Podcast: John Eldredge on Marriage, Mental Health, Grief, and Living Life with Your Wholeheart
John Eldredge has been on my nightstand for over 20 years. He has impacted thousands of lives across the world. John leads the Wild at Heart Team to help men and women recover their hearts for life and for Jesus. Your life can grow by downloading their Wild at Heart app and the new One Minute Pause app. These are life-giving resources that will impact you and generations to come if you are willing to put in the work. His daily prayer has been a cornerstone in my life for a decade and how I set the foundation for Champion Hope Podcast. I could tell you about how every single book has shaped me in various ways. My top three books would be Wild at Heart, Walking with God, Beautiful Outlaw, and to dive deeper into how God moves in prayer check out Moving Mountains.
The depth and width of the podcast cover a range of topics, primarily because I was incredibly honored to be able to spend time with him and wanted to ask some personal questions.
The first question in the podcast is about marriage. “How do you and Stasi sustain your love for one another?”
We discuss why men are struggling to live meaningful lives. We discuss his life-giving and joy-filled way of how he writes his books. We talk about his latest book that will come out in the summer of 2022 and how you can build mental strength back into your life after the grief and global trauma we all have experienced.
If you are like me and you want quick wins I have created a book you can download for free to help you become fully alive from the bedroom to the boardroom. Jump Start is filled with 46 ways that the modern Christian man can win today. For example, did you know that cold showers have a real impact on your total health, build your immune system, and a stronger libido. Are you looking for ways to calm your monkey mind and be fully present? I share in Jump Start a simple practice of Centering Prayer. These two alone could help move your heart and head closer together and engage those you love the most with meaning and purpose.
Champions on the outside are built with hope on the inside.Lantz Howard
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When you are ready there are two ways I help ambitious men who are spread thin become fully alive.
Unedited Transcript of the Podcast
Lantz Howard 0:57
Yeah, I’m just gonna get us started. And I just want to say like, thank you. I’m reflecting back on 20 years of you being a mentor on my nightstand. I don’t know if I’ve missed a book. Oh, my, my chiropractor when I was in Lubbock Christian University, handed me he said, hey, you need to get wild at heart. And I guess it just came out. I mean, approximately within a few months. And that has been an altering trajectory of my life and, and the struggles to figure out what a wholehearted man looks like and means. Yeah. So thank you. That that’s, that’s one of many things I came to your boot camp in 2012.
John Eldredge 1:51
Lantz Howard 1:53
as I, as I tell many, and I think my friend says it better than I do. We learned how to pray. You taught us how to pray and that experience. And that that’s worth the price of admission. I’ve given out so many copies of Wild at Heart over and over and over. Just even this last window of season that I’m currently in, have led guys in Wild at Heart last month, the month before that they were in walking with God. Wow. And and it’s and these guys, these guys are in their 30s. And it’s their first time to encounter the truth of Jesus, that you that the Holy Spirit has allowed you to present in a very relevant way.
John Eldredge 2:39
Right. So thank you.
Lantz Howard 2:41
Thank you for your ministry as
John Eldredge 2:42
well. Yeah, yeah. You’re very welcome, Lance. Thanks for those words.
Lantz Howard 2:47
So, so I’m really intrigued and curious, just working with men serving in ministry doing executive coaching. And of course, there’s always a context behind the question. But a lot, a lot of men roughly in their 50s I’m experiencing the empty nest. And all of a sudden, it’s like, Who’s, who’s my wife? Either he decides to leave or she decides to leave. But I’m going to ask you to kind of speak there because I know a lot of men who listen to this podcast are 20s and 30s, relatively 40s. But with that as the end goal of like, would you share with us like, how you and Stacey are maintaining your love in this season of life that you find yourself in?
John Eldredge 3:37
Yeah, beautiful question. Well, you build into it, right? You don’t just show up, you know, in your 50s Empty Nest and go hey, bed, right? You’ve either protected something or you’re gonna have to recover something. And it’s worth recovering, by the way. Man, it is. I think when we were parenting, we made a very conscious decision parenting young ones because we are still parenting today. It’s just helping them with their marriages and their young kids. And when we were parenting young kids, we made the decision that the children are not the center of our lives. And you have to be pretty conscious about that. Like Stacy and I were together before they came and Stacy and I are going to be together after they leave. And we adore our kids but decisions to take holidays just the two of us decisions to play together. It’s really important to play together. Because then you kind of keep the lighter side. And it’s not just about The bill that didn’t get paid or the kid that needs to get to school tonight or that kind of thing, you got to play together. And I think if you make those choices, the kids are not the epicenter the marriage is and that you’ve got some joy. Like, you travel together, you goof off together, you go out to dinner, you just play that, that helps build into that.
