How Julie K. Rhodes Thinks About Balancing High Achievement with God's Unconditional Love

Julie K. Rhodes [00:00:00]:
You think about your own kids and how you would encourage them to structure their day and take care of their bodies and make time for play and rest the way that you would want your kids to live their lives in the pattern. I think God has a very similar heart for all of us in our work lives, and we are the ones who are like, no, I'm going to do more with the talents you've given me. He's like, don't kill yourself.

Kenny Lange [00:00:32]:
Welcome to the how leaders think podcast, the show that transforms you by renewing your mind and giving you new ways to think. I am your host, Kenny Lang, and with me today is the Julie K. Rhodes. The extra k is for. I honestly, I don't know. Maybe she'll reveal it later on in the episode, but I'm partial to the letter. She is a Texas based actor and author, so she's a double threat. Her book, Chronic Grace, Prayers, Saints, and Thorns that Stay, which was published in 2023, is a spiritual memoir tackling the bewildering new normal of chronic illness.

Kenny Lange [00:01:08]:
You can catch Julie on the next season of Amazon Primes. Redeem tv's vindication. Welcome to the show, Julie.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:01:17]:
Thank you. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Kenny Lange [00:01:21]:
Absolutely. Well, you did such a wonderful job presenting your book and the concepts, and it was, you know, particularly timely for me at our c suite for Christ group that let's dig more into it, and I'm excited to chat. Plus, I don't know that many actor authors, so now I feel like I could say, like, do you know, Julie? Oh, you don't? Well, you're just. You're just not in the know. I want to start waving that around.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:01:50]:
I mean, I don't know how far that's really going to get you, but great.

Kenny Lange [00:01:53]:
Maybe I can get a free celsius or something somewhere. Well, tell me, Julie, what? There it is. What is on your mind?

Julie K. Rhodes [00:02:04]:
Well, honestly, what's been preoccupying my life the past week has been the passing of my grandmother. I'm so sorry. And all of. Thank you. But all of the questions that that raises for us when we say goodbye to someone we love, especially someone who has lived such an iconic life that we aspire to and want to emulate. And I have just spent a lot of time this week in my memory and in her house and with my family, rehashing the years, the traditions, the patterns that she instilled and the person that she was, and then celebrating that, of course, at the funeral and then separately, like around the dinner table with our family. And so it has been one of those really sacred positives in life where you kind of take yourself out of the river, the flow of schedule and obligations and things, and you kind of just look at the river as a whole and watch it go and ask yourself, where am I in this? And am I living along that path that she. That she did? Am I going to have this sort of home cooking someday? So it has not been morbid at all.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:03:26]:
It has been so profoundly precious and sweet and reflective. And, you know, it's just making me think a lot about what it means to have a quote unquote successful life and what that looks like. It needs to look like. My life is going in a thousand different directions right now. I have two teenagers at home. Like you said, I'm an actor. I'm an author, writer. So I'm doing these two, like, impossible careers in time, for some reason.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:04:00]:
I don't know. Just thought it'd be fun, I guess. Overachiever, I guess. You know, what are the measures of success in those silos of my life, and do they add up to a composite success, looking back? And so this is what I'm thinking about right now, and pondering and thinking about the things that were said at her funeral. None of them had to do with metrics of success that I tend to use with my own life. She did not have a high powered career. She was a homemaker and an active part of her community and her church. And everything that people were saying about her was her countenance, her openness, the peace with which she interacted with people.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:04:57]:
I remember the way I felt her anticipatory delight in me. I went to her house knowing she expected to be delighted by me. It was like this really proactive way of loving people, as she expected the best and looked for the best and found the best, and it elevated all of us to live the best version of ourselves when we were around her. So she really exemplified unconditional love. And the person she was as a whole is what I would call successful. And I don't often apply that to who I am and what I'm trying to do every day when I set the alarm and hit my to do list.

Kenny Lange [00:05:46]:

Julie K. Rhodes [00:05:47]:
And set my goal right and, like, measure my auditions and my bookings and how many books I've sold and how many hits I've got in my whatever. Like, I have all of these silos, and none of that is adding up to what I think at the end of my life. I'm going to, like, look back and say, well, I feel really good about that.

