The Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast

After the last few years, we are looking for relief.

But in the rush to get our lives back to what they used to be, we are settling for temporary relief instead of lasting restoration. What if there's a better way to live? A way that doesn't just squeeze God into our busy lives ... a way where we can find the true rest we need. On this episode, author John Eldredge walks us through practical ways we can be intentional to cultivate a life with God so we can be resilient to whatever comes our way.

Show Notes

After the last few years, we are looking for relief.

But in the rush to get our lives back to what they used to be, we are settling for temporary relief instead of lasting restoration. What if there's a better way to live? A way that doesn't just squeeze God into our busy lives ... a way where we can find the true rest we need. On this episode, author John Eldredge walks us through practical ways we can be intentional to cultivate a life with God so we can be resilient to whatever comes our way.

Related Resources:
- Sign up for our Online Bible Study of Get Your Life Back starting on September 19!  
- Grab a copy of Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge.
- Check out John's new book, Resilient: Restoring Your Weary Soul in These Turbulent Times.
- We want to connect with our podcast listeners each month! Sign up to be a Podcast Insider, and each month you'll receive bonus content, journal prompts and more.
- Click here to view the transcript for this episode. 

What is The Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast?

For over 25 years Proverbs 31 Ministries' mission has been to intersect God's Word in the real, hard places we all struggle with. That's why we started this podcast. Every episode will feature a variety of teachings from president Lysa TerKeurst, staff members or friends of the ministry who can teach you something valuable from their vantage point. We hope that regardless of your age, background or stage of life, it's something you look forward to listening to each month!

Kaley:
Well, hi, friends. Thanks for joining us for another episode of The Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast, where we share biblical Truth for any girl in any season. I'm your host, Kaley Olson. And I've got my co-worker and friend and chip-lover, Kendra LeGrand, with me …

Kendra:
That's right, Kaley.

Kaley:
… to co-host today.

Kendra:
Oh, you guys, I'm so excited to be with you. That is for sure.

Kaley:
I mean, well, you're excited to be with us. I did mention that Kendra loves chips. If you know Kendra, she loves chips. What's your favorite chip, Kendra?

Kendra:
Just plain, kettle-cooked chips, any brands.

Kaley:
I can get on board with that. Those are delicious.

Kendra:
So good.

Kaley:
Well, besides loving chips, Kendra is the Senior Manager of Ministry Studies here at Proverbs 31, which means that she's involved in all things Online Bible Studies and First 5. And she's co-hosting with me today because we actually just recorded an episode with a new guest, John Eldredge, who we’ll tell you a little bit more about once we introduce him in just a moment.

Kaley:
But before we do, I just want to give you a sneak peek at what you're going to learn today. John is going to share with us a really impactful teaching about how to intentionally build a life around union with Christ in a chaotic world. And I think, as women who bear the burden of everyone and everything, we can put too much on ourselves. And so this teaching addresses why we have too much on ourselves and practical ways to get out of that.

Kendra:
Yes, I love practical tips and tricks to help, especially with something like that. So if anything — like Kaley mentioned, whether it's caring a lot or doing a lot and looking good doing it — resonates with you, we're going to talk about very similar things during the Online Bible Study of Get Your Life Back, and it starts September 19. So here's a few things: Registration is absolutely free, and you'll be guided with some wonderful people through the whole study.

Kendra:
You will never be alone. All you need to do is just visit the link in the show notes at
proverbs31.org/listen to sign up. And we've also linked John's book Get Your Life Back in the show notes for you to purchase if you'd like to read through it — because let me tell you, my book has many highlights and many underlinings.

Kaley:
I can attest to that. I see it right over here on the table — it's full.

Kendra: I know!

Kaley:
It's a great book.

Kendra:
And [my copy is] a little messed up [from use], but that's OK. All right, Kaley, let's go hear from John.

Kaley:
Well, guys, today we are so excited to have John Eldredge with us on the show. Welcome, John.

John:
Thank you. Delighted to be here.

