see them growing up in a family that is back and forth between countries and that, that will be a part of their story. Very different from mine because I grew up in farm country here in Iowa and I was surrounded by my own culture. I didn’t have very much diversity in that growing up.

Terry: Can you paint a little picture of what that was like for you to grow up in Iowa?

Shelby: Yeah. So I have family on one side. We have generations from Czechoslovakia, on the other side, from Germany. And we took a lot of pride in that growing up that our grandparents spoke different languages and that they had immigrated here and I knew that was part of our story, but I think even more so, we were like a farm family, grandpa farmed our uncle’s farm. We grew up in the country. I grew up in a small town school and so I think that was important. We took pride in that and loved that, but I didn’t realize how everyone else around me also grew up the exact same way. And so I didn’t get to hear very many perspectives and I didn’t realize that.

Terry: So growing up you didn’t have people from other cultures that kind of showed up at your school or anything like that? It was pretty similar.

Shelby: I would say here and there, and I think a lot of people would probably say, “Yeah, growing up, I came in contact with other cultures,” but not with very heavyweight, like those people from other cultures or different life experiences and perspectives, didn’t have a very big sway, influence or say in my life. So I felt like I could check off that I know a lot of people from other cultures, but they didn’t really have very much influence on me.

Terry: Sure.

Shelby: So.

Terry: So what gave you the idea to leave the farm community of Iowa and go to Bolivia?

Shelby: Well, I think God had that idea.

Terry: Okay

Shelby: Because it was not part of my plan. I didn’t have a specific country in mind. I just wanted to have a gap year before I started school before I started paying my own bills and kind of I got settled into the routine adult life in America. And I thought this is a perfect time, in between high school and adult life to travel. And with me, I thought, I’m going to use that traveling to volunteer and to do some mission work. And so I just started researching mission organizations that would have bases elsewhere. I wasn’t set that I needed to get out of the country, but there was this opening for someone that needed to fill a role at a children’s center in Bolivia. So it was not in my plan ever, but obviously, it was in God’s. So.

Terry: Had you taken Spanish in school at that point?

Shelby: I took Spanish in high school and I really enjoyed it. I was decent at it, but high school Spanish is pretty minimal, but that was all the Spanish I knew. And I’m like, “Yeah, man, it’ll totally be fine.” And then I got there and I think it is definitely the best way to learn a language to be totally submerged, but I was submerged. There was maybe one other person that I knew in that country that could help me with English. And otherwise, it was like, you’re on your own.

Terry: What was it like to just get off the plane that very first day?

Shelby: It was scary and it was so much culture shock. Looking back, I think everything was just like, “Oh my goodness, what?” And now, I get off those same planes years later and I’ve done it several times and it’s like, “Ah, I’m home.” But the first time I got off that plane, I was like, “Why are they driving like that? And why is that tree there? And why is that person talking like that?” Everything was just so foreign and strange. But it’s just crazy how my heart has changed by having different perspectives in my life that now, it’s like, “That’s not strange. That’s normal. That someone else is normal.”

Terry: Right. Did it seem strange because it wasn’t Iowa?

Shelby: Yes. Yes. And I look back on my thoughts when I got off the plane the first time and I’m a little bit embarrassed. I’m like, “Why was I so judgmental?”

Terry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shelby: But I was coming from this place of never being exposed to anything else. And so my first thoughts to anything that was different than my norm was judgment. And now, I’m exposed to those exact same things, exact same scenario, get off that plane, see the same stuff, and it’s like, “It’s totally fine. Why was I so judgmental about that?”

Terry: I think that’s a huge point. Did you know or did you realize at the time that you were feeling judgmental or did that just kind of come with experience?

Shelby: I think I did know I was being judgmental, but it was almost like I was justified in being judgmental, like I had a right to complain about the way people drive in another country because, well, my culture drives better. But now that my husband lives here with Iowan drivers, he’s like, “Uh, not necessarily.”

Terry: Because he had the culture shock coming back the other direction.

Shelby: Yeah. Yeah. And he went through the same things of being very judgmental about things that were new to him and strange at that point and now he’s come to terms with. They’re just different.

Terry: Yeah.

Shelby: So.

Terry: That’s awesome. When you think about that first few days or weeks when you were there, were you getting lost a lot? Was there some, I mean, how did you navigate those first few weeks?

Shelby: I have a really good sense of direction so I won’t lie and say I got lost a whole lot but I remember just feeling so fatigued. My body was tired because my mind had been thinking so much.

Terry: Sure.

Shelby: And I was just, didn’t have any emotional capacity to be friendly to people because all of my energy is going into figuring out the word for a four-way stop, just really simple things that were just draining me.

Terry: Sure.

Shelby: And I saw that in my husband too when he came here just like he had just reached his limit in his mind, and you could see it in your body that culture adjustment is, it’s huge. It takes a toll on everything, not just your mind but your emotions and your physical health.

Terry: When you’re trying to translate in your brain the language, when you hear somebody talking and that sort of thing and you’re still thinking in English and guessing and trying to translate that into Spanish, but we know that only about, I’m going to say, an estimate of about 20% of what we communicate is actually verbal, the rest of it is nonverbal. And I would assume that some of their non-verbals would be different than what you might have here and just, how did that all fit in as far as trying to communicate with people?

Shelby: Totally. I think I was probably over-sensitive because I took everything personal instead of just taking it as, it’s a different form of communication, the same tone of voice or the same facial expression might be offensive in American culture, but it’s totally normal in Bolivian culture. And I remember just down to the most simple things, like what movie do you want to watch tonight? And me saying, “I don’t care,” and it being very offensive in the way I said it in Spanish but I’m like, I’m just trying to be like flow… go with the flow. I’m like, “I don’t care.”

Terry: You were trying to be considerate of their feelings and you ended up offending them?

Shelby: Right. And it just kind of was a light bulb to how often within cultures being in relationship with each other does this happen, where it’s just no one’s trying to do something wrong and we get offended easily, be sensitive Sally like me, or we get hurt or we say something we didn’t mean to and it just takes a lot of grace, a lot of grace to combine cultures I think.

Terry: Sure. Well, and as you stayed there, because you were there for a year, and as you went there and interacting with people, tell me about that, what was that like to… because it seems like there’d be some growth that would take place during all of that.

Shelby: Yeah. I think it was really humbling when I went into it and I will venture to say, the way a lot of Americans go into mission work, it was with a savior complex that Jesus is the savior but he’s using me to save, and that’s just not true at all.

Terry: Here I come to save the day.

Shelby: Yes, yes. And of course, I would say, “No, that’s not what I think.” But that is because of our worldview and that is what I thought is that I have been given so much monetarily or physically and there are physical needs, of course, I can help. But it was a humbling process to just see that the need is always Jesus. Yes, there may be physical needs, but someone in a different country is in no more need of Jesus saving their soul than I am of Jesus saving my soul. And that was so humbling and good to be put on an equal level. I think that’s really key for any kind of mission work, whether it’s you being intentional to love on your neighbors or you going across the country, or you going across the world, you have to first come to terms with that even playing field that we are both centers in need of a savior and I’m no better than you. So.

