There is so much freedom in recognizing that we are not enough, yet we are bombarded with a message to the contrary. Jesus is our enough-ness, and when we believe that, we can walk in the rest of His plan for us. All we need to do is look to the cross, and that tells us all we need to know about our value. Today in part 2 we’re talking about the fourth and fifth myths culture is telling us. I know you’ll love Allie. She’s one of my favorite millennials!
Podcast transcription is below.
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Allie Beth Stuckey is host of the Blaze Media podcast “Relatable,” where she tackles theological, cultural and political issues from a conservative, millennial perspective. Stuckey speaks to college students, Republican organizations, Christian ministries, and businesses across the country about the importance of biblical and conservative values. She also offers frequent commentary on Fox News. She and her husband welcomed their first baby in July 2019. This is her first book.
Hey, everybody. This is Heidi St. John. Welcome to Off The Bench. I’m really excited. you guys are here today because today I’m going to air part two of my interview with author and podcaster, Allie Stuckey. Allie is here to talk about her new book, You’re Not enough and That’s Okay, and we’re going to go through the second part of five myths that we’re believing in the culture today. These are myths that are popularized by the culture of trendy narcissism, and they reveal what is happening in the politics and in our churches. This is a fascinating conversation. Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
Let’s look at myth number four. This is a big one. You’re going to make some enemies, Allie Beth. I’m not going to lie to you right now. Okay. Myth number four: You’re entitled to your dreams. Why am I not entitled to my dreams? Tell me why.
[ALLIE] Well, we have been told, I would say my generation especially has been told that not only can you do anything that you want to do, but you will be able to do anything you want to do, and if you can’t do something that you want to do, it might not be your fault. We are convinced a lot of us in this everybody gets a trophy world.
[HEIDI] Yeah. I was just going to say, and a trophy and you get a trophy and you get a trophy. Yeah.
[ALLIE] Yes. We are convinced that we must have the dream life that we have always wanted to have and not just eventually, but fairly quickly. So, if we are not paid what we want to be paid, but also doing the job that completely fulfills us and meets all of our demands and talents, not only do we feel unfulfilled because that’s kind of normal, but a lot of people, I wouldn’t say any of my friends, but a lot of millennials feel that that is unfair.
It is evidence of an injustice in the system because we should be able to live whatever life we want to live immediately after college, no questions asked, and for the Christian, we don’t believe that we’re entitled to anything. Nowhere in God’s Word does He say that you are entitled to the dream life that you want or that your dreams are going to come true. They might, and that’s wonderful and awesome if that’s what God has planned for your life, but you might have in mind that you want to be a famous pianist or something, and that’s not what He has in the cards for you, and God doesn’t say that you’re supposed to put all your thumbs and complain until you get there, but He says, “In whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it to the glory of God and work as for the Lord, not for man.”
That is what God calls us to do, to do things excellently that are right in front of us, and we might get our dream job one day. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with hoping for that, and working towards that, as long as that’s not becoming your identity or your idol, but we are called to have joy and to work hard in the things that are right in front of us.
I can say as someone who has a wonderful job that I love, that I do feel fulfills me in a lot of ways and checks off so many of the boxes that I’ve always had for my job, it’s still, once you get there, it’s not going to be enough. You’re still going to wonder, “What would it be like if I wasn’t doing this? Could I get this next thing or reach this next goal or go this different direction?” or “I still feel anxious. I still don’t feel satisfied. I still don’t know if I’m enough.” All of these feelings of insecurity that you feel in the job that you don’t like, you’re still going to feel in the job that you like. Again, not necessarily wrong, not wrong to pursue those things and to hope for those things, but to realize you’re not entitled to those things, and we are called to be obedient and work excellently and joyfully in the here and now, no matter what our job is.
[HEIDI] Well, I love that you said that we have been instructed because, again, we take our truth and our instructions from the Word of God, whatever you do, we’re supposed to do it for the glory of God. God is resolutely committed to his own glory, not to mine, not to yours. He’s committed to his own glory. Large part of the reason why I think the church is really under judgment right now in the United States, we have not been given, we’ve not been given glory to the Lord. We are giving glory to lots of other things. It’s evident right now. We’re seeing this play out in the church.