Kenny Lange [00:06:09]:
Right. Maybe that's, um. Man, there's a lot there. There's a lot I want to. I want to tease out, so, lord help my memory, but I. This is for reasons maybe we can discuss after the interview, that this is a somewhat timely conversation, but you hear this sort of thing from certain leadership, thought leaders, which feels redundant, repetitive, and I immediately felt stupid saying that phrase. But the. Well, you know, at the end of your life, you know, what.

Kenny Lange [00:06:52]:
What are you going to be remembered for? And, you know, write your obituary and then, you know, live backwards from that? And what would 85 year old you say about this? Or think, ten years? There's all these exercises, and I do know that there are some people who live them, or they may espouse them, but I loved the picture you painted about. Well, this really sort of pulled me out of the flow of life, and I had to look at the river as a whole instead of just the section I'm swimming in. Right. And if you're a high achiever, which our listeners are, that's who this is aimed at. I would consider myself that we were joking about being an overachiever, but you tend to like, this is the goal, this is the thing. I am here, and when I get this done, I'll move on to the next thing, because it just feels like step on step and that. See, I think the trick is it sort of works, or at least gives the illusion that it's working for us. But what I hear you saying is maybe all of the bluster of activity, the achievements, the things, they're good and you should be proud of them, right? And other people should delight in those things.

Kenny Lange [00:08:14]:
But it sounds like maybe there's a different filter by which you are passing the achievements, the goal setting, the activity, the progress that you're making as a professional, as an achiever, as a leader, that's maybe causing you to say, well, maybe this isn't as important or valuable as I once thought. And. And maybe how do you. How do you think this will stick? Because obviously it's fresh. But how does this sort of, hey, this is a great moment, a gift from God, so to speak, to reflect and reconsider some things. But I think we waste these moments too often. And I'm curious what you've thought about. How does this stick with me and change me for the better?

Julie K. Rhodes [00:09:05]:
Yeah, well, first of all, I mean, I'm not called to be my grandmother. We have very different giftings and very different opportunities in education. And I have a very different personality and I'm not called for my life to look like hers.

Kenny Lange [00:09:19]:

Julie K. Rhodes [00:09:19]:
So I think it's up to each of us to acknowledge humbly the gifts we've been given and the privileges we have. And I think to your point, there is nothing wrong with progressing in a trajectory that you have set out for yourself. You know, we hear a lot about the talents that were given to the people in the parable. And this person got this number of talents, this person got a little bit more, this person got much more. And that parable is often, I think, misappropriated to say, well, this means that if I've been given, for instance, the gift of education, that I need to achieve a higher level of success than maybe my parents did, or if I'd been given a certain amount of finances, then I need to end my life with a higher balance sheet than I started with. We sort of, I think, rightly want to do right by. We feel the weight of privilege and responsibility, and I think there is a place to bury responsibly steward that in our lives. I'm talking about the motivation.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:10:31]:
And I think a lot of the times for me, the motivation is ego and it's notches in my belt. And success is just another proof to me that I'm a valuable human being instead of my relationship with God. The unconditional love I know I have from God, I tend to need to earn all of that. And I think what comes then is this phonetic spinning on the hamster wheel. And so while the outward results might be the same, we might have similar outcomes. We're not going to end up as similar people at the end of our lives. I think some of us will end up, and I'm in danger of this burnt out, exhausted, bitter, disillusioned with life. And I think some of us who are operating from a core of unconditional love have the opportunity to end up filled with gratitude and a sense of peace, that we have given our best and have perhaps lived up to some of those expectations, or maybe not, but that's not the most important thing about us.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:11:48]:
Most important thing about it is that we are a conditionally loved and that we have shown unconditional love in whatever area of leadership, business, family, nonprofit, ministry we have been given.

Kenny Lange [00:12:02]:
Gotcha. I'm curious, being that you've been an actor for some time and now an author, you're getting to interact with people and run in circles where. Where people are, that they have achieved a lot, they've worked hard. They've gotten to a particular place. I mean, to get to be on a show that's going to be out on a major thing, like, that's no small feat. Right? So you're surrounded by great talent, and I love the parable of the talents. Like, don't waste it. But in misappropriating that and saying, well, you've got to finish here, you've got to do this.