Terry: That’s really good. Anything else you can think of that our listeners might be interested in about your trip to Bolivia?

Shelby: I think that it is interesting to hear and know just how long it takes to build relationships, but how important those are in mission work. So I think a lot of people would like to just go in and do a good deed than dip out of the situation. It’s hard to sit in the hurt with people and to sometimes not have a resolution, but just as important. So I worked with a children’s center for underprivileged children, providing them tutoring, snacks after school, just like organized games and sometimes, a little medical care here, like dental training and just teaching them how to brush their teeth or to clean to avoid infections and that kind of thing. But there wasn’t always a resolution to some of those problems. They’re just living in poverty. Their lives were very difficult. And my job, our team’s job was not to solve it, it was to walk through it with them.

Shelby: And I think that is impactful and that can be applied when you go overseas, that can be applied when you are in your neighborhood. That’s not like a big huge idea, it’s very simple that there sometimes isn’t a resolution to people’s problems. That’s not your job to resolve it, that’s under the control of God. But your job is to walk alongside people, and that can be more impactful. I’m a big believer in just relationships and it takes time and it’s hard, but it is so worth it to build into people.

Terry: Well, and you saw some extreme poverty. Did you see some ways that they were richer than us or things we could learn from them?

Shelby: Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful character. I really admire so many things about Bolivian culture. My husband is from there and his family lives there and I just admire how families function and come together. So I think there’s a lot of countries that have similar cultures, but where grandma, mom, grandkids, even great-grandkids will all be living together and bearing each other’s burdens. Whereas I think in American culture, we outsource a lot of that care, care for grandma or care for childcare instead of being a family unit that kind of pushes in and makes their own community within each other. So I admire that and I admire the work ethic and just the joy that they can have in having little. I think it’s a culture shock for a lot of Americans to go to countries where they don’t have very many things and they’re not very comfortable in American terms, but they’re totally okay. They’re happy and can find joy in that. And it’s really inspiring and encouraging to me.

Terry: That’s really cool. So now you’re back here, your husband is here, you’ve got these three little littles, and tell me about what you’re doing to help them to kind of grow up in a multicultural home.

Shelby: Yeah. I think just letting them know that they have been blessed and not making them feel bad that they’ve been blessed, but knowing that American culture isn’t the norm for everyone in the world and that having all of these things isn’t the end-all. So we’ve been able to do that by going back to my husband’s home country and just living life there and them being exposed to having a bouncy ball and that is enough for the entire day. That’s okay. But also, just having a heart of generosity, whether we’re here or whether we’re there, that things are not our own. Whatever God has given us, it’s to steward well within our family or to give and be generous with. So we’re really trying to build a generous heart. I think that’s something that my husband has because of his culture that he grew up in. They’re very generous. And we just want that to apply wherever we are, whether it’s here or there or another country that can transcend all lines.

Terry: It’s fascinating, and especially when you think about someone from a culture like that where they have a really generous heart and here, we have so much and sometimes, we don’t.

Shelby: Yeah. It’s really crazy. And sometimes, I feel like those are just, those moments that are kind of a gut punch, like, “Why is it that I’m so selfish when I have so much?” And so even in just having my husband and me with our different worldviews or different perspectives or different cultures in the same house, we’ve really challenged each other in some of the behaviors that we have. Like, “Why do you act that way? Is it because of the culture you grew up in or can you see benefits of the other person’s culture that you could put into your life or characteristics that you could take on from each other?”

Terry: Sure. Well, and I think the other question I have for you is, what’s in the future? Do you have any plans to do any more mission work?

Shelby: Oh, this is quite the question. I don’t know. Missions are definitely not off the table. I’m a social worker, so it’s just kind of ingrained in my mind to see needs and that’s a blessing and a curse because I know that God’s the main provider so it means I have to always bring it to him. But I always feel that heart of like, “Okay, we should go, we should serve.” When we’ve talked about, should we live there, should we live here? And the cool thing about our marriage and our family is that nothing is set in stone. When we got married, it was this contract that we might live who knows where and that’s okay. So it’s been kind of peaceful to know that it’s up in the air and that’s how God wants it. So, I don’t know, there may be mission work in the future. We’ve talked about moving back to Bolivia at some point, just that our kids can even grow up in both countries. But only God knows really what will come next.

Terry: Well, and it’s neat that you feel like Bolivia is home too.

Shelby: Yeah.

Terry: I think that makes a huge difference too. If you end up living in Bolivia for a while, it feels like home.

Shelby: Yeah. I think that’s been the work of God, to humble me and to remind me that our allegiance is to God and that we’re both and we’re all in every country, we’re all looking forward to eternity and heaven together, but because we have that firm foundation, then we can look at each other’s countries as a place of home while we’re here on earth.

Terry: Awesome. Anything, any last words or anything that you want to leave people with today that might be helpful for them?

Shelby: If you’re listening to this and you think like, “Well, I’m not going to go to a different country, and definitely not right now,” you don’t have to go to a different country to challenge some of your perspectives on your own culture. Have conversations with people that are different than you and like I said at the beginning, have those conversations and let them be influential. Don’t let them just be a small voice in your head, but really take people’s perspective and give them a little bit of weight that their perspective matters and it’s important and it’s just equally as important as yours.

Terry: Awesome. Very, very good. I love that. Well, I think we’re going to wrap this up today. Thank you for joining us today and I just really appreciate, and everybody who’s out there listening, we really appreciate Shelby coming and sharing with her, her life story. I think one of the first things we do with journey coaching, with the process, is we talk about our stories. The coach first gives their story to the person who they’re coaching and then the other person comes back the next week and shares their story, and it’s through our stories that we identify things like our strengths, our weaknesses, and we identify what’s our worldview, what view of the world do we have, where did it come from? And then we start working on, where do I want to go from here and how do I want to get there?

Terry: And so if you have any interest in getting involved with journey coaching, let us know. Definitely listen to some more of the podcasts if you get a chance to, and we will see you again in another session.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time, and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.




Freedom Through Honesty

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, we had our special guest, Shelby on the podcast. Shelby shares her personal story on how the dark period of her life becomes the manifestation of God’s love and how she handles the vulnerability of being transparent and authentic.


Transcription of the Podcast

Shelby: Then I think there’s someone else out there who needs to know that not everything is sunshine and rainbows, but it is still working together for the good.

Terry: Have you seen some of the positives that come out of your being transparent and authentic?

Shelby: Yeah, definitely. I think authenticity breeds authenticity. So, the more vulnerable you are, though it may be difficult, allows people to have space where they can be honest maybe for the first time, maybe sometimes even with themselves. I just think a lot of people, I don’t know if it’s American culture or Bolivian culture, just culture in general, that we like to live kind of hidden lives. We just don’t want to go deep. We don’t want to open up.

Your life, your journey, starts now.