Lantz Howard 5:29
A wonder if like, some of that play is missed, I’ll even speak from my own experience, where you spend so much of your, the decade of your 30s building something that you think is his
John Eldredge 5:41
value? Yeah, you need to.
Lantz Howard 5:45
But then, but then men that often arrive, you know, two decades later, after they’re they’re kind of getting to that legacy season of life. Or, you know, if people want to research, your fathered by God material in the stages of a man. Are they getting to that season of life? And they they potentially are asking them the question of like, is what I did enough? Is this what I was really aiming at?
John Eldredge 6:14
Hmm. Well, there’s Dante, right in the middle of the road of my life, I a rock, I awoke in a dark wood, where the true way was wholly lost. That was actually my story. I was about 35. So it’s not 45 but had really lost heart. And I’ve really lost my way. And I was successful, but in a job I didn’t like and. And I had to go back and pick up the journey of the heart, where did I abandon the journey of the heart. And I had to make some pretty bold moves. Like I quit a career track, I jump tracks back to grad school, you know, became a therapist. And I had three young boys. I mean, it was it was a big risk, but we knew God was in it. And, and we were, again, back to the marriage, we were united in it. I didn’t just quit my job one day without telling Stace. So, there’s that guy. And that guy, that guy needs to wait. He needs to allow himself to experience his grief. I do not love my life. Not sure I love my wife. I don’t know if I love God. And and just to be honest about that, and say, somewhere along the way, I have lost heart. And I need to go get my heart back. But there’s the other guy who has devoted himself to his family to devote himself to middle management career stuff, he’s just slogging away, putting in the hours and and he gets to 40. Maybe maybe 245 and says, Man, was this well spent? And that your life will be assessed by the quality of your love. If you loved people, through those years, you are a hero. Yeah, and, and but I would say to that guy who is wondering both guys, you got it. You got to ask God. You’ve got to invite God to speak into it. I remember in those years asking God this very simple question. I said, How am I doing? How am I doing God? Like I don’t think I have perspective on that. And to let your father speak into that. Pretty cool.
Lantz Howard 9:13
Absolutely. The the intriguing part is is green, right? I mean, we could talk about the last two years almost respectively in terms of grief. But he but even as you share your story, right at the age of 35 time for change of a trajectory. I was I was 36. I had four girls, all under the age of five. Holy cow. And I was I was doing the executive leadership deal at a church and thought that was my my route. But what you what you picked out on and what I don’t want men to miss you’re listening to this or the women is is acknowledging that grief And sitting with it shapes the next season.
John Eldredge 10:06
Yeah, rather than running from it, yeah. Oh, yeah. Cuz you’re gonna run from a big part of your heart. And you’re gonna run from an opportunity to, to encounter intimacy with God. And plus we what do you run into? What do you what do you? What do you run into? Like, it isn’t gonna work, I’ll guarantee you for now you just keep running. I think you have to. And I, yeah, this. So let me give an example of that, because I don’t, we didn’t plan a podcast on grief. But here we are. So, as 2020 passed into 2021, so as we circled through the first year of the pandemic, and the American elections, and all that stuff, a bunch of my pals were super stoked for the new year, they were doing the dream planner stuff and goal setting and you know, kind of thing. I couldn’t do it. And I normally do something like that in the new year. But mine’s a little bit more monastic. I asked God, you know, what’s the year about? What are we doing together? Do you have some words for me over the year, let’s give me my orientation. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t, in stasis, talking about, you know, going to Scotland and I couldn’t, I wasn’t there I dreaming, I wasn’t able to dream. And I realized it was great. It was ungreased. Great. But what I first had to do sit down, I literally sat down with a piece of paper one night, and I just had to list the losses through the pandemic, through the first year of the pandemic. And, and just name them and grieve them, because there had been a number large and small, and my heart couldn’t move on till I did that. But once I did that, and acknowledge the loss, then, yeah, over a couple of weeks, there was a shift in my heart was able to turn to the new year and, and to begin to dream again. So that’s just the micro example of, if you don’t do that with your life, you just don’t operate with a whole heart.
