I hung out in the podcast closet with two 20-somethings, Nico and Mary, who work at our ministry. They asked lots of great questions common to every 20-something, including questions about dating, marriage, identity, planning their future, being honest about their sin, and simply getting through the decade of their 20’s.
I loved their questions because, in all actuality, the responses they received apply to any woman at any age! So, if you’re in your 20’s or ANY decade that follows, you’ll find this conversation so helpful.
I just love these young women, and you will too!
And if you’ve already listened to this conversation, here are the Bible verse references we discussed:
[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]
Books & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
- Invisible for Young Women: How You Feel is Not Who You Are
- Me, Myself, & Lies for Young Women: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
- Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me
Related Blog Posts
- Jennifer Spills the Beans on What She Would Say to Her Younger Self [Episode 69]
- Calling All Grown Up Women of God: Let’s Speak Into the Next Generation
- Who Am I? Why You Need to Tend to Your Identity
- Can I Be on the Right Path When It Feels So Wrong? [Episode 32]
- Can I Get a Clear View of How God Sees Women? With Kristi McLelland [Episode 139]
Links Mentioned in This Episode
- Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the 4:13 Podcast here.
- Were you encouraged by this podcast? Reviews help the 4:13 Podcast reach more women with the “I can” message. Click here to leave a review on iTunes.
4:13 Podcast: BONUS: Jennifer Hangs Out With 20-Somethings and Answers Their Questions
Jennifer Rothschild: All right. I've got a really special day in the podcast closet today. KC is not here because it's just me and the girls. We are hanging out. Y'all you get to meet two of my favorite people. This is Nico and Mary, and they have been working with us at the ministry here, and they're graduating from college. And we were standing in the hall the other day down by their offices, and we were talking about a few things, and they started to ask some questions. And I said, "No, we are going to do this with the 413ers because there's probably some other 20 somethings out there who might have similar questions." So let me introduce you to Mary and Nico, and then they're going to hit me with some questions, and we're going to have a good conversation.
So, Mary, you're graduating from college...
Mary: Mm-hmm! Yes.
Jennifer Rothschild: And tell us the university and the degree.
Mary: Okay, so I am graduating from Missouri State University in Springfield, and I am graduating with a communications studies major.
Jennifer Rothschild: Communication studies. All right. So here at the ministry, you've been helping us with communication. What have you been doing around here?
Mary: So I've been helping out with a lot of things, which I think is really fun. It's given me a lot of good experience.
Jennifer Rothschild: Good.
Mary: So I've been helping a lot with the Fresh Grounded Faith tour.
Jennifer Rothschild: Good.
Mary: And recently I've gotten to do a lot of stuff with social media, which is really fun.
Jennifer Rothschild: Boy, that is communication, isn't it? All right. Now sitting next to you is Nico. Tell us where you're graduating from and what your degree is in.
Nico: Yeah, so my name is Nico. I'm also graduating from Missouri State University, and I get the privilege of working with your Dr. Phil being an Entertainment Management Major.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Because that's the department that he is a part of, and he's been one of your professors.
Nico: Yes, he has.
Jennifer Rothschild: And then you've been working for the ministry. So that's real interesting. Tell us what you've been doing here.
Nico: Yes, I love it. I am your seeing-eye girl on social media.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, you are!
Nico: So, kind of planning out strategy for that and really just getting the opportunity to pour into your audience has just been a real blessing.
Jennifer Rothschild: Well, you've done a great job. Both of you have done a great job. Now Nico is going to be leaving. Mary's going to be staying. And we're just going to have a conversation to see if we can talk through some of the things that 20-somethings care about. All right. So who's going to go first with some questions?
Nico: I would love to.
Jennifer Rothschild: All right.
Nico: So one of the areas that we feel like is just so imperative as a believer is our identity in Christ. And we are curious about some verses that you cling to that have helped you establish and deepen your identity in Christ.
Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So those of us who have studied Scripture for a while or been a believer for a while ... it's easy to default to Psalm 139. Right? I am fearfully and wonderfully made. But I've heard some older women go, "Yeah, I look in the mirror and I'm afraid, and I wonder what happened!" [Laughs] I don't think that's what the verse means. But then, of course, you go to Ephesians 2. All right. Now, early in my faith walk, I would cling to Ephesians 2:10 because it says that we're God's workmanship, right?
