Podcast

Be Still & Know

December 1, 2021

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God is always waiting for us. He loves us and He is a good father. Any time we doubt this, and it’s completely normal to doubt this, we are believing something that isn’t true.  

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Sterling shares her new Be Still & Know study and challenges us to ask what lies are we believing that are keeping us from having a deep and comforting relationship with the Lord. 

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TRANSCRIPT OF THE SHOW

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Welcome to the Made for Greatness Podcast. I’m your host Sterling Jaquith. And today in episode 57, we are talking about believing the promises of God. I just released a study in Masters called be still and know, and I’ve been wanting to write this study for a while. And even though it’s coming out now during advent, it’s not an advent study. It’s a study that you can do any time, but I wanted to create a place where we felt safe enough to challenge our doubts about the Lord, because we all have doubts. We look around and we see that there’s a lot of people who don’t live the Christian life. And then within Christianity and within Catholicism, we see people who are living very differently than we are. And sometimes the differences are just lifestyle choices. Some people love homesteading. Some people love living in the city, right? But sometimes it looks like they’re making moral differences and we might think, well, we’re all reading the same Bible. We all have the same catechism. So I’m confused about why that person says that they’re Catholic, what their life looks so different. And this is especially difficult when we think that the other person is having more fun or their life is easier.

And that just brings up a little bit of doubt, doubt about the things that God says in the Bible, doubt about his love for us to how about what it looks like to live a good and holy life. And while I love the fact that the Lord gave us the saints and he gave us all these different examples of how we could reach sainthood, sometimes that makes it confusing to know what we’re supposed to do. And so I wrote this study so that you could kind of unearth some of your doubts about the Lord and I focus on six different categories. So the first one is God’s goodness, and we’ve heard that over and over and over again. God is good. He is our good father. He loves us, but when things get challenging in our life, it’s very natural for us to doubt God’s goodness, goodness. It’s also natural for us to doubt God’s goodness. When we have such strife in the church, when we look at our church and it feels fractured and there’s so much drama, and there are people in charge who are doing things that were like, I don’t know.

I don’t think those people in charge should be doing those things. Sometimes it makes us doubt. God’s goodness. And so that’s the first question that I have. You asked yourself and I have asked these questions for five days. So there are six categories, five days, it’s a 30 day study. So for five days, you’re just going to be reading scripture passages, just Bible verses no Saint quotes are type scripture passages about God’s goodness. And then you’re just going to ask yourself, do I believe that that’s true now as life coaches? One of the tools that we use is the model, which is just a container for plugging in a thought and saying, how is this thought affecting my life? So I just picked one circumstance. I had a fight with my husband and then my thought is, God, isn’t helping us. You probably have a lot of thoughts when you have a fight with your husband, but when you kinda storm off to your room and you’re looking at your wounds often, the thought is God isn’t helping us, especially if it’s been a long time.

 And when I think God isn’t helping us, I often feel bitter. And then when I feel bitter, I pout, I ignore my prayer time. I buffer with food or scrolling on my phone. I stew in my bitterness and I’m disconnected from God. I’m disconnected from my husband and I feel alone. And my result of all of that is that I’m not allowing God to help me. I’m creating that reality with my thought, God, isn’t helping us. Then I feel better. And then I do all of these things that keep me from the Lord. And then I’m not allowing him to tell me. And at the heart of this model, this what I would call the God isn’t helping us model is that we believe that God could help us, but he’s just not choosing to.

 It’s a question of God’s goodness. I think a lot of us dealt with the truths of the Lord more than we want to admit, because it’s scary to admit it. It feels yucky and intellectually. We know that God is good. So sometimes we just lean on that. You’ll know that this is happening because you’ll feel this pit in your stomach, God, isn’t helping us and you’ll feel bitterness or being upset. And then you might pop in your head and it would feel like that it will feel like a sinking feeling in your stomach. And then that will fade into the background and you’ll pop into your head and you black. No, I mean, of course, God is good and he wants good things for us. And you move on with your day, but you don’t believe it. You don’t believe it deep down. And you know that you don’t believe it. If it doesn’t feel like warmth and peace and comfort and love.

