Spill the Beans LIVE with Annie F. Downs and Laura Story at Fresh Grounded Faith Plant City, FL [Episode 298]

Spill Beans Plant City Florida Fresh Grounded Faith Annie F. Downs Laura Story Jennifer Rothschild

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What do you do to unwind? What’s your favorite smell or sound?

These are just a few of the questions we were asked as we sat around the bistro table in Plant City, Florida at a Fresh Grounded Faith event.

Author and podcaster Annie F. Downs and singer-songwriter Laura Story were with me, and these women gave so much insight and inspiration when we spilled the beans.

We talked about the importance of hanging out with a small group, how I preserve memories when I can’t see pictures, and if you have to be an extrovert to go into ministry.

Plus, we were asked about how to deal with disappointment when a deep longing remains unfulfilled, as well as how to show yourself grace when you feel like a failure.

This conversation was deep and wise, encouraging and fun, and it would be even better if you joined us. So pull up your chair at the bistro, and let’s spill some beans.

Meet My Friends

Annie F. Downs is a best-selling author, nationally known speaker, and host of the That Sounds Fun podcast. And Laura Story is a songwriter, worship leader, author, and all-around multifaceted girl next door.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Spill the Beans LIVE with Annie F. Downs and Laura Story at Fresh Grounded Faith Plant City, FL [Episode 298]

Jennifer Rothschild: Hey, this is Jennifer. I want you to meet somebody. She's my precious girl that I sponsor through Compassion International. She's a little girl from Ecuador, who has no dad, but she has a heavenly Father who is meeting her every need.

If you're like me, you can feel overwhelmed with all the needs of the world. Covid-19 has affected all of us, but it has devastated those who already live in poverty. You know, we can't do everything, but we can do one thing, and that's what Compassion International allows us to do. It's a one-on-one relationship with a child who needs you, and it releases children from poverty in Jesus' name. So go to 413podcast.com/Compassion to meet my precious girl from Ecuador. And while you're there, I invite you, I challenge you, and I encourage you to sponsor a child along with me. That's 413podcast.com/Compassion. And now it's for some practical encouragement and some biblical wisdom on The 4:13.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What do you do to unwind? Or here's another question. What's your favorite smell or your favorite sound? Well, these are just a few of the questions that we were asked, and these are the questions that we answered as we sat around the Bistro table in Plant City, Florida, at a Fresh Grounded Faith. Author and podcaster Annie F. Downs and singer-songwriter and author Laura Story, they sat with me and they gave so much insight and inspiration when we spilled the beans. And that is exactly what you are about to get today too. In fact, we are going to cover the importance of hanging out with a small group, how I preserve memories when I can't see pictures, and there was even some good advice for the single ladies. And then right in the middle of this -- I got to give you one heads-up -- Annie surprised Laura with some first-class plane tickets. So you have got to hang out and hear what happened. So let's get ready to spill some beans.

K.C. Wright: Welcome, welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you and I up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome my soul sister, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, hey, friends. We're glad you're here. It's just me and K.C. here in the podcast closet. Two friends, one topic, and zero stress. But you know what? That is a lie today. I have not got zero stress. In fact, K.C., what do I have in my hand?

K.C. Wright: Jennifer is literally -- we tell the truth. We speak -- we speak the truth. She is squeezing her stress ball.

Jennifer Rothschild: I am squeezing my stress ball. Because I am stressed out because my computer is acting up. Now, I know nobody loves it when their computer acts up, but can I just say this? My computers are very challenging because they have to have talking software. They do not play nice with everything. So my main computer, who I call Baby Dell -- I'm about to unadopt him -- he has been giving me trouble, so I got a new one knowing his time was coming. Well, his time may have came this morning.

K.C. Wright: Ooh.

Jennifer Rothschild: He gave me the silent treatment. He has not said one word to me, which makes it impossible for me to do these podcasts. So I pulled out the new one --

K.C. Wright: And it's nice.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love it.

K.C. Wright: It's light as a feather.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's beautiful. But unfortunately, I don't have it set up totally for my needs. So we are, like, pushing through here, people. So when I was at Walgreens getting some Advil, the cashier handed me this. It's a stress ball shaped like a pill. So I've been squeezing it. Anyway...