Lantz Howard 12:33
Then then you go to the next thing, and the next thing, you wake up three years later in your life, all the wall hits you, right, you you wake up and wondering what’s what’s going
John Eldredge 12:44
on? Yeah. And you turn to your medication, right, whatever that is, whatever that is.
Lantz Howard 12:51
So, so for you, John, if I may ask a personal question. Just in light of a couple of couple of questions, but like, what agreements have you found yourself making lately, like in this season of life, especially as we kind of turn this corner of grief? What’s going on with your heart in terms of possible agreements that you’ve noticed yourself?
John Eldredge 13:18
So in a, there’s kind of a nomenclature within the Wild at Heart ministry world and for us, we use the term agreements as net as negative things, there are positive agreements. But we tend to when we talk about making agreements, it’s usually stuff that the enemy is throwing at you. Like, you suck, it’s over. She doesn’t love you stuff like that. And, and you make agreements with it, and then you come under the cloud, right? And it actually ends up feeling true. Because you’ve given agreement to is that what you mean, by way of agreement? Are you referring more to what am I dreaming about? What am I thinking about? What?
Lantz Howard 13:57
Well, no, just the tension of that cloud? But like, Yeah, the thing that we all struggle with, but sometimes fail to acknowledge actually what’s going on?
John Eldredge 14:08
Mm hmm. Yep. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Mmm hmm. Okay, so I’m 61. And I can feel the subtle agreement that you’re kind of a has been. And things are really winding down. Now, and the thing is, there’s actually not a lot of data to confirm that in my life. I love my work. I love my team, but you know, but your heart comes under these things. Right? We have an accuser, and he brings this stuff along. Yeah, I think things like that. Kind of In the in the framework of things are winding down, right? And those that if I’m under that cloud, oh, man, what I start doing is pulling away. Right? You pull away from relationships, you pull away from dreams, you pull away from projects. Okay, so I just finished a new book. It doesn’t come out till next summer, but I didn’t want to write this book. And I kept asking Jesus, please let me get out of this contract. Like, let me call my publisher tell him I’m really sorry. You know, and Jesus kept saying it, no, no, it’s gonna be okay, here, cuz I didn’t have a lot in the tank. Right? We all we’ve all just come through global trauma. And we are clobbered from the pandemic. And then And then everybody rushed out this summer to try and binge on joy and get to restaurants and get to ballgames and travel and you couldn’t get around car. In the world, you couldn’t get an Airbnb or VRBO. Like it, it was nuts. The world was binging to try and care for its grief. And the trauma, it didn’t work. It wasn’t working for me because I was aware of what was going on. So I just had an empty tank. I’m like, I’m empty. I don’t wanna write this book. Jesus says, no, no, hang in there. I’m with you. It’s going to be fine. And after I got some rest, you know, get out of the ministry cycle and all that, get into summer, get some joy, get to the mountains, get on the rivers. I was better. And I and I wrote the book, and I’m really glad I did. So it’s an example of please let Jesus into your interpretation of your life, let it let him into the interpretation. Ask him what he thinks. Yeah.
Lantz Howard 17:06
Well, so So practice, I’m sure you’re familiar with it. Just, you know the truth in lies, I laid a lot of guys through just the the basics of trying to discern, you know, the lies, the agreements that we’ve made, and trying to understand what is true about you what is true about what your father is saying over you? And it’s, and it’s very difficult, but, but I think the hard thing is, the lies are so so real and so present. But it’s even more difficult to to allow people to open up their heart for Jesus to lead them and minister to them. So so how do you? How do you nurture and guide that place? What encouragement do you have for men and women to allow Jesus to shepherd and lead their heart as they as they come under? A new truth?