Jennifer Rothschild: And so how much better for an establishment of identity could that be? Yet, if you take that out of context, I think it can become an excuse for indulgence or entitlement. And here's why. Because the beginning of Ephesians 2 talks about all of -- who we were before Christ, you know? But God, when we were dead in our trespasses and sin, he made us alive in Christ. It is through Grace, all of that, that we're saved. And then we hear, "for we are his workmanship." So to really grasp your identity in Christ, you have to grasp fully in an emotional and spiritual way who you were before Christ. And when you realize the great love with which he has loved you, that the undeserved favor and merit that he has granted toward us, then you begin to realize -- Wait a minute ... All that's true about me, and I am his workmanship? And therefore I'm created for something greater than just feeling good about myself? Yeah, but I'm created for good works that Christ has already established before me, before I was even in my Mama's womb? It broadens your sense of identity.
So, I don't believe a believer in Christ -- and I'm all about identity. I mean, I've written books about it -- but I don't believe we can really have solid identity in Christ without the humility of understanding who we were first. So I think for a young woman who wants to grow in her identity, you will become more stable as you frequently revisit Ephesians 2 and who you were before Christ, "But God, with that rich mercy with which he loved you and saved you, made you his workmanship."
Nico: That's a really fresh perspective, I feel like, on that verse for me, because I feel like Ephesians talks about the Church and how we're supposed to be built up in the Church, but I really love that. Ephesians 2.
Jennifer Rothschild: All right, hit me with another one.
Mary: Okay, so this one is kind of about, like, future and planning out your future, which I feel like is just very big and relevant in our lives. And I feel like in almost every 20-somethings life. Okay, so here it goes. How can we discern what is coming from the Lord and what is coming from selfish ambition when it comes to our future?
Jennifer Rothschild: That is such a good question, Mary, and a hard question because I think 50-somethings and 3030-somethings somethings struggle with this. So for me, my safety net is this... It's Psalm 37, because Psalm 37 -- and I don't remember the exact verse -- but the verse says that when we delight in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart. Okay. So often that verse is misunderstood as to, well, then I'm going to get what I want because I desire to be a CEO or I desire to have a husband, or I desire... Fill in the blank. And so, "I'm delighting in the Lord. I'm going to give these desires." Whereas actually, the verse is saying, "When your delight is in the Lord, he will give you -- as in place within you -- insert within you -- the desires of your heart. So you can trust your ambition ... you can trust your desire IF you are delighting in the Lord. If you're not delighting in the Lord, there's very little you can trust about what you're thinking. You have to always go back to being stabilized and grounded in the truth of the word and in your relationship with the Lord.
But when you're delighting in Him, when you're hanging out with Him, when you're finding your identity, your satisfaction, your joy, your guidance from Him, then you can trust. Okay. You know, if I feel like this is where I want to go, well, then trust it. I mean, I look back at my life --ministry career I never desired to be a speaker or Bible teacher. I really didn't. It wasn't something I had ambition toward. But over the years, as I would just respond to what it was, the Lord was where I just felt like, oh, that's an interesting I feel interested in that, or I feel like I could do that or I want to try that. And the Lord just continued to build my ministry/career path, but it was not based on necessarily me having an ambition. It was more based on me just really walking with him and him opening doors.
Mary: Wow. That's just so good because I feel like we just know that our hearts are deceitful.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, we get confused.
Mary: Yeah, we get confused. And I just feel like our generation of 20-somethings is just increasingly more selfish and selfish as time goes on. So that's a really good thing.
Jennifer Rothschild: And here's the thing, too... You can overanalyze. God's will is bigger than your ability to discern it. Do you know what I'm saying? So if you feel like you make a little bit of a tiny detour, God's sovereignty is not ruined.
Mary: That's so true.
Jennifer Rothschild: You can just trust him, just go on the path. Just keep going on the path.
Mary: That's good.
Nico: All right, so now we're going to get into the big old question of sin.
Jennifer Rothschild: Ooo.
Nico: Yeah, I know! So as a 20 something, I was just kind of thinking and praying through what we struggle with and kind of the biggest topics. And I feel like that's a lot of sexual sin, struggles with alcohol, struggles with porn, masturbation and pride.
Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.
Nico: Yeah. So how can we, as young believers as we mature, go about having these hard conversations that are seemingly really shameful to talk about?