But I started complaining, and K.C. was like, "Well, I can complain," because he's had a stressful morning. So go ahead, share with our people.

K.C. Wright: Well, have you ever had a morning where you get the weirdest, strangest text? That was my morning.

Jennifer Rothschild: Ugh.

K.C. Wright: I mean, I wake up, it's just a beautiful morning. I am so looking forward to being with Jenn and you here on The 4:13, and my phone just starts dinging, dinging, dinging, dinging. It's just interesting. It was some church members asking me really interesting, strange Bible questions that you can Google this. And then also my neighbor's on there going, "Your dog pooped in my yard."

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, gosh.

K.C. Wright: And I responded going, "No, my dog doesn't do that on the side of the house, he does that behind my house." And she goes, "Well, I'm not trying to split hairs, but I'm telling you, it's your dog."

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my goodness. Good morning.

K.C. Wright: And then just some other things, just some weird stuff. And I'm like, "What in the world?" But here's the point. All this is before, like, 8:30.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and didn't you get a text from your church members asking you about --

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- like, some weird theological concepts?

K.C. Wright: Yeah, about the Tower of Babel. I don't even know who I am in the morning. I can't even -- I don't know who I am without that cup of java. Don't be asking me about the Tower of Babel.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's so funny.

K.C. Wright: I can't even babble.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know, right?

By the way, I heard something funny. So Phil and I have this ongoing thing. Like, he'll say something and I'll say, "What?" And he's like, "I don't think you can hear." I said, "No, I don't think you're speaking clearly." Anyway, I read something the other day. It's like, "I'm not slurring, I'm just speaking in cursive." And I thought --that's what he sounds like. But I thought that's what I sound like before coffee. That's probably what you sound like before coffee. So, yeah, we can't deal with dog poop and the Tower of Babel before coffee.

K.C. Wright: Thank you. And before 9:00 o'clock.

Jennifer Rothschild: Amen.

K.C. Wright: Amen.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right. We're going to spill some beans -- some more beans. We've already spilled some. But let me give you a few kind of heads-up before you hear this conversation. Because you are going to love it. Okay. So one of the things that happened is during the weekend, Annie told a story about getting free first-class seats. I told a story about getting a free first-class seat. Neither of us knew we were going to tell the story. And then Laura gets up and she's like, "Well, that's nice. I never got a first-class seat. Nobody ever gave me one." Okay? So you need to know that going into it. When you hear what Annie does, you'll understand why it's significant.

Okay. The other thing is -- that I wanted you to be aware of when you hear this, Annie had referred to a woman named Nancy. She calls her her Nancy. Okay? And this is just her mentor. So if you hear Laura talk about Nancy, that's what they're talking about. It's Annie's mentor. Okay?

And then, last thing, when we begin this conversation, Laura had just sung a song, which I absolutely love, called "Give You Faith." If you've never heard it, you have got to hear it when this podcast is done. Okay? And we'll have a link to it, of course. But that's what I'm commenting on when this conversation begins, just so you know. All right? Here we go.

Wow, Laura, that's just so beautiful.

Annie F. Downs: Yeah, that was beautiful, Laura.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know what? I was thinking even -- you know, from a motherhood perspective, those lyrics are so powerful. But, you know, from a mentoring and just being sisters in Christ --

Annie F. Downs: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- those lyrics fit. Let me get out my Spill the Bean cards. Hold on.

Annie F. Downs: In your boots?

Jennifer Rothschild: They're in my boot.

Annie F. Downs: Ma'am, you're extraordinary.

Jennifer Rothschild: Annie, why don't you read.

Annie F. Downs: Okay, Jenn, here's the question. How do you preserve baby memories when pictures don't work for blind moms?

Jennifer Rothschild: I thought that was such an interesting question.