Kaley:
John, we are so excited to hear from you today. And for those of you who may not know, John wears many hats. He is an author, counselor and teacher as well as president of Wild at Heart, which is a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God. And John, you are joining us on the show today because you wrote many books, but the book that we're going to talk about is Get Your Life Back, which we are going through as an Online Bible Study, and we are so excited to learn from you. But before we hear all of your wonderful thoughts, we have a question for you because we see that you like to adventure. And so, John, what are your top two favorite adventures that you have been on?

John:
Oh my goodness. So three years ago, this would be before the pandemic, my wife and I took a month off and we went to Ireland and Scotland. And our goal was to get to the Outer Hebrideans, the islands off the west coast of Scotland. And we had such a deeply spiritual, such a romantic, such a beautiful time in those 30 days together that we talk about it still, and we dream about going back. So that was one, and so that's got a little romance in it for the ladies in the audience. The next one is very guy, OK? My son and I went to the Arctic Circle — well, it was five years ago — to bow hunt caribou.

Kaley:
Wow!

Kendra:
No way.

Kendra:
That's awesome.

John:
Yeah, it was. It took four airplanes to get there. And the last airplane was a float plane that flew us into this remote lake and the wilderness and dropped us off. It was so beautiful. It was so epic.

Kaley:
John, the closest I've gotten to caribou was Caribou Coffee. So … [inaudible]

Kendra:
I know — I'm over here, John, having flashbacks to the movie The Proposal. I don't know if you've seen that. With Sandra Bullock? It's one of my very favorite movies, but it's set in a very tiny town in Alaska, and the way they have to get there is through multiple planes and then eventually a plane that lands on the water, like you talked about, and then a boat. And that sounds like an awesome adventure. Honestly, if I were to choose between the two, I think that I would go —

Kaley:
You doing caribou?

Kendra:
I would. I would. I think that sounds fun!

John:
Good for you.

Kaley:
I'm doing the romance, so ...

John:
Good for you.

Kaley:
That sounds awesome. Well, John, thank you for letting us tease you a little bit at the front, just to get to know you and help our audience get to know you. But today we were talking about this before we hopped on to record with you … about the importance of your message in Get Your Life Back and what you wanted to share with our audience. And that is how to intentionally build a life around union with Christ. And I'm excited about it. I know Kendra is excited to learn from you in just a moment. And so we've got our pens and our paper ready, and we're excited to hear what you have to say. So, John, the floor is yours.

John:
I'm very honored, deeply honored, to be here today and to share a few thoughts because my heart is for the people of God and for His beloved. We have all just passed through two years of global trauma. And I know everyone's talking about, “Well, it's in our rearview mirror now,” and I hope it is. I hope we're done with all that. But the fact is, as a therapist, if you look at the research and you look at how people are doing right now, we are currently in the cascade effects. It's called the cascade effects of trauma, and it's the fatigue, and it's the irritability. It's the loss of short-term memory. You can't remember who you were just supposed to call. You can't remember where you put your car keys. It's all of that.

John:
There is a fatigue that has come in into our hearts and souls that people are really struggling with. How do we recover? How do we come back from that? How do we get our life back, right? How do we recover our life in God and all that He provides for us? And it's a fascinating thing because this summer … It's an airline boom this summer. If you need to get to an international flight, you have to get to the airport five hours early. The world is rushing out to get relief, but there's a very big difference between relief and restoration, and what Jesus offers is restoration, OK? So what I'd like to describe is where we are and how we come into the provision of God. And I want to start with Matthew 25, the parable of the 10 bridesmaids.

John:
It's probably very familiar to your audience, but just to remind everyone, Jesus has been talking about, in the previous chapter, the trials, the difficulties, the heartaches, the pressures that the body of Christ will face as the climax of history begins to unfold. And then He turns the corner and He tells a parable.

John:
And He says: "At that time, the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five were wise, and five were foolish. The foolish ones took their lamps, but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in their jars, along with their lamps” (Matthew 25:1-4, NIV). In other words, they took extra oil. “The bridegroom was long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’” (Matthew 25:5-6, NIV). And then all the bridesmaids woke up, trimmed their lamps. “The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’” (Matthew 25:8, NIV)

John:
I'm just going to pause there because what is happening in the story is you have people who love God, people who want a life in God: Five are intentional, and five are unintentional. It's not that the five foolish bridesmaids are evil; they're not wicked. It's just that they're too casual about their moment and about their resiliency in Christ, their union with Christ, their affection for Christ. And if you follow the idea of oil in the Scriptures, oil usually represents the presence of the Holy Spirit or the presence of God in your life. I think that's the resiliency because of course the Lord is our strength, right? “The Lord is my refuge; the Lord is my strength,” the psalmist says.

