On this episode of Let’s Talk, recorded live at TGC’s 2021 women’s conference, Jackie Hill Perry, Jasmine Holmes, and Melissa Kruger discuss the importance of practicing spiritual disciplines, even in life’s busiest seasons. They talk about what spiritual disciplines are and why we shouldn’t see them simply as boxes to be checked. They consider how to identify idols that might keep us from time with the Lord, and they point out the warning signs that you’re too busy for your own good.
Mentioned in this podcast:
- Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
- Five Things to Pray for Your Children
- Dwell Scripture Listening App
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Jackie Hill Perry: Welcome to a special live episode of Let’s Talk, I am Jackie Hill Perry and I am here with Melissa Kruger and Jasmine Holmes. Give it up, clap. There we go. So in our last episode of Let’s Talk, I was nine months pregnant. Now this one is having a baby. Melissa?
Melissa Kruger: No.
Jackie Hill Perry: No?
Melissa Kruger: No. My baby’s out there.
Jackie Hill Perry: Okay.
Melissa Kruger: She’s 20.
Jackie Hill Perry: You know the Lord could make a “Sarah” out of you. Okay.
Jasmine Holmes: Just tell us how you want us to pray. We got you.
Melissa Kruger: I’m good. Pray for grand babies.
Jasmine Holmes: Okay.
Melissa Kruger: Just not right now. Normally we can take pauses and it doesn’t keep recording, so this is a lot more complicated. So today, we’re going to be talking about the topic of spiritual disciplines. And I think when you hear that term, it can seem automatically negative. I’m like, “Discipline, heavy.” And so what I thought we could start talking about first is when have you seen discipline in your life be a good thing? Apart from spiritual disciplines, when have you seen actively working at something over and over and over grow you in a good way?
Jasmine Holmes: So, earlier we were talking about this, and you were talking about sports. And I was thinking about my nerdy homeschool upbringing, and how I have no coordination whatsoever. So instead of sports, mine was piano. I practiced three hours a day and I won a competition.
Melissa Kruger: Can you still play?
Jasmine Holmes: No.
Melissa Kruger: Oh.
Jasmine Holmes: No. In typical nerd fashion, practice three hours a day for six months, got carpal tunnel and had to stop playing piano. I know, right? They’re so sad for me. Thank you.
Jackie Hill Perry: You felt seen.
Jasmine Holmes: I did.
Jackie Hill Perry: I saw. I think when I had my first child Eden, I had gained about 60 or 70 pounds, because I just ate Krispy Kreme every week. And it’s just like that sometimes. And I saw a picture of myself, and I just felt like I looked like a Platypus. And so I thought, “I need to lose some weight.” So I went in my kitchen, and I just started throwing her out everything that had GMOs and extra sugar. I even threw out ketchup, because ketchup is 60 grams of sugar per, it’s a lot. And so I had never seen myself be as disciplined in that way before, but something switched in my head where I was like, “If I want to change my body and my health, I have to become more strict about what I consume.” And so that’s an example.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, I think that’s actually such a good example. Because the junk food tastes good going in, but it doesn’t make your body work well in the long run. But in the short term it feels good, and I can remember that. I grew up playing sports, and I played soccer and they made us run sprints the whole length of the field. And I was like, “Why do I have to run this whole length of the field?” But then when you got in the game, you could actually run for 90 minutes. But it took training for week, after week, after week, and that discipline. But then I could actually have fun. Otherwise, I would have been miserable in the game if we hadn’t have done that. And so I think when we talk about the concept of spiritual disciplines, the goal isn’t misery, the goal is actually a soul that works right. And so when you think about spiritual disciplines, what are they? What do we even mean when we talk about spiritual disciplines?
Jasmine Holmes: Prayer, Bible reading. That’s all I got.
Jackie Hill Perry: Church? I think that’s just a kind of spiritual discipline.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: I got a definition for us.
Jasmine Holmes: Oh, look at you.
Melissa Kruger: I looked it up.
Jasmine Holmes: Oh, okay.
Melissa Kruger: I looked it up. Donald Whitney has a book called Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life. Have you either y’all read that?
Jackie Hill Perry: Never heard of it.
Melissa Kruger: It’s really good. It’s really good. He said, “Spiritual disciplines are those personal and corporate disciplines…” So, personal and corporate disciplines that promote spiritual growth. So it could be a Bible study, it could be corporate worship. It even be I think service in the body. But also our private lives, where we’re praying and we’re in the word and we’re growing in those ways. So as you think about spiritual disciplines like being in the word and prayer, when is it hard for you to put those things in your life? Are there certain seasons, are there certain struggles? How do you get that into your busy life?