Jennifer Rothschild: Well, first of all, let's start with shame. There is a godly shame that comes from an awareness of choosing to step away from his path and away from his best for you. Okay? And that shame is something we need to sit with and not just dismiss easily. Yet at the same time, we don't need to allow that shame to keep us from honesty, because there is forgiveness in Christ and there should be grace within the community of Christ. Okay, so that's first. But here's the thing, Nico, when you named those sins, you know what you named was fruit. Most of them were fruit, but they all represent a root. And so I think when it comes to those sins, you name sexual sin, pornography, masturbation, alcohol, pride. I think those were the ones you named
Jennifer Rothschild: I think pride could be a root, and the rest of those are fruit. Because pride is exactly what happened in the garden. And pride, if you look at the word, what's the middle letter? P-R-I. Yeah, it's..". Oh, man, I want this. I think this is okay. Oh, I'm going to get married anyway. So what's the problem?" Or "I think this feels good. I'm not getting drunk" or I... I ... I ... I... And when "I" becomes the biggest letter in our life, we are destined to grow fruit that is bitter and poisonous and will never nourish us. So that's the thing about -- alcohol is tasty, right?
Nico: Yeah, girl.
Jennifer Rothschild: Right. People enjoy it. And let me just make one caveat here. There's no prohibition in scripture about alcohol. There really is not! Drunkenness, like any kind of indulgence... yes, obviously, there's prohibition against that. But the real point -- all those fruits that you named -- they're really just little idols that allow us to feed our big letter "I". Soothe me, make me feel better about me, pleasure me, indulge me. Me, me, me.
Christianity -- the nature of Christianity is not "I" centered. It's Christ-centered. And it's this -- those who follow him, we deny ourselves, and we take up our cross and we follow him. So all of those things that were listed, they're feeding into that greater root of pride and selfishness. So I think sometimes we can live in constant spiritual frustration because we're like "Man, Lord, I can't get over this sin!" Well, maybe the sin is alcohol, maybe the sin is pornography. What those sins are -- they've become flesh habits. And you can keep cutting off the fruit as much as you want, but until you've dealt with the root, the fruit will continue to grow, and the root is sin -- is pride and selfishness.
And so that's, again, similar to our identity, when we get on our knees and we humbly say, "Lord, you have called me, you have created me for a better purpose. And so in the name of Jesus, I am going to repent. I'm going to turn away." You only do that through his grace that empowers you to do that and you constantly call it out. Not, [speaking faintly] "I have a sin problem." No! You have a pride problem. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord because you are too valuable to Jesus for him to have saved you to live a life of defeat. And that's what sin does. It calls you to a life of defeat. You are so valuable according to the book of 2 Corinthians, I think. Or 1 Corinthians -- one of them. You were bought with a price. So humble yourself and glorify God with your body and with your choices and ask God to show you what the root is of pride. And through his grace, constantly cut off that root.
Nico: That's good. I feel like I'm in therapy right now.
Mary: That was some truth!
Jennifer Rothschild: And you know what? I'm not even going to charge you for this therapy session.
Nico: [Laughs] Thank you so much.
Jennifer Rothschild: Kidding. Because really, it's not worth it. I'm not qualified.
Nico: None of us are.
Mary: Okay. Now, moving on to the topic of marriage and dating. I feel like it's on a lot of our minds.
Jennifer Rothschild: Of course it is!
Mary: It's on my mind! So what are some ways that you prepared well for marriage while single or dating or engaged?
Jennifer Rothschild: That's a really good question. I think your generation of young believers is a little more informed as to how to prepare than mine was. Now, growing up in church, and then I remember even in high school, and in college ... it was like the thing -- we didn't have "true love waits" yet, but ... we did not. I mean, we knew you do not have sex before you get married. Whether it's because of just -- you know, it wasn't just because of the biblical mandate. I mean, I remember I had a friend saying that her mama used to say to her, "If you have sex before you get married, it will kill your Daddy." She was afraid of killing her father, so she abstained. But the point is, the Bible said it, you didn't do it. But then there were a lot of things in the Bible that it said also like not to be indulgent. There were still some sins we would select in and out. Why is that? I don't know. But we just didn't. Okay, that didn't mean we weren't tempted.