John:
So what we have is a story that Jesus is giving us. It's a warning. It's a fairly sober parable, really. It's unnerving because, as the story goes on, the five wise [bridesmaids] say, “Actually, we can't do that. You need to go get your own oil.” And they leave to go get oil, but the bridegroom comes, and the party happens, and they miss out — they're left out of that. And Jesus doesn't offer an interpretation. Sometimes He'll do that with His parables, but He doesn't with this one. And I think He meant it to be unnerving. I think He says things from time to time in the Gospels that — whoa — really startle us, maybe even shock us to get our attention, to say, “Look, this is really important. Do not run out of oil.”

John:
So here we are in this current cultural moment where prior to the pandemic, modern life was already exhausting. The pace of life; the crazy, too-much technology; all the screen time; and just the amount of news and information that we took in was already very, very draining on the human soul. And the mistake that people are making in this hour is [asking], “How do I fit a little bit of God into my busy life?” I do it. I hear my friends talking about it: “Come on, how do I squeeze this podcast in? I need to get the latest episode of P31!” … But maybe you're doing it at 10:30 at night. Or, “How do I get a little bit of Bible study in? How do I get the kids to church this week?”

John:
We're trying to fit God into a very busy life. And the result will be a little bit of resilience. What we need to do instead is to realize what the five wise bridesmaids did: They were intentional to care for the oil, for the presence of God in their life. They were intentional to cultivate that … [and you can, too,] so that when you do go through hard times, you have the resiliency and the ability to recover from that. So let me describe then — this is what the book Get Your Life Back is all about. And part of the beauty of the story of Get Your Life Back was Jesus had me write this before the pandemic. I didn't write it with anything having to do with the last two years in mind. I was writing it simply because I watched my clients, my staff, my friends, my own soul, being so worn down by modern life, the pace, the crazy, all of that.

John:
And I began looking through the Scriptures, saying, OK, Lord, You promised to restore our souls. How do You do that? How do we cultivate a life in You that provides plenty of oil? So let me give a couple of principles from the book and from the online study that y'all are doing. The first one comes from a story in my own prayer life. I would come to Jesus in times of prayer and it would be about my kids or my taxes or upcoming meetings. And Jesus kept saying, John, give everyone and everything to Me. And I'm like, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's really good, Lord. Yes, of course. And then I'd go right on carrying it all. So in 1 Peter 5:7, the invitation is this: Cast all your cares on the Lord because he cares for you. The invitation is that, every day, we pause — we learn to pause during our day — and turn over to Christ all, everything, we're carrying.

John:
And again, it could be the health of your aging parents or the education of your children, the relationship that's not in a good place right now … because this is what fatigues the soul, the worry, the concern, the speculation, the running through, Well, what if this happens? What if that happens? We have to learn each day to turn everything over to Christ. And so the practice that I began to adopt — I call it the one-minute pause — is the first chapter in the book. And it's just learning to pause a couple times during the day and literally say, Jesus, I give everyone and everything to You. And then I usually need to name those things. I give You my folks. I give You my children. I give You that meeting at work. I give You that email I should not have sent. I just turn it all over to You, Lord.

John:
The practice is called benevolent detachment. “Benevolent” because we're not angry, not cynical, not checking out. It's something that we do in love. It's something that we do in obedience to Christ. It's something that's very gentle. “Detachment” because, at some point in your day, you have got to let it go. Folks, you are not meant to be entangled in all the drama of the world. And this became so lifegiving because immediately then there's God. As soon as I turn that stuff over, I'm like, Oh, there You are. It is making room in the soul for the presence of God, who is always with us, but it's the distractions and the busyness and the worry and the hurry that keep us from being aware of His presence.