Jackie Hill Perry: It’s a struggle every day. I used to think that I would somehow find some balance between work, and marriage, and parenthood, and friendship that could somehow work really neatly together when it came to me looking for Jesus and being spiritually disciplined, and engaging in all these other categories in which I’m called to. But there is no balance, it really is no such thing. And so it’s always hard, yes.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, I agree. It’s always hard. I’ll have seasons where I’m reading my Bible every day and I’m praying every day. But then the spiritual discipline stops working because I’m like, “Oh yeah, I got this.” And then something will happen, and then I’ll fall off the wagon. So for me, I’ve been reading the Bible. I talked about this the last time we were together, reading the Bible in a year.
Jackie Hill Perry: Are you in Zephaniah yet?
Jasmine Holmes: I’m in Ezekiel.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh. And you stayed there?
Jasmine Holmes: I am, I am.
Jackie Hill Perry: Look at you.
Jasmine Holmes: I know. It’s wild.
Jackie Hill Perry: It’s a little weird.
Jasmine Holmes: I was like, “That God said to do what now?”
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, it’s…
Jasmine Holmes: To your body? Okay. Zeke was faithful y’all, yeah. But I fell off the wagon because I was sick. I got pregnant, got sick, stayed sick, still sick. And so I got sick during Isaiah, and I was like, “I’m just going to skip Isaiah.” And I was like, “No, no, no, no. No you’re not.”
Jackie Hill Perry: All scripture is God breathed
Jasmine Holmes: mm-hmm (affirmative). I was like, “You’re going to catch up.” So I was for days, just filling my head with prophets and prophecy. But I caught up, I did. But it was not easy, it was definitely disciplining myself to keep going.
Melissa Kruger: And I think sometimes in those days, especially with Bible reading, with that discipline you feel like, “Well it’s not making any difference, so why does it matter?” Because some of those parts of Isaiah, and you’re like, “What kingdom are we talking about, and what is going on here?” You get so lost. And sometimes I realize I may only pick up one thing the whole time I read it through this year, but maybe next year I’ll pick up something new. I was actually talking to my husband. I was reading Luke and Bible in a year plan this week. And I read this passage, and I was like, “Is that new? Surely I’ve read Luke before.” And Jesus at the end of Luke, right before his crucifixion tells them they need to get swords. And I was like, “I’m don’t remember that. Was this here?”
It’s new. And it’s like every time you read, you’re picking up on a little something new. And so I think there’s this benefit of just even when today might not be great, or you didn’t feel like you learned something. Tomorrow you might, and so you keep at it. It’s like, I don’t know, with exercise. Sometimes you have a really good run, but it probably took four bad runs to get to the good one. And I think that’s true of spiritual disciplines, and I think sometimes we think it should feel good every time. And that is actually what makes us stop from doing it.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I had a wise woman when I had my first daughter. I think that’s when I noticed that the difficulty switched. I think when I was single, there was more time. I did have more space in my brain to be able to engage with real highfalutin doctors and scriptures, stuff like that. But when I had a baby, it’s just like, “Bro, she was crying every hour. I just really don’t want to read this.” But she told me, she said, “Even if you read a sentence and just think about that sentence the entire day, that’s fruitful.” And so it just helped me to see I was putting more of a burden and pressure on myself than God might’ve been. He’s like, “If you just read John 3:16 and meditated on that? That might have more power for the rest of your week than if you read all of Ephesians and ignored it.”
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, that’s a really good point. Because I think sometimes, especially in certain seasons, I think it’s good to say, “What can I do in this season?” Certain seasons, you can go to seminary and you can study more in depth. That’s a really good time where every time I feel like I learned everything after I took the test, that’s that picture of discipline. Once you finally really studied it, you learned it and then you knew it. And I think there needed to be times when we do push ourselves like that, but there also need to be seasons where we can say, “Okay, if I read one chapter a day or one verse a day, and pray and meditate on that, that’s enough for right now.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Would you say that spiritual disciplines are non-negotiables? And if so, why?
Jasmine Holmes: I would definitely say they’re not negotiable. Because God demands our heart, he demands our mind, he demands our church membership as something that’s non-negotiable. Being part of a body, however that looks is non-negotiable. That’s what Christians have been called to in the word. I do think that we can get a little bit… For myself, when I think about the church throughout the history of the world, us having our own personal bibles is this really amazing thing that other Christians didn’t have access to. So I am loathe to say if you don’t read your Bible every day in some capacity, you’re in sin. Because that would be definitely a new rule. But prayerfulness, and Melissa, you’re going to know the passage. Yes, you are, I’m willing it.
Melissa Kruger: Okay, okay.
Jasmine Holmes: Because we wrote about it in that book together, you and me.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s the pregnancy brain right there.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. You and me, in that blue book.
Melissa Kruger: Identity theft.
Jasmine Holmes: Yes. It is the pregnancy brain. Abiding, that’s what I was going to say.
Melissa Kruger: Oh, John? John 15?