And so one of the ways -- like for Phil and I that we were -- we prepared to do things well with marriage was we would not be alone together in settings where we knew that the temptation would be stronger. And I would say that to any 20 something. It is just plain dumb. It's just dumb to think that you can be alone with a hot guy and you're not going to fall into temptation and do things that you would regret if you really are seeking to glorify God with your bodies and with your relationship. So don't be dumb. Why we think we are the strongest one and we can do something that no one else is ever capable of is dumb. Alright? So for humility, be humble, right?
So for us, that was a preparation thing and we were careful to not be alone. We did premarital counseling so that we could learn some of the main things. Sometimes it's the simplest things that become the biggest deals -- finances, the philosophy of raising kids. We're much more ideal before we say, "I do," and then things get real after you say, "I do." So there always has to be a ton of grace in a relationship.
I'll tell you one thing our son did recently and Phil and I both were like, what in the world? This generation is so much smarter than us. He was talking about dating a girl and they had been friends for a while and they sat down separately and then came back together and compared their pen lists. They made pen lists and what that was... When you write something in pen, it's because it's permanent, right? And so they wrote down the things that they valued most and then they came back together. Because other things are negotiable, but if you have certain things you value most. Like, I don't just value my relationship with Christ, but I value that we go to church every Sunday. I don't just value that we are committed to each other in our marriage -- that we don't commit adultery. That's like a big thing, of course, like a "no-duh." But I value that we have a thriving relationship where maybe we go on a date once a week or -- You see what I'm saying? And they really looked at the real things because they're in their mid-twenties. I think that's really important. I wish I had done that with Phil. Now, thankfully, it all turned out just fine. But that's a smart way to prepare.
So guard yourself with your purity because you're both too valuable. And I would just say to the girls ... Don't give it to a man who's not willing to say, "I do." Don't! You're just diminishing your own value. It doesn't matter how much he says, "But I love you and we're going to get married anyway." Well, if you love me, then wait till we get married anyway.
Nico: That's fire!
Jennifer Rothschild: Because if he does not have enough self-control to value you and love you like that before you marry, then he will not have adequate self-control to love you well after you're married. So value yourself and demand that he values you.
Nico: I wish you could see our faces right now.
Mary: We're shocked. This is amazing.
Jennifer Rothschild: Listen... Boys just -- I just -- you know... You want a man to be a spiritual leader in the relationship and, Lord willing, they will be. But sometimes they have to be challenged to be -- not in a pointing-your-finger, "You need to be the spiritual leader..." But in setting boundaries that will reveal whether he has leadership in him.
Nico: That's really good. So as I'm just listening to you speak, I'm kind of going off our script here -- not script but, you know...
Jennifer Rothschild: The questions you had thought about...
Nico: Yeah, we prepared some questions.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
Nico: I think I kind of just want to maybe wrap up by just asking what you would tell your 20-year-old self and what you would tell us going forward. It could be about anything. What advice do you have really -- anything?
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, what I would tell to my 20-year-old self Is what I would tell you also. You don't have to have it all figured out. There is really nothing that you can do during this decade -- outside of overt heinous sin -- okay, that's going to mess up your future. I think you put a lot of pressure on yourself to feel like you got to take the exact right step next and if you don't, then you're not going to be married by 26 and you're not going to have the babies by 29. You just need to kind of grasp it loosely that the decade will unfold according to God's will as you walk with Him. I wish I had told myself that.
Secondly, I would have told myself, "Be okay with myself." There's a hard balance because you're wanting to grow, but we live in a society that thinks we can live, reach, attain a certain level of perfecting ourselves and we can always be in "perfecting" mode. And when you are in Christ, it's okay to be in "accepting" mode. Okay? It really is doesn't mean we don't seek to grow, but it is Christ who perfects us as we walk with him. We don't perfect ourselves, and so to be able to experience the joy of wonder and growth and realize you're okay -- you really are okay.
And it's okay to just experience life as it comes and learn from it instead of expecting to know everything. And then learn from it and then do it right the next time. That'll all happen naturally, but to just walk with the Lord with a sense of acceptance and trust that he's got you, and he's got your future, and he's got this decade, and he's got the man. He's got all of it set before you! So just delight in him and then trust the desires he gives you and you'll be surprised how the decade will unfold. And once you get into your 30's you'll be like, "Wow, that was the best decade ever!"
Nico: I hope so!
Mary: That's good!
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