Annie F. Downs: That's such a nice question, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: And you know what I like about the question, too, is I think this applies to anybody, any mom. So I take audio pictures. You can ask my family. I take audio pictures all the time. And so, like, if you do follow my 4:13 Podcast, you know I just posted some Italy audio pictures. And I got to go to Italy, so everywhere I went, I took audio pictures of where I was. And I do the same with my grandchildren. Now, when I had little children, I didn't have that, but we had a little cassette tape, Fisher Price, so I have recordings of talking with the little boys.

But sometimes just turning it on for a minute and recording yourself playing with the baby or -- it's amazing what those audio pictures bring back. So, yeah, I would suggest audio pictures, not just 'cause you might need them because you're blind, but because it will open up a part of your brain and memory when you listen to them later.

Annie F. Downs: That's beautiful. That's really helpful.

Laura, can you speak to the strengths you've seen in introverts and extroverts in serving the Lord? I am -- shocker -- extrovert.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, I'm -- yeah, big shock.

Annie F. Downs: Yeah. Everyone's --

Laura Story: Really?

Annie F. Downs: Yeah.

Laura Story: That's --

Annie F. Downs: I know, surprising. Surprising.

Jennifer Rothschild: What are you, Laura?

Laura Story: That's a good question. I'm -- okay. So have you ever heard of an ambivert? Or maybe someone made this up and told me that's what I was.

Annie F. Downs: No, no, no. I like it. Keep going.

Laura Story: It's in the middle between an introvert and extrovert.

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh.

Laura Story: So I -- definitely people skills and I love being around people, but I also -- I need some alone time to recharge.

Annie F. Downs: Yeah. Because this friend's asking -- her question is because it feels harder for her to be around people all the time, but she feels called to ministry.

Laura Story: Oh, absolutely. And I think that that might be a ministry myth --

Annie F. Downs: Yeah. Say that.

Laura Story: -- that extroverts are the main people that God uses in public spaces like this.

I think sharing your story, it's not an introvert or extrovert thing. There are certain -- I think the introvert-extrovert thing -- and, Annie, you probably have done a little more even study on this than I have. But this idea, an extrovert, I think, is more fueled by it and an introvert is more like -- I don't know. I'm trying to figure out introvert or extrovert. When you go to a party, are you -- like, after you talk to everyone there, are you just completely jazzed or are you completely exhausted? If you're completely exhausted, like I am, you're probably more of an introvert. But it doesn't mean that you like people any less and it doesn't mean that God's called you to share your story any less.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's good.

Annie F. Downs: How do you feel, Jennifer, at the end of a party? Or, like, after today?

Jennifer Rothschild: Exhausted. I love people, but I am drained quickly. Part of it is because I'm fully present. If I'm with you, I am 100% with you.

Annie F. Downs: You are, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: So if there's 30 of you around me, I am absorbing 30 people's stuff.

Annie F. Downs: Wow.

Jennifer Rothschild: And so I get very drained. I love alone time. You can ask my husband. He goes to movies by himself, he does -- because I love alone time. I love quiet. But in ministry -- I'm glad you said that about the myth, because I am a learned extrovert. Because it's not about us, you know. So if we can just -- whatever the Lord's called us to do in serving, he will supply that grace, and I can manage being around a lot of people because I love people. You just have to balance it.

Annie F. Downs: And extroverts have to have a learned introvertness in ministry. You don't have to be the loudest voice and you don't have to be the center of attention. So I like that you're saying that, Jennifer, because it feels like -- if you're called to follow Jesus, that includes your personality.

Jennifer Rothschild: It does.

Annie F. Downs: And we don't want to be different than he made us, but there are times we can submit our greatest strength to the room. And sometimes that means calling you up to be extroverted if we need you to be, and sometimes it means, "Annie, shush."

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, yeah.

Annie F. Downs: That's what it means.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's good.

Annie F. Downs: That's what it means sometimes.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's so good.

Annie F. Downs: Okay. This is for either of y'all. Is it difficult to find a small group or a Bible study group because of being known publicly?

Jennifer Rothschild: That is for you too, Annie. And especially -- y'all too are both on your church staff.

Annie F. Downs: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: And so we've got some church leaders in this room today. What is it like for you all being, you know, in your public role?

Annie F. Downs: So I'm big on the teaching team. You know, one of the benefits I have in Nashville is a lot of people have public lives.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, true.