Terry: Well, thank you for joining us today on this episode of The Journey podcast. Today we’re going to talk with Shelby, and Shelby has a really interesting story, I think, that the listeners will really want to hear. I’m just going to open it up to Shelby. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Shelby: Hi, I’m Shelby. I am wife to Jorge and mom to three kids under five. We have Susanna Hope, Alejandra, and Javier. Currently, I stay at home. I am a social worker at heart, but I’m staying home with them while they’re little. We’re part of a bi-cultural, bilingual family if you can’t tell by all of our names. My husband is from South America and Bolivia, and we speak Spanish and English in the home. It’s just kind of a beautiful little dance that we do every day. We love to travel. We travel down to see family in Bolivia as often as possible. We like to try new foods. Just adventure. But also we like to just find the magical and the little normal, simple things of our family at home. But yeah, I am enjoying this season of life, of being home with littles and what that brings.

Terry: Awesome. Being part of a multicultural family. That’s really interesting. And I’m sure a lot of our readers would love to know a little bit more about that.

Shelby: Yeah. So, it has been really eye-opening how ingrained your country’s culture is in you and how ingrained your family’s culture is. I think when anyone gets married, they realize like, “Wow, you grew up in a very different family than I did.” But added to that we have, “Oh, you grew up in a completely different culture, in a different country, in a different government, a different dynamic with when you eat, how you eat.” I mean, just everything is so different. So, that took a lot of getting used to, but it’s also so freeing to see that my way isn’t the only way. And that like there’s just so many perspectives out there and different norms and that’s okay. And it was definitely a challenge at first to realize like, “Oh, we can’t live this perfect Shelby decides how things are going to be life.” And that’s been beautiful to be challenged in that way.

Terry: Sure. It’s interesting for your children to be raised in this environment, have you considered what that looks like for them to not have to make that… They’re just learning this multicultural environment from the beginning.

Shelby: Yeah, it’s been exciting. I mean, some things have been like, “Oh, what are we going to do about this? Which way are we going to go? Or are we just going to make up our own family culture almost?” But our oldest is in kindergarten and we’ve seen that her being more adaptable and understanding to kids in her school that their cultures are different, their home lives are different, and she doesn’t really have a status quo that she thinks everyone needs to lead up to because she’s seen that everyone’s norm is very different. And it’s been cool for us to see her almost be more empathetic just because she’s being raised in a house that’s used to that.

Terry: That’s really awesome. In The Journey coaching material, we spend a session working on worldview, which is really kind of getting into the culture and trying to identify… Even different homes have kind of micro-cultures. And so when we look at this is a macro-culture sort of adjustment, and that’s really cool. You’ve kind of told us a little bit about your story and I’m really fascinated by a part of it where you mentioned something about a pivotal point in your life. Can you talk a little bit more about that here?

Shelby: Yeah, so I think how our family came to be was very pivotal. When I was 18, instead of taking the traditional route of going to college, I took a gap year and I moved to Bolivia in South America to do missions work and just volunteer working with underprivileged children. And in that year in my life, I came to know a relationship with Jesus in a more personal way. I was out on my own for the first time. I was living in a foreign country that I wasn’t comfortable with. I was kind of discovering myself and I met my husband there, my now-husband, and I had lived there for a year. When I came back I was 20 weeks pregnant with our child. We were unmarried, he was still there and I was moving back to the States.

Shelby: And I tell people this story all the time. I mean, you’re just talking to the hairdresser, chatting in the grocery line, and people are like, “Oh my gosh, you were a pregnant missionary.” Like everyone knows. Wow, that’s bad. They don’t even want to say it, but wow. And so it became really shameful. I mean-

Terry: So, that was a really dark period in your story then?

Shelby: Very dark. As much as I’d like to just put a bow on it and say, “It all turned out.” Like it was dark, it was hard because I think sin affects everyone, for sure, in a negative way. There are consequences to sin. But this was really unique because it was physical and it was transforming my life and it was like… I remember feeling I was wearing the Scarlet Letter because I couldn’t hide the sin. It was something I had to deal with. I wanted to just push it to the back of my head.

Shelby: It was like this is going to change your life and everyone’s going to know about it. And I now can thank God for that. But at that time I felt so ashamed, just full of guilt and shame and just desperately looking for somewhere to hide. But I couldn’t. So, definitely a valley. It was a long period. I mean, I think God planned nine months of pregnancy for the perfect reason. He knew we needed nine months to go through all of the almost stages of grief, of just dealing with what is this going to look like for my life? So, yeah. I was 19 I was pregnant and our family came to be essentially from that decision moving on. But then we went into like immigration, getting my husband here, he came on a Fiance Visa. Immigration was really difficult. It took months and months and months just to get him to be able to come to visit, let alone move here.

Shelby: So, I had our first daughter alone here in the States. He wasn’t able to make it. But at that time I could see God’s hand at work. I could see his grace. And it reminded me so much of the story in the Bible of the Israelites, God pursued them with his love. And even if that meant like painful times when they would mess up and bear the consequences of their decisions, it was all because he was like, “I love you so much, I want you and I want to be in a relationship with you and I want to care for you.” And I remember just that feeling of wanting to run and hide and he was like, “No. Stop hiding. I will do whatever it takes for you to know that you’re loved by me.” Even if that was that dark period of my life.

Terry: So, how did that become the pivot for you? Because clearly that’s a dark period. How did you kind of pivot out of that or how did that change your life?

Shelby: I think… Yeah. Well, it changed the logistics of my life for sure because I have no idea where my life would have gone had he not kind of grabbed me with that love. I probably would’ve gone down an even darker path and into a darker valley. But in that difficult, shameful period, he also gave me hope, our daughter Hope. Yeah. So…

Terry: Were there people around you, people who God used to kind of show you love?

Shelby: Yeah, absolutely. I was able to see, in the most real way, the church and someone who has Jesus in their heart, what their actions truly look like. Because I saw so many people who were just outrageously loving and generous, and “What can we do for you? If we can’t do anything, let’s just be next to you. I’m going to sit with you.”

Terry: So, even though you felt shameful about what you were going through, there were these people that just surrounded you and said, “No, how can we love on you?”

Shelby: Yeah. And they didn’t water down the reality that this is hard, and even like the hairdresser can say, “This is kind of a bad situation.” They didn’t water it down, but they said, “It’s okay. Love covers a multitude of sins and we love you and Jesus loves you and we’re going to show you on our actions.” So, I saw the church in action really well in small things like giving me hand me down clothes and big things like saying, “We’re going to celebrate this child and we’re going to throw a party when she’s born.” And so really like action, love, and action. It wasn’t just words. Saw a great response of love pouring out from people’s hearts.

Terry: That’s awesome.

Shelby: Yeah.

Terry: And then when your husband was able to join you, so your fiance at that point. But when he was able to join you here, how was his reception?

Shelby: It was good, from the same people who had loved us well, they really loved him and accepted him. But it was almost on a macro level, people adjusting to a different culture. Because I mean we’re here in Iowa and everyone’s Iowa nice. But then you have someone that doesn’t look like you and doesn’t act like you. And yeah, it was an adjustment, I think for everyone to get used to “Okay, this is how you live with someone with a different culture and a different upbringing and a different experience.” Even just hearing an immigrant story in real life and not just on the news. It was cool to see that almost as a collective, people going through that.

Terry: Well, and I would guess it’d be a huge culture shock for him.