Jackie Hill Perry: You’re talking about the grind? You sound emotional Jasmine.
Jasmine Holmes: John 15.
Jackie Hill Perry: Your estrogen is peaking, gollee.
Jasmine Holmes: Well you knew what I said
Melissa Kruger: Yes, John 15.
Jasmine Holmes: Okay.
Melissa Kruger: Abide in me, and I’ll abide in you?
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, that one.
Melissa Kruger: Okay, you’re done. Okay.
Jasmine Holmes: Okay.
Melissa Kruger: But apart from me, you can do nothing. See, our brains together work. And I think that’s a good point. So when you were talking about it being non-negotiable, if we’re not abiding in Jesus, we’re not going to bear fruit. There’s a direct correlation between abiding in him and bearing fruit, or not abiding to him and being a dry branch. And that’s the reality. So it’s not that… There is no angel up in heaven with a star chart saying, “Well, you did your quiet time today, Jasmine.” Yeah-
Melissa Kruger: … star chart saying, “Well, you did your quiet time today, Jasmine. Yeah, I’m going to check it off.” But there is a direct correlation between the fruit that’s born in my life and the time spent in abiding in Jesus.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s what I was going to say.
Melissa Kruger: I knew that’s what you meant.
Jackie Hill Perry: For y’all then, in different seasons of life, what is practically working for you in spending time with God? Do you schedule it? Say, “9:00 a.m., I’m going to meet with Jesus”? Is it super random and sporadic where it’s like, “Oh, I’m washing dishes. Let me listen to Bible Project or something.” What is it?
Melissa Kruger: I’m a pretty scheduled person, but it’s changed when it is. So when I was in high school and college, I used to say, “I just want to read my Bible before I go to bed tonight.” And it was kind of like homework. I really saw it as an act of belief, like I believe there is life in God’s word and so to take hold of that life, I’m going to make a plan. And so I just would say, “Just like you brush your teeth before you go to bed, I’m going to read my Bible before I go to bed.” Now I do it in the morning just because my schedule allows that. When I had young kids, I did it during nap time. And I would always take some time to plan, what am I going to study? Yeah, go ahead.
Jackie Hill Perry: So you didn’t take a nap? You read the Bible instead of going to sleep?
Melissa Kruger: I did.
Jackie Hill Perry: Wow.
Melissa Kruger: I’m sorry.
Jackie Hill Perry: You’re so holy.
Melissa Kruger: I’m not, I’m not there yet.
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m not that holy.
Melissa Kruger: I’m not there yet.
Jackie Hill Perry: Netflix got a lot of documentaries they’ve been dropping and I’ve just been like, “Ooh, let me catch this one.”
Melissa Kruger: During nap time?
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m sorry.
Melissa Kruger: Wow.
Jasmine Holmes: Don’t be sorry.
Jackie Hill Perry: What about you, Jasmine?
Jasmine Holmes: I just turned 31 this week, so I’m trying to be good at my skin.
Melissa Kruger: Happy birthday.
Jasmine Holmes: Thank you. I’m trying to do my skincare routine, because you’re getting older, you’re in your thirties. It’s time to be taking care of yourself. So when I do my skincare routine, seriously, I listened to my Bible. That’s when I do it.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s smart.
Jasmine Holmes: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jackie Hill Perry: I do the Dwell app.
Melissa Kruger: The listening option is a whole new thing. That’s a really nice thing to be able to do, to just put it. Do you have the Dwell app?
Jackie Hill Perry: I love it. I love it.
Melissa Kruger: That’s good. That’s really good.
Jackie Hill Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melissa Kruger: I walked one day, I was in a really bad place. It was a hard situation and I put that on and I just let it read scripture to me. And it was really, really encouraging, all the different accents. It was nice.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, I think sometimes, because I teach and I write and I read as my job, sometimes I approach the Bible that way and I’m immediately thinking, “Oh yeah, how can I use this passage in what I’m teaching on this topic?” Or, “How can I use this passage in the chapter on this topic?” Reading at normal speed instead of reading the fast way that I read, and the looking-for-information way that I read, helps me to slow down and really meditate on the word, because otherwise I can get very, “Get into the chapter, what’s the point? What is it you’re trying to say?”
Jasmine Holmes: Like, “Abimelech, blah, blah, blah, he killed a bunch of people and died.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, I summarize it. Summarize it.
Melissa Kruger: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
Jackie Hill Perry: I think sometimes it might be easier to consume biblical content than it is to pray. And so would you say that you’re praying and engaging with scripture at the same time or you’re having to find spaces in your day to seek God conversationally? Like, how? Because I think for me, I’ve seen that it best suits my heart when both are intertwined.
Because one, trying to understand the scriptures as inspired by the Holy Spirit, it becomes easier when I’ve sought God during it. God helped me, helped me see, helped me understand, helped me see in my own heart, et cetera.
