Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here's Erin Davis with advice for young women in high school.

Erin Davis: When you do something stupid to impress someone, it's still doing something stupid, and it likely won't impress them as much as if you did something smart . . . so, do the smart thing instead! 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, September 17, 2015.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Yesterday we heard part one of a series called "35 Things I Wish I'd Known in High School." Erin Davis is the main writer on an outreach that Revive Our Hearts has launched called the Lies Young Women Believe blog.

On Erin's thirty-fifth birthday, she wrote a blog post about thirty-five things she wished she had known as a teenager. That post really took off! Women commented on it; they shared it on Facebook; they discussed it; they dissected it. As we enter a new school year, I want to share an audio version of that post with you.

For one thing, it would be a great resource for you to share with any young women in your life, but this message is actually for all of us. The truths that set high-schoolers free are the same truths that set you and me free, regardless of our age. You and I need to hear those same truths, day after day. [Note: download the 35 Things Locker Poster]

For instance, here are a few of those thirty-five things that Erin told us yesterday:

  • God's promises are true. 
  • God has a hope and a future for you. 
  • Your work or your career doesn't define you.

These are core truths we all need to reflect on. If you missed yesterday's program, you can hear it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: Yes, Nancy, and we also mentioned the popularity of this blog post yesterday. Before Erin continues sharing this post, we wanted to give some perspective on how much interest this topic generated. Erin wrote this post to come out on her thirty-fifth birthday. Here's what happened next.

Erin: Well, first I blew out thirty-five candles on my cake, and then . . . I didn't expect it to hit such a nerve, but it did. It sort of blew up! I'm grateful. Our girls on the blog were interested in it at first, but it didn't seem to have an overly strong reaction.

Then it just started getting circulated, seemingly by women of all ages. And it has been one of our more popular posts. It's been really fun to watch it be shared through lots of different avenues among women of all different ages and demographics. I think that's just because it's rooted in God's Word, which is timeless truth for all women.

It just seemed that our readers were really engaging. They really wanted to talk about Number Three, for example, or Number Ten, and they wanted to talk about how it was or was not true for their own lives.

So the conversation really evolved beyond the high school experience (which I'm really grateful for) to what the Lord's teaching us in our own lives, what we've learned in however many years He's given us.

Leslie: Okay, so let's hear this post. Yesterday we got through Point Ten. Here's Erin picking back up with "35 Things I Wish I'd Known in High School."

Erin: Number Eleven: You truly do reap what you sow. I love how Nancy Leigh DeMoss says it, "You are what you are becoming." Do you want to know your Bible frontwards and backwards later? Study it like crazy now! Do you want to be more like Christ someday? Be more like Him today.

Number Twelve: Broken hearts heal. Mine got broken often in high school. All these years later I've still never felt a pain like it. But those deep chasms are now all healed up. If your heart is broken, I promise, it will heal! And someone else may capture it someday.

Leslie: Remember when Erin said this content generated a lot of online discussion when it appeared? Well this point, Number Twelve, did get a lot of readers talking.

Erin: The comment that sticks out most to me was from a girl who responded to Number Twelve, which was that broken hearts heal. She was obviously in the midst of a breakup—very fresh. She said, "This isn't going to heal. It's not going to be okay. I'm never going to be loved by anybody else. I'm always going to feel this pain!"

My heart hurts for her, because I remember the pain of a broken relationship. What I wish I would have said in the blog post is that God is going to heal it. I think there are lots of way we can try to mend those broken hearts that ultimately are going to be futile.

But you can trust that God is a God of healing. That's who He is. That's what He does! He's probably not going to do it in the timeframe that you'd like Him to do it, which is instantly, but you can take His promises to the bank—which is that He will work it for your good. He will redeem it.

You know, I think broken hearts, like so many other points of pain and suffering, ultimately point to the fact that this is not as good as it's going to get. This might not be redeemed this side of heaven, but there is coming a day when He's going to wipe away every tear from every eye.

I believe that language is intentional. He's not going to wipe one tear from your eye, but every tear from every eye. Why is He going to do that? So that He can set it right.