Shelby: Yeah. He got here in, I want to say March, and he got out of the plane and he was like, “It’s white and it’s flat. Is this all there is?” I’m like, “Yeah, aren’t you excited?” So, it was definitely a culture shock.

Terry: Never seen snow?

Shelby: Nope. He had never seen snow before.

Terry: Wow. Okay. First impressions of snow.

Shelby: The excitement lasts for about two minutes and then you’re like, “Okay, done with that.” And I’m like, “Yeah, we’re on month five here in Iowa. We’re done with the winter too.” It was definitely a culture shock for him. I mean, he’s been here now five and a half years and there are still some things that it’s was just like, “I can’t get used to that about this culture.” But yeah, it was quite the brave, loving thing for him to come here too

Terry: Yeah. You mentioned God, and you mentioned how that helped you. How did your relationship with God help you with the transition, to trans… Kind of that story of redemption.

Shelby: Yeah, I guess I saw… My whole life I had grown in a Christian home, so I knew the foundational truths of the Bible and I knew all the right answers and I knew all the right things to do. But that was the first time that I saw God personally. I saw him as not this distant being, but as a father who loved me and was compassionate towards me and who wants good things for me, even in the little moment when it feels like this is the end of the world. He’s actually bringing good out of that.

Shelby: And yeah, he brought redemption to our story that I could have just spiraled, but he instead gave us such blessings and such undeserved love at that time. And just his character was more visibly seen because of my experience, and it was no longer just I know the right answers and I know the textbook stories, but I know this in my life, I know this to be a reality. And I just wish so often that everyone could experience not just knowing the word of God, but knowing that it applies to your everyday situations.

Terry: That’s beautiful. You talk about being authentic, and you really are. I mean, you’re sitting here and you’re opening up about your shame and about the things that you went through the darker times. How have you been able to be transparent with people and not just kind of cover that up and hide it?

Shelby: Like when I said how when I was pregnant, I couldn’t hide that I was pregnant. It’s continued. I mean, people always ask like, “Oh, your daughter. And how did you guys meet?” And so it comes up and I have that choice, almost every single day, to just rush by the story and kind of put a bow on it. Or to just be real and honest and say, “You know what? It wasn’t this fairy tale kind of story of how we came to be. It was really hard and that is why it is so precious and so beautiful and we’re so thankful for the family that we have.” So, we’ve been able to tell that story every day and be authentic and it’s a choice every day though. And some days I honestly am like I don’t really want to be open about everything. But then I think there’s someone else out there who needs to know that not everything is sunshine and rainbows, but it is still working together for the good.

Terry: Have you seen some of the positives that come out of your being transparent and authentic?

Shelby: Yeah, definitely. I think authenticity breeds authenticity. So, the more vulnerable you are, though it may be difficult, allows people to have space where they can be honest maybe for the first time, maybe sometimes even with themselves. I just think a lot of people, I don’t know if it’s American culture or Bolivian culture, or just culture in general, that we like to live kind of hidden lives. We just don’t want to go deep. We don’t want to open up. And there can be like years and years of not just being real about stuff. And so I have seen the fruit in other people’s lives of just being able to live in more freedom of being honest with other people, being honest with themselves and being honest with God.

Terry: Have there been some fear of being honest and open with people? Have you noticed any fear that… Fear of reprisal, fear of people not understanding, looking at you differently? Because I think that’s what people out there are thinking, “Oh my gosh, I can’t be transparent about this because…”

Shelby: Yeah, I think the biggest fear that I have in being transparent about my story is that it’s not done yet, and sometimes I’m afraid that people are going to want it to be wrapped up. They want it to be okay, well everything’s perfect now. And no, it’s not. When I honest, I have to be honest with today, too. I have to say, “Well, today is also a struggle.” Or, “Yesterday was a valley.” Or, “There’s been highs and lows this month.” Instead of just, “This was all in my past.” I think that’s been the fear of opening up and continuing to be honest about your story.

Terry: That sounds good. I think there’s a lot of people, and I know there are because I’ve talked with different people who they kind of go to church, they go to work, they go someplace and they wear this little mask and it’s got a smile on it. And it’s the I’m all put together mask, and we don’t tell others that we’re hurting and we don’t let people know sometimes that we’re going through something really tough. What advice would you give to somebody out there who’s doing that right now that might help them to kind of let down their mask and be authentic with somebody?

Shelby: I would say that I understand. I understand that fear. I understand it’s just easier for the time being, but in the long run, it’s not. It’s not going to do you any good to hide and put on a good face. That there is a real reward and there’s real freedom in being vulnerable. I think there’s wisdom in who to confide in and who to find community in. But I think that that is wired in our DNA to be in community. We are relational people and that it’s so good for you to speak up, speak with someone, be open. Because though it may feel good today to put on that mask, it’s going to catch up to you. And it’s in our DNA that we have to be in a relationship and talk about stuff.

Terry: I think that’s awesome. Just kind of, in summary, anything specific that you wished that people would walk away with from your message and your story today?

Shelby: I think it’s important to know that whether you are in a valley or you’re in a high or you’re putting on that face for now, that as it matters. Every little turn of every little day matters to God and he has a purpose behind it. Sometimes I like to think about a big beautiful tapestry and it’s got all these ornament details. And then you look on the back and it’s all the threads and it’s confusing, and sometimes we’re looking at the threads and we’re confused and we’re hurt. And that’s okay to be hurt and that’s okay to have all those emotions, but to always remember that on the other side God is putting something beautiful together with your story.

Terry: Yeah. I love that and I love that analogy.

Shelby: Yeah, it’s a good reminder for me every day.

Terry: Okay, well, thank you, Shelby. Until next time. I’ll close this now and thank you again for listening and we hope that you tune back in for another podcast of Journey coaching.

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org

Your life, your journey, starts now.


FAMILY TENSION

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, we’re talking about helpful tips in navigating through family tension especially during the holidays.


Transcription of the Podcast coming


Terry: Focus on the supporting family members that you do have. If we just focus on the maybe the toxic person in your relationship, then it seems like everything is a waste. But if you realize, no, this other aunt has been amazingly supportive. My grandmother, I have no idea how long she’s going to be here. Let’s focus on her and honor her for this time.

Jeff: (singing).

Jeff: Welcome to The Journey podcast. This is Jeff and today we’re going to ask the question, how do you survive and believe it or not even thrive during the holidays when there’s family tension? Not that there’s ever a family tension. And you got to go to these family gatherings and you just dread going, what do you do?

Terry: I think that’s a great, great topic for today.

Jeff: So in the studio with me is Terry. Hello.

Terry: Hello.

Jeff: And as a mental health counselor, it’s always good to have you here and to toss out a few specific ideas. And this is something that’s on a lot of people’s minds this time of the year. So, yeah. Welcome

Terry: Well, thank you. I am happy to be able to talk to you today.

Jeff: Why does it seem like there are so many relationship problems during the holidays? You would think with all the falala and all the good tidings and all that that everybody would be happy and getting along.