But I also think that after reading the scriptures, you just have more content for what to pray to God with. But it’s not that simple, most of the time.
And so I guess, how have you balanced being able to also speak with God as well as read about God?
Jasmine Holmes: I think for me, especially in the prophets right now, especially in Ezekiel right now, I’ll be, pause the thing and be like, “God, what?” I need wisdom, I need guidance because I don’t understand what’s happening right now.
So I find myself praying for guidance a lot as I read, that I would be able to just pull out the things that are going to help me to glorify God, just pull out the things that are going to help me meditate on him more. So I do. I find myself praying a lot while I’m reading, while I’m in Act.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, that’s good. I feel like I need to grow in bringing prayer into all of my day. We talked about this a few weeks ago in the prayer episode or whenever it was. I listened to it a few weeks ago on the prayer episode, but I feel like I need to grow in that, so I can sometimes just… I have to guard against coming to God with a list and rather let what I’m reading in the scriptures and that meditation help my prayer life. I feel like that’s something I need to work on and do better at.
Jackie Hill Perry: Can I ask you a clarification question? Is it wrong to come to God with a list?
Melissa Kruger: No, no. I hope not, because sometimes, actually what I’ve started doing now, is just writing out the list. Because I get it out and I’m like, “Okay, I did remember to pray for Jasmine, about what she asked me to pray for it.” Sometimes it just helps me to know, when I said it to my friend, I actually did it, just to write their name out, but I also want to sit before the Lord and just say, “What should I pray for? Will you bring to mind someone maybe not on my list that you want me to pray for. That takes time and stillness and that’s hard to do in busy lives.
Jackie Hill Perry: I learned from one woman, she said, “Find something that you do daily and integrate prayer into that.” So if it’s brushing your teeth, not everybody does it daily, but if that’s… I’m saying, no shame. We’ve got mask on, so I’m protected. If it’s brushing your teeth, speak to God while brushing your teeth. If it’s washing dishes, speak to God while washing dishes, this might be TMI. A really great prayer closet for me is not a closet, it’s my shower. One, there’s no phones, there’s no babies, there’s no husband. There’s just me. And so that’s been a really great place for me to just give God a lot and be really honest in a real way.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, no, that’s good to have places, because then it’s a reminder. I know some of my friends do it in a carpool line, and that’s a good place. How do you, when it comes to spiritual disciplines, guard against legalism?
Sometimes as we’re doing our spiritual disciplines, we can start feeling pretty good about ourselves and say, “Well, look at me. I’m so spiritual.” So how do we go after knowing God like that’s a good thing to pursue without thinking that makes us more righteous before God.
Jasmine Holmes: I got this one because I’m a legalist. I was like, “Oh, that’s my sin. I’ve got this.” For I find that God often takes care of it for me. I will be feeling very prideful, like recently, like I said, I was like, “I’m reading the Bible in a year and I’m doing so good.” And then seriously, God told me to get pregnant, because I hate being pregnant. And God was like, “Too bad.”
I did and I got so sick and stopped reading and was just praying, but only praying to not be sick and lost touch with all my friends. I just feel like part of that, obviously, is just making a baby is hard work on your body. But the other part is, God used that to humble me because I had definitely been like, “Oh, I’ve got it down. I’ve got it into my little planner. I’m doing it every day. I’m checking it off my checklist.” And God brought me to a point of need where being in the word wasn’t just for me to check something off my checklist. Abiding with Christ and praying for daily strength was something that I felt like I needed to survive. And so, I don’t know a better trick to not let pride intervene than to let God humble you because he will, he will. It’s a scary prayer to pray, but maybe we need to pray more often.
Jackie Hill Perry: I think we… I choose to remember that I’m doing this so that I can know a person. I’m reading so I can know a person. I’m praying so I could speak with and meet with a person. I am going to church and talking to my brothers and sisters in Christ so that we all, as saints, can reveal and speak to each other and show off a person. I think when it becomes about intimacy and loving Jesus and doing the things that you need to do so you can grow in your love for Jesus, then you actually get distracted because now you’re not even thinking about yourself enough to say, “Oh, I’m doing this so I can be this person.” It literally just becomes about Jesus at that point. So that’s been really helpful for me is to identify the reason why I’m doing it.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. I agree with Jasmine when I fall flat on my face, it is always that moment of, “Huh, I’ve been reading all these passages, but I can’t live them.” And it’s that moment when you say, “Yeah, I can quote the fruit of the spirit: love joy, peace.” Yeah, I can quote it, but then when you’re dealing with a frustrating person who just cut you off when you’re driving and you find yourself so angry or maybe when you’re waiting in line at the [Skywalk], I don’t know if you might have that happen today. Things that might be happening here.