Kenny Lange [00:12:49]:
If this is, you know, to whom much is given, much is expected, or something like that from Spider man. So what you were talking about the fact that you could be in danger of, you know, moving so frenetically, so powerfully, like, you've got this momentum, you've got this energy, this drive in you, this motivation, which I love getting into motivation. I'm an Enneagram fan, and I use it in my practice, and so I love distinguishing motivations from behaviors. But has it been your experience that people who say are high achievers, leaders, that they're probably more in danger of that burnout, that I. I'm not living from a place of unconditional love. I'm out earning it? Then maybe those who don't have that internal engine, not meaning to disparage anybody else, but you can kind of tell people who have high drive and people who don't. So can you talk to the person with the high drive that maybe says, I do feel so driven. I acknowledge that maybe I am on the brink or I'm headed for a burnout.

Kenny Lange [00:14:11]:
I want to believe that I'm unconditionally loved, but life has not taught me that that is true, and I struggle to accept it. What do you say to that person?

Julie K. Rhodes [00:14:29]:
Wow, that's a good question. You know, fostering a sense of the eternal and of unconditional love is a practice. It is not something that comes naturally. And especially, for instance, the neogram three, which maybe a lot of your listeners are, who are enslaved to. To do lists like I am and to quarterly goals. We have a very natural knee jerk reaction of who am I? What am I worth if I am not hitting these marks? And I think the first step is to acknowledge that propensity in us, and we also have propensities to discipline, to the to do list, to our very structured routines. And we should just acknowledge those are disciplines and habits that come very naturally to us, that there are disciplines and habits that don't, that we need to perhaps foster more intentionally? Because I think human nature can tend toward inwardly focused energies. We are just naturally inwardly focused on ourselves, on our environment, on our immediate needs.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:15:54]:
And I think to break out of that requires some intentionality. But the good news is for high achievers, we're good at like new goals and setting new disciplines. And I think, don't resist that in your personality, if that's part of your personality, apply that to more beneficial spiritual practices, for instance. I get more into this in my book, but there are prayer practices and very practical disciplines going back hundreds of years that we in modern day, frankly, just don't know about. And I think our churches have not been great about educating us in some of these ways. But there are very easily accessible routines that we can get into to access our belovedness in God through Christ in ways that since getting well and coming back into full health and being able to work again, I have come to rely on in like more irreplaceable ways in my schedule. So. And we can get into what those are.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:17:05]:
Yeah, but you know, it doesn't. I think that often a lightning bolt will hit us and we will feel the presence of God or we will, you know, get these moments of inspiration. Oftentimes suffering instigates these things. Sometimes we can't access. Ironic. I don't. I think that sometimes we can't access the belovedness we have in God without suffering. That's a very uncomfortable dynamic that I wish was not true, but I believe is true.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:17:32]:
And it's proven itself true over history. And so I think difficulty in life will provide some of us an opportunity for that. I think disciplines of a spiritual nature can help us access those things. So there's hope for us. There's hope for us. Overachiever.

Kenny Lange [00:17:54]:
There's hope. There we go. Maybe we just found the title of the episode. Hope for overachievers.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:18:03]:
Yeah, I would love for overachievers.

Kenny Lange [00:18:05]:
Yeah. Chronic grace for chronic overachievers and chronic Celsius drinkers. Yeah.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:18:12]:
Chronic caffeine addiction.

Kenny Lange [00:18:16]:
I feel like we're dangerously close to spinning off a separate podcast, which would.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:18:23]:
Be fun.

Kenny Lange [00:18:26]:
Between the two of us. I mean, you're a three, I'm an eight. We got enough force and power here to make it happen.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:18:33]:
That's right. It's done. It already happened.

Kenny Lange [00:18:35]:
Yeah, we're twelve episodes in right now.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:18:37]:
It's in the past.

Kenny Lange [00:18:41]:
I would love for you to share a bit about what you discovered. And you don't have to share everything within in your story. Right. Like that's why you go read the book, but the ways in which you developed practices and then how have you, what has helped you keep them, like you mentioned, depending on them, because I'll just speak for myself. I will go through a crisis or suffering or something like that and go, oh, my gosh. All right, I gotta pivot to make. Make it through this crisis and this period of time, and then things get better. And then I sort of like, okay, well, that seems less necessary right now, so I will gradually let it just go by the wayside.

