Revive Our Hearts Podcast

No Situation Is Hopeless

Leslie Basham: Do you want to watch God work in a situation that seems hopeless? Sharon Jaynes says, “Don't get impatient.”

Sharon Jaynes: We don't stick around long enough to even watch God do a miraculous work. People get divorced before they can even watch and see what God can do to restore the marriage.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with the author of Lies Women Believe, Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: One of our great burdens here at Revive Our Hearts is to help women experience freedom in Christ. So many many women walking around today, and in our churches, growing up in Christian homes and Evangelical churches, who are not experiencing freedom.

Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:32). So if we are not experiencing freedom, it's because we've been believing some things that are not true. Our guest today is helping us unpack what some of those lies are that keep us in bondage.

Sharon Jaynes is a wife. She's a mom. She and I have been friends for a number of years. She has written many books. The one we're talking about today is a book called, I'm Not Good Enough, and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. Sharon, thank you again for joining us on the broadcast.

Sharon: Thank you, Nancy. I always love being with you.

Nancy: Thank you. I think our hearts beat alike because both of us have been led to write books about lies women believe and lies women tell themselves. It's such an insidious and subtle thing, but so damaging, so dangerous. Really, coming to identify those lies and to counsel our hearts with the truth is the key to getting set free.

We've been talking over the last couple of programs about what some of those lies are that women tell themselves. We want to look at a few more of those today. Really, the number of lies is legion. In the back of your book, you list 72 of them with corresponding scriptures that are the truth that relate to those lies.

We're talking about some of the major categories of lies. One that is so common is the lie that “I would be happy if . . .” and then fill in the blank. I would be happy, if only. It's an if-only game. As you think about some of the women you've talked with, what are some of the major areas that women think “I would be happy if . . .”? What do they fill in the blank with?

Sharon: It's “I would be happy if I were married.” That one is huge. Amazingly, the second one is, “I would be happy if I weren't married,” or “If I were married to someone different.” Absolutely, they want to be married to someone else. Those are two sides of the same coin: “I would be happy if I were married,” or “I would be happy if I were married to somebody else.”

“I would be happy if I had a child.” “I would be happy if I had more children.”

Nancy: Or, I some cases, “I would be happy if I had fewer children.”

Sharon: Absolutely. “I'd be happy if I had a different job, a different house, if I had (whatever the latest thing is that they've seen on television).” You know what? Advertisers are banking on that. They're banking on the fact that they can make you discontent by showing you various things on television with their commercials.

Let's just go back and look at some of those. For example, “I'd be happy if I had children,” or “If I had a child.” You know, that was a problem with me, in the whole area of I wanted children. We had Stephen. We had one child. I wanted a house full of children, but we were not able to have other children. We experienced infertility for many years.

Then at one point we did conceive again, but the child died. I really struggled with that whole thought of, “I want more children. I'd be happy if I had more children.” God finally got my attention and said, “This is what I have planned for you. I have a plan for you. This is what it involves.”

I learned to stop saying “Why me?” and start saying “What now? This is what you've given me, Lord. What do you want me to do with it?" Learning how not to just be content with it, but to be joyful in it—to see what God had in store for me.

I think that is true for women who aren't married. If that's not what God has planned for you, we need to stop saying “Why me?” and start saying “What now? What do you want me to do with my life now, Lord?” The whole idea of having children or not having children is really something that tugs on women's hearts.

Nancy: For many women, this is a huge and painful issue. We've just touched on it real quickly. You've said that you had years of infertility and then a miscarriage. For you, that was years ago. But there are listeners who are walking through that right now. Every month there is that painful reminder that you are not pregnant again, you can't have a child. Your friends are having children and baby showers and experiencing that joy.

There is this heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching sense that if my life could be different, I really could be happier. If I could have something that I don’t have that I want, or something that I do have that if I didn't have it, I would be happier.

The thoughts we have have consequences. If you could go back, Sharon, to those early child-bearing years when you were longing for a child, and your mind was telling you, “I would be happy if we could have another child,” how does that play out in the life of a younger woman?

Sharon: I think, Nancy, that I still would have had the longing. I'm not saying that that longing will go away. You know, to say “That's okay. I'm not going to have children.” That would not be any different, I don’t think. I think the thoughts I had as a consequence of that would be different. What I was thinking was, “God doesn't love me. God doesn't care about me. God doesn't care about my dreams. God doesn't think I’m a good mother.”