John:
This became so life-giving that we now do it here at the ministry. Monastery bells ring out over the sound system and the office twice a day; at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. these bells ring out, and the whole staff knows it’s time for the pause. Everybody stops. You could be in the middle of a meeting, so we just stop, and we just give it all to Christ again, to recenter our lives in Him. It is such a simple practice, and all of the practices that I've laid out in Get Your Life Back are intentionally simple and doable because one of the truths of the Christian life is: If it's not sustainable, you won't do it. All those people who say, “Hey, I'm going to read through the Bible this year. We're going to go through it …” They can't get through it.

John:
They get through Leviticus, and the whole thing falls apart. It has to be sustainable, or you won't do it. So the one-minute pause is sustainable. You can do that every day. You can pause a couple times in your day and turn everything over to Christ. And then the next thing I want to bring into this is … What we're looking for is what Jesus offers in John 17. So in John 17, Christ is about to ascend, or He's about to go to the cross and Easter morning, and then He's going to ascend to the right hand of the Father. And He's praying for us. It's a beautiful prayer. The whole chapter of John 17 is this incredibly beautiful prayer. And in John 17, later in the chapter, Jesus begins to pray for union with us, that we would have union with Him.

John:
Now, back in John 15, He explained, "I am the vine; you are the branches … apart from me you can do nothing" (NIV). And then He takes that to a whole new level in John 17. Beginning in verse 22, He says, "I have given them the glory that you gave me ..." He's talking to His Father: “that they maybe one as we are one, I in them and you in me …" (John 17:22-23, NIV). Now, this often gets misinterpreted or mistaught as ecumenical unity, church unity, but He's not talking about that because He says, “I want them to be just as one with Me, Father, as I am with You.” So that's the goal when He says, “I in them and you in me … then the world will know that you have sent me” (v. 23, NIV). So it's so beautiful that the goal of the Christian life is union with Christ: vine and branch, father and child, bride and bridegroom.

John:
We are meant for union, and union is something deeper than faith and deeper than obedience. Faith and obedience are good; they're important. They bring us to union, but the soul is healed through union with God. We are literally made, created, for union with Christ, and in Ephesians 3, for example, Paul prayed that we would be strengthened by the Spirit of God within us so that Christ would fill our hearts, the presence of the indwelling Christ in us. That's the only way you can hope to be forgiving. It's the only way you can hope to raise your children well. It's the only way you can hope to make it through crazy times like these. Human effort is not enough. We need the resilience of Christ. We need the strength of Jesus Christ dwelling in us. And in Colossians, Chapter 1, Paul calls it the "secret" of the gospel (Colossians 1:26, NLT).

John:
He says, “Here's the whole secret. It is Christ in you, Jesus within you.” And then you find that you are able to forgive people. You find that you are able to get over your fears and anxieties. You are able to overcome your addictions because what is taking place is that the presence of your Creator is now working from the inside out. You are operating from a deeper power source than your own strength. OK. So I think that's the “oil,” to bring us back around to the parable of the wise and the foolish bridesmaids. Cultivating union with Christ is the thing that will provide us with the restoration and the resilience that we need in this hour. And so, for example, learning to pause every day, learning to release things to Jesus, restores your union. You may not even be aware of what's taking place, but as you are unloading all that drama and the anxiety, as you are unloading all those cares and concerns, your soul is actually able to come back into union, and back into simply the awareness of the presence of Jesus with you.

John:
So let me name a couple other practices now, and you all are discovering this as you go through the online study, but if you take technology for a moment … So all of the research shows that anxiety and depression rise in direct correlation, one-to-one correspondence, with the amount of time you spend on social media. As a counselor, we are like, Why would we do this to ourselves? This is madness. So we need to realize that technology is not something that's neutral; it's actually very, very draining because of the amount of screen time, the amount of information, and then you take global news. And so there's no other generation but this one that has been able to know at any moment what the Russian prime minister is doing, what is taking place in Ethiopia, what war in Sudan is happening, what's taking place in Myanmar, human trafficking, child prostitution … I mean, it is absolutely overwhelming.