Terry: You’d think so wouldn’t you? There are actually though, there are a lot of people who dread family get-togethers for various reasons. I remember growing up, it kind of gets to the reason why we get together with family at the holidays, somebody requests it, usually, it’s grandma or grandpa or the matriarch, the patriarch, and somebody says, “Oh, we’ve got to get everybody together.”

Jeff: Yes. I remember those days in Tulsa having to drive back on the ice.

Terry: Having to drive back on the ice to get home for Christmas.

Jeff: Yes, I remember that.

Terry: Because if we didn’t, people would be unhappy.

Jeff: The world would end.

Terry: A lot of times those are happy times and I remember coming back from Tulsa and meeting with family and stuff and then it was hard to leave and go back to school and work and stuff.

Jeff: We probably should point out that we are married. Because they’ll be like, “Why are these two people going back and forth to Tulsa together?”

Terry: This is true.

Jeff: So anyway, yes we did that together during the holidays.

Terry: I also remember going when we were kids and having to go over to aunts and uncles homes where most people got along but there was always somebody who had opinions about something political or something religious. And then it would just seem to become an undertone under the whole thing. And you learn to kind of avoid that aunt or uncle. Not in mine, my family was perfect.

Jeff: Yeah right. Well, can you give us just a sort of a rapid-fire, some things that we can do here to address this?

Terry: Well I think the first thing before the events ever happen, I think the first thing you really want to try to do is to anticipate possible triggers or stressors or situations and develop a plan. In some cases, your plan might be setting some boundaries. I’m just not going to talk about politics-

Jeff: Politics, right.

Terry: … With that uncle or that aunt. I’m going to maybe formulate some answers ahead of time to what I might want to say, even rehearse it if possible. If you know that every time you get together, this relative is always challenging you on your beliefs or your politics, think through, “How do I want to react?” Because what happens is when at the moment, if we don’t have a plan, then at the moment, our emotions may go rampant and then the plan goes out the window and we end up just spouting off or saying something that we later on regret.

Jeff: Yeah. And that can be a simple thing, right? It’s like, “Yeah, the politics thing. Yeah, that gets a little dicey. Let’s just table that for another time, right?” I mean, it can be something really simple.

Terry: Well and have a backup plan. If something does go haywire, what do you do? I think also check your expectations, what expectations are you having of the event? A lot of times people, get a fancy new dress or they’re doing something and they are expecting that “When I get there, everybody’s going to go ooh.” And when they get there, it’s easy to have hurt feelings because well nobody noticed your new dress or your new hairdo or your-

Jeff: Your whatever, yeah.

Terry: … Yeah, whatever that is. So check your expectations.

Jeff: Well, and going back real quick to things to discuss. A lot of our family are involved in business together, so that’s one of the things that we say going in, “Hey, we’re not going to talk about business during the family get together.”

Terry: And the last family gets together we had, oh my gosh, I think we said that we reminded everybody of that, what, 15 times?

Jeff: Well you did anyway. We just kind of kept to it. So we didn’t do really good at that boundary. But we’ll get better.

Terry: No. And when you’ve got two businesses and a ministry in between five people, it really can be hard to not talk about business.

Jeff: Right. Right. So again, it’s not perfect, but we try. But yeah, it is good to try to set those expectations, and at least to let people have an out and say, “Hey, yeah, let’s just table this for another day.” So what are some other things?

Terry: Well, I think if you’re going to a big family event or a work party or something where you’re feeling uncomfortable already, maybe find a buffer, take a friend, a partner, a family member, somebody who can, if things get tight, you can just turn and focus on that person or they can be a buffer between you aunt so-and-so. I think it’s also important to remember don’t use the holidays, and I’m going to emphasize this again, don’t use the holidays to bring up old grudges, old grievances with family members or people there. This isn’t the time or the place. It’s not going to have a good positive outcome and other people are just going to have hurt feelings. Use other times to address those things with people one-on-one. But don’t use holiday gatherings for that.

Jeff: Right, good point.

Terry: I think some other things you might do too, is to consider strategies to cope with unexpected things that come up as well. Your best-laid plans are going to have… they’re going to fall flat sometimes. You’re going to avoid aunt so-and-so until she finally tracks you down and challenges you about the fact that you’re either not married or you’re married or she’s just going to have some kind of a thing. Consider a strategy to cope with those kinds of issues. Sometimes it’s just taking some time away, getting away from there, taking some deep breaths, going out for a walk and just challenging that person who’s trying to pull you into a fight even and just say, “No, I’m not going to fight today. This is Thanksgiving. We’re here to celebrate, give thanks and celebrate family and we’re not going to fight today. Call me up tomorrow.”

Jeff: Right, right. And what are a few other things then that we can do?

Terry: I think first of all, or fifth of all maybe, to stay positive, focus on the supporting family members that you do have. If we just focus on the maybe the toxic person in your relationship, then it seems like everything is a waste. But if you realize, no, this other aunt has been amazingly supportive. My grandmother, I have no idea how long she’s going to be here. Let’s focus on her and honor her for this time. Who can I help? Sometimes you can avoid a conversation in the living room by getting up, picking up dishes and going in and starting to help wash dishes.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah. Which no shortage of dishes and during those holidays sometimes.

Terry: Exactly.

Jeff: And finally, anything you can leave us with then?

Terry: Well, I think it really goes back to something we said at another podcast, remember the reason for the gathering that we’re doing, if you’re getting together for a party to celebrate somebody’s shower, remember that that person is the person you’re honoring. It’s not about you, it’s about them. And what can you do to help honor that person? And the same thing at Christmas time and at Thanksgiving, realize there’s a reason why we’re getting together and try to stay focused on that.

Jeff: Right. Right. Yeah. The reason behind Thanksgiving is to give thanks, Christmas, the whole birth of Christ and a lot of people may be questioning that or trying to figure that out, but it’s still important to get back to those core things because it simplifies things. Well, thanks again for being with us and sharing some good thoughts.

Terry: Thank you.

Jeff: And yeah, so to everyone out there, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and I appreciate you listening. Tune in again.

Terry: Bye

Jeff: Bye

Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org. (singing)

Why Coaching?

Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne and Sarah discuss why you might want to go through Journey Coaching.


Transcription of Podcast


Sarah: So we’re back with Journey Coaching. This is Sarah Banowetz and I have Lianne Wescott here. And today’s topic is,… Lianne, why don’t you introduce today’s topic?

Lianne: Why would you want to go through Journey Coaching?

♪ Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Sarah: Ba da boom. That’s a drumroll. Deep questions. So what do you think about that, Lianne?

Lianne: Well, I feel like one of the reasons that I went through it was to just kind of hone in, like, what are some of the things that I can contribute, that I can do, spend my time doing that only I can do? Contributing to the world, making the world a little bit of a better place. Fitting in the things that I’m naturally good at or that I naturally am drawn to, do more of them and stop doing some of the things that maybe are not a good use of time anymore. I feel like each person probably has their own unique thing that they are meant to do, that is their purpose, that only they can do and a lot of people don’t even know that.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s like working in your strengths, instead of your, that was one of the big takeaways for me, I’ve mentioned before, is. What was that part in Journey where it talked about, like how, if you try to work on your weaknesses to make them better, you’re only going to go so far. But if you work on your strengths to make those better, you are really going to succeed a lot more. I’m not saying that very clearly, but.