But then I’m like, “Oh, it’s not just reading it. It’s being changed by it.” And so it’s really humbling to say, “No, I need the Spirit’s work, not just to read the words, but then to change me in it.”
I think the other side of the coin, we can go toward legalism, but we can also go toward despair. So sometimes I’ve heard people say, “I just can’t do that. I just can’t read my Bible faithfully. I’m just not that type of Christian. I just can’t pray, and God still loves me.” So they can almost… Or they can go toward despair and say, “I’m just not a good Christian.”
Have you dealt with that side of things too? Like, “Oh, I didn’t do these things and now maybe God won’t love me.” I don’t know.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, I definitely, probably when I was younger, struggled with that, to not check off the checklist and get it done. I think one of the… It’s interesting because the cure is a thing that you’re running away from because the more that you learn about God, the more you learn about who he is, the more you learn about who he loves, the less opportunity despair has to take root in your heart. And so just keeping in mind that despair can be, well shame, can be a tool of the enemy to keep us from going to God. So it turns into the very thing that’s going to heal you is the thing-
Jasmine Holmes: Like the very thing that’s going to heal you, is the thing that you think is going to destroy you. But that’s how Satan has always worked.
Jackie Hill Perry: Come on, here. Sorry, my Pentecostal came out. I’m at TGC, I forgot. I think though… I think there’s always the possibility, not always, but there is also the possibility that underneath the despair is some idols, where I think it should be concerning to you or alarming to you, if you can continue your day-to-day life without any spiritual disciplines. I think that should alert you to, where am I at that this doesn’t concern me, that I haven’t met with God, that I haven’t read his word, that I claim to say that I’m in a relationship, but I’m not doing the things that will help the relationship grow and flourish. I think there’s a way in which someone should say, hmm, maybe there’s some idols underneath this despair, possibly.
Melissa Kruger: That’s good. I want to talk about that. What are the idols that keep us from time with the Lord? What is going on in our hearts? Because I like to say to people, look for a pattern of life, not perfection. Our goal in spiritual disciplines is not… There’s no store chart again, it’s not to be perfect. We’ve already lost that a long time ago, but to have a pattern of life that’s growing toward God. What keeps us, what gets in the way, what makes us say to ourselves, I don’t really need that? Because there’s a reality at some level that it’s unbelief. We’re saying, I believe today I need something else more than God’s word and I need something more than prayer, because I’ve spent my whole day on some other things. What are those things that drive us?
Jackie Hill Perry: I can speak for me. I think one of my biggest struggles is self-sufficiency, but the self-sufficiency comes out of, oh, I know a lot of Bible, so I don’t really need to engage with it today. You’re literally… It’s like a car that thinks it’s okay because it has last year’s gas. It’s like, nah, you need to fill up today, too. I think also busy-ness, or the idol of ambition. You’re filling your time with, I’m an Enneagram three, so I’m just going, and doing, and succeeding, and doing all these things where I filled up my calendar with all this other stuff except the Lord. That shows where my idol is, where my heart is. Those are a few of them.
Jasmine Holmes: I think pride, too. Pride is sneaky. Sometimes pride looks like despair, but it’s actually just like, woe is me, I’m not perfect, and I should be. And even that is just again, another idol, like the idol of our own perfection, the idol of our own checklists.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, and I think one thing I can see with me is sometimes people-pleasing because I say, oh, I’m going to be so at your demands for what you need, and it’s going to look almost Christian. And I’m going to say, well, I’m serving so much. But it’s like Mary and Martha, she’s so busy and she’s upset that Mary’s sitting at Jesus’s feet, and he said, “She’s chosen the better portion. It’s not going to be taken from her.” So I think sometimes even my Christian actions can be reasons that… Yeah, they can actually keep me away from knowing Jesus.
Jackie Hill Perry: My God, I’ll say it out loud, that was so good, Melissa
Melissa Kruger: Thanks, Jackie.
Jackie Hill Perry: You all don’t think that was good? Nobody clapped. Let me say, let me reiterate it for you in churchy terms. She’s saying that sometimes the idol underneath for not pursuing spiritual disciplines, is people-pleasing that looks Christian. Therefore, it’s deceptive, because you think, I’m doing a good thing, but you’re saying, “I’m serving you, but I don’t need to meet with you” My God.
Melissa Kruger: You say that so much better.
Jackie Hill Perry: I didn’t, I just needed to reiterate it in my Pentecostal voice.
Melissa Kruger: That’s good, that’s good.
Jackie Hill Perry: Now, this is a question here that I think is helpful. For your children, all of us have children, not everybody has children, so I want us to be mindful of that, but when it comes to your parenting, what is it that you want to model to your children in how you spend your time?
Melissa Kruger: I didn’t realize how important this was, and you all, if I start crying, I’m sorry. I’m not even pregnant. I can’t say that I have emotions.
Jasmine Holmes: Or are you?