John:
And one of the mistakes that got into the body of Christ in this technological hour [is that] we feel that, to be a responsible person, we need to know all that. We need to be dialed in. We need to be plugged in. We expect our pastors and our leadership … We expect them to almost be global experts on everything that's taking place, but it is absolute madness that the soul was actually never meant to know about, the heartache of the entire world. We were designed to live in families and communities and churches — small, local fellowships where we could love and carry one another's burdens, but not the heartache of the entire planet. And so, again, the research shows if you will reduce your use of technology, if you will get three minutes of news a day, not 20, and a few minutes on your social accounts because you want to send a picture to your mom, and all that's fine …

John:
I'm not anti-technology, but I will guarantee you, if you want to restore union with Christ, if you want to develop resiliency, learn to cut back the amount of technology time you have every day. It will do your soul such good. And then, OK, so now we're into the next chapter in the book. And then what do you do at that time? Beauty. This is so wonderful. Beauty heals the soul. And again, all the research is so fabulous on this. A 20-minute walk in the woods lowers all of your cortisol levels, the adrenaline, all of that anxiety stuff. Learn to listen instead to beautiful music, sit on your porch, watch the fireflies in the evening, just all those gifts all around us. God has saturated the world with beauty.

John:
And I think He did that because He knew how traumatizing this whole story was going to be. So He absolutely saturated it. I mean, it's everything: It's the rain on your windshield. It's the frost on the windowpane. It's the songbirds in the morning. It's the sunlight coming through your window. We are surrounded by beauty, and beauty heals the soul. And so we learn to pause and release instead of jumping on our phones, which is what everyone does with a free moment (by the way, we don't even know what to do with a free moment anymore — we immediately pick up our phones). Instead, you just allow the beauty of creation to nourish your soul, and the presence of God through it.

John:
So what I'm doing is I'm naming practices that are very accessible — they're free — in everyone's life. If we will cultivate a life around these, they can restore and renew and replenish our union with Christ and our resilience. So let me give you one more for today's podcast because there's a dozen in the book as you go through the different chapters, but let me give you one more right now, and this is, again, so, so simple, so available to all of us. It is learning the practice of transitions. Again, the soul was never meant to keep up with a pace of life like we have today. And what we do is we go from a tearful child who's afraid to go to school today, and we've got to get down on their level and love them and connect with them and make sure they're well, and then the next thing is a phone call with the insurance company who we're so upset with because they're not coming through, but then the next thing is you've got to walk into work or you've got to walk into a small group [at church].

John:
And we're just asking our soul to go through multiple gear changes without any kind of transition every day. So here's what I've learned to do. When I get home at night — this is the first place I learned to practice this — I am so spun up from my day, the emails that I still haven't answered, phone calls I still need to make, all that stuff, I'm spun up. There is no way I can walk in the front door and be present and available to the needs of my wife and my family. So what I do when I get home each day [is] I pull in the driveway, turn off my truck and just lay my head down on my steering wheel. And I just take a moment of transition. I allow myself to leave one world behind in order to enter into another world.

John:
And there's the pause again, and there's benevolent attachment again, but I'm doing while I'm laying my head on my steering wheel. I'm releasing it all. Oh, Jesus, I give this all to You. Restore our union Christ. Restore our union … but I've learned to do it between phone calls. Now, I don't just go from one phone call to the next, to the next, to the next. You have an important phone call, [you] take a moment of transition, right? Or what we'll do … Like I was at the memorial service of a dear friend, and it was beautiful and poignant and all those things, heartbreaking and hopeful, and I'm thinking about eternity. And some people are out there in the hall trying to make lunch plans with me, like, “let's go out to lunch.”

John:
I'm like, “Can you just give me a minute? I just need to sit here for a minute and allow myself transition time.” So as you go through your day, allow yourself transition between one thing and the next. Allow yourself less technology, more beauty in your day, the things that cultivate our intimacy with Christ and cultivate our union with Him. And then from that place, we are the wise bridesmaids. We are the intentional ones. We are practicing the presence of God on a daily basis so that we can recover from the global trauma that we've all just been through. And [this is] so that when the next thing rolls through town — and who knows what it's going to be; we're at 9.1 inflation now, but whatever the next thing is — we're not drained for it. We've got something in our tanks so that we are the resilient ones. We are the ones who are maintaining their oil and the presence of God. We're cultivating that love with Him and that intimacy. And I think that's what we need. I think that's the secret right now.