So . . . there is hope beyond this moment. It might not come as quickly as you'd like, but it is coming. A healing is coming. He sees those tears, and He's going to wipe them away someday. There's a passage in Revelation that talks about those who have been martyred, and they're standing at the throne and saying, "How long, O Lord, how long?" ("How long until You avenge us," is what they're asking.)

I love that passage because it speaks to the longing that we're all going to have, no matter what. We're all going to have unfulfilled longings. We're all going to feel like, How long do I have to endure this? That longing doesn't go away when you say, "I do." It doesn't go away when you hold your first baby. I imagine it doesn't go away when your nest has been emptied again.

There is just no point when you stop having that inner feeling of, "How long? How long, O Lord?" And that's why it is critical that our sense of worth and value and love comes from the Lord. He is the only source of living water. He's the only deep well. He's the only lover of our soul. He's the only One who is consistent—from everlasting to everlasting.

You can fill in the blank there with whatever you want. When you get the dream job, do the longings go away? When you get the husband, do the longings go away? When you fall in love, do the longings go away? No, not completely. But the Lord's really able to satisfy those needs.

Leslie: Erin Davis is continuing reading her blog post, "35 Things I Wish I'd Known in High School."

Erin: Number Thirteen: Start saving money now. I know that shirt at the mall is super cute, but it's also crazy over-priced.  Imagine dropping that seventy-five dollars into a savings account and using it for something lasting—like a car, an education, a child sponsorship.

Most people think they will start saving money someday. I wish I'd developed the discipline of saving money as a high school student. And while we're on the subject of money. . .

Number Fourteen: Start tithing. The Bible calls all believers to tithe, regardless of income, so if you have an allowance, a part-time job or babysitting money, you have an income.

Girl: Let's see, ten percent is $2.45.

Erin: Everything you make belongs to God, but there are tremendous blessings to be found in giving a portion of it back to Him. Don't wait until you're "rolling in the dough" to start tithing. 

Number Fifteen: The world doesn't revolve around me. (That's a good thing.)

Number Sixteen: Champion others as often as possible. Instead of wanting everyone to cheer you on, figure out ways to cheer them on.

Leslie: Erin Davis knows how powerful it can be when someone makes a priority of encouraging others. She was the beneficiary of that kind of encouragement.

Erin: Actually, Dannah Gresh was my mentor in high school. I was a new believer when she was mentoring me, so she was really one of the first people challenging me to do ministry as a teenager. She recognized a lot of gifts in me that I didn't recognize in myself. So, in that way, she's had a huge impact on my life.

My mom has been a tireless cheerleader of me, through many, many, many years. She's just so great at seeing the best in people and saying it. What a gift that is! And my grandfather is the same way. What I can say about my grandfather is that he was never disappointed in me.

That's such a gift, to cheer somebody on. Now, it wasn't in a coddling way or in a way that I was incapable of making mistakes, but they just elevated my gifts and made me feel like I could do more than I thought I could do, and I'm so grateful, looking back. That had such a huge impression on me.

Number Seventeen: "Normal" is a mirage. Embrace your weirdness.

Girl: I can tell you anything you want to know about hermit crabs. 

Girl: I love lettuce with chocolate pudding. 

Leslie: We asked Erin about her weirdness . . . in other words, God-given characteristics that made her unique.

Erin: I'm a pretty extreme introvert, which in high school I would have shied away from, because in high school everybody's supposed to be outgoing, everybody's supposed to be involved in everything (and I was). But I wish that I'd given myself permission to also nurture that introvert, introspective side of me.

I have a pretty diverse range of interests. I'm really interested in farming, for example, but also am interested in writing (obviously).  So I think I'd give myself permission to have a wide variety of interests and not just pigeon-hole one thing.

Leslie: So, in high school, Erin wishes she had been more encouraged to embrace her God-given uniqueness. We all need this advice, even after high school.