Nancy: “God's punishing me”?

Sharon: God's punishing me. I confessed everything I could think of. I went through the list. That's what would be different—my perspective of how God saw me through the whole situation. That part would be different. The aspect of longing for children—that would not have been different.

Nancy: Well, it's not sinful to have unfulfilled longings. We all have them, and always will this side of heaven. What becomes sinful is when we make a god out of that unfulfilled longing, and we become demanding and say, “I have to have this in order to be complete, to be whole, to be happy.” For some women, it's not just the desire for a child or a husband—they have a child or husband—but it's the longing for that child to be different, or for that husband to behave differently.

There is a prodigal child or there's a prodigal husband, and there is this painful heart-longing that says, “If only my child were different. If only my child would repent. If only my husband would change or turn around, then I would be happy. Why is God doing this to me? What have I done wrong? God is punishing me.”

So when we take those unfulfilled longings and begin to accuse God of wrongdoing, instead of being loving, tender-hearted, good, or compassionate, that is when we get in bondage to those lies.

Sharon: It is. That is when we have to stop and examine our thinking. Is this faulty thinking? Is it biblical thinking? Going back and reading scriptures seeing how did other people handle this same situation. The bottom line, Nancy, is that, number 1, we don't know the mind of God.

Nancy: Just say that again, because that is huge.

Sharon: It is. We don't know the mind of God. I'm not going to quote this exactly, but Dr. James Dobson said in one of his books that for man to try to figure out the mind of God is like an amoeba trying to figure out the brain of a man. We just can't do it. He does know what is best for us.

The bottom line is, God is good, and God does know what is best for us. If He is withholding something from us that is a longing of our heart, there is a good reason for it. We might not ever understand it. We don't need to understand it.

I remember when my son was about two and half years old and he had the flu. He was dehydrating. I took him to the doctor, and they said we've got to get this child in the hospital immediately. So we took him to the hospital. The nurses were working over Stephen and he was crying. They were putting the IVs in him to get fluid in him quickly.

He was crying. I was standing against the wall crying. The nurses were crying. He says, “Mommy, help me. They're hurting me. Make them stop.” I said, “Stephen, they are helping you. They are trying to save you.”

But as a two-year-old there is no way he could comprehend that. I was standing against the wall and had this overwhelming feeling of God speaking to me and saying, “Sharon, this is my relationship with you sometimes. I am watching you go through difficulties and you are going, 'God, you don’t love me. You don't care about me. If You did, You'd make them stop.' But I know that what is happening in your life is for your good. It's making you better. It's purifying you as gold. It's conforming you to the image of My Son. It's necessary for you. It's making you better.”

But see, I'm crying out just like Stephen was because he didn’t understand. The bottom line is that God is good and that God does what God needs to do to conform us to the image of Christ, to the image of His Son.

Nancy: And ultimately, the issue is, do I trust God to be God? Do I believe He is who He says He is? Do I believe that He is good and that He is always working to accomplish His will and His purposes—that He can even take the evil, wicked, fallen, broken pieces of this world and of our lives and circumstances, and He can ultimately bring glory to Himself through that.?

Do I trust that? Or am I going to be my own god and say, “Here's the way I would write the script. Here is how I would do it differently.”

Sharon: Which is what Satan told Eve in the garden. He says that He knows if you eat this then you'll be like God. Basically, you can be in control, and you can be your own god. It's the same basic lie.

But you know what, Nancy? We can fill in that line of I would be happy if . . .—like you said, there is no end to what could be filled in that blank—but the truth is there is only one thing that is going to make us happy, and that is a personal, ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ.

If we're looking for anything other than that, we are going to the wrong well to have our thirst quenched, and we will remain dry.

We cannot find happiness in another person. Yes, my husband makes me happy. We have joyful times. But if I am banking on just my relationship with him to make me a happy person, it is a setup for disappointment.

Same way with mothers and children. If you are banking on your children turning out exactly like you want them to, you are going to be disappointed. We have to have our contentment and our joy from a relationship with Jesus Christ.

That just makes our other joys in our life even better. That makes my relationship with my husband better, when he doesn't have to be the sole source of my happiness. It lets him off of the hook. He can be happy with himself, without me sucking it out of him to try to make me happy.