John Eldredge 17:59
Yeah. So you realize that’s like a one year question. But here’s some things we’ve learned. First off, let your desire for life compel you. In all the things we’re talking about, we’re talking about chasing wholeheartedness. Ultimately, we’re chasing life we in so in the moment, you’re like, oh, man, I don’t even want to go there with God. But the goal is life and freedom. You go, okay, alright, I’ll do the hard work in order to get to the joy. It’s worth it every single time. It’s worth it. So that’s a piece of it. Some of you are actually going to need to forgive Jesus, before you give him access before you can give him access to your heart. There are disappointments, there are things that felt like betrayals, and, and theologically, I know, I know Jesus doesn’t need our forgiveness. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is your heart is holding some things against him. And you’re not going to give him more access until you forgive him. And that’s been a really huge breakthrough for a lot of people in healing prayers first. You know, Jesus saying, I’m really sorry, for the home that you grew up in. I’m really sorry that you lost your wife. I’m really sorry. That you know, your career has not turned out the way you want. And whoa, that can be huge to realize that God’s on your side in this that he shares your grief, your sorrow, so forgiving Jesus. And I think another key part of this is you’ve really got to get rid of the religious Jesus. He is in the way, you know, the guy whose pale and oily hair and children and lambs around them and he’s always got the white robe on and the sandals. Creepy Jesus, right? Like that’s who wants to open their heart to creepy jesus. You’re you have to go to the things that you love and go Oh, I love the ocean or or I love I love cycling or I love music you go Yeah, that’s Jesus. He is in the things you love, you know, oh, whoa, I can open my heart up to that God. Right. And so I think it’s those three things would be some some places that remove obstacles.
Lantz Howard 21:05
Yeah, that’s, that’s powerful. There’s many thoughts and questions. So I’m going to try to just slow down just going to write because just especially just on that last piece, just I was thinking a conversation three days ago of how we just should on ourselves as as Christians like, Well, my my religious God, time is the morning for whatever unforeseen reason that that’s been placed upon us and our shoulders. And I was trying to express just this idea, like, like Jesus is in this relationship. And so, like, I love I love working out, getting in my garage, turn on the music, and it’s just, that’s where I meet Jesus, right? The daily prayer podcast, what, like, whatever, like God is leading me in that moment is what I do. Yeah, but in it, and it filters the rest of the day. And this morning, I won’t go into all this, but my girls, they just finished a Spartan Race with me two weeks ago. And, and one of my daughter says, i Dad, you did not train us enough. And so they’re making me out in the gym. And we’re finding this kindred spirit. And this this courage, this confidence together. We have a scripture meditation and Thought for the Day, and it’s the same one for the week for them. And today, it was just so fun. Like in the at the end, 10 minutes, I was like, hey, on the count of three, or just say we love you, Jesus, right. It’s just like, like, allow God to the light in his presence and wherever you’re at, and the beauty of it. Yeah. But you bring up several, several parts of, you know, I’m thinking about moving mountains, when you talk about inner healing and some inner prayer. The religious religious audacity of Jesus and the beautiful outlaw, like, U shaped me in deep ways, understanding John 21. And like, the campfire scene of Jesus, delighting and sitting with his disciples, and breaking bread and eating fish, like he’s ever present to us. So thank you for that. And those resources that have helped so many,
John Eldredge 23:24
it’s so important. So important, is He’s the least religious person he will ever meet. He’s the most deeply spiritual, but he’s the least religious guy you’ll ever meet.
Lantz Howard 23:41
I wonder, I wonder if that’s, and I’ve been in ministry for over 17 years and do executive executive coaching and leadership now for men on the side as well. But that’s really real, like the burden and the demand of ministry in the programs and the cloud that many pastors and ministry leaders are facing. I don’t have a question around that, but it’s just really true.
John Eldredge 24:08
Well, it’s the hardest job in the world. So let’s just be honest about that. You’re going to be in local church ministry, holy cow, man. Because you’re just in the trenches, and you’ve got everybody’s frustrations and everybody’s demands, and there’s no possible way you can meet it. And, and, you know, there’s research that shows that the people who are in professional ministry spend the least amount of time with God. Well, and they don’t mean to, it’s not like they’re intentionally doing that. It’s that God work, things that have got language got activity around them. We’ve got a service to do. We’ve got a conference, we’ve got childcare, it feels like time with God. But it’s not it’s not the same thing. You know, you’re on Mission you’re serving, you’re engaged, you got work to do. So I Yeah, massive empathy for anyone who is in local church ministry and and they are going to have to be valiant to fight for their hearts because that environment just it gets kills the heart. I’ve been there done that I’ve worked in that environment.