Kenny Lange [00:19:35]:
What has helped you? One, how do you know what practices to adopt? Because I think in particular, for high achievers, crisis, things like that can be really disorienting because they're used to winning or getting their way or pushing something through. So how do you know what to adopt? And then how do you keep it so that it's almost like preventative care for the soul?

Julie K. Rhodes [00:19:59]:
That's good. You know, a crisis is not the time to begin any sort of spiritual practice. I will say, unfortunately, that usually, like you said, what we fall into, it's like, well, I got to pull out the big guns. Where are they? And it's all, you know, and then you feel extra shame because you're unable then to establish any kind of like. And it's hard to connect with God, frankly, when you're suffering, like, acutely, it's really hard to get all contemplative. And so that is not the time to start a purpose. Before I got sick, I frequent journaler of prayers. I had, like, pretty regular times of journaling, and that's just something that helped me.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:20:42]:
So I will say that Theresa of Avila, who is one of the saints in my book, talks about doing what works for you in so many words. And she says that whatever the crisis is, you must remember that we are. That you are ill, quote unquote. So don't try to force something into your life that does not make sense for your personality, for your schedule at first, although I will argue that spiritual connection to God should be the priority of all of our lives. And I think as we grow, we find ourselves craving more and more of it, and we'll be able, I think, to. To do more of those things. But what is your style like? Is it better for you to take a walk? Is it better for you to sit in silence? I think community is always a discipline that we all need, no matter what our personality types are. But there are individual practices that I think we should pay attention to.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:21:46]:
What helps us the most. If praying aloud is the thing that helps, great. If using someone else's prayer is the thing, great. When we are feeling our oath and our energy and our strength and power, and we are checking off things and taking names. We don't feel like we need God, we don't feel like we need anything. But the great gift of suffering is to remind us that we are not in charge and our worth is not dependent on what we're accomplishing. It is a great gift. And, gosh, now that I am feeling well, I do feel the temptation to like, oh, I'm not going to do my prayer time today.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:22:36]:
I'm just going to blur and do what I need to do. And I just sense the priority shifting very, very quickly, even though I have supposedly learned this lesson, like, wrote a book about it. So I honestly freaks me out how I do sense the drift and how I'm like, gosh, it's a good thing I have a habit of x, y and z, because if I didn't, I wouldn't feel the need. So, gosh, we're squally human beings. And I think acknowledging, like, we have this weakness of pride, which naturally wants to wrest control away and take it back constantly. And I think there is a huge connection, by the way, between anxiety and humility. When I am feeling super anxious about a goal or whatever career kid thing, I'm starting to learn to stop and go. How much do I think of myself that I just know how you're supposed to go, and I know what needs to happen to correct the situation.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:24:00]:
When did I become all knowing here? And I think when I have been able to step back and release it to God in a posture of I'm not in control. I might have all of these plans and goals and have achieved whatever, but this is a gift of grace that has been given to me. So once again, I give it back. Peace frequently comes. That's a really rounded out way. To answer your question. I just want to say that because I think it's connected to the spiritual practices we know we need, and we need humility more than we need success.

Kenny Lange [00:24:43]:
Wow. All right, everybody hit rewind on that one, because that'll probably just. We'll clip it out and you'll just put it on repeat because that's probably something I need to listen to 2030 times before it sticks in my thick skull. This is, you know, people say that they'll develop podcasting, get like free therapy, counseling, or help or whatever. That's a little bit of what I'm doing now because, like I said, is really, really timely. The concept and the linkage between anxiety and humility is not one I've ever heard before, but something that, as a reflect back, if I've ever made those shifts or experience those shifts that I could say, oh, yeah, when I was anxious, is trying to hold on to control. And unfortunately, as an enneagram eight, I'm obsessed with control. But there's strengths and weaknesses to every personality type.