Lianne: Well, let’s imagine that you’re an eight out of ten in some strength that you have. Very high, way up over the 50% line. And then let’s say that there’s something where you’re at 40%, under the 50% line. If you work, and you work, and you work, you can improve yourself maybe 4%. So now you’ve just gone from, or 5%, let’s say. And now you’ve just gone from an 80 to an 85, at your strength, but you’re not even to the 50% line on your weakness. So it really is a better use of your time just to go with your strengths, do the things you’re good at, and not spend a lot of time trying to correct things that are really.

Sarah: Well I’m trying to be someone else. Like, we look, admire people, and we should. I mean, we should be really joyful and thankful for who other people are, but when we try to be like those people, we’re not going to, we can’t be that person. We’ve got to be ourselves and we have our own unique giftings and talents, and to, our God-given talents, and to really grow in the, to really walk in those God-given talents produces some good fruit.

Lianne: Right, so yeah, for looking around and trying to see what other people are doing, it’s better just to maybe sit down and do the coaching. And then, people, maybe that person’s reflecting back to you some things that you hadn’t thought about. Like, I’m really good at those things, maybe I can apply ’em in this way or do that? So, aside from relationship building, I think that’s my number one purpose that I’ve found in the Journey Coaching.

Sarah: Lianne, what might be another reason why someone might wanna, would wanna do coaching?

Lianne: Well I think we all get to points at our life that we’re transitioning that might be a time of different stage of life. Kids are a different stage of life, maybe changing in jobs, adding, reducing hours, things like that. I also think there’s a time in life when everything was working for awhile but maybe we kind of lose our focus. And I felt kind of that way, like I was a little bit on a plateau and I just didn’t know where to go next, and that’s important to some people. Other people, maybe they’re new to an area and they just want to feel like, how do I plug in?

Sarah: Oh yeah, that’s next in the thought too, is, you know, the relationship building and.

Lianne: Mhmm, so anyway, but I feel like for me the number one reason is just, you know, finding that purpose, finding a little bit of focus. And for me it was how to serve because I just, again, looking around and seeing what other people were doing but was my way that I was going to uniquely serve? And I just think it was well worth spending that time thinking about that and talking about that.

Sarah: Well, and I do want to revisit the fact that, Lianne, you were both coached and you coached. So you were a coach and you were also a coachee, is that the right?

Lianne: I think that’s a good term, we’ll go with that one.

Sarah: So you were coached first before you became a coach?

Lianne: Yes, my husband and I went through it with Jeff and Teri, and they call us the guinea pigs. We were kind of early on but it was a good experience for me and I’ve enjoyed coaching a few other people, including you, Sarah.

Sarah: And so that’s another good point because when I, when you coached me, it was just you and me, but when you were coached, it was you and your husband, so it was two coaching two.

Lianne: Yeah, yes.

Sarah: So, and how is that different? So, not to like, let anything that you talked about out, but how is, is there much of a change between two people coaching two people and one person coaching one person?

Lianne: Well it doubles the amount of answers that you have.

Sarah: Or is it longer?

Lianne: You have to be a little more efficient. It was kind of fun to not try to answer question on behalf of your spouse, things like that. So Jeff and Terry, and Terry being a professional counselor, helped a lot. But we enjoyed it, and half the time we, even though we had twice the answers, Jeff is real good at, “how is your week,” and all that and so we did spend a lot of time talking about other things but, I’m sure that each coaching relationship is different anyway.

Sarah: Yeah, depending on different personalities and people.

Lianne: Right. So.

Sarah: Well, it was good to talk with you Lianne.

Lianne: Yeah, I enjoyed that very much.

Sarah: Yeah, so we, stayed tuned for the next podcast, the next Journey podcast when we talk more about these topics about coaching, and life, and strengths, and working in your strengths, and everything else that Journey is all about. So stay tuned for the next one, bye.

Narrator: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at JourneyCoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at JourneyCoaching.org.


♪Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Real Friendships Matter

Welcome back to the Journey Coaching podcast! In this episode, David, Terry and Sarah talk about what Journey Coaching is all about.

Terry: Welcome to the Journey Podcast. I’m Terry, and today we have David and Sarah. For our topic today, what I thought would be interesting is if we … There’s so many people out there that, or would maybe consider coaching, maybe consider having somebody come alongside them and coach them. What would you tell them? What kind of things could you say to them to help them understand what it’s about?

♪ Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Terry: Sarah, do you have any ideas?

Sarah: I would say that it’s about friendship and just being … having relationships with people. Not being scared of going outside of your comfort zone and just making friends with people. Yesterday, I was talking with … I have a marketing business and I was talking with a business owner and we were talking about networking, not directly, but just indirectly about who we … I don’t know how to say this but, I think we tend to … We were talking about networking with other marketing people and I was like, I don’t really try to network with marketing people. I mean, it would be easy to do because I’m in marketing, but I try to network with business owners which is my target audience or whatever, I guess.

Sarah: I think it’s about friendship and about building relationships with people both on either side of it, whether you are the one that is being coached, or you are the coach. Either position is a difficult and outside of the box, scary position. We tend to gravitate to people who are like us, so we network. I mean, there’s a lot of people don’t like the word network, but that’s what essentially it is, is as adults we network with people naturally and we tend to network with people that we’re like. So like, for example, if you are like my … I’m in marketing, so a lot of marketing people will hang out together and they’ll do stuff together and it’s harder to get outside of your comfort zone and start networking with business owners who might actually be interested in your services.

Terry: Let me try this. Both you and David, both you, Sarah and David, were coached. What was that like for you when you first sat down with someone and started talking about your story?

Sarah: When I first sat down it was nice and easy, but it took several years to get to that point because I didn’t want to do it at first.

Terry: Can you get kind of get back into what that was?

Sarah: Well, for one reason and this probably wouldn’t resonate with a lot of people, but I already have a counselor. I’ve been seeing a counselor for five years, ever since I started traveling to Ethiopia, and it’s really helped me. There’s a bible verse that says, “For a lack of counselors … for a lack of counsel, plans fail.” And I really found that having, I mean, really that’s talking about, it doesn’t have to be a professional counselor, but I found that in my situation that’s one of the many voices of counsel in my life is my paid counselor. I started [inaudible 00:03:16] anxiety and stuff and it’s worked really well, and so I didn’t want to do coaching because I had felt like I used my counselor as a coach. I feel like I’ve been able to do a lot of big things in my life because I’ve had this counselor that I see. So I thought, oh, I don’t need coaching because I’m already doing it.

Sarah: But then, I did do both at the same exact time so it was this spring when I started doing coaching with [Leann 00:03:43] who you guys have heard on the podcast before. And so I was doing counseling and I did both at the same exact time and I will say that it wasn’t a waste. It was very much about building relationships. I became friends with Leann, I still had my counselor, and they’re different people. It really helped. I was starting my third business, my marketing company, at the same exact time that I was both getting counseled regularly and also doing coaching. It was just nice to have that … it felt like a … both feel like a breath of fresh air. Especially if you have someone who’s kind and encouraging. Both Susan and Leann are.