Erin: I think maybe the temptation to fit in is at its peak in high school. I really do wish I'd known that I didn't have to look like, look like, look like, think like, think like, act like, act like every other girl in my school.

But it doesn't go away. I feel it more now, as a parent. It's like there's this feeling of being in a trout stream with all other parents and we're all swimming one way, and we're all parenting one way, and we're all eating the same things, feeding our kids the same things, choosing the same schools . . .

The noise of the crowd is always in your ear. [robot sounds] I really enjoy studying the weirdos of the Bible, of which there are many. There's Paul, who was a fanatic-there's no other word for him, really. We kind of sanitize Jesus, but He definitely bucked the crowd. There are a lot of examples in Scripture.

Anna is one of my favorites, who lived in the temple day and night. She definitely didn't choose a normal life, so I take great hope in those people who are weird for the sake of the gospel. If they're going to be different from the crowd, they do it in ways that are really honoring of God.

Leslie: Erin Davis is continuing reading her blog post, "35 Things I Wish I'd Known in High School."

Erin: Number Eighteen: I know that boy gives you butterflies, but that won't carry you through the ups and downs of life. Find someone who loves Jesus. Remember? That was point Number Four. But also, someone who is fun to talk to and knows how to cope when the going gets tough.

Then, when you least expect it, the butterflies will start to flutter in your tummy once again. Fourteen years after I married my high school sweetheart, I still get butterflies!

Number Nineteen: I've never met someone my age who is glad she partied in high school. Ever! I've met lots and lots of them who regretted it. There is no long-term benefit from that scene.

Number Twenty: You don't need a bunch of friends; you need one or two who have really got your back.

Number Twenty-one: Worry less about having the right friends and worry more about being the right friend.

Number Twenty-two: Be picky about your friends! The Bible says it this way: "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." That's from Proverbs 13:20. Pick wise friends. Since Proverbs 9:10 tells us that "the fear of the Lord is where wisdom begins," wise friends need to be Jesus-loving friends. 

Number Twenty-three: Don't be afraid to fail. Stand up in front of the class and give that speech!

Girl: For the next few minutes we'll be examining the differences between creation and evolution.

Erin: Try out for the lead role in the play!

Girl: Oh, Aslan! Is it really you?

Erin: Start a club.

Yeah, you may fall on your face, but you may not! At least you went for it.

Leslie: Let's follow up on the fear of failure. Like so many of the points Erin's making, this issue doesn't go away after high school.

Erin: Here's the secret . . . we're all afraid of failure. I saw this show where they were interviewing all these super-humans. This one guy, his super-human ability was he was super strong, but he wasn't very big. He could do things like roll up a frying pan with his hands.

And the interviewer asked, "Why are you so strong?"

And he said, "What I've learned to do is, I've learned to tell the governor in my head to be quiet."

So we all have this governor in our head who is saying, "You can't do this. You're going to fail! You're going to fall on your face!" And this man's ability was to say to that governor, "Be quiet. I'm going to do it."

So, I think that if you can't learn to tell that voice in your head that's telling you you're going to fail to be quiet, you're going to struggle. You're going to have regrets. I wish I would have tried more things in my life, and I'm really grateful for the times I just went for it, even if I failed. Even it was a disaster, I always felt better afterwards for having tried whatever I was.

Leslie: Here's the heart of this issue: The reason we can move forward without fear is because of a God we can trust.

Erin: Ultimately, your life is a mirror that reflects Him, so your life isn't about you anymore. When we make choices with that in mind, then it doesn't matter—win, lose, or draw. If you do it and you point others to Jesus, then it's a win. So, I think many times our biggest failures become our best story when we use it to illustrate how God rushed in, how He redeemed it, how He used it to minister to other people. 

If your whole life is about pointing people to Him, then it's all good. Romans 8:28 promises that He's going to use it all for our good. Then it changes failure altogether, because if every failure is an opportunity to glorify God—just like every success is—then failure becomes really a good thing.

In my own life, those areas of struggle and failure and heartache have been the stories that people are most interested in and the loudest opportunities I have to talk about Jesus. So, they're not failures at all!