 So if we’re just intellectually kind of tricking ourselves by saying, oh, well, God is good. You know, the Bible says that and we move on with our life, but it never, we don’t feel that comfort in our bodies. That’s how, you know, you don’t really believe all of it. Some aspect of God being good, isn’t touching you. And I want to tell you that that’s completely normal. It’s completely normal. And as God designed us with free will, he wants us to grapple with this. He wants us to really choose. He wants you to doubt and then bring your doubts to him and then open your heart to him so that he can come in and say, my child, I am good. The struggles in your marriage are a gift from me. I picked them out. I wrapped them up and I’m giving them to you as a gift. I know you don’t understand right now, but I am. You’re a good father.

And so the first part of the study explores God’s goodness. Second part of this study explores the idea that God is with you. I’ve been a very faithful person since I found Christ at the age of 23, 24, somewhere around there. And I fell in love with Jesus hard. And then I became Catholic, it took me probably two more years to fall in love with Catholicism hard. So there was kind of two years there where I wasn’t in awe of the beauty and the tradition of our faith. Like I am now and learning the model and learning life. Coaching just cracked something open in me that allowed God to come into my mind and my soul in a way that he had never done before. And I find that to be so interesting that a secular tool kind of a cognitive behavioral therapy, psychology tool was the thing that 10 X to my relationship with the Lord.

But it really did. And I’ve been thinking about why, why was that? And the answer that I’ve come up with is that my negative thinking about myself, about my life circumstances about the Lord, I think it created like a shield. I don’t know what the shield is made of, right? But just a shield where God was trying to love me and comfort me and talk to me. But I had this shield up. So I couldn’t hear it very clearly. And my shield was made up of these negative thoughts, these lies, and then the feelings that went with them. Another way I can picture it is it was like I had my fingers stuck in my ears and I was going LA LA LA.

And I just couldn’t hear him. And I kept saying, God, why aren’t you talking to me? Why aren’t you helping me with this? And you have to imagine that he was sitting there like, I’m trying love. If you just take your fingers out of your ears, or if you just set this shield down, I’m beaming you all of my love and wisdom, but you’re not open to receiving it. So there are times in my life as I look back now and I see that I doubted whether God was with me. He felt so far from me.

 And that is what the second part of the study is about the moments we doubt that God is with us because we know that the Bible says so many times. I mean, I only picked two verses, right? But there are so many, God is with us. God is with you. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. And yet when things get tough and we start believing lies, that’s when we block him and we do it when we need him the most and in a way being brave enough, being vulnerable enough to step into this study and do this work is like putting the shield down. God knows that you doubt things about him and the Catholic faith and what the Bible says. He wants you to walk with him and share those doubts.

He wants you to drop that shield and say, I’m in a lot of pain right now, Lord. And I don’t understand why. And do you feel far from me, but I know that you are with me. So I’m going to walk with you. Now. The next area of my study is about God’s provision that God provides. And that’s hard for us in the 21st century in the United States, particularly, but also all of our first world countries, because our idea of provision is very specific. Sometimes that really needed this house, or I really needed this job, or I really needed to not be pregnant.

 And we read the passage about how God takes care of the birds, how they have everything that they need, not all about you. But there are times when I think I need something that God hasn’t given me. And that passage is really frustrating because I’m like, I’m not a bird and I need more than water and the tree. That’s how it feels when I read that. But of course that is just me. Doubting God’s provision, he’s always given me everything that I needed, even if it was uncomfortable, even if money was tight or had to ask for help or had to go without things that other people had this year, we just started advent. For those of you listening, when this episode comes out and I was unpacking our advent stuff, and I now have some absolutely beautiful advent decorations. And as I laid them out, I thought, wow, you know, the Sterling of 10 years ago would see other people at these things and feel so small. And it’s interesting how the Catholic church is based on this long and gorgeous tradition. We have so many traditions and we talk about the truth, the goodness, and the beauty of the Lord. And we want to give that to our children. We want to show them what real beauty looks like. And so we feel drawn to having beautiful things in our home.