Terry: David, you’ve coached people before informally, a lot, and being a pastor and so on. What was it like for you to then say, to agree, yeah, okay, I’ll be coached?

David: Oh, I was excited about it because it’s … One, it was a friend. Coaching begins with friendship and Jeff was my friend and when he came and said, “Hey, we’re thinking about doing this and that, would you mind sitting down and can we go through some things together?” Hey, it meant I got time to spend time with my friend. Then as we began to go into the topic, we now also have a topic that we’re both very interested in.

Terry: Right.

David: For me then to start out by telling my story to him and then Jeff told me his story, and the journey was off and running. I just think it’s very, very fun to do something where you’re learning about yourself and others are … And you’re learning about somebody else at the same time. Sometimes we don’t want to get to know ourselves.

Terry: For either one of you, was there any kind of insight that you guys gained from being coached that you wouldn’t have [inaudible 00:05:29] you didn’t get from other sources?

Sarah: Yes.

David: I think one of the things was … usually when we think of coaching, we think of it in a negative way. Here’s the way you can strengthen this, improve that. When in reality, lot of this coaching in the time with Jeff, really became a time when we would talk about things that were my strengths. And they may not even be strengths that I even recognized or thought they were even strengths. And yet, Jeff would say, “Yes, it is.” And the other person that we were with in our group, it was very, very encouraging. I look forward to it every time we can get together.

Sarah: That was the same for me too. That’s funny that you say that. I don’t know if it just comes across. I don’t know how many other people ’cause, you know … My biggest takeaway was the strengths too, was working in your strengths instead of trying to improve your weaknesses. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t things that we need to fix in our lives, by any means, but it did mean you work in your strengths. And I have, as a result of that, seen a huge change in my life in the last 6 months or so since I did the coaching with Leann because of that, because I made decisions. We talked about world view on the podcast one time. I make decisions based off this world view that God loves me and that he’s taking care of me, and that he created me, with good things in mind. To walk in those God given strengths and the reaction that I get from people in walking in those strengths is amazing. Instead of trying to be like someone else, or [crosstalk 00:07:10]

Terry: Who you are.

Sarah: Yeah. Being who I am and then really diving deep in that. And as I said, I was starting a business at the time, so when you’re starting a business and it’s a made from scratch business, not a franchise or anything like that, or someone else’s business, you’re creating a business from scratch. You get to sit there and it’s like a blank canvass. You get to decide what kind of business you’re going to have, what kind of offerings you’re going to have. And to choose to make intentional decisions about your business and what it’s going to look like based off of your strengths, instead of what you think that you should be?

Terry: One of the things I’ve watched you do with your strengths is that you’ve recognized, okay, I have these strengths. For some reason when we have … when we know what our strengths are, we’re more able to handle our weaknesses.Our topic today is on what would people get out of this. In other words, what would people expect to get from Journey Coaching, and so one of the things you’re saying, you both were saying, is you got a better chance to know yourself, and you got a better chance to understand your strengths. What else would you say that people would get out of Journey Coaching?

Sarah: Friendship.

David: Definitely friendship. Yup. You get to know people.

Terry: In both cases, you felt like the friendship grew?

David: Yup. ‘Cause there are levels of friendship. At least it’s the way I operate in my life that there’s levels of friendship. Number one is if you just say hi to people. Number two is if you just talk about subjects and things you like. Number three is, hey, here’s my convictions or my opinions on this. In other words, those are my convictions. But when you can get into Journey and now you can begin to get beyond just the factual and cliché type things and get down to, here’s what really makes sense to me, or this is what touches me, and to share that with somebody else and to find that they’re interested, that just makes Journey Coaching just phenomenal.

Sarah: And it’s so not … Our culture does not do this. Our American culture, we do not get close to people like this and to intentionally do it, it’s outside of our comfort zone, but it’s really good. Then … There was one more point that I was going to bring up too, besides friendship, was … Oh, a chance to talk about these things that we’re all thinking and that we all struggle with and we don’t know who to talk to about. So, deep topics that you wanted to have someone to talk to about, but you don’t feel like you can go to a friend of yours, like a good work friend or whatever, and feel like, hey, can I really talk to you about worldview? Can I really talk to you about my hopes and dreams and what I should do for next steps? You can do that in coaching.

David: And you trust that person and you develop that relationship.

Sarah: And I’m really struggling with this concept. Like, hey, you know what? I go to church every Sunday, but I’m really struggling with the idea of who God is. Who can you talk to about that in real life? I don’t know I’m making a huge generalization here, but we as Americans don’t have those conversations and we give it a chance, but that’s a whole other topic for another time. We should probably wrap for today.

Terry: I think also, as we’re wrapping up, ’cause I think this has been a really good conversation, I think for another topic that we need to get into at some point is also we’ve been talking a lot about strength but we also have a section … There’s a week or a section in there on weaknesses, and what does that look like. Some people go into that one with dread and …

Sarah: That was a hard one. That was a heavy chapter.

Terry: And then so, talking about … maybe we need to have another session where we talk about what are we looking for in weaknesses and why is it important to go there. But for now, I think we’ll wrap this up and we’ll do that at another time.

Sarah: Yes.

Terry: Okay? Thank you very much.

David: See you.

Terry: Bye.

Narrator: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram.

Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.

What is Worldview?

In this episode, we will discuss what ‘worldview’ is, and how we use worldview in the Journey Coaching curriculum. We also discuss how everyone has some type of view of the world.

Sarah: Welcome to the Journey podcast. I’m Sarah, and I have Mike, and David, and Terry here, and our topic today is coming straight from the Journey Workbook.

♪ Your life ♪ ♪ Your journey ♪ ♪ Starts now ♪ ♪ Ba da ba da ♪

Sarah: I’m going to read a little bit of this. “Journey coaching was developed from a Christian perspective. To participate you don’t need to follow those beliefs. But throughout the material you will have an opportunity to compare your personal philosophy or worldview with a basic understanding of the healthy Christian point of view. That perspective which teaches us to serve everyone, love everyone, and care for everyone. Everyone regardless of their worldview was modeled by Jesus.” So that’s what we’re talking about today with The Journey podcast. Who wants to start here? I’m just going to draw a number. I’m just going to pick.

Mike: Pick number four.

Sarah: Yes, Mike, you’re up. Mike, you’ve got the mic. That’s the second time I’ve said that. It’s going to get old.

Mike: I think that this is an important topic because we could be easily misunderstood here. And that’s a concern that we all have. We love Christians, and we love those who have not come to believe in Jesus yet. But those who have not come to believe in Jesus yet, we want to introduce them to Jesus. The leading edge of this is to help people regardless as you or as you heard there, we’re helping people understand their strengths, we’re helping people understand their weaknesses and their worldview, but while they’re doing that, we’re helping them understand the Christian worldview. So it is a great benefit just to help people move forward in life. And if we serve them in that way, we have great joy in that because Jesus did that.

Sarah: Mike, can you explain worldview a little bit?