Nancy: By the way, when he doesn't feel that he is in bondage to his wife's expectations, more often than not, he is going to want to do everything he can in his power to make her happy.

Sharon: I know that we are in difficult economic times right now. A lot of people say, “If I had more money, I would be happy.” Studies have shown that money will buy happiness to a point. That point is $15,000 a year in this country. What they've shown is the correlation after $15,000, there is no correlation between happiness and money. So it's not money that is going to make us happy either.

Nancy: If we're looking to anything or anyone other than God Himself to meet and satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts, we're setting ourselves up for another lie that you talk about in your book. That is that “My life is hopeless.”

Sharon: We see that so much, don't we? I think that is the reason for the rise in the suicide rate that we have seen in this country.

Nancy: A lot of despair and depression.

Sharon: What suicide is really is a decision that my life is hopeless. It's a permanent decision to a temporary problem. But we look all through Scripture and there was never a circumstance that was hopeless.

We even look at the prophet Ezekiel who went to a pile of dead, dry bones—nothing can be more hopeless than that—and yet Ezekiel speaks to the bones. God tells him to prophesy to the bones, and He puts muscles and sinews and skin and raises up the dead bones to make an army. Only God would do that.

Now, if God can do that—if He can raise up dead bones and make an army out of them—then certainly He can handle our problems. Sometimes we just don't wait long enough.

That was kind of a real spiritual, biblical answer. Let me give you a very down to earth example. My husband, son, and I were watching a basketball game from the university that we had attended. The UNC Tarheels were playing, so we were cheering them on.

Nancy: For those of you that don't know, UNC is the University of North Carolina.

Sharon: They were playing Southern Cal. They were down by sixteen points by the middle of the second half. We were going to lose. We knew we were going to lose. We were kind of tired, and it was late. We said, “I'm tired. They look tired. Let's go to bed. We've lost.”

The next morning we get up and read that they had an amazing comeback in the last minutes of the game, and they won by ten points.

Nancy: Being a Southern Cal graduate, I'm really sad to hear that.

Sharon: But that's what happened. When I read that, I thought, “I cannot believe I missed that.” Then God just began to give me this example of, “It's happened before. You've given up too soon. You didn't stick with it. If you had stuck with it, you would have seen an amazing turnaround.”

I feel like so many times in our lives we feel like it's hopeless, and we just give up. We don’t stick around long enough to even catch our second wind. We don’t stick around to even watch God do a miraculous work. People get divorced before they can even watch and see what God can do to restore the marriage.

Nancy: The word for that in the Scripture is “wait.” Psalm 62:5 “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.”

Wait for the Lord. Those who wait for Him, Scripture says, will never be disappointed, will never be put to shame. But we don't like waiting.

Sharon: We sure do not like waiting. Think about instant messaging. Think about this Twitter thing—I'm not even sure what that is. We pull on the fax because it's not coming fast enough. We tap our foot because the microwave is taking 30 seconds. We don’t like waiting.

I remember reading the story of when Moses went up to the mountain where God was going to speak to him, and Moses waited seven days. On the seventh day, God spoke. I thought, “Would I do that? Would I sit in total silence alone by myself and wait for God to speak to me?” You know, I'm not sure.

I thought that that is just so counter-cultural to this fast-paced world that we live in. We don’t like to wait for anything. I think that is why we don’t see more miracles in our lives. We don’t see more restoration and we think that we're hopeless. We're not even giving God enough time to work and do what He needs to do.

Nancy: We're looking to other people and sources and circumstances to be our hope, rather than casting our lot with the Lord and saying, “Lord, I don’t' know when, I don't know how, but I know that You are God and that You are good, and that You are going to come through and glorify Yourself in this situation."

Sharon: Nancy, that is something that we can just cling to today as we're praying for loved ones, as we're praying for family members. Don't give up. Don't stop.

My dad was a mean man. To think that God could bring my father to his knees and that he could become one of the sweetest men I've ever known—that was such a miraculous thing. I always remember that as I'm praying for other people, to not give up.

Nancy: In your case, Sharon, God did ultimately change your dad's heart. But that is not always the case. We may wait on the Lord. I know we have some listeners who have been waiting on the Lord for a very long time—for God to change a husband's heart or a parent's heart or a son or daughter's heart.

We have to say that there is no guarantee that the thing they are longing and waiting and praying for is going to actually happen.