And so when I became Catholic and I started learning about those ideas and I would see other people that beautiful things to bring the richness of our faith into our families, I almost felt that I couldn’t do that. And there were times when I just felt like we couldn’t even buy a $15 book off Amazon. That was beautiful for the kids to read during advent. But as I look back and I see those moments of doubt, those moments, when basically I was saying, Lord, you just haven’t given me enough, which is a lie. And when I’m believing lies and when I’m feeling loved or not taking care of, I eat, my fingers are in my ears. You guys, that shield is up. I cannot hear him. I can not feel him because surely during those times he would have said, I love you. You have enough.

There will be a time when you can buy a beautiful book. And for some people, they never get to that point. And he still provides for them, everything that they actually need, we are loved and we are safe. And so in the third section, we just explore this idea about God’s provision and what it means. And for some of you, that is exactly what you need to explore right now to get on your knees and tell the Lord where you don’t believe in his provision. We have the sacrament of confession for a reason. God is always there to say, I love you, my child. I understand why you feel like that. But I am here for you.

The next section of the study is that God answers prayers and already, for some of you, your chest will feel a little bit tight and your face will feel a little scrunchy because you’ve been praying for something for a long time that God hasn’t answered, or he hasn’t answered in the way that you have hoped. I know that I’ve had that feeling of frustration. It’s really bitterness for me. It’s like a dark yucky feeling about our lady Undoer of knots because my husband and I pray every single night, we have probably not from the very first year we got married, but definitely by the third year. So somewhere between year one and three, every night, we prayed to our lady Undoer of knots. And we ask her to undo the knots in our marriage. And sometimes we have a painful marriage and it’s just hard for me to be like, listen, we’ve been doing this for a long time. 

Where’s the grace.and I realized that that is particularly about Mary, but Mary takes our prayers to the Lord. The Lord is the one who always answers our prayers. She just intercedes for us. She just asks for them. So I’m really in that moment, mad that God hasn’t answered my marriage prayers in the way that I want. I feel like saying, Lord, I’m open to a lot of pain, but this is just too much. And it’s dragging out and we keep arguing about the same stuff. I don’t know that I would use the word argue since we became life coaches, we actually speak very calmly now. But you know, it’s just often around a lot of abstinence and me not being super excited about having sex when we can, for the few days that we can. And then there’s a lot of like fear that comes up around that time because we don’t want to fight and we don’t want to mess it up. And then of course we do.

And sometimes it feels like, Ugh, how are we going to do this every month? It seems like our whole life revolves around talking about our cycle and whether or not we can have sex and whether or not I want to. So is there a moment when I think, why has God not answered my prayers about this? Because he could change any aspects of those situations. But when I meditate on the word of God, I realize he is a good God. He is with me. He provides, he always answers our prayers, but he is outside of time. And he works in God’s economy, not in ours. So we just don’t always see the ways that he answers them.

But I know when I’m not believing in God because of my feelings. And then when I feel that yucky feeling, now I know I need to go find the thought that I’m believing he should have done this by now. He isn’t helping us. And then I decide, is that true? Do I want to keep thinking that, what do I want to think? Instead, I have found that it’s much more helpful for me when I think about how God told fasting that the last battle between God and Satan would be over marriage and the family. And isn’t that interesting that he said marriage and the family. He didn’t just say the family, which kind of incorporates marriage, but he called it out specifically.

 So I have an entirely different feeling. When I think the devil is attacking marriages, that is the final battle. And that makes me want to grab a shield and a sword and say, Lord, be with me, let’s fight this. He will not get my marriage, but now I’ve created an enemy in the devil instead of the Lord. And that’s why I want you to be open, to being upset with the Lord and writing your thoughts down and finding them because that is the first step to changing them. You have to go find the lies that you’re believing and under to change them. The next section is about our salvation and that God forgives us. So it’s called God saves and forgives.

Some of you really fall into scrupulosity and you really start seeing your sins everywhere. And sometimes you doubt whether you are saved, whether he really loves you the way that you are right now, after all that you’ve done after what you did yesterday, and you create an arbitrary system in your mind of what it takes to be saved, when really all that is required is that we repent and believe in him. Let me get to do that every hour of every day. Lord, I’m sorry. Maybe more like you, thank you for sending your son into the world to die for my sins. I’m sorry. That’s it.