Lantz Howard 25:26
Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, you you already mentioned it, I had it down as a note to reference. But can you share more about your current project, like what you’re working on and what you just finished? And specifically, maybe the helpful part I heard in one of your podcasts, I guess, here recently about just creating short term goals, short term wins in terms of resiliency. Yeah. So we got a little bit of peek behind that. So I don’t know if you could share a little bit more peek behind the book and what’s got what’s going on?
John Eldredge 25:59
Yep. Yep. So, um, last night, Stacy and I are setting the table for dinner. And she says, Honey can can you give me a glass of water too, because I had done mine. I did get hers, I’m sure baby. So go to the cupboard, go to the fridge, fill in the water walk over, and I set it down at my place next to my water. And then she’s looking at me, honey, I looked down, I got two glasses of water sitting I think that’s trauma. That’s the mental fragmentation of trauma, we have all passed through global trauma. And some of us have been more clobbered by it than others. But I’m just here to tell you folks like you have been through trauma and the little forgetfulness and a mental fragmentation and you pick up your phone and you don’t know who you’re going to text, that stuff. That’s all symptomatic of it. The rage that we see the anxiety that we see, that’s all symptomatic of so what I’m concerned is the site that we need to take our resilience much more seriously. Big, because there’s a phenomenon now. So you’ve heard about the great resignation. Right? Right, right. Yeah, four to 5 million people are quitting their jobs every month. Now, I’m just here to tell you. Four to 5 million people are not suddenly discovering the dreams of their life. Okay. Yeah, they’re not suddenly breaking forth into a whole new level of happiness. That’s not what’s going on. They’re hammered. And they’re done. And just that idea of I’m done. People are doing it in marriages and ministry, I’m just that phrase, I’m done. I’m so done with this. Okay, so that’s our souls have been through global trauma. And the effect is the great, you know, tapping out. And sadly, many, many people are doing it with God. They’re tapping out on their faith, and just saying, I’m just kind of done with the whole God thing. You know, famous worship leaders, like it’s this thing is global. Okay, so therefore, since we care about the life of the heart and care about the human soul, let’s let’s take our resilience. Seriously, and with him with care, God, what do you have for me in terms of resilience? And so that’s what the new book is about. And it’s a series of steps, prayers, some guidance into recovery of resilience, but it’s not in the spirit of how K suck it up, everybody, let’s go double down. Right? Come on everybody. Like no, that’s not resilience, not a scripture sees that. There is a supernatural resilience that is imparted to us through Jesus Christ, as he dwells within us talking about the strength of God. And so, what you were tapping into on that particular podcast, we were talking about mental resilience, and kind of getting a hold of your thought life. And, and you can do that in a couple of ways. You start with speculation. Speculation burns, like a staggering amount of emotional energy. Why didn’t she text me back? She didn’t like me anymore. You know, like, how come I didn’t get invited to that meeting? Oh, no, I’m, I’m on the verge of losing my job, just all that stuff.
Lantz Howard 29:36
Right? false narratives.
John Eldredge 29:38
Oh, my God, we’ll do it. We all do it speculation. You know, you got a headache and you’re like, oh, no, I think I have brain cancer. You’re like, whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down. Catch your speculations, catch your speculations and just choose not gonna indulge in that. And then you were talking about the truth. thing, I would recommend a little declaration that you do every day. I am a son of God, I’m a daughter of God, and deeply love. I’m completely safe. Things like that the things that you know, you just got to say that stuff out loud, right for mental resilience. The other thing you want, you want mental resilience, folks, get off the news. I’m dead serious, like get off the news, you know, five minutes a day Max, like get in, find out the basics, like, you know, is there a fire near your community, that the governor change the, you know, the vaccine protocols or whatever, get the basics, and then get out of that stuff. Because it’s actually kind of traumatizing. To be bombarded with a daily dose of bad news, it’s very rarely good news, right. And so there are simple things you can do like that, to take back your mental resilience. And, and that’s just that’s like one sort of sneak peek into, let me give you another one. Because it’s so it’s so basic. So the River of Life flows from God through the city of God is EQL sees it flowing out of the temple, John sees it flowing down that city of the New Jerusalem. But Jesus and John seven says, well, actually, the river of life is meant to flow through you. Your actual being is the life of God, in such abundance, and and ever flowing, that it’s pictured as a river. And that’s meant to flow through our inmost being, it’s meant to flow through your heart. And so to go, Wait, why, like, I would love to tap into that I didn’t know that was available, to ask God, pray at the river of life, that you’re abundant life, Lord, you’re saturating life giving resilience would flow through my being today, give me the river of life.