Sharon: That is so true, Nancy. For us, with infertility, we never did have more children. But God changed my perspective. Let me tell you how He did that.

I was reading in Song of Solomon 2:1. The groom is talking to the bride. I was reading it that day thinking of it as Jesus talking to me. The bride says, “I am the rose of Sharon.” God just really stopped me.

I thought, “What did that say?” It said I am the rose of Sharon. “What is your name?” My name is Sharon. So I got up and looked it up in my Bible dictionary, and I saw that Sharon meant "fertile valley."

God just began showing me, “You know, your medical chart has a big red stamp on it that probably says 'infertile.' But I want you to see today that your name to Me means fertile valley. You might not have a house full of children like you thought you would have, but you have spiritual children all around the world because of the ministry that I have allowed.”

See, it's changing our perspective about our circumstances.

Nancy: Of course, changing our perspective is turning our eyes on Jesus, looking full in His wonderful face, seeing who He is, the mercy of God, the mercy and the grace of Jesus Christ, and the eternal purposes of God that are so much greater and grander and more wonderful than any script we could write for our own lives.

To realize that God uses these momentary light afflictions, as they are called in 2 Corinthians 4—I know they don't seem very momentary or light at times—that God is using those to produce in us and for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

So as we counsel our hearts according to the truth, what if we were to say, “Lord, this situation, this circumstance, this singleness when I so long to be married, this marriage with a difficult man, I so would love to be married to a man that cherished me, this being a mother of a prodigal child who is not turning, this infertility, the longing for a child and not seeing the longing answered month after month and year after year . . .”

What if I cold look at those circumstances from heaven's perspective, from eternity's perspective, and see that God is using those very circumstances to fit me for heaven, to prepare me for an eternity of blessing, freedom, enjoyment, fullness, and goodness, because He has used those things to sanctify me and conform me to the image of Christ.

I've heard it said that God's will is exactly what we would choose if we knew what God knows. If we could see things from the perspective that God has—and one day we will know clearly, even though we see through a glass dimly and darkly—but that day we will see Him and see His purposes, and we will look back and we will say, “Lord, You did all things well. You were good. You did not fail.”

That's why in this short time we have here on earth—it seems like eternity, but it's not, it's just a breath—we need to counsel our hearts according to the truth, to counter the lies of the enemy that put us in bondage with the truth of God's Word that sets us free.

As we've been talking, I've been thinking about a quote that I love from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who was a great British preacher of the 1900s. In a classic book that he wrote on depression, Dr. Jones talks about that verse in Psalm 42 that says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you disquieted in me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance” (v. 5 NKJV).

Dr. Jones said, “I say that we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to talk to us.” Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?

He's saying you have to take your self in hand. You have to address yourself. Preach to yourself. Say to your soul, “Why are you cast down? What business do you have to be disquieted?” Say to yourself, “Hope thou in God, instead of muttering in this unhappy way.”

Then he says, “You must go on to remind yourself of God, who God is, what God is, and what God has done, what He has pledged Himself to do. Then, having done that, end on this great note. Defy yourself, defy other people, defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man in Psalm 42, 'I shall yet praise Him who is also the health of my countenance and my God.'”

Amen. Thank you, Sharon, for writing this book, I'm Not Good Enough, and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. I want to encourage listeners to contact us here at Revive Our Hearts and request a copy of this book. We'll be glad to send it to you when you send a donation of any amount to the ministry.

Just call us at 1-800-569-5959, or you can go online and make a donation and request a copy at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Thank you so much, Sharon, for sharing with us this week and being on the broadcast. I believe that God is going to use this book and these truths we've been talking about as means to set a lot of women free.

Sharon: Thank you, Nancy. It's just such a joy to join you.

Leslie: Let me just repeat the offering Nancy Leigh DeMoss just made, in case you missed the details. We'll send you the book by our guest, Sharon Jaynes, when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Just ask for the book Lies Women Tell Themselves when you call 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

What stood out to you in today's program? Would you let Sharon Jaynes know? She'll join the Revive Our Hearts listener blog today. She'll answer questions and read your comments. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com, scroll to the bottom of today's transcript, and add your comment or question.

Revive Our Hearts is limited in what we can do, and will never replace your church. I hope you'll jump in, learn, and participate in church this weekend. Then, be back with us again Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.