Kenny Lange [00:25:44]:
Mine just lets me trip over my own feet far too often, it seems.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:25:52]:
I think there's a, you know, a God given agency that you. Your personality has and an Enneagram three. And I think God has given us a, you know, domain. And we are called to lead and to create change. And so these are good impulses, but in our natural state, we are just bent more and more toward.

Kenny Lange [00:26:14]:
There's a ditch we can fall in with more.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:26:16]:
Yeah. Yeah. So fast.

Kenny Lange [00:26:19]:
Well, I've. There's another podcast. I should. I should call it life from the ditch, a tale of extremes. So the thinking of the leader who, you know, senior leaders tend to, their reward for being good at their job is more responsibility, and sometimes that's good until it isn't. Right. Like, because they're making up for other people's work and everything else. And that sort of burden can start to come with a certain amount of anxiety, given that.

Kenny Lange [00:26:57]:
That shift of tween humility and anxiety. As someone who, you know, obviously, like you, you've got high, high pressure. Like, you've got a book out there and you want it to do well. But within acting, you know, you want to get the scene right. You know, you don't want to be. I don't imagine anybody ever wants to be the actor in the scene that causes everybody to run, run it, like, 14 more times than it was necessary. So.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:27:27]:

Kenny Lange [00:27:27]:
Nope, you just had flashbacks.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:27:32]:
Whoo. Yeah.

Kenny Lange [00:27:35]:
How. How do you hold that, then? In tension with, well, I've got big responsibilities. There is a spotlight real or, you know, metaphorically on me to do well, to do right by others. I'm, you know, as a. If you're a business owner, you've got payroll to make, right? Like, I've talked to people, and I empathize with them. You wake up at 03:00 a.m. Sweating with a panic attack because you're not sure if, you know, all the checks are going to clear for the next payroll. Things like that.

Kenny Lange [00:28:09]:
How do you find balancing the anxiety or the stress, the pressure with humility. Right. Like agency humility. Like, it's all muddled up in there without falling into the ditch on either side.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:28:26]:
Mm hmm. Well, it's a complicated answer. I don't do it successfully a whole bunch of times. One practice that has helped me over the past couple of years is Sabbath. You know, taking a day of the week where I do not strive, then this feels really, really risky sometimes, because maybe I have an audition on, whatever, Monday or it doesn't have to be Sunday. I'm just saying, pick a day. I've picked a day. And it's scary to a not work out that day.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:28:58]:
I'm always trying to stay the same size. I'm middle aged woman. I'm trying to keep my appearance for the camera. I'm not gonna try not to check my email. I'm gonna try not to do XYZ for the book. I'm going to try. And I'm telling you, it has been a revolutionary. It can be a revolutionary, really kind of scary thing to take a day and just say, the world does not depend upon me.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:29:26]:
Not even my career depends upon me. And my product is me. I mean, Julie K. Rhodes is my offering. You know, like, yeah, I am the marketing department and the product and the CEO of these two things. And it's just so taking a day to step back and be like, even though it is me that I'm trying to put out into the world, it's not about me and it's not because of me. And so I have found a lot of. It's very subversive and feel super rebellious sometimes.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:30:05]:
Be like, I'm not checking my gmail. I am going to take a nap. I am going to take a walk and be a little old lady and make tea and read a book with my daughter and go to church. And there's a psalm that I love. Gosh, what is it? I quoted in my book I should know. But it's. It's the song where he's saying, I am like a weaned child with his mother, quiet. And he's talking about, I'm with God, like a weaned child.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:30:40]:
I don't need anything from you. I just want to be with you. And I know that you are going to supply all my needs. And so taking a day to reorient myself to that posture and that true identity is just a very practical way. I have tried to stem the tide, you know, that constant wheel of anxious thoughts and frenetic activity. It's like a break, hard break. And I would also suggest, I mean, another is to introduce little mini sabbaths into every single day. Somehow, whether it's like a prayer walk at lunch, I will often walk.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:31:20]:
And I listen to this great podcast that is just scripture meditation. You know, it is very.