Lantz Howard 32:18
It’s good. That’s good. Interesting enough, have worked on a word for 2022 already. And to its abundance, just just seeking that presence of God. And that’s so good. When will the book be out? June. Okay, so it’s gonna be a few more months.
John Eldredge 32:41
Yeah, unfortunately. But in the meantime, here’s a cool thing if your folks haven’t tapped into this. So we have a free app that we built right before the pandemic, it’s called The One Minute pause, and get on the App Store, iPhone, Android, the one minute pause. And it is so life giving. And such a simple practice twice a day, it prompts you and then you get the screen where there’s beauty, and there’s music. And then I’m guiding you through a very simple prayer, of giving everything back to God and receiving His love. And it’s such a beautiful story. Last because we’re not an app company, we don’t build stuff like that. But God really moved us to do this. And it came out right before the pandemic, right on time. And all suddenly the whole world found itself locked at home. And people’s anxiety and depression went through the roof, you know, domestic violence, alcohol, substance abuse, it all went through the roof. But hundreds of 1000s of people downloaded this free app, and we get all these stories. Have you saved my life, this simple app saved my life. So that’s when people can go get today and go get that. And there’s there’s several pauses in there. One of them’s called the mental strength. Pause. I love that pause.
Lantz Howard 34:05
Oh, it’s so good. The three days ago, I had a friend who was just some things are going on medical stuff and doctor’s office and high anxiety, right? So I just offered like, Hey, do you want to hop on the phone for like a 10 minute centering prayer time? He couldn’t do it. So I have the pause. One minute, pause my phone. I said, Hey, grab some time. Like this will be a lifesaver for you. Yes. Yeah. So it has been a huge blessing. Thank you all for Yeah, spending, spending the money to make that happen. Those that’s an investment
John Eldredge 34:40
was it was but but God used it and it’s been beautiful.
Lantz Howard 34:47
That’s good. It’s good. So when you I don’t know if I’ve really heard any podcasts I’ve listened to you with. We share maybe just a little bit of your writing process. Like how to actually I mean, I know the War of Art, like we know all the hacks, tips, you know, but like, what’s your process? Like what’s unique to you?
John Eldredge 35:10
Mm hmm. Well, you got to start with I, I only write what I’m interested in, I don’t write what I think is commercially viable, or, you know, going to fill a market niche or that sort of thing. You got to you got to write with what you’re in or interested in, you know, I do. In, and then there’s a three fold process. For me, there’s kind of the hunting and gathering stage. And I’ll just start reading and listening. And cuz I’m curious because I’m interested in it. So, and I have a notebook, simple journal, and I’ll just take notes, somebody will say something in a conversation and go, ooh, that’s really good. That’s, and I’ll just write that down. And I kind of go through a phase months long, sometimes it’s six months long, sometimes longer, where I’m just gathering and nurturing the ideas, and reading other people’s thoughts on them. But particularly, because I’m a therapist, you know, I’m listening to people and listening to the movements of the human heart. And then stage two is where I’ll kind of map it out, I’ll give myself and because we’re on Zoom, you can see this large bulletin board, you know, behind me, and I’ll just notes all over a board, I’ll let her visualize it. Until it makes sense, where the big ideas, what’s the flow of this. So phase two, I’ll create a structure for it. And I get a lot of joy out of each of these phases. And that’s just crucial. You got to just love you gotta love what you put your business. Yeah. In other words, folks, you don’t sit down at a computer and start writing. Like, it just doesn’t work like that. That’s brutal. You got it, you got to, like nurture it, and fill your soul with it, and be curious about it. And and then kind of map it out, give yourself a map to follow. And then I’ll start writing. But even then I don’t start chapter one, page one, I write on what I’m interested in currently. So you know, yeah. So, for example, I think that abundance, if we come back to your word for a moment, abundance, the assurance of abundance is one of the chapters in the new book. And it’s based around, you either learn or you do not the assurance of abundance from your mother. That’s that that’s the primary that’s that’s what the soul learns, Mother, you know, through nurture nursing attachment, that’s, she’s your first attachment, all that you either learned or don’t, that there’s the assurance of abundance. And, and so you can’t just like go to God and go, Oh, I believe you, you’re so abundant, like your soul has conviction about these things. Okay. Well, I’m curious about that. So I was reading on, you know, and so I would start reading that chapter. And it’s like chapter six, and the books I don’t write in a chronological order. To begin with, I write on what I’m interested in. And then, you know, you kind of, I’m in phase three, now the writing phase right in what you’re interested in, only write till you’re tired, and then stop writing every day. Don’t write past, you’re tired. And I don’t think people can write for more than two hours, actually, maybe like the superhero. But your soul just can’t do that. You can’t like whip this, don’t whip your soul in the project. You know, you back away, you go do something else. You answer email, you take dogs for a walk, you know.