Melissa Kruger: Ship has sailed.
Jasmine Holmes: Ship has sailed.
Melissa Kruger: But I wrote a book called 5 Things to Pray for Your Children, and my daughter Emma, who’s here, actually wrote the forward in it. And one thing she wrote that I didn’t even know is how much our kids are watching us. And she said, “I learned about prayer by… I’d come down every morning and see my mom praying.” And she said, “And that made it seem like the thing you’re supposed to do.” I wasn’t doing that as a teaching lesson, I was doing that because I needed Jesus and I knew he was that oxygen that I needed. But I think so often we can talk about prayer with our kids and we can talk about Bible reading with our kids.
And we can say these things are important, but if they see the pattern of our lives is in opposition to that, our words are always going to ring hollow. It hit me, it didn’t hit me till 19 years in, when she wrote that, oh, that mattered. Not because it was something I was saying, but because our lives really are giving shape to… What does the Christian life look like? I hope it looks like they see us on our knees. I hope it looks like they see us actually reading the word in our homes, that this is our life, that we don’t just do it on Sunday, but that this is really part of our family.
Jackie Hill Perry: What’s hard is, I was talking to my husband Preston, and I was telling him how I wonder if I should be more intentional about reading the Bible in an actual Bible. Because there are times when I’m legitimately reading the Bible on my phone, and I don’t know if my children will grow up being able to discern the difference between me being on social media and me being in the word. Because when I hear the testimonies of people who… I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but when I hear the testimonies of people that did, they always say they saw their parents in a Bible. And I don’t know, I’m not saying it’s a law, but I just wonder if that’s working against the model that I want to show her of a woman that loves God’s word.
Melissa Kruger: I hadn’t even thought about that. That’s a really great point. In our modern world, it’s so easy, but they can’t tell, are you scrolling Instagram, or are you scrolling Jonah? They can’t tell. That’s a good point.
Jasmine Holmes: I think… The other day, my son Wynn had a really hard time at school, because he’s my son, and he got in the car and I was like, “Buddy, what did we do? What happened?” He talked to me about it and I said, “I am really disappointed in you.” And he was like, “Well, do you still love me?” And I was like, “Yes, I still love you.” And he goes, “Does God still love me?” And I was like, “Yes, God still loves you.” And he’s like, “It is so good that God loves me, no matter what.” Which I had never said that to him. It’s not like a discipleship thing that we do every day, where we have a catechism where I’m like, “God loves you no matter what.” But Wynn just will pick up little snatches of things and I’ll just say things like, “Oh, it’s okay, because God loves us no matter what.”
Or like, “It’s okay, because God’s going to take care of it.” And I’ve just noticed how he’s a sponge. He’s four years old, he is a sponge, so even just the way that I talk about God, and I’m a mom who narrates life a lot for my kids all day. Even when they’re newborns, I’m like, “And now we’re going to get your bottle. And now we’re changing your diaper, and now we’re…” Exactly. So the way that we narrate life, I think, really matters in the way that we narrate and teach them about God, even if it’s not in a formalized way, really makes an impact.
Melissa Kruger: And I think… That just reminded me of one thing. It’s just hard to discount the gift you give your child when you take them to church every Sunday, that that becomes the pattern of their life. That makes me think of another question about the Sabbath. I don’t know, do you all have any ways that you do spiritual disciplines on the Sabbath in a different way? How do you set that day aside to say this is a particular day, I can really pursue the things of God? Is that a pattern you have in your home, or any thoughts on that?
Jackie Hill Perry: Not a pattern, no, should be, I guess. This pandemic felt like an entire Sabbath. I was like, man, I’ve never rested so much in my entire life. Maybe Jasmine has a more . . .
Jasmine Holmes: That’s why I didn’t pick up the microphone.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, nevermind.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah.
Jackie Hill Perry: What about you, Melissa?
Jasmine Holmes: Teach us, Melissa.
Jackie Hill Perry: Do you have a Sabbath where you dedicate this particular spiritual disciplines and stuff?
Jasmine Holmes: Tell us what you do.
Melissa Kruger: Huh? I do, because… Sorry.
Jackie Hill Perry: Of course.
Jasmine Holmes: Don’t be embarrassed by your righteousness.
Melissa Kruger: Oh, my gosh.
Jackie Hill Perry: You are a holy woman.
Jasmine Holmes: Do not hide it under a bushel, let it shine.
Jackie Hill Perry: Come on, here. This little light of mine, I’m going… You started bopping.
Melissa Kruger: Okay. One thing I try to do on Sundays that’s a little bit different is, I love to read anyway, so I’m often reading, to be quite honest, other books. I love to read history, I love to read lots of other books, but I try on Sundays to just choose a book to read that will help me spiritually. And I really love the Puritans, I like to go back to old things, and they’re kind of tough. So I might only be able to read three pages because it’s dense material, but I use that as the day to kind of be my reach day. If you were going to have a day where you do sprints while running to push yourselves, or lift a heavier weight, I just try to let Sunday be that day where I say, okay, today, I’m just going to read something a little tougher than maybe what I could read during the week. That’s just one simple thing.