Something that you said that I want to go back to because I wrote it down, and I know that you didn’t necessarily mean to camp out on this, but I was like, “Oh, no. There’s a good lesson in that.” You were talking about people who are wishing they feel entitled to this job or that job. Disclaimer, I actually worked my way through college at Taco Bell. Not the most amazing job in the whole wide world, and I wasn’t there for very long, but it taught me some really good lessons. I should write a book, What I Learned at Taco Bell. I learnt a lot of things.
It was actually good for me. Was it my dream job? No. Did I want to stay there after, actually after the first shift? No, I actually didn’t, but something I noticed that you said was that not any of your friends are, they’re not … Basically, what you’re saying is you don’t hang around with people who feel self-entitled and have a bad attitude. The Bible says that bad company corrupts good character. I think this is a really good point. I know maybe you didn’t necessarily mean to make it, but I think it’s such a great point for the parents listening. It actually matters who your kids hang out with.
If the Bible teaches us that bad company corrupts good character, if your kids are hanging out with other kids who are self-entitled and live in for likes on Instagram and all these things, that actually is going to have a pretty devastating effect on your kids long term. Would you agree with that, Allie?
[ALLIE] Yes. I absolutely agree with that. That’s not a point that I make in the book, but think it’s an excellent, an excellent thing to point out. I do think that you just gravitate to like-minded people, not that all my friends are exactly the same, but when I think about it, the people that I’ve worked with, the people that I worked with at my first job, I was just so fortunate to have such wonderful coworkers and having a good attitude and wanting to work hard was a high priority and a high value at that particular workplace.
A lot of those people are still my friends, the friends that I have from high school and college, all working hard in their jobs. Now, do we all have days where we’re like, “I don’t like what I’m doing right now,” or “This happened. It was unfortunate,” or “I wish I was doing this.” Of course, we do, but this attitude of everything is unfair and stacked against me, and I deserve more, I deserve better. No. I don’t have friends like that, and I also don’t have people who work for me that are like that.
That’s just another piece of encouragement for people out there, especially young people who are going into jobs. Bosses don’t like that attitude. I don’t care how “progressive” we get as a society. Employers don’t want that kind of employee who feel like they don’t have to work for the next thing. Ambitious, yes. Hard working, yes. Looking towards the next goals, sure. But entitlement? No one wants to work with or have that person work for them who has that attitude of entitlement. It’s not glorifying to God either.
[HEIDI] No, it’s not, and it’s so interesting because what we’re seeing pushed in the culture right now is entitlement. I am entitled to healthcare. I am entitled to whatever it is. Affirmative action, really, is entitlement, right? It’s a form of entitlement, but you make such a good point. Even the most progressive liberal professor who is employing people is not going to … That is not a virtue. They’re not going to look for that in an employee, but yet, these are the kinds of things that we’re promoting as good for our kids. Boy, it’s an upside down. We’re living in an upside down world right now, fell down the rabbit hole.
All right. Myth number five. This is another really great one. You can’t love others. I think this might be Oprah. I’m not sure. You can’t love others until you love yourself. Now, that sounds really good on its face, but it’s based on a lie. Tell us why that’s a myth.
[ALLIE] Yes. So, this is also, I would say in the church as well, it comes from a misinterpretation of Jesus said to love your neighbor as you love yourself, which means you have to love yourself before you love your neighbor, but that has been a myth and a horrible interpretation that has been debunked for many, many years. C. S. Lewis wrote about this in Mere Christianity that when Jesus tells us that we are to love our neighbor as ourself, that love that he is talking about is not affection. It’s not self-confidence. It’s not self-esteem.
So, he’s not saying— once you can look in the mirror and accept yourself and feel good about yourself in all of your flaws, then you can go out and love your neighbor in the same way. Jesus isn’t talking about affection. He’s talking about it’s the same kind of love in Ephesians 5 when the Bible tells husbands to love their wives as they love themselves, for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it. It is that kind of survival-based instinctive love that Jesus is talking about.
