The Relational Spirituality Podcast

The Relational Spirituality Podcast

Beauty vs. Pressure: A New Way to Live | Karlene Cannon & Anna Lee | Relational Spirituality Podcast

February 13, 2023

Show Notes:

Do you long to be energized by a beauty that draws you into something rather than a pressure that drives you toward something? Join Karlene and her young friend, Anna Lee as they talk about how pressure has energized too much of their lives and how they both long to be invited by beauty into God’s goodness. Hear about how their relationship spans a generation and gives richly to each of them as they journey together toward relational holiness.  


[00:00:24] Karlene Cannon: Hello, Larger Story family. Thank you so much for joining us today. I’m Karlene Cannon and I’m here with my good friend Anna Lee. I want to tell you a little bit about Anna and how I know her and why she’s here talking to me today. Anna is a good friend of my daughter, Ivy. They met at Duke University, which is a really important place to all of us.

As a result, I got to know Anna through my daughter Ivy. Anna lives here in Atlanta where I do. She has been part of our family for a while now. She’s spent Thanksgiving with us. She’s gone on a trip with my husband and my daughter to Italy. She’s just been an important part of our extended family.

And she’s also been working with me on our new course that we’ve been developing for a while now, and will be launching this year. She not only starred in a couple of the videos, but she’s been helping me develop the curriculum and get that set up in the digital format. So Anna, thank you so much for joining me.

I am looking forward to our conversation. Is there anything else that people need to know about you before we start? 

[00:01:50] Anna Lee: No, I think, honestly, you covered it all. Better than I could have done. But thank you so much also for inviting me to be part of this.

[00:01:59] Karlene Cannon: I’m really glad to have you. You’re really special to me and to our family and it’s just a delight that you would be willing to join me in this conversation.

So I wanted to get some of the logistical things out of  the way first and talk about the course. I think people are interested in that. And it’ll set the stage for some of the rest of what we want to talk about. But tell me a little bit about the role you played in the videos.

I drafted the script and just asked you to step into a role. Tell me a little bit how you felt about that, because frankly I was just amazed at how well you played a role so naturally and I think it really comes off on the videos very well. I think people are going to respond well to them. Tell me what that was like, how you experienced it.

[00:03:02] Anna Lee: Yeah, I think part of the reason why it probably came off that it was natural, because I definitely resonated a lot with the person I was playing. We were talking about The Pressures Off by Larry Crabb and I was playing the role of the person who is always doing and constantly trying to prove their worth by being busy. That is definitely something that I resonate with. I think especially when I was in college, the role that I was playing was almost as if I was a college student.

 I’m sure it’s for every single college, but Duke definitely felt at times like one of those hamster wheels where if you stopped running, you would just fall flat, exhausted. But if you kept on running the momentum would eventually get you to the place that you’re going.

And that was pretty much every day. My calendar was booked solid, especially since I was involved in the campus ministry and involved with Cru. There was a lot of the mentality that if I keep on doing things and if I keep on being good at planning this event or, if I get an A in this class or that, that was proving who I was as a good Duke student. At Duke, we call it effortless perfection. There’s the idea that you’re just going to do everything really well, but with almost zero effort, which obviously is completely a lie.

[00:04:51] Karlene Cannon: That’s a phrase that resonates with me. It’s not enough to be perfect. You need to also do that without really expending any effort. When I was in college, I had a significant battle with perfectionism and the disappointment in my performance that I had never experienced until I hit college.

And one of the things that I came out of that with was that my deep longing for perfection is my deep longing for God. God is perfect and he’s effortlessly perfect. It’s just endemic in who he is, and it doesn’t require effort on his part to be perfect. And so, there’s something in my compulsion to be perfect that is of God, and yet I’m not God and so the recognition that was forced on me in my college years, that I’m not perfect and that I can’t be perfect, is actually me trying to take something from God when I’m trying so hard to be perfect. That was a really important part of my journey. And so I wonder how you experienced that and what were the lessons for you in the hamster wheel? You’re three years out, four years out now?

Four years out? You’ve actually had some good years of adulting and living in what can often be an even more vicious hamster wheel, but not as predictable in the feedback that you get. How have you experienced that sort of pressure to perform effortlessly and perfectly after college?

[00:07:11] Anna Lee: No that’s, honestly a great question. I think taking a step back to college. During the summers, I got to this place of just being left with nothing to do.

Which I think is interesting, especially as a Duke student, because there is that pressure of finding an internship or finding the perfect summer job or doing something really impressive with your summer and every summer no matter how hard I would try to plan and, create that perfect summer it, it would honestly fall a little bit short.

One year, I did Duke Engage, which for those of you who don’t know much about Duke, it’s basically a really neat summer program where if you do something in the nonprofit sector, you actually will be funded. And so my family was living in Cambodia. They were actually just moving, and so I really desired to spend time in this culture that they had experienced. 