Annie F. Downs: And so my people -- there's about seven of us -- and half of us live in Nashville, and the other half don't -- and we're on Marco Polo all the time. But because we share public life as part of our ministry, that's something we can process together too. So that has been a gift to me, is finding some people in my place like that.

Jennifer Rothschild: What about you, Laura?

Laura Story: So I've been at my church for 18 years, and they're just my people.

Annie F. Downs: They do not care, huh?

Laura Story: Well, I try to tell them, like, that I am a big deal --

Annie F. Downs: I've been trying to tell them for two decades.

Laura Story: -- but it just doesn't -- they don't seem to get it, so I really haven't had that struggle.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love that so much. That's how I feel about my church, though. Like, they're just my people, and I'm their people. I feel safe with them and comfortable and, like, not any big deal at all, and I love that. But then I also have, like, my two or three. Because I am introverted. I do better with my small little people. So I have certain friends that we just do life together. And it's interesting, sometimes real spiritual growth can occur also outside a formal Bible study, just in a Christian community where women are honest with each other and encourage each other with the Word.

Laura Story: Yeah. And I have two friends, and I've -- I literally have two friends.

Annie F. Downs: I have two friends, and they're at this table.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Laura Story: They're right here. I have two friends that are like my Nancy's, I guess. Is it Nancy?

Annie F. Downs: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Laura Story: And just tell them everything. And that is something that I did figure out from having a little bit of a public life, is I can't tell everyone everything. And really shouldn't anyway. But it's really sweet. I think I used to in my younger -- my younger, like, on-stage self, the evil one would try to trick me into believing you can't -- it's exactly what you were saying, you can't tell anyone really how you're doing. And I'm so thankful that the Lord has brought me out of that. And that wasn't, like, a long season, but it is kind of complicated. Sometimes you can't figure out who wants to be your friend because they have you on an unfair pedestal?

Annie F. Downs: Yes. They figure it out pretty quick, though, don't they?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Laura Story: Yeah.

Annie F. Downs: Okay. This one's for me. Advice for single women. Let's go, single ladies. Advice for single women looking for a husband, feeling discouraged, getting older, and everyone around her is getting married and having kids. We can talk about that. But I want to read the next sentence because I think everyone can feel this. "It feels like everyone is moving on in life and I'm stuck in the same place." That is not unique to being single. That is human. The feeling of that I can relate to. I'm 43. If you'd have told me at 23 I wouldn't be married at 43, I'd have slapped you.

But it can feel discouraging -- right? -- to be praying for something and longing for something and watching other people get it. And I have had that experience of other people are getting married; wait, other people are having babies; wait, they have elementary school kids; wait, their kids are graduating high school, and it can feel like you are being left behind. But the truth of God's story is that you aren't in her lane, you're in your lane, and so we just keep going in our lane. No one else has married your husband that you're going to marry at the right time. Like, it's not like you're like, "Oh, no. Well, that's the last one." Right? That's not the story. This isn't Chick-fil-A at 10:35. You didn't miss it. And so you aren't going to miss the thing God has for you. If you are pursuing God, you have not missed what he has for you. You just have to be a little disciplined. I'm not telling you not to feel your feelings. If we're friends, you know I'm going to tell you to feel your feelings about this and tell someone.

But we just have to -- in all of our lives, whether it is the mom who wishes she had more kids or -- I mean, let's put my mom in this story, Jennifer and Laura. I mean, my mom didn't think I wouldn't have grandkids for her. So my mom has to sit in the seat with her peers. And her peers have a lot of grandchildren. My mom has one. And my sister had a baby last summer that died. So my mom has one grandson and one grandson who's died. That isn't the story my mom thought she'd have either.

So it's a really interesting thing to -- it isn't just you who doesn't have your story. All of us don't have the story we thought we'd have. And so we have to be a little disciplined and put our blinders on and go, "Okay, God, so what is my lane?" And I can be disappointed that you haven't answered my prayers and I can be disappointed you haven't given me the thing I thought you'd give me and I can be disappointed about this, that, and the other, but my blinders are on my lane, and I'm not going to worry about her in her lane as best I can on a -- you know, Thursdays may be worse than Tuesdays, I don't know. But it is hard.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's a good word. It does apply to all of us in all things.