Leslie: Let's get back to Erin Davis' blog post, "35 Things I Wish I'd Known in High School."

Erin: Number Twenty-four: You can do big things for the kingdom now.  Don't wait to get involved in ministry.

Number Twenty-five: Your parents don't need to be your friends right now. They need to be your parents. That means they make and enforce the rules. The good news is they will likely be your friends someday. Right now, God has given them the job of being in charge. Do everything you can do to make that job easier.

Number Twenty-six: Find something that you're good at and enjoy it, but don't make it your whole life. Soccer is supposed to be fun, not stressful! So is singing, sculpting, and playing the saxophone. 

Leslie: Okay, so how do you balance two of these points? On one hand, you don't want to be afraid to embrace big adventures God has for you, and on the other hand, you want to fight over-activity. How do you hold those in tension?

Erin: I'm a big fan of trying new things, but I'm not a big fan of trying every new thing. Pick something you want to learn in the next six months and go for it, but don't try to learn everything that's popular. This can be like the Pinterest phenomenon . . . everybody's learning how to DIY (Do It Yourself) everything. Everybody's picking up these new skills and probably they did it for a day. They took a picture; they put it on Pinterest, and then they quit. Pick one thing that's of interest to you and go for it. And if you like it, great. You've got something to interest you for life. If you don't like it, that's fine. Give it a break, and try something else.

But I think where we get in trouble (especially with our kids) is that we want them to have such a wide range of experiences, and we pack it into such a few years. We want them to experience every sport, so we enroll them in soccer . . . and baseball . . . and football . . . and basketball. We want them to learn music . . . singing classes . . . and piano lessons . . . and why not learn the trumpet while you're at it? And we want them to be involved in their church, and so we involve them in every activity in church. That's when it becomes overload.

So maybe pick one or two things and go for it, and be okay if you fail, and then one or two new things.

Leslie: So Erin warns against being involved in every church activity, but that doesn't mean that church isn't important.

Number Twenty-seven: It's okay to miss practice for church. In fact, church trumps activities every single time.

Leslie: What's the background to this point?

Erin: Lots of churches are reporting a massive reduction in families attending Sunday services and Wednesday services. When they when they poll their congregations, the number one competitor for those families' time and attention is children's sports.

Unfortunately, now every day is a day for children to play sports. They play on Sunday and they play on Wednesday. Those parameters aren't there anymore, so families have to be the ones to choose, "No, we're going to prioritize church over sports," and many are not.

I don't know where that pressure comes from exactly, but I just know that in our family (and we have three boys who are very athletic and could be superstars) we just choose that that's not going to be what our family schedules our whole life around.

And it's been okay. Our kids are well-adjusted. They're still free to enjoy sports, but church and faith and family is the priority.

Leslie: And that leads to Erin's point Number Twenty-eight: Sometimes young people say they love Jesus, but not the church.

Erin: But Jesus loves the church. If there's something that could be better at your church, then get involved and make it better, instead of complaining or checking out. The church is the bride of Christ.

Leslie: The idea that you can love Jesus but don't really need the church has become very popular, so on the blog Lies Young Women Believe, Erin wanted to make sure to address it.

Erin: That's been something we've written about extensively on the Lies Young Women Believe blog, because I feel like that is such a departure from what Scripture teaches. There may be some sense from your peers or from the culture that you don't have to go to church, or that you could call something else church (you could take a hike and call that church, for example), but I just don't think that God's best for you is to be a Christian apart from the church. And by "church," I mean "big C" Church, but I also mean an actual church where there's a pastor and you go for regular services and the people know you and can teach you and disciple you. I don't think it's ever a good choice to try and be a lone wolf Christian.

Number Twenty-nine: Your youth pastor is not your connection to God.

Leslie: The idea for this point came when Erin was doing some research for the book Lies Young Women Believe, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh.

