Desire & Hope: How Soul Talk Stirs a Vision for What Matters Most | Ep. 25
When our hearts are torn between the life we were created for and the life we live in a fallen world, what kind of conversations will genuinely comfort and strengthen us? Rosanne Moore invites us to consider whether the words we speak are motivated by avoiding our own discomfort or offering genuine companionship to those around us.
If Jesus is Who He says He is, why doesn’t being a Christian seem to work better? More to the point, why didn’t it seem to make people better? Those were some of the questions Rosanne Moore was asking about her own life when she first encountered Dr. Larry Crabb’s book Inside Out as a teen and in its pages discovered an invitation to journey into a radically different understanding of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus, one that was focused on relationship with God rather than rule lists or behavior modification.
Drawing on her background as a writer, editor, reading instruction specialist, language arts tutor, homeschool mom, speaker, and social media marketer, Rosanne Moore now serves as Larger Story’s Communications Director. She has run a successful small business and worked with several missions and church organizations, but her greatest delight is in listening to the unfolding story of God’s work in the lives of others and sharing her own journey of seeking God in every part of life, even (or, perhaps, especially) in our darkest nights.
Nowhere is Rosanne more passionate about seeing God’s redemption cultivated than in the lives of victims/survivors of abuse of all kinds. Her Lifeline course for women escaping domestic abuse was birthed from her personal experience, as well as out of more than two decades of advocacy work serving women and children impacted by intimate terrorism, coercive control, spiritual abuse, and sexual violence.
A single mom since 2011, Rosanne seeks to create opportunities for rich conversations with her 4 teen & college-aged kids who continually amaze, amuse, and humble her with their awesome selves and their crazy menagerie. She enjoys honest friends who are both hilarious and wise, a lapful of snuggly kitties, and a good book on a rainy day. Lily’s chocolates, Jane Austen movies, and crisp autumn days are a few of her favorite things, and music is her heart’s prayer language.
Reading & Relating book club
Rosanne Moore: Hi, Larger Story friends. I’m Rosanne Moore, your host today with The Relational Spirituality Podcast. This week instead of having a guest, I just want to share a few things that have been on my heart as we begin this quarterly deep dive into Dr. Larry Crabb’s book, SoulTalk. It’s always been one of my favorite books by him, and lately, I’ve had some things going on in the last two months that brought home to me again how important it is that we engage one another when we’re having conversations, that we be present to what the Holy Spirit is doing and conscious of the power of our words, either to stir life or to miss opportunities by being self-focused. I just had a few thoughts.
At the beginning of the book SoulTalk, Larry starts by sharing his initial diagnosis with cancer. Of course, it ended up being a 25 year battle for him, but, when that first medical report came back concerning and he was facing surgery, he didn’t know what the journey ahead was going to look like. He, very honestly, very transparently, describes the wrestling that took place within his own heart – the anger, the grief, the denial, the resentment, the demand, the bargaining – all the things that rose up within him.
I think it was a good reminder to me that grief is a normal response to the fact that we were made for a perfect world. We were made for a world that hadn’t been marred by sin, and we live in a world that has been marred by sin. So when we face loss, all of those things that are a part of grief – the shock and denial – that in a way protect us from what is too overwhelming to bear because we weren’t made for that, the pain and the guilt, the sense of, “I should be able to do something differently to manage this because this isn’t how things are supposed to be,” the anger, the bargaining, the depression – all of those things are all signposts that point us to the fact that we were made for a perfect world. We are not living in that perfect world, and we have an opportunity in the middle of that to turn our faces and find God’s presence with us in the middle of that. Not to alleviate all of that discomfort, but to be with us in it because His presence does not change the fact that we were made for a perfect world, and we are not there yet. His presence makes it bearable and gives purpose as we wait and as we groan in waiting for the redemption that He is creating for us.
Larry went on to talk about, as he was wrestling with all of those things that came up in him with that initial diagnosis, one of the things that helped him that night in his hospital room was a parable given by Augustine. If God came to you and He said, “I will give you everything that you want,” everything that you would desire that would define what a good life looked like – for me right now, it would be really easy to define a good life as having a new home.
Part of the challenges of the last two months for me have been that my children and I are wanting to move and combine households with my parents, who are getting older. My kids and I are currently living in a hundred-year-old house. We’ve been displaced for 14 years, living in limbo. I’ve got two children who are allergic to this house. It’s really been difficult. It’s been challenging. Plus, my parents are getting older. My dad had what looked like it was going to be a medical crisis. It turned out to be nothing big, but it was a reminder that, as my parents are getting older, I want to be more available to help them and be with them. We had been working toward buying a new house that we could all be in together. For the kids, this is the fifth time in 14 years, and it was the closest that we had ever gotten to finally having a place to call ours, a place to a nest, to really feel like we could breathe, and it was ours. It’s the closest we’ve gotten, but the deal fell through shortly before we were supposed to close. In the middle of that, I had an emergency appendectomy. Didn’t see that coming at all, and on top of the disappointment about the house and the frustration of all of that, physically, I’m really struggling. And there are medical bills that I hadn’t anticipated, and now I’m dealing with insurance issues and all of that. It’s been a rough two months.