Kenny Lange [00:31:26]:
I thought it was going to be how leaders think, and I was like, yo, thank you so much.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:31:29]:
No, yours is next after that. And, you know, yeah, so you meditate on scripture. I would say find. Find subversive, time wasting things, quote unquote, that. That allow you to, gosh, we're so enslaved and we don't need to live enslaved to our agendas and to our identities. And that's super hard. I mean, we eat what we kill, right? A lot of us who are entrepreneurs. I've never thought of myself as an entrepreneur, but I am, unfortunately, I'm an artist who's trying to, like, make money, which is impossible.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:32:15]:
And so it's just so. It's too big for me. It's too big for me to carry. I was listening to another podcast this week, and it was a theologian saying, you know, we were created as creatures who are dependent on a creator. We were never meant to steward our lives and steward our work alone. That is just so antithetical to our design. And yet so many of us are just depending on our education and our smarts and our talent and our Rolodex and our whatever, whatever. That is so completely exhausting.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:32:47]:
I mean, I would love to be able to fall back on my resume and my training and my talent and whatever else, but every day is so unpredictable and I have some measure of control. I can be prepared, I can be trained, I can show up every day consistently. All of that might come to naught, right? It's just might. And so to realize our limits in a regular, ongoing way, I think is super helpful, even though it's super scary.

Kenny Lange [00:33:19]:
Yeah. What's funny is literally three ish hours ago was telling my lead pastor that I've been thinking, it's like I need to put better boundaries around my work schedule asset. But it terrifies me to think about working less. And. And I said, I'm not saying that, like, oh, Kenny's just trying to be funny and use a hyperbole and blah, blah, blah. I was like, no, literal, like, physical experience of fear, terror, anxiety. That if I work less, and by work less, I mean, like, closer to 40 hours. Like, if I were to put that kind of boundary, my thought is, well, immediately, my family is homeless and we are starving.

Kenny Lange [00:34:12]:
We're on the street, people are dying. The way I experienced it, you would think that that's what somebody told me, hey, if you don't work 60, 70, 80 hours a week, and even when you're not at work. You're thinking about work when you're with your kids. You're thinking about your meeting tomorrow and what you're going to say and what you're going to wear and what you need to do and how you need to prep and, and all these things that you're like, well, if I just. I got to get it all right, because if I don't get it all right, it's all going to go wrong. And the words of a newer friend of mine, y'all would probably get along really well. Ashley Smalley, she has a consulting business around HR people ops in the DFW area. Free shout out.

Kenny Lange [00:34:56]:
Actually, I'll invoice her later. But. But she shared something with me that she was suffering from the same thing. And in a time of prayer and meditation, she felt like the Lord told her, you can do everything right and it'll still go wrong, and you can do everything wrong and it'll still end up right because of my influence, not because of yours. If it's something good for you. And the bigger picture, which we obviously can't see, he's like, just trust. Like, sometimes it's going to seem like nothing went right, even though you did all the right things and vice versa. And she said that, and I tell her, it's like your voice, it haunts me.

Kenny Lange [00:35:47]:
So thank you for that. And it gets. Which, again, what you were sharing reminded me of her, of her advice to me, because we were talking about similar things, which I think most high level leaders, entrepreneurs are struggling with that because what we kill, if it's meant to be, it's up to me. And that's so easy to buy into because there's so much out there in media reinforcing that. Right?

Julie K. Rhodes [00:36:19]:
Yes. And we have so little imagination, we see it going only one way. Well, I put in this number of hours and I do this, which gets me to here, which gets me to this next place. And this is how this all, we have so little imagination for God's intervention, for the actions of other people. I mean, when I got sick, I was a stage actor primarily, and COVID hit. I get long, COVID. I'm unable to even crawl up the stairs to my kid's bedroom to kiss them good night. Like, forget acting anymore.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:36:49]:
So I thought. And for a year and a half, like, didn't. And I had done everything right. I mean, I was very diligently auditioning and training and getting out there and staying current and keeping physically healthy. I was a jogger. I ran four times a week. I mean, I was on top of my game, and then all of a sudden, I'm. I am bed bound for months.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:37:13]:
Nobody could figure it out, and who could have seen that coming? But what a gift. Because of that, it led me to do more camera work after I got well, and now I'm on this totally other trajectory, and so. And, I mean, there's a whole other story with how I feel. God brought acting back into my life when I had totally discounted it and written it off and because I thought it was too hard. So I have seen the providence of the Lord in my life enough to know that if it's meant to be, he will bring it to fruition. And I just need to stay the course and be faithful. But killing myself and whipping myself and driving myself is not his best for me and is not the loving way that I believe. God, our father, wants to lead us as his children through our work life.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:38:07]:
Yeah, you think about your own kids and how you would encourage them to structure their day and take care of their bodies and make time for play and rest the way that you would want your kids to live their lives in the pattern. I think God has a very similar heart for all of us in our work lives. And we are the ones who are like, no, I'm going to do more with the talents you've given me. He's like, don't kill yourself. I mean, I think we're going way. We're just. We're going way beyond what we were ever called to do. And I think it comes from, well, for me, pride and an insecurity in his.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:38:46]:
In being enough. I just didn't. I just don't think I'm enough unless I've met some goal I have set out that I believe needs to happen. So being open to the goals he might have for us is a challenge and requires discernment and a willingness to slow down and listen and to wait. So much of my life as an artist is waiting and being patient and just sitting in silence. You know, it's a lot of just being ready, and I can't tell you how hard that is.