Laura Story: Yeah. I have friends that they say -- my single friends say that their least favorite thing is when someone says, "Oh, well, God just wants you to work on you."

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, serious?

Laura Story: As if, like, marriage was, like, our reward for --

Annie F. Downs: Right.

Laura Story: -- oh, I finally got it all together --

Annie F. Downs: Right.

Laura Story: -- so I'm going to get married. Anyway, so I just want to apologize on behalf of all married people for the dumb things that we say to single people.

Jennifer Rothschild: Seriously.

Annie F. Downs: Well, listen, don't you know I've watched people get married and be like, I am healthier than her in my mind. I know -- I know my mental health is not -- okay, how'd she get that? Yeah. Yeah, I mean, we all can do it. We all can see someone else's life and go, I deserve what they got. And then the Lord just is very kind to me and says, No. I have your story, and your story really matters, so...

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Annie F. Downs: Okay, this is for all of us, it says. This is a great one. What are your favorite sounds, smells, and things to touch?

Jennifer Rothschild: What a fun question.

Annie F. Downs: I agree.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, I love the smell of a used bookstore.

Annie F. Downs: Oh, yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love the smell of my Uncle Fred's tobacco in his pipe. I love the smell of leather. This is easy for me.

Annie F. Downs: Yeah, you're doing great.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. I love the smell of espresso. I love the smell of coffee, but I really love the smell of espresso. Okay, there you go.

Annie F. Downs: Good.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know what else I love the sound of?

Laura Story: What?

Annie F. Downs: Yeah?

Jennifer Rothschild: A dryer spinning. It's very comforting.

Annie F. Downs: We're learning so much about you, Jennifer.

Jennifer Rothschild: And it says there is hope for warm, nice-smelling laundry in just a few minutes.

Annie F. Downs: Wow. Just give her a pipe and a dryer, she is a satisfied woman. That's all she needs.

Laura Story: That's amazing.

Jennifer Rothschild: What about you?

Laura Story: Lysol.

Jennifer Rothschild: You like the smell of Lysol?

Laura Story: In silence.

Annie F. Downs: This question, meant to be so fun, is eye-opening.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's therapy.

Annie F. Downs: Lysol in silence. That's going to be your next book title, Laura.

Laura Story: It just speaks to my stage of life.

Annie F. Downs: Yeah, certainly.

Jennifer Rothschild: I think so.

Annie F. Downs: Back to our single friend who wrote a question. You know what you and I aren't caring about? Lysol in silence. So good on us.

Jennifer Rothschild: What's yours?

Annie F. Downs: You know, Jennifer, I don't know if I've ever told you this, my grandparents owned a used bookstore, and I worked every Saturday with them at it. And so you're right, that smell. There's just something about books that does not go away.

Jennifer Rothschild: No.

Annie F. Downs: I also love the smell of -- this is silly -- it won't shock you -- of an ice cream store.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, I do too.

Annie F. Downs: I like everything about an ice cream store. I like the cone smell, I like the ice cream. I like how cold it is when you open the door.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Annie F. Downs: Just -- I'll see you there. I love it.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that's -- that would be a great audio picture, you and me in an ice cream store.

Annie F. Downs: It's going to happen.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's going to happen.

Annie F. Downs: Maybe in Spring -- sorry, Plant City. Maybe in Springfield.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Laura Story: I feel like my answer was kind of pathetic.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, give us something else.

Annie F. Downs: Listen. Don't judge what you love.

Laura Story: I also like being at a restaurant where I can smell the good food and where no one -- I'm not standing to order and no one's asking me, "Would you like fries with that?"

Annie F. Downs: Well, I was with you till the very end.

Jennifer Rothschild: So you like to be seated, you like to hear the cutlery hitting the plate, cloth napkins.

Laura Story: I just like doing something that reminds me I am --

Annie F. Downs: Laura's like, You guys, I'm cool. I like people. It's not just about puking. It's not just about cleaning up.