Lantz Howard 39:02
That’s good, that’s helpful, super helpful, in that, just kind of turn into corner to close over the next few minutes together. Like we talked about grief, early on, trauma, those things, and I hear yourself like, you just celebrated a pretty significant, another milestone, another accomplishment of finishing the book, the labor, the labor of love doing that. And I share all the time about like this process of, of it’s healthy to celebrate, it’s healthy. It’s healthy, to take pride in what God has allowed you to produce and the stewardship of that process. But going back to no matter what stage you’re in, right, we just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going. Like how to how does John take a moment to pause to celebrate? And it may not be celebration time until June but but how do you celebrate and what would be helpful for people to consider in that
John Eldredge 40:00
Oh no, man, I’ve already celebrated getting that book off my shoulders. That was huge. We went out to dinner, we busted out a bottle of wine. We had joy. Like, come on, stop, celebrate. We do a lot. We turn on loud music in the house and we dance. We have we take a weekend away. Yeah, it was our 38th anniversary last month. And so we went away. We went to a nice hotel had a nice dinner. Yeah, you got to celebrate it. And again, it’s funny because what we’re asking I’m listening to what’s behind our conversation of why. Why do human beings need to be helped with these things? And, and I think part of it, Lance, is that we don’t really want life. We choose something else instead, comfort, safety, security, I don’t know. Like, like, do I celebrate? Are you kidding me? Like, our life is all about life. I want I want God, I want joy. I want wholeheartedness. Like, if you’re chasing that, then then some of these practices are going to be pretty, pretty natural to you. They’re just going to come. Right?
Lantz Howard 41:30
Well, then I wonder too, that sometimes our celebration is just another mask that we’re wearing, right? It’s the next Netflix that we’re going to binge on. And that’s our celebration. But really, that’s not a new rhythm or new habit for us. It’s just what we do. And so we we fake ourselves into thinking we celebrated when it’s just like no, just medicated because that celebration wasn’t able to receive the joy of Jesus.
John Eldredge 41:58
Mm hmm. Joy. I was just thinking of joy. Yeah, so it might be helpful to ask yourself, where’s my joy? How’s my joy these days? And then, and we just did a podcast on this as well. Ask God for His joy. asked him to impart his joy to you. Like just let him give you his heart his joy. You might be really surprised what happens, you actually might find yourself a more joyful person.
Lantz Howard 42:35
I’ve had that. I’ve had somebody asked me that question. Just last two weeks. Like, man, I don’t know where my joy is. Every everything, everything’s amazing in life. But I have no sense of joy.
John Eldredge 42:46
Yeah. Ask God to give you His joy.
Lantz Howard 42:52
That’s good. That’s helpful. So just a selfish question here. Since I’m championing hope.com that’s just kind of my my sense of identity and the interwebs. But it comes out of this, this position of Romans chapter five, three through five that, you know, we grow through that suffering, we grow through that endurance, we grow through that perseverance, and it forms this character, and that character leads us to hope. And that hope does not disappoint. And that hope, you know, continues to lead us to Jesus in the fullness that he’s done for our behalf. Could I get your perspective on the play of words and champion, like what is champion to you? And then I know you’ve done some, some deep work around hopes that we wouldn’t have complete time to go in that. But specifically, I’m trying to reclaim that, that this position in our culture, that hope is passive. But hope is a very active ingredient in our life.