Kenny Lange [00:39:34]:
I can only imagine in your situation, I have my own, and I'm sure listeners have their own, like, you know, it's hurry up and wait and wait. Waiting feels like laziness, which to a high achiever is probably the worst thing you could say to any of us is that you're lazy.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:39:54]:

Kenny Lange [00:39:54]:
I tell people there are swear words I would rather you call me that. Would bother me so much less than if you were to call me lazy. But when I'm waiting, when I'm quiet, if I actually do engage in Sabbath, then really, really rest, then it can, because you're so wound up and you've programmed yourself to, like, I've got to do everything with every second that I can, that it can feel like laziness, which just comes back to, you know, condemnation or guilt and shame and things like that that really aren't helpful. And no one's saying that about you, except for you.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:40:39]:
Yeah, well, you know, God rested from his work in Genesis. If God takes a day, and it's not that he was tired. It's not that he was tired or exhausted.

Kenny Lange [00:40:50]:
He just set the pattern well.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:40:53]:
But I think also he was just calling it good and enjoying this thing he had made. And I think as overachievers don't do that. We don't sit back and just enjoy the thing we have. Look how far we have come. Like, how often do we celebrate our achievements or where we are in life? If you look back 20 years, your 20 year old self, looking at your 40 year old self, like, wouldn't you be proud of yourself? But we don't do that. We don't take time to sit back, stop working, stop spinning the wheels, and just appreciate and call it good. And we are entitled to more than that. I think we have been given the privilege of satisfaction in our work.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:41:35]:
If we will just stop and take it.

Kenny Lange [00:41:40]:
Yes. And amen. Julie, if. If somebody is listening to this and they. And they heard, you know, the different descriptions and things like that and go, that. That's. That's me. I'm working my face off.

Kenny Lange [00:41:54]:
I'm not stopping to enjoy things. Maybe. Maybe they're not at a place where there's a major life event, such as the passing of a loved one or something else that can sort of force reflection in the moment. But they say, I'd like to choose reflection before it's, you know, I'm forced into it.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:42:14]:

Kenny Lange [00:42:14]:
What is that first step, that dip in the toe in the water that someone can take in the next 24 hours that would cost little to no money.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:42:24]:
Yeah. I would take an hour tomorrow, find an hour, you know, maybe it's before work or at lunch, and take a walk in silence. And I would use the first half of that hour to practice the presence of God, as Brother Lawrence said. Now, I don't know what that needs to look like for you. For me, sometimes it's naming, it's walking in nature and being thankful for everything I am passing for being aware of the beauty or of the people, or of the air, or of the weather. Really trying to ground down in the present moment in gratitude, I think is a great first step to connecting to God. I would recommend my friend's podcast. So much more is what it's called, scripture reading meditation.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:43:26]:
Yeah, she reads a passage of scripture. There's very, very nice music underneath it, and it's just like 20 minutes of it repeats about four times. And she will offer some commentary. But I will often walk and do that podcast and that is amazing to me. What the spirit will bring to mind, what truth will be impressed on my heart or what like shift and direction I need to take. I think we know that God is talking to us when it's a fleeing word of love and it's not a shame or a piling on of anxious thoughts. That is not the presence of God and that's not the voice of God. And so when we can connect to God in those ways and feel ourselves totally loved and accepted in him through Christ, then I think we can evaluate the areas in our lives where we are operating from a place of ego and not from love.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:44:30]:
And I would spend the next 30 minutes of that walk reflecting on these areas of our lives in which we are leaders or gosh, whatever God brings to mind that we're just holding onto so tightly. And I find that that just resets my whole perspective on my work and the goals I'm setting. And it just makes me feel okay, like I don't have to achieve one more thing in this life I laid down and didn't lift another finger for the next 40 years, I would be as valuable and as beloved to him as I am when I am booking a role or writing a essay or making a dollar. That is so hard to believe if I have not experienced his presence directly. And so start with an hour, that might sound like a lot, but you might want hours and you might not be able to get enough. So try it out, right? And then, you know, with God's help, find a pattern that works for you that is sustainable. And there's not a prescription, I don't think, but there's a great book out now. John Mark Comer practicing the way that I would recommend about discipleship, which is a big word for following Jesus.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:46:00]:
And there's a lot of practical tools there. So I connect to a community and read a resource like that, listen to podcasts like that, and I would not put a bunch of pressure on yourself to grow right away. It is such a slow process sometimes spiritual growth just like anything else. So what we can do is, and we only have today. So focusing on this perfect, terrible day, as Kate Buller says, is, what is that verse that says, today is the day of redemption? Like, don't put it off. Yeah, today is the day of salvation, I think is what it says. But start with an hour and go from there.

Kenny Lange [00:47:02]:
I love that. Yeah. And we'll link to your friend's podcast and John Mark's. I love one of his books, the ruthless elimination of hurry. And I read that with a guys group last year and I was doing all of our books on audible and I said, hey, asking for a friend, is it against the rules to listen to this book at 1.7 speed? I was trying to rush through that one, but it's a really good book.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:47:40]:
Well, thank you.

Kenny Lange [00:47:42]:
He does. I need more of it. If somebody wanted to know more about you, your work, the book crowd, chronic grace, where would you point.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:47:55]:
Go to Julie K. Just the letter K. It's all there. And I'm Facebook, Instagram x. Is that all my handles? Oh, link it. LinkedIn.

Kenny Lange [00:48:09]:
LinkedIn, yes. And we'll make sure to have all that linked up in the show notes as well in case you're like, I don't know all about that. Just give me the blue link and I'll go there. Well, thank you so much for being a guest. Look forward to cheering you on and seeing more of your work come out. I think it's necessary and good and something that needs more talking about, if I'm being honest. So I hope that you'll come back in the future and congrats on vindication as well. So everybody go stream maker, maker famous for all the right reasons.

Julie K. Rhodes [00:48:46]:
Maybe don't maybe it would not be good for me.

Kenny Lange [00:48:50]:
Leave her reviews like I like Julie. She has a powerful yet humble performance. We'll leave that on Amazon. But for any of you, if you got value out of this episode, if you get value out of any of these episodes, please help others find it and get value from it. Help them get help. Pay it forward by liking, subscribing, rating, reviewing, any of those things, I would be grateful. And I'm sure somebody who's going to stumble upon this if it's the right moment, the right time for them and their leadership journey, they'll appreciate it as well. But until next time, change the way you think.

Kenny Lange [00:49:28]:
You change the way you leave. We'll see you.

Creators and Guests

Kenny Lange
Kenny Lange
Jesus follower, husband, bio-dad to 3, adopted-dad to 2, foster-dad to 18+. @SystemandSoul Certified Coach. Dir. Ops @NCCTylerTX. Go @ChelseaFC
Julie K. Rhodes
Julie K. Rhodes
Julie K. Rhodes is a Texas-based actor and author. Her book "Chronic Grace: Prayers, Saints, and Thorns That Stay" (Leadership Books, 2023) is a spiritual memoir tackling the bewildering new normal of chronic illness. You can catch Julie on the next season of Amazon Prime's/Redeem TV's "Vindication".
How Julie K. Rhodes Thinks About Balancing High Achievement with God's Unconditional Love
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