And the more we do that, the cleaner we are, the more holy we are, the more we can hear the Lord, God saves and he forgives. And some of you need this section of the study. And the last section is about the promises of Christ. And this one is also five days, but I have more scripture passages in each of these days because you know, Christ makes a lot of promises. I mean, I didn’t even catch half of them. He makes a lot of promises. And I think a lot of us don’t believe them. It’s easy to not believe them. It’s easy to look around and to focus on our pain, our brains, focus on what we tell them to. So if we think life is hard, it’s going to go find a lot of evidence. That life is hard.

If we think life is beautiful, we’re going to find a lot of evidence. That life is beautiful. If we think God is good, we’re going to see his goodness all over the place. If we think he’s left us, we’re going to see evidence of that. And so, as you dig into the promises of Christ, why don’t you just be honest with yourself? God already knows your heart. He already knows what you think this exercise is for you. Do you believe what he says? And I picked ones that sound confusing on purpose. So for example, I put John eight, verse 12. I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. I feel like I’ve had a lot of darkness, but he says, you will never walk in darkness. What does that mean?

They will have the light of life. And so I want you to read these and feel confused or disheartened or upset or bitter because you’re feeling those things. Anyway. I want you to feel them on purpose so that you see whether you have a shield between you and the Lord, whether your fingers are stuck in your ears. And you look so silly. I want you to ask yourself, if you believe in the promises of Christ and you don’t need to do a lot of what I would call, thought, work or journaling or processing right now, you can do that over the next 10 years, but you can begin by finding the areas where you doubt the Lord and you don’t believe in him.

 This is a study that has the ability to radically change the way you hear God, I hear him so much more clearly. Now it’s incredible. And he comforts me and he gives me strength. And I thought I had a pretty good relationship with him before, but I just dropped some of the lies that I was believing. I feel like he said, oh child. Yes. Now you can hear me. I’ve always been here. I’ve always been providing for you. I am so good. And I love you so much. You’re going to be okay. And we’re going to be a Saint in heaven, keep following me.

 And it’s such a beautiful thing. And that is my prayer for all of you, that you would be able to do whatever you need to hear his voice and to walk more closely with him and to feel comforted by him. So if you want to download this study, join us in Masters. It will be there from now on. I think this is a really wonderful thing to do over advent. I know there are a lot of beautiful advent studies about contemplating the holy family and preparing your heart. So you might have already chosen one of those, but if you have not chosen yet, you can join us in. Master’s download this. Today is a very short exercise every day. In fact, I only ask one or two questions, one or two questions. You’re going to read two scripture passages and one or two questions, but it is mostly about pondering that question throughout the day and about really asking yourself what is keeping me from the Lord.

And it has the ability to blow your life open because when we stop acting from fear and scarcity and bitterness, life feels a lot easier. We have more energy and we are more calm. We live with peace and joy and self control. That is what managing our mind and walking with the Lord gives us. And that is the work that we do and made for greatness. We put those two things together. We take the truth of the Lord, our Catholic theology, and we blend it with how the brain works. And the more we learn about brain stuff through science, the more we see it just backs up what the Bible said anyway, that’s what I love about science. It never contradicts God. It just deepens our understanding of him and how miraculously we are made. So I invite you to join our community and doing this study, but you can do it any time, any 30 days you want, doesn’t even have to start at the beginning of the month, but if you have a longing in your heart to be close to the Lord, I really think this is one way that you can achieve that.

 

I love you and am praying for you. And remember you are Made for Greatness.

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Hosts

Lorissa Horn & Sterling Jaquith

Sterling and Lorissa are very different moms. Lorissa lives in town, her family loves playing baseball, and she’s proud to send them to Catholic school. Sterling lives in the country, her family loves camping, and she unschools the kids.

The thing these women have in common, an unyielding devotion to Christ. Seriously, if you hang out with either of them, they’re gonna talk about Jesus, a lot. He’s the center of their life.

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