John Eldredge 43:59
Lantz Howard 44:01
So could you help structure and frame and just talk into kind of what you’re hearing there?
John Eldredge 44:07
Right, because again, we’ve all been through global trauma. And one of the effects one of the cumulative effects of a series of chronic disappointments of the kids football game was canceled. Graduation was canceled. I can’t go see our folks. Oh, can’t wait can’t even hold a wedding. We can’t you know, just chronic disappointment. You lose your capacity for hope. And so it’s something that has to be actively cultivated again, and in
listen to your heart, your heart will tell you what would you love to hope in what would you love to hope for?
So I do think it’s something that in our own souls champion hope what I hear in that is Almost on behalf of others on behalf of others champion hope be be an advocate. Be a relentless advocate of hope for other people. But you can’t really do that, if you’re hopeless. So you’re going to have to be a relentless advocate of hope in your own life. And again, this isn’t bullying, this isn’t soul. You know, aerobics that this is to say, if I do not have hope, why do I not have hope? Where did I lose hope you start chasing the trail of it. And in you know, it was listening to you quote, Romans five. And what I was struck by, is, you know, press first, you know, least proven character that that, that produces hope. And I, my reaction was not for everybody. So, what’s the difference? What, Why is Paul convinced? And, and I would say, oh, it’s for those who want God. To God rigged the world so that it will not work without him. Even things like hope, like you can’t, there’s no, there’s no psychological process that will sustain your hope through this world. Just isn’t ice gleiss brutal, and your pets die, your friends move away. You know, it’s just stuff happens. And it breaks your heart. And, and so I’m convinced as I’m thinking about Romans five now that that promise that our present sufferings are actually producing resilience in us in a resilient hope and a resilient Joy, I want to say only for those that want God, only for those for whom God is becoming more and more the treasure of their life. Because then you’re tapping into, wow, you’re tapping into the whole kingdom of God and all of its resources. Yeah, and, and then those things become true. And those things become true. Like one of the one of the most life changing things in the world, friends, is to love God, in your suffering. In the suffering, you love him, because suffering makes the human heart shut down. And it makes us pull away from God. And you’ve got to be a champion for your hope, by not letting it do that. You can’t let it do that. You in you begin by loving God and your suffering because it opens your soul back up to the presence of God, who then can meet you and carry and counsel you heal you. In your suffering.
Lantz Howard 48:21
Reminds me of earlier, you’re just being authentic with Jesus, he can handle Yes. What’s going on with your heart? Yes. And I was just kind of reflecting back on. I guess it’s been four or five years ago now. Age 36. Just yelling at God. Right, but, but that, that suffering and even thinking of your own story that age 35 changing, alright. And the men and women listen to this. The willingness to embrace that suffering, knowing that there’s a better story on the other side. And to keep walking through the wilderness. Yes, it sucks. It’s hard. Yeah. But it’s also hard. Like, divorce is hard. Like, eating healthy is hard. Like life is hard. But like so right. So, as you’ve probably seen those memes like choose your heart. Yeah. And it’s worked and it’s worth it to pursue this kingdom. Yes. of abundance.
John Eldredge 49:26
Yes, one leads to life. One type of hard leads to life and joy. And the other type of heart just leads to more heart.
Lantz Howard 49:38
Yeah, John, I want to say from the deepest place in my heart, like thank you, age of 61 and just pray that God will continue to give you many years for the difference that you’re making. All across the globe may not know your reach is very large. I pray that he’ll pray protect you with integrity and wholeheartedness. Amen. In this season, and that he’ll fill you up. Thank you. And just thank you so much for your time. Now, I just want to asking, enclose, would you lead us in a prayer for everybody that’s made it this far in the podcast? Yeah. Bless them as well.
John Eldredge 50:22
Yes, let’s do Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. I want my whole heart back. Sit with that Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. I want my whole heart back. And I invite you in to the recovery and the shepherding of my heart of my hope, of my joy of my grief. I crave intimacy with you. Calm, be the advocate of my soul. In your name we pray. Amen.
Lantz Howard 51:16
John Eldredge 51:17