Mike: I sure can. A worldview is the way that a person answers kind of the big questions, where did I come from, why am I here, what is my purpose. So people have ways of thinking about what their purpose is, why they’re here, what they’re doing, where they came from, and that shapes kind of how they think about their world and how they make decisions every day.

Sarah: And everyone has a worldview, right? We all have a worldview.

Terry: We all have some kind of a worldview. And I think that worldview tends to become the lens by which we look at everything, how we see. If we believe that we were just made by accident, that’s the lens by which we see all the things that happened around us.

Mike: And it is a huge service. I think a lot of people walk around and they don’t, they haven’t summarized, they don’t understand what their worldview is. They make decisions. Everybody makes decisions out of a worldview, whether they know what it is or not, and we want to help them articulate it and we want to help them understand what a Christian one is.

Sarah: What’s the benefit then of articulating, knowing your worldview? Because you have it. Why will that benefit your life if you know what it is, if you bring it to the forefront of your brain? David, you might be able to answer this one?

David: Well, it could too, right. Worldview, I taught a class for seven and eighth graders one year on worldview. And talk about worldview. Seven and eighth graders have got some phenomenal worldviews and the way they see the world around them and their world that they’re in. But I think there’s a difference between the word culture and a worldview. So often we try to bring people to a point where sometimes they think we’re talking about culture. You’re an American. You must be talking about this or that. When in reality the worldview has to do with who Jesus Christ is and his perspective in the world and beginning to adapt our worldview to his view.

Terry: Well, I think you’re right. I think there is a … There’s a bleed over in the way culture is and worldview though. I mean, I believe sometimes our culture is part of our worldview, but you’re right, it’s not an either or.

David: Right, it can be a blend. But for some people, they don’t want, especially if it’s a Christian culture to come into … or the Christian worldview, they don’t want that to come into their culture. They try to keep them separated. But it’s just interesting to live around people, especially Iowa city where there’s such a huge blend of worldviews, and so all over the place.

Terry: Right, because you’ve got people coming in from all over the world into the university, correct. When you think about worldview too, I think one of the things that I think about from a counseling perspective, we often talk to people about their core beliefs, what are your core beliefs, because those core beliefs become a filter to what you, how you see the world. If you have a core belief, an underlying belief that I’m capable and I’m confident and I can do the things I want to do, you’re going to set out and do more things. If you have a core belief that says I’m worthless, and some people do have that core belief that I’m worthless, then that filter is a lot of the things, getting a job, they may not try for certain jobs because they don’t feel like they can get it. Our worldview kind of encompasses part of that too, who do we believe that we are.

Mike: And when you’re disconnected from that, you’re making decisions and you don’t know why you are. And you may think that you’re walking down a path the way thinking that it’s being driven by one thing, when really it’s being driven by another. I’ve had people that I’ve sat down with who’ve said, “I believe I want to go this direction, but I believe x,” and x leads a different direction, and they don’t see the disconnect. If you’re a Christian out there, that happens very often because the bible teaches us certain kind of worldview, yet you’re making a decision. I’ll sit down with someone and say, “This decision is actually based on a different worldview,” and they actually don’t even know it. If you don’t know what your worldview is, you can live in or you can think you’re doing one thing and live inconsistently with it. That’s really important to have that connection.

Terry: There are a lot of people out there who believe that they have a Christian worldview, but yeah, when you really get down to look at it and analyze it, a lot of their worldview is coming from secular areas, it’s coming from just other places growing up.

Mike: For sure.

David: Yeah, I found that a lot of people have their worldviews from religions. Their church teaches them this or that. And so then they try to become what the church is dictating in their lives, this is what it means to be a Christian. When in reality we need to have a biblical worldview. What does the bible say? Who does Jesus say when he says, “I am the way, the truth, the life,” what is that life? It’s not just a religious that he is the savior, but he also comes with a type of life and a culture and a worldview that we need to then become an imitator of, and that’s what he talks about in becoming a disciple, is that you become, and that’s why that word Jesus comes from, a little Jesus. Well how do you make your worldview similar to who Jesus is?

Mike: Yeah, and the difficulty is carrying out, living out something that you don’t understand, you can’t do that. So the reason why it’s so important for us to come from a Christian perspective it’s because we believe that God ordered the world to work in a certain way, and the best and happiest way to live is outside of that worldview. We want people to know that worldview, not so that they are constrained by our rules, but so they’re set free to live the way God designed them to live. We don’t apologize from coming from a Christian perspective because we believe that is what’s best for everyone and not constraining but it’s freeing.

Sarah: Can you give an example of that Mike?

Mike: Yeah. I think when you’re trying to move, when you’re trying to make a decision in life that is guided by a certain principle, so if you truly are trying to connect with this is what I believe, this is what comes from a Christian perspective, and then this is what I’m trying to do, if you don’t, if you’re connected with that piece …

David: Talking about a worldview, as we’re talking about it, this verse comes to mind. “For God so loved the world.” Talk about a worldview. He looked at the world past, present, and future, and people, not as a creation and as a material thing, but as us as people.

Terry: And we’re not always lovable.

David: No, but yet for God so loved. And that word loved is the deepest, most radical, fantastic love in the world, and that’s the way he looks at us.

Sarah: And so when someone is living inside that worldview, and entering the … interacting with people with that worldview on their brain and their heart, what happens?

David: You end up seeing that you want to help people get to know who Jesus is and see his view of things and how he loves them, rather than trying to manipulate or to change or direct, coach even, and there might be a wrong term, in the wrong direction. You want to make sure that they are moving towards who Jesus is. I think that’s what we’re here doing and coaching. It’s not about us or about a Christian philosophy or our worldview. It’s about what is Jesus’ worldview, how does he see it? What’s his plan for us? It’s interesting, God, Jesus has a plan for everyone of our lives, if we’ll follow it.

Mike: Thank you David. That was actually a great example. But the one that’s been on my heart probably for six months is something like marriage. Worldview that says the goal of finding a partner is somebody who can satisfy me. That’s what the culture says. That’s what a worldview. I’m looking for a mate that meets my needs. In the end will backfire on you because it’s built on selfishness which is the opposite of what God designed marriage to be [crosstalk]

Terry: Well, yeah, and the other person is going into marriage for the same reason.

Mike: Exactly.

Terry: And both people are standing there, trying to expect the other person to meet their needs.

Mike: Absolutely. That worldview is destructive. God created a mechanism or a worldview around how that’s supposed to work that actually will be beautiful and work for people and give them a happy life. When two people die to themselves and give their life for the other and they’re both doing that for each other, they will get their needs met, versus trying to take what they want from the other person will just irritate that person and turn into this spiral. So that’s-

Terry: That is a great example-

Mike: … probably the most common way where worldview gets people in trouble if they get it from the culture versus if they get it from the bible, from a Christian worldview.

Terry: I think there’s a lot of those kind of examples we could use at different times. But I think that’s a really good example.

Sarah: And I think that we are done for today. And next time …

David: Wow, this is going to be good.

Mike: Thanks for giving me time for that. Sarah, you were great in this.

Sarah: So keep listening to The Journey podcast and we’ll talk to you later. Bye.

Announcer: Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram.

Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.