Erin: I traveled and interviewed girls all around the country for that book, trying to identify the top twenty-five lies. We kind of had a tentative list of what we thought the lies would be, and that one was one that came out left field. It was not on our list, but in every city I went to, girls would talk about pretty sensitive things in a dry-eyed manner, and then when they would talk about their youth pastors, they would sob because their youth pastor had left and the bottom fell out of their faith. It took me like four or five focus groups to recognize the pattern. Then I had to wrestle with, "Okay, what's the lie there? Like I know that they loved their youth pastor, but why were they sobbing over that?"

And that's where Nancy and Dannah landed with, "Your youth pastor's not your connection with God." I think they got it right, because that was what was really going on. These girls had kind of an illusion of a vibrant faith. They were going to church and seemed to be growing in Christ, and then when their youth pastor left they felt justified in abandoning the church altogether . . . ditching their ministry post. . . and many of them questioning their faith altogether. I continue to see that. I think youth ministers are great. My husband was a youth pastor for more than a decade, and there was a lot of fruit out of that. But anytime someone has to look to a certain youth pastor or pastor or spiritual mentor to be growing in Christ, that's a red flag. There's a problem.

Number Thirty: The things of earth will come to pass, only what's done for Christ will last. That'll preach.

Number Thirty-one: When you get your license, it's a license to drive, not a license to do stupid things. I know, because within a few weeks of getting my license, I got caught racing on the highway and wrapped my car around a telephone pole. I drove dumb so you don't have to. 

Number Thirty-two: When you do something stupid to impress someone, it's still doing something stupid.

Girl: You want me to ride my bike blindfolded?

Erin: And it likely won't impress them as much as if you did something smart . . . so, do the smart thing instead.

Girl: Hey, I have an idea! How about instead of doing that, why don't we ride to the park and I'll show you a maple tree I like.

Erin: Number Thirty-three: Your siblings are cooler than you think. When you're thirty-five, they'll be the people you want to grab coffee with.

Number Thirty-four: Nothing good happens after curfew. Go home!

Girl: Well, see you later. I've got to go now.

Erin: And, Number Thirty-five: "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting." That's what Proverbs 31:30 teaches. Since outward beauty cannot last, spend your time growing a beautiful heart!

Leslie: That's Erin Davis, reading from a blog post that got a lot of attention. The post was called "35 Things I Wish I'd Known in High School." It was released at the Lies Young Women Believe blog. It's one of the digital outreaches of Revive Our Hearts that gets Nancy Leigh DeMoss excited.

Nancy: And I'm so thankful for the way the Lord is using that blog, the Lies Young Women Believe blog, along with our True Woman blog, to engage readers and to share the truth of God's Word in their lives. Revive Our Hearts is committed to calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. God is doing that through conferences, books, and the daily radio program. And He works through newer methods like the Revive Our Hearts phone app and our daily blogs for women.

God works through listeners like you to make this ministry possible. Without your prayer support and your financial support, we couldn't take advantage of some of these opportunities to point women to the truth of God's Word.

So, if you get excited when you hear about God calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ, would you consider joining Revive Our Hearts at a deeper level?

I want to encourage you (especially if you've been a part of our Revive Our Hearts family for any length of time, I want to invite you) to join our Monthly Partner Team. I love these friends! I'm so thankful for them. They are, as I often say, the backbone, the life-blood of this ministry.

They pray for us, they support the ministry monthly, and they help us spread this message. It really is a partnership. When you become a monthly partner, you'll receive closer communication from me and from our team. You'll get resources that are designed just for our ministry partners, and you can attend one of our events each year with no registration fee.

That would include the Revive '15 conference that's coming up, just around the corner, September 25 and 26 in Indianapolis. Our ministry partners are able to attend that conference at no charge. The greatest benefit of being one of our ministry partners is knowing that you are investing in women around the world.

You're helping plant God's Word in their hearts. I believe that's going to bring about a great harvest of righteousness as those women affect the generations to come.

To get more details about becoming a ministry partner or about the Revive '15 conference coming up, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy.

So, do you think of yourself as a leader? Other women need your involvement and investment. Hear about ways you can jump into their need and offer real help. Please be back tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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