And so when Larry wrote about Augustine’s thing of “everything that you want,” boy, I had a list that immediately came to my mind, and I don’t know about you, but probably if you and I were sitting together and I asked you, “What would you have on your list if you could have anything that you wanted? Anything that you would define as a good life?” you would probably have not just material things like a good house. You’d probably want things like your kids doing well. Maybe you want to be married; maybe you want your marriage healed. Maybe you want your body healed. Maybe you’re dealing with physical illness or disability that is just a burden, and you would love to see God heal. There can be so many things that we could legitimately long for and put on our list of what would define a good life, a blessed life.
Augustine goes on to say,”If the Lord came to you and said, ‘I’ll give you everything on that list, but you’ll never see My face,’ then the shudder that just went through your soul is the love of God, love for God that actually lives within you that’s deeper than those other desires.”
When I read that, it was such a good reminder to me in the middle of all of the frustration that I’m dealing with the bills and with being in limbo and having boxes packed and that I’m navigating and what do we do and looking for another house. All those things – trying to get better – there is something that I want more. SoulTalk reminds us that there’s an opportunity for us in our conversations with one another, either to stir hunger for what matters most or to feed the self – to numb ourselves to what we actually want most.
That’s a really big difference. I would just invite you to go on this journey with us. We’re going to be having our book club for the next three months, and we’re going to be talking about this theme on our podcast.
What does it look like to have conversations that actually stir life in one another? Instead of just exchanging information but never really getting to the heart of the other person or giving hope, we could do something different. Just because we have the Spirit of God living within us, we can actually stir life in one another and do something, have conversations that really matter.
One of the things that stood out to me, because of this experience over the past couple months and the responses that I got, reminding me of how I’ve responded to other people and their struggles at various points, was that SoulTalk stirs hunger for what matters most, but it doesn’t minimize or deny the pain. I think what was probably most discouraging to me at various times in the past two months was the number of times people would use spiritual language to dismiss the very real struggle that we are actively facing. Things like, “Oh, it’s okay that the house didn’t go through. It just means God has something better for you,” or things like that. That’s not really helpful.
What I appreciated so much was the friends who were willing to listen and wrestle with me and care and ask, “What can we do to help?” It’s wonderful to pray for one another, but one of the things Larry talks about in the book is, we don’t ever want to use prayer or spiritual truth as a bandaid or as an escape hatch so that we can avoid dealing with somebody else’s pain or struggle. Like I said, we’ve all done it. I have certainly been guilty of it plenty of times in my life, of wanting to apply information and truth to somebody else’s situation instead of listening to what the Spirit is doing and coming alongside and actually waiting to point out the beauty of what God is already doing in their heart.
That stirs hope, that allows us both to grieve, to acknowledge what is not yet redeemed and not yet as it should be. That’s painful, but at the same time, to lift our eyes to what matters more, that God is here. He is at work. He is redeeming all things, something new is underway that He’s doing, and this is what I want to leave you with. This is a short episode that I’m doing today. I’m still recovering, but that was what was on my heart today. When you have conversations with those around you, are your conversations bringing life? Not just trying to apply truth, but are you bringing the presence of the Spirit of God?
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. A friend pointed out to me, I think that order is important. When we engage people the way that Jesus did, we should embody truth, not just spout it, but actually embody truth the way that Jesus did. Then we actually can invite them into the life that the Spirit of God has shared with us through Christ, and it can be something where there’s a meeting of souls and encouragement of one another so that we’re not simply using God as an escape from our pain, but instead that there’s an opportunity to actually worship Him in the midst of it. To say that there’s still something greater, something that matters more than this thing that I want, that’s legitimate to want, that I was created to want.
One of the things I think in this journey with the house that I’ve come to realize was, in the midst of the ache, in the midst of the waiting, God has given us the opportunity to enter into His own ache as He waits for the redemption of His children, as He prepares a home for us, and as He waits for that, the longing that He has. I’m suddenly getting a taste of how much it matters to Him by experiencing this ache as we wait. It was actually through a conversation with some friends that this got stirred, that I realized that was a gift that God was giving me.
I really want to invite you to join us. There are different ways that you can do it. During this next quarter, our Reading and Relating book club is going to be doing a deep dive into this book where, once a month we’ll have an online discussion group. We have more than one timeframe in which you can do that if you would like to join us. Also, if you have a local group that you want to meet with, you can get the SoulTalk book, and you can get the SoulCare course set of DVDs and workbooks that you could go through together as an in person community.
You could walk through, “How do we have these better conversations that make us more sensitive to what the Spirit of God is doing in us?” How to be more aware of how we can be a part of encouraging another person to become present to the Spirit of God at work instead of having that desire for Him covered over by the weight of other things. How do we avoid the kind of conversations where we heap burdens on people who are already feeling overwhelmed and walk away feeling like we were so wise because we shared all this truth, whereas they walk away feeling unseen and hopeless and more worn out and exhausted and pressured than ever.
I hope you’ll join us.
I hope this resonated with you. I think we’ve all had conversations both that gave life and had conversations that didn’t, and we’ve been guilty of that as well. I really hope that you’ll join us in this next quarter, and thank you so much.
Share if this Podcast is helping you or the book club, the resources that we have. I hope that you’ll share them. I hope that you’ll pass them along to others and we would love to hear from you too. We would love for you to let us know what would be the best way that we can serve you. Thanks so much for joining us. You can go to largerstory.com if you want to sign up for the Reading and Relating book club and we’ll be back next week. I think Kep and I are going to be meeting with a couple of counselors and talking to them about how SoulTalk has shaped the way that they serve in their profession of talking with people in a counseling setting.
We look forward to having you back next week. Thanks so much. Bye-bye.