Kendra:
Yeah, that's good, John. And then I just think of the woman who maybe feels like she's carrying the weight of the world or feels very entangled by all of the burdens she has in her day-to-day life. And so as we wrap up our time together, I would love for you to speak to that woman. And what would you say to her as she's driving or maybe prepping a meal? What would you say to that woman who feels like she's carrying the weight of the world today?

John:
Jesus completely understands. And the first thing you need to do is give your empathy to Him. We have to consecrate our empathy because it's not what your bad heart's going to get you to do that you shouldn't do. It's what your empathy is going to get you to do that you shouldn't do, which is make that extra phone call or offer to come over or … Oh, the number of times that I have gotten myself [into a situation] — I'm in a situation right now — that I should not have gotten myself into. In a crisis, someone else's life … and it was my empathy, but I didn't ask God if He wanted me to get involved. I didn't pray about it. I just got involved, and now I regret it.

Kaley:
Wow!

John:
And so, yeah, here's the burden, here's the heavy heart. Lord, Jesus, I give You my empathy. I give You how much I care about things. You have got to carry this. And, then I would ask Him, Lord, what am I carrying that I'm not supposed to be carrying right now? And He'll just lovingly remind you of your parents or something. And you go, OK, I just turn my parents over to You again, Lord. I give them to You. I can't figure that out.

Kaley:
Wow! I think, John, the way that you just answered that question connects so deeply to how you explain Matthew 25 and how we want to be people who cultivate union with Christ. But because of that, especially, I think, as women, we're empathetic people and carry the weight of the world. And so it gets us into this striving mode of having to do it all and take it all and earn and prove our way and do it well. But today, just the way that you explain these practical principles, it's been so incredible to hear your unique gifting as a leader and as a counselor unveiled on this show to learn simple practices that, I mean, honestly we would never think of, but the Lord [gave] those to you to be able to share with people like us who desperately need to learn small and simple things that we can build into our daily schedule that are … resilient practices that we can do.

John:
They're sustainable.

Kaley:
Yes. Sustainable. That's the word. That's the word. And I have a friend who's a nutritionist and physical trainer, and he always says that. “Is what you're doing going to be sustainable over time, or is it going to kill you in the moment you're not going to want to do it?” Yeah, burnout, like Kendra has said. So, John, thank you so much for coming on the show and just sharing with us from your heart and from your book Get Your Life Back. It was a pleasure to have you on the show.

Kaley:
OK, guys, hang tight for just a minute. I know that we just finished recording with John, but we have just a few things we don't want you to miss that we're excited about. So, Kendra, do you want to go first?

Kendra:
I would love to. So like I mentioned earlier, we do have Get Your Life Back as an Online Bible Study, and it's starting September 19 — completely free.

Kendra:
And we're going to dive in deeper to some of those practical, simple tips that he shared, like benevolent detachment, one-minute pause and many more during the Online Bible Study. Yes, and if you want the book, we highly recommend visiting proverbs31.org/listen, and you'll find the links to register and purchase the book in the show notes.

Kaley:
We are also very excited to announce John's newest book, Resilient: Restoring Your Weary Soul in These Turbulent Times, is available to purchase today. Raise your hand. I'm raising my hand right now in the studio, and so is Kendra and our technician, Kaleen. If your soul feels drained from the madness of modern life, and the toll of global crises and pandemic challenges … I know it makes me feel so overwhelmed.

Kendra:
My head is shaking [in agreement]!

Kaley:
And in Resilient, John offers the tools to recover your joy, strengthen your heart and thrive through the storm. We've linked the book in the show notes, and I've heard John say that Resilient is a follow-up to Get Your Life Back. So here's a perfect plan for you guys: Do the Online Bible Study, and then read through Get Your Life Back, and then read through Resilient.

Kendra:
Boom. And then you'll be ready for the next year.

Kaley:
Then you'll be ready for the next year.

Kaley:
All right, Kendra. Thanks for co-hosting with me on the show today, and, friends, thank you so much for listening. At Proverbs 31 Ministries, we believe when you know the Truth and live the Truth, it changes everything.