So, in the same way that you naturally inherently are born with a love for yourself that manifests itself in self-preservation, you are always seeking to quench your thirst, you are seeking to satisfy your hunger, you are seeking safety, you are seeking some kind of happiness or fulfillment. This is instinctive for all of us. We don’t have to be taught to be self-interested. We are self-interested from birth. In the same way that you are interested in fixated on meeting your own needs, that is how you are to love your neighbors.
Seek after their wellbeing in the same way that you seek after yours. Seek to quench their thirst, satisfy their hunger, make sure that they are taken care of and safe. All the things that you naturally do for yourself, also do for your neighbor. That does not mean that you have to always like your neighbor. That doesn’t mean that you always want to be best friends with your neighbor. That’s not the kind of love Jesus is talking about.
So, our love for other people is not predicated on how we feel about ourselves that day because the love that we have for our neighbor is not based on feelings, it’s based on a decision to love them as instinctively as we naturally love and preserve ourselves. This idea that you have to have a certain amount of self-esteem before you can love other people, turned a word that people really liked nowadays is privilege. Well, I would say this is a very privileged argument thinking that, “Okay. I have to make sure that I have the right amount of self-love before I can go out and feed the homeless, I can go out and fight sex trafficking, before I can go out and help other people who need help.”
While we are trying to think that we are awesome or look in the mirror and like what we see, there are people who are hungry. There are people who are thirsty. There are people who are disabled and who need our help, who need our love, who need our resources and our time and our energy. Are we really going to wait until we have the right amount of self-esteem to go out and help people who are really in need?
I mean, that is such a small minded, narrow view of what love is and how we are called to act as Christians. God says that we’re supposed to deny ourselves to take up our cross and to follow Him. Again, this is a liberating reality that we get to do that now. We get to deny ourselves now. We don’t have to wait around for that. If we are in Christ, we don’t have to wait around to go out and love other people. We don’t have to wait around to go out and serve other people. We don’t have to worry about how we feel about ourselves before we go out and love other people.
That includes your family. That includes your spouse. That includes everyone who is around you. You get to do that right now because the Bible also says that it’s the love of Christ that compels us to do those things, not the love for ourself, the love for our Christ. Self-love is flimsy. It’s ever-changing. It is superficial. It’s unreliable, but Christ’s love— which compels us to love other people well— is reliable. It is steadfast. It is unchanging. It’s unconditional and it never runs out. So, again, that shift in perspective is so freeing to go from what sounds good to what is actually good according to what God says is good.
[HEIDI] Yeah. That’s exactly right. You’ve done a great job of just outlining what the problem is with the crazy sort of upside-down culture that we’re living in right now, this culture of self-love, and it’s everywhere. Before I wrap this up, I want to ask you a question. It’s not necessarily in my outline today, but I know there are so many people listening to this. A lot of new listeners, especially during the Rona, we’ve been talking a lot about what’s happening in the culture. I know there’s a lot of people that are feeling really discouraged right now. A lot of people who are out of work, people who are worried about the direction of our country. I’m hearing a lot of solutions being thrown around. It’s my humble belief as I spend time with the Lord and read His Word. God never deviates from His Word, and He said that He is The Healer. He said that if we will call in His name He will hear us and He will answer our prayers, and He’ll heal our land.
When you talk to parents, and even your fellow millennials who are struggling with what’s happening right now, what is the hope that we have? Is it in politics? Is it in books? What is it? Where is the hope that we can turn to?
[ALLIE] Our hope is certainly not in politics or any politician, although I do, of course, I believe that it’s important to vote. There are hundreds of thousands of men and women who have given their lives for us to be able to exercise that right and that privilege, which most people around the world will never be able to exercise.
[HEIDI] That’s right.
[ALLIE] I do believe that it’s important to vote. That means it’s important to understand what’s going on, on a local level. That means it’s important to understand the issues as best as you can. I always look at a wide array of sources to try to get the whole story and not allow headlines to dictate what I feel or think. Also, even if we do all of those things, even if we know everything that’s going on, we vote, we make sure that we know who our elected officials are. We make sure that we know what’s going on in the public school system in our area. Even if we do all of those things, we do so not with the obsession over our own control over the future, because we don’t have that.