Laura Story: I just like being reminded that I am an adult.

Annie F. Downs: You are. You are.

Laura Story: That I can go do grownup things.

Annie F. Downs: I would love to hear y'all's -- I'm excited to hear y'all -- this is -- part of the rhythm of what we do for our jobs, this is true for you. When you get home from your job, you do something to unwind. And so one of our friends is asking us after we do this, who do you listen to? What do you do to fill your cup back up? Podcast, books, preachers, speakers?

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh. Well, my answer may be surprising. Because I'm always in the Word studying, and because I tend to analyze, it's hard for me not to analyze when I hear teaching. I do not listen to podcasting or teaching to unwind. I listen to a fiction book. And I call them my fiction vacation. Shaun and I were talking about this morning. Like, even when I got to the room last night, I have learned to discipline myself not to rewind and analyze the evening, just to trust the Lord with our offering, and I literally turned on a book and I listened to it while I was getting ready for bed, just to totally clear my mind and go somewhere different. And It does help me to just kind of regroup, you know? I like testosterone fiction, mystery thrillers.

Annie F. Downs: Do you? Do you get spooked?

Jennifer Rothschild: No. No, because I like -- I just like -- I like it when the hero wins. And, like, he is going to pull out his gun and get that bad guy right now.

Laura Story: You don't get scared, like, in your room?

Jennifer Rothschild: No. Because I sleep with Granddaddy's fishing knife. So if anybody ever --

Annie F. Downs: Dr. Phil, you know?

Jennifer Rothschild: It's right by my bed.

Laura Story: Are you being serious?

Jennifer Rothschild: I am. Because I've learned from my people in my mystery thrillers how to take somebody out if I had to. Don't mess with me. Don't mess with me.

Laura Story: Dr. Phil, I have a whole new appreciation. You sleep with a blind woman with a knife.

Annie F. Downs: Yeah. Legit.

Laura Story: That's amazing.

Annie F. Downs: Legit. He said, "I do not surprise her."

Jennifer Rothschild: No.

Annie F. Downs: You sleep with a blind woman with a knife. I hope someone's right -- I hope you're still taking notes in your listening guide, because that is exactly...

Jennifer Rothschild: So what do y'all do to unwind?

Annie F. Downs: Yeah, how do you unwind, Laura?

Laura Story: I don't remember the -- I don't remember the last time I did. Go ahead.

Annie F. Downs: Yeah, I don't remember the last time I did.

I watch sports. That's kind of my go-to.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, that's your thing.

Annie F. Downs: I really like -- like, I really enjoy cheering for something that has -- no offense -- no eternal value. Like, I like that we can kind of like -- I show up this enthusiastic about just about everything. And so I have to adjust my enthusiasm off of what's God doing, da, da, da, or I'm the worst person to be with for the next three hours.

In fact, the extrovert/introvert thing, the phrase I use is that after I'm at something like this, I'm people drunk. Because I'm just, like, so happy to see you. And aren't we all together and don't we want to stay up and talk and -- I mean, I just am like (makes machine gun sound). And so I have to do something like shift my energy to sports or to a book. I tend -- I'm with you, I tend to not listen to spiritual -- that's why I said I would tell Nancy tomorrow, and then the Holy spirit was like, "What if you told Nancy today?" and I was like, "Fine." But part of it is that I turn my energy off of the deep things.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. Me too.

Annie F. Downs: You know, most animals need to do deep water and shallow water --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yep.

Annie F. Downs: -- and we do too.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yep.

Annie F. Downs: And so even when you're grieving, it's one -- I mean, when my nephew died last year, one of the things that my counselor really walked me through is the opportunity to be deep in grief and to come up for air. Because I kept feeling this pressure that I wasn't allowed to come up for air, but I needed it. Like, I needed to ride a roller coaster, and no one -- and I felt like I wasn't allowed to say that because I was just only allowed to be sad full stop all the time. And my body couldn't do it.

And so I'm the same way after events like this or after Sunday mornings when I teach. I have a little bit of time where the energy is still really high and I have to shift it or I get weird.

Jennifer Rothschild: I think that's so helpful. And then -- so I think of Laura. Like, I have an empty nest. You're single.