Jackie Hill Perry: Was that something that someone modeled for you, or was that something the Lord led you to do?
Melissa Kruger: I think it… Yeah, that’s a good question. I don’t know where I got that from. I picked it up somewhere, I’m sure, but I don’t know where. I think I just started saying, how can I make the Sabbath a little different?
Jasmine Holmes: She’s just that in tune with the Holy Spirit.
Jackie Hill Perry: She’s great.
Jasmine Holmes: She’s like, “I don’t even know.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Modern-day Jesus, right here.
Jasmine Holmes: Was it a dream, or that time the angel came to me?
Jackie Hill Perry: We’re playing with Melissa. She knows we love her.
Melissa Kruger: I’m going to go off the stage now.
Jackie Hill Perry: You’re blushing under your blush. They just can’t see it. It’s so cute. When you’re busy, all of us are busy in some way, we’re not as busy as we used to be, but I do think that as things are opening up, I’m starting to see my calendar begin to return to its old fashion, and I don’t like it. How do you realize that you are simply too busy to engage in spiritual disciplines? How do you even discern that?
Melissa Kruger: When I stop doing them.
Jackie Hill Perry: Okay.
Melissa Kruger: Well let me… Actually, here’s what I will say, I do think there are certain signs, like when you’re hungry, your stomach growls and you know you need food.
Melissa Kruger: … stomach growls and you know you need food. So I think spiritually, one thing I start noticing is I get really annoyed and I get real angry and I’m snapping at everybody around me and yelling at my kids. Then suddenly I’m like, “Oh, maybe I haven’t eaten.” I can see signs of what I call spiritual hunger in my life. Your friend’s really annoying all of a sudden. You start seeing it in your life. I start seeing the lack of fruit. I see myself as a driver, it’ll branch, and I’m like… I used to feel really condemned by that and I used to say, “Oh, I’m just not a good Christian.” Now I say, “I just need Jesus,” and I’m never going to graduate from that. I’m never going to have a day when I don’t need Jesus. When I just accepted that, it was like, “Oh, well, now I know the solution. It’s not to try to be the perfect Christian. It’s to know Jesus.” So it changed it.
Jasmine Holmes: I think times of refreshment can illustrate it, too. Phillip and I were in the hotel room yesterday and we just been going back and forth and having really good banter and nobody had gotten offended by anybody’s banter. He was like, “Man, we are different when we’re not at home with those crazy kids.” I was like, “Yeah, yeah. We haven’t been really faithful in setting aside time.” We’d spend time together on the couch and we’re in the same bed at night, but going out to eat. We used to go out on dates together pre-pandemonium and just… I’ve been calling it pancetta.
Jackie Hill Perry: Pancetta, panora.
Jasmine Holmes: Pandora, panorama.
Jasmine Holmes: Somebody was like, “Do you call the placenta because you love birth?” I was like, “I haven’t yet, but I will.”
Jasmine Holmes: But just that time of refreshment illustrated for us that we needed to incorporate it more as a rhythm. So sometimes I’ll go to a conference like this or it happens to me every time I visit your church, every time John O preaches a sermon, I’m like, “Lord, I have not been in the word enough.” Okay.
Jackie Hill Perry: Okay, man.
Jasmine Holmes: Okay. Thank you, John. So yeah, I think times of dryness and times of refreshment can both illustrate that it means to become more of a daily pattern.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I begun to notice or began to notice that I knew I was too busy when, one, I just had more anxiety. I would look at my calendar and literally feel myself get anxious and tense. But I also noticed when I don’t have anything to give my family, where it’s like all of my energy and my thinking and my strategizing is going towards this thing or this book or this whatever, and then I come home and I want to rest from them. Where it’s like, “Oh man, I shouldn’t be giving more of my time and my love to something that will not give me a legacy, my family in particular, or my church even.” We ain’t been to church yet because they just opened up last week, but that’s neither here nor there. Anxiety and just not giving people that I love what they deserve.
Melissa Kruger: That’s a great point. I remember my husband and I, we would do these six months planning schedules, and for years I left them crying because we’d look at our calendar and every weekend was so packed for the whole six months, or we had committed to things two years before and now you have to do it. Finally I started to realize I just need to say no so that I can… You have to say no, so you can say yes to what matters in your life. That’s the first discipline, is saying no to a really good thing. Good opportunities, sometimes, to always choose the better portion. I think that probably sums up spiritual disciplines, like how do we… I think you have to not think about just how do I want to live, but what do I say no to so that I can have that life?