Yes, we’re called to work and to try to make better the things that are in front of us, but we understand that we are working with that peaceful confidence that God is completely and totally sovereign. At no point has God, in 2020, or ever, but especially in 2020, at no point has God looked down and said, “What the heck is going on?” So surprised by that.
[HEIDI] I was so shocked by that.
[ALLIE] Yes. God has never been taken off guard. He has never been shocked. He has never been surprised. He plans and purposes all of it. He doesn’t come in later to pick up the mess. As all of this craziness is going on outside of our window, and on Twitter, and Instagram and all of this, God is working. Remember that God’s work, all the things that He is doing, drawing people to Himself, using Christians as the hands and feet of Jesus to serve other people and to share His gospel, glorifying Himself. That stuff doesn’t make headlines. That stuff doesn’t make the nightly news. That stuff doesn’t trend on Twitter. That doesn’t mean that it’s not happening.
What I try to remind Christians of is the realest reality is not what you watch on Fox News or any news network. It’s not what you see on Twitter. It’s not what you read in the New York Times. The realest reality that we exist in, that all people, but especially we as Christians exist in is God’s eternal plan of redemption that has never stopped moving forward from the beginning of time. That has never slowed down, has never taken a detour, has never hit a bump in the road, or reached an obstacle. It has gone forward exactly how God has always predestined that it was going to, and that will not change.
Another piece of encouragement is that, it’s scary, I think, to think of persecution against the church and we are worried about our kids growing up in an unfree country. Maybe where they don’t have freedom of religion. Maybe they don’t have freedom of speech. There’s a reason to be concerned with all of that. I would just remind people that the church, the true church of God is refined by fire, not destroyed by fire.
[HEIDI] That’s right. That’s great.
[ALLIE] I do believe that we are seeing a pruning of the church, that cultural Christianity will die in our lifetimes, which is scary in some ways, because that means that Christian culture is not in the mainstream and is not affecting mainstream conversations anymore. It also means that the true church has the ability to shine, and that is a reason to rejoice, and of course, we rejoice and hope in the reality of heaven, that we have an eternal glory that is far outweighing all of the misery of today, and one day we won’t have to worry about politics, or controversy, or my truth and your truth. God will rule in perfect peace and all of His enemies will be defeated. We have that to look forward to.
[HEIDI] Yeah, we really do. That’s the hope that we have. It’s not an excuse for us to stay off the battlefield. I’m always telling people, “Get off the sidelines, get onto the front lines.” So much of what’s happening in the culture right now is because the church has remained silent. I so appreciate your willingness to really step into the fray. It’s not that much fun. I think sometimes people look at it and go, “Oh, it must be neat, the podcast, you’ve got this, you’ve got…” It’s not very much fun. A lot of times to get death threats and people constantly telling you that you’re ugly and you’re stupid. We know too that at the end of the day, God has called each of us first to be obedient, and so it’s looking forward to heaven, and that’s really what we’re doing. We’re like, “Lord, help us to do what you want us to do here on earth,” and we’re looking forward, we really are, to His return.
Allie Beth, it’s been a joy to have you. Where can people find your book, because it’s releasing really soon, August 11th.
[ALLIE] Yeah, August 11th. So everyone can just go to alliebethstuckey.com/book. That is where you will be able to find all of the different places where you can buy it.
[HEIDI] I love it. You guys, the name of the book is, You’re Not Enough (And that’s okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love. It was really written, I think, for such a time as this. Allie Beth, thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s been a delight to have you.
[ALLIE] Thank you so much for having me.
[HEIDI] For more information on Allie Beth Stuckey and all the things that she’s doing to impact the culture in the name of Christ, you can go to heidistjohn.com/podcast, and I will link back to all things, Allie Beth, in the show notes today. Don’t forget, we’ve started a brand new Bible study at MomStrong International. Join the community there. We’ve got about 17,000 of you now writing God’s Word out with us every month. You guys, we are called to be stewards of the word of God who can rightly divide and defend His Word. We love you guys.