Annie F. Downs: I'm pre-nest.

Jennifer Rothschild: But, Laura, you come home to four little people who need you and are so glad you're home.

Laura Story: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: So do you even get a chance to --

Laura Story: Yeah. And it's tough. Because as a traveling working mom, when I get home, I desperately want to spend time with my children, and I have no energy left to spend time with my children. And so I'm having to learn what that looks like. So it's like, hugs, hugs, hugs. "Hey, let's go watch that movie." (makes snoring sound) And they'll be in my arms and I'm fast asleep. Right before that, I ordered Domino's pizza to be delivered, you know. And so figuring out what does it look like to do the lowest energy version of -- you guys are probably thinking I'm a terrible parent at this point.

Jennifer Rothschild: No. I think it's bright.

Annie F. Downs: No, we're not. No, we're not. We all get it.

Jennifer Rothschild: I think it's very bright. I don't know -- I remember what it was like to do this with just two little kids. So with four. And, you know, you're also helping even more than a lot of wives -- just like Phil has to -- and, yeah, I can imagine that you have to find creative ways to restore your soul.

Laura Story: Yeah. Thank you.

Annie F. Downs: Here's the thing, Laura. By the way, I'm only doing this in front of everyone because I think it's the only way you will respond.

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh.

Annie F. Downs: Laura and I are on the same flight --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Annie F. Downs: -- and you are in --

Laura Story: No. No. I do not believe -- hold on. I got to get ready for this. Okay, I'm ready.

Annie F. Downs: Laura, I just asked my manager, Jamie, if -- because we did get an upgrade today -- if you would let us trade seats with you and your son.

Laura Story: I do not believe you.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, you will.

Annie F. Downs: Y'all know I'm only paying it forward. This is not about me. I just knew she wouldn't do it at the airport, so I had to have some accountability.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Annie F. Downs: The accountability is you're in 4C and 4D --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Annie F. Downs: -- and we'll be wherever y'all were. So we're just going to switch-a-roo. It's so easy. Saturdays you get -- here's the trick. You always get an upgrade on Saturdays because all the traveling dads are home.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's amazing.

Annie F. Downs: Yesterday we were in the last row of the plane because all the dads were going back home from wherever they were working on Thursday and Friday. So, tradesies.

Laura Story: Are you serious?

Annie F. Downs: We're on the same flight. The Lord handled it.

Laura Story: That's so sweet.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love that so much.

Annie F. Downs: You can't argue with us because, like, a thousand people know how you're getting home today.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's right.

Annie F. Downs: Your son's going to love it. He should ask for ice cream or something.

Okay, here's another question. "I find it comes natural and easy to show grace to others, but I hold myself to an unattainable standard." At least she knows.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Annie F. Downs: "How do you practice grace with yourself in a situation where you feel like a failure?" And I want to tell you one more thing. Our friend writing this is in her 20s.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, sweet baby. Oh, I was you. I was you in my 20s. And you know what? Let me just say that that response is usually the dark side of a very good virtue.

Annie F. Downs: That's right.

Laura Story: Yes.

Annie F. Downs: That's good.

Jennifer Rothschild: And so give yourself a little bit of a break.

Annie F. Downs: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's just saying you have a high expectation for yourself. You want to do the right thing. You want to serve well, you want to show up 100%. That's awesome. And often when we are that way, the dark side and the place the enemy comes in and exploits is them, "Well, it's not good enough." "Well, you shouldn't have said that."

Annie F. Downs: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: And we are unkind to ourselves. I was.

One of the things that helped me is learning to think how I would speak to someone else. I give so much grace to other people. And so I had to start doing that. And I would literally call myself by my name. Okay? Studies have shown that talking to yourself is a very good guardrail in your life that helps inform your thoughts. But what studies have shown is if you use first person, it's more effective. So instead of me saying, "Jennifer, you tried your best, you need to show yourself grace" -- okay? So I'm saying "you." Instead, it would be, "Jennifer, I tried my best and I will show myself grace." There's something about this demand that it has on your brain when you say it like that, "I am going to do this and I believe this about me." So literally use words towards yourself in the way you would use them toward other people. Okay? That's one thing.