I think we would all say this, what I can promise when I… I do think sometimes this topic can seem intimidating or heady or something like this, it will fuel love for Jesus. So these things may sound like things to do or a check-off list, but we know it’s a relationship with Christ and that this is how you have life abundantly. So I always feel like I’m not telling you to go mop the floor. I’m telling you to go eat a feast. So that’s what spiritual disciplines help us do.
So I’m going to end us there and transition us to favorite things.
Jasmine Holmes: The closer?
Melissa Kruger: closer?
Jasmine Holmes: The closer
Jackie Hill Perry: Right.
Melissa Kruger: Is that okay? Favorite things for today. Are you all ready for this one? Did you know? Did you even look at it?
Jasmine Holmes: Sure, I did. Yeah.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: Okay. What’s your favorite modern convenience that wasn’t available 20 years ago?
Jackie Hill Perry: So that’s 2002.
Melissa Kruger: Wow.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s crazy, because when I think 20 years, I think ’85 or something, you know?
Melissa Kruger: I thought that windshield 1980.
Jackie Hill Perry: I don’t think 2000 anything.
Jasmine Holmes: Why did you say that?
Jackie Hill Perry: My God.
Melissa Kruger: That’s awful.
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m going to say microwave. I don’t know.
Jasmine Holmes: Literally, I was, like, the internet.
Jackie Hill Perry: Telephones. 2002. What was invented? I guess social media. No, internet was already here.
Melissa Kruger: Google wasn’t, I don’t think. Was Google-
Jasmine Holmes: It was here. But the iPhone wasn’t here, right? No?
Melissa Kruger: Let’s say 30 years.
Jackie Hill Perry: 30 years. Okay. That’s better.
Jasmine Holmes: 30 years. Okay.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s ’91.
Jasmine Holmes: ’91. Yeah.
Jackie Hill Perry: Okay. I don’t know.
Jasmine Holmes: I just got this Apple watch and I like it a lot. Okay. So Philip bought me this Apple watch and so I have… My phone will be in my pocket and I’ll be like, “Where’s my phone?” and then I’ll play the alarm, be like, “Oh, there it is. Got it.” So that’s-
Melissa Kruger: I don’t think I knew it could do that.
Jasmine Holmes: I will show you.
Melissa Kruger: Okay. Okay. That’s good.
Jasmine Holmes: It’s so good. Phillip. Sorry, Mike.
Jackie Hill Perry: You know something? I’ve lived in LA, Chicago, and now I’m in Atlanta. So I’ve been in cities that I wasn’t born in a lot. Therefore, I needed to know my way around. Every time I pull up my GPS, I’m so thankful because I remember when we used to have to go to MapQuest and print them things out. Before that, when I would go on trips, my mama would go to the store and get a little map and look at the little red lines to find out where we supposed to go. I say, “How did people make it in the world without a GPS doing turn by turn directions?” They even talk to you, Melissa. “Make a left, Jackie.”
Melissa Kruger: I know.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s a blessing.
Jasmine Holmes: They do it on their phone.
Jackie Hill Perry: I don’t want that.
Jasmine Holmes: They do it on your phone.
Jackie Hill Perry: The people become slaves to their phone, which mess with that thing.
Jasmine Holmes: . . . on your watch.
Jackie Hill Perry: Notification, everybody wants me. I would feel so needed.
Jasmine Holmes: We get it, Jackie. I have a lot of friends that text you. That’s the conflict episode. We stop there. I’m going to say something that is stupid, but it’s my seat warmer in my car. I love a seat warmer in my car when it’s cold and I get in.
Melissa Kruger: That’s not stupid
Jasmine Holmes: But I need the GPS, too.
Jackie Hill Perry: So they didn’t have that in the ’80s? There wasn’t a thing?
Jasmine Holmes: I don’t think so.
Jackie Hill Perry: I wasn’t here.
Jasmine Holmes: Maybe I’ve just been driving old, old cars for a long time.
Jackie Hill Perry: I don’t know.
Jackie Hill Perry: Now they have seat with air in it. Yeah.
Jasmine Holmes: I don’t have that yet.
Melissa Kruger: I have a 2000… We drive a 2002 Toyota Sequoia, and it does not have a seat warmer or the little cord that you can listen to your phone with in the car. So there you go. That’s mine. That’s mine. You want to close us, Jackie?
Jackie Hill Perry: Time to close. It’s the most awkward close in the world.
Melissa Kruger: You’ve got 19 seconds. 15 seconds, no pressure.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s it for this special, live…
Y’all not supposed to laugh now. That’s it for this special, live episode of Let’s Talk. Let’s Talk is a podcast from the Gospel Coalition Podcast Network. The Gospel Coalition supports the church in making disciples of all nations by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise, and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Melissa Kruger: Thanks, y’all.
Jackie Hill Perry: Amen.