Now, I will say this. I still have the tendency to be hard on myself when I'm very tired or very stressed, and then I become my failure. And so I have to look at it and say, "I'm not my enemy's stresses, I am not a failure, that's just what I struggled with." And so it's again aligning your thoughts with the truth and continually telling yourself that. But I guess what I'm saying is it's not one and done in a formula.

Annie F. Downs: That's right.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's not. So show yourself grace to know you might blow it over and over until you die, and you can keep telling yourself the truth along the way.

What about y'all? Is this an issue for you?

Laura Story: Yes. Oh, absolutely. I think one of the things just to remember is our basis for forgiveness is the cross, whether that's forgiving others or forgiving ourselves. Oftentimes we -- in my mind -- even though I would say, oh, yes, all paid for at the cross, totally believe it, but the way I live is, like, grace equals the cross plus my improved behavior.

Annie F. Downs: Right.

Laura Story: Or the cross plus my self-condemnation. Or the cross plus maybe a period of time that I need to feel bad or distant from God rather than believing that the sacrifice of God the Father, sending his Son to the cross, is sufficient. Truly -- and it's not like by your 87th time that you've sinned he's like, "Whoa, that one caught me off guard."

Annie F. Downs: Yeah.

Laura Story: I had paid for the 86th, but now you're really pushing it, you know. To have in mind that God foresaw everything that we would ever do, every thought we'd ever have. And it was excruciating, yet in some way delightful for him to allow his Son --

Annie F. Downs: That's beautiful.

Laura Story: -- to suffer so that we might feel grace.

Annie F. Downs: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow, Laura, preach. That's so good.

Annie F. Downs: The simple thing I would say to a friend in my 20s who was talking about this is -- I remember being in my 20s, and at that point in my life it was -- the line between my good days and my bad days was really clear, and so it was hard to show myself grace because I would keep making this same mistake. And the older I've gotten, I've made so many more mistakes that if you don't show grace to yourself, you can't do this thing --

Jennifer Rothschild: No. Correct.

Annie F. Downs: -- you know? And so part of it, I'd say to my friend in her 20s, is like just hold on for the ride because you're going to keep messing up and you're going to have to. Like, you're just going to have to. You're going to do something that hurts people in such a way that you go, I could either stay in my house and never see them ever again or I have to believe that the cross was enough.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

Annie F. Downs: And so don't give up on giving yourself grace, but also know that time will help.

Jennifer Rothschild: It does.

Laura Story: Yes.

Annie F. Downs: Time will help.

Jennifer Rothschild: I learn so much from these women, because they are just so bright and so deep and so wise and so fun.

K.C. Wright: I think you just described a Fresh Grounded Faith.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right?

K.C. Wright: It's all those things and so much more. And this was definitely one of the best Spill the Beans I have heard. So clearly, you need to go deeper with Laura's story and Annie F. Downs. We will link to their books, music, and podcasts all on the Show Notes at 413podcast.com/298.

By the way, when I was at the last Fresh Grounded Faith, I met the gal who types out the Show Notes, and I said, "You get over here" --

Jennifer Rothschild: I know, right?

K.C. Wright: -- and I gave her a big ol' hug.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's Jill. Isn't she wonderful?

K.C. Wright: Because that's a lot of work.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's a lot.

K.C. Wright: And what a wonderful resource.

Jennifer Rothschild: It is.

K.C. Wright: Also, of course, right there on the Show Notes we're going to have a link to all of Jennifer's books as well.

Jennifer Rothschild: Plus, as K.C. said, a transcript so you can read the whole thing, because it'll be just so good. And we will also have a calendar of where Fresh Grounded Faith is going to be so that hopefully you can come and join us at one.

Okay. Until next week, get with your people around the table and spill the beans. Life is going to be much better when you do. And you can because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

K.C. Wright: For real, you really can.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yep. We don't lie around here.

K.C. Wright: Go tackle the day.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, take it on.

K.C. Wright: And in my personal opinion, tackle it before you turn on your phone.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, right?

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. And after your coffee.


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