And so I created this independent program in Cambodia through Duke Engage. And I was supposed to be volunteering with World Vision. And essentially, they would give me a job, I would get it done that day, and so every single time I would ask for something, it was oh, we don’t have anything for you right now. Can you wait? They were shocked by the amount of stuff that I was able to do. in such a short time. I guess that was in some ways good because I was able to help at the same time every single day, I would get my task done for that day within an hour or two, and then I would be left at my desk doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the time. Honestly, it was really challenging at first because it was going from that hamster wheel to just having nothing to do. And so I really felt frustrated, but looking back, I ended up spending that time reading my Bible at my desk or like journaling, reading a bunch of books. And through that summer, I was in this prayer group, this prayer service, and I just felt like God put the story of Mary and Martha on my heart and I just felt really convicted about that. And I read it aloud and I just was sharing that I’m totally the Martha, and this summer God just stripped that entire identity really, that I had placed on myself of having the pressure to constantly do things right and just forced me to sit at his feet.

And so I just really felt like that analogy, really rang true and, then again, there was COVID. I had just graduated and I was working with CRU as an intern the summer or the year after I graduated from Duke, and then Covid happened.  I probably worked, I’m ashamed to say, probably over 60, 70 hours a week during that year, just because there was always so much that could be done on campus.

And so COVID just hit me like a bullet. All of a sudden you’re done. There’s nothing left to do. And so I took that the week after, I think it was like March 13th that Trump had this announcement of everything shutting down. So the week after I literally fasted and prayed for the whole week.

And again, it was just like, okay, God, I don’t have any plans. I don’t know what I’m doing afterwards. And so really, I need to trust you, and I just need to reset. And so I think honestly, because Covid took all of the possibility of doing that for that summer really of 2020 that I think God really used that to just, again, strip that performance mindset.

Not that I don’t have it still , but it was definitely like “Anna, let’s reset this and let’s come into this with a new kind of mentality of how to live life. 

[00:12:22] Karlene Cannon: I think we all have our COVID story and I do think one of the themes across people is how disruptive it was in the way that we were all feeding our interior world and what made us okay. And so I’m curious, as you talk about the times where God just intervened and put the brakes on the hamster wheel-  I have this picture in my head, this poor little hamster flopping around when the wheel just comes to an immediate stop- As you sat with God, which I find on the one hand I can appreciate how disruptive that was and, maybe even traumatic in some ways, certainly some of those situations you described. And yet it also feels very kind of God to step into your story in such a visible way. I’m wondering, as you were engaging with him in those sorts of enforced moments of stillness and maybe solitude and quiet, what were you aware of, or did you become aware of what the busyness was doing for you? What was it either protecting or promoting or providing for you? When it was stripped away, did it become clear how it was propping you up in some way? 

[00:14:15] Anna Lee: Probably, a lot of people can relate to this, but I think it really was the whole worth of you are what you do.

Really, if you think about it from the world’s perspective, it’s what do you do for me? And, I think that, even when you’re thinking about your friends, it’s always okay, what are they doing for me? 

And I think that there are good and bad things, good and bad things to that philosophy of okay, is somebody your friend if they’re only stripping your energy? Because obviously you do have to have that sense of okay, is this healthy? But I think that still is wrapped up in this idea of, okay I’m only going to be friends with you if you make me feel good about myself or if you do good things or if you serve me, and so I think even, from a friendship perspective, that’s big. But then from a cultural perspective it’s all about how we’re performing. Are we contributing to society? Are we contributing?

Even, in the church, it’s like, how are we contributing to the church? And so I think it, it’s this subtle twist of a really good principle of servant hearted leadership. But I think it also can be a slippery slope of when does it stop becoming servant heartedness and when does it actually just become performance?

It’s like buying or selling. I’m doing this for God, so he’s going to bless me, or I’m doing this for other people so that they’re friends with me, or I’m doing this to fill in the blank for my job. So I got a promotion. I’m doing this for my classes. So I get an A, it’s this transactional relationship really, rather than an unconditional love and that’s what the Bible says is Jesus was a servant hearted, but it wasn’t because he was trying to buy anything. Yeah. He had his identity fully set in God and in his identity as the Son of God.

And so I think that for me, there was that slippery slope of okay, I’m trying to do this to win approval. And, for me it was oftentimes to win approval of man and that was my way of buying friendship however bad that sounds, looking back at it.

I think really he showed me at the end of the day, all we have is Christ, right? If we’re not focused on the kingdom of heaven as our ultimate goal, then we’re just filling in and trying to create that on earth, which is just not, it’s never going to actually satisfy.

The people pleasing really got hit a little hard.

[00:17:32] Karlene Cannon: There are so many threads I could pull in what you were just saying. But one thing that stuck in my mind and the way you described how, and I don’t even recall exactly what you were talking about, but you used the words, it’s like this subtle twist and I, kind of hung onto that phrasing because I think so many of our efforts and our desires and the intent that we move toward people with can have this little subtle twist that just takes the goodness  out of  the servant leadership and makes it more about me accruing something for myself. And I think that happens in all sorts of different situations. So I wanted to talk a little bit more about that because I find, at least for me, what the busyness will protect me from is if I’m moving too fast, I lose track of those subtle ticks that where things go off track in my heart and my head, and It does often take some sort of unforeseen and somewhat unpleasant disruption to bring me back to, oh yeah, that happened and I wasn’t aware of it.

One, how do you experience that and, two, what do you think the role of other people is in that sort of recalibrating or even just increasing awareness of when the internal barometer is off and it needs to be reset . 

[00:19:49] Anna Lee: And it’s actually funny because as you were talking I was even thinking back to the course and how we talk about desires. That really hit me that this is the desire that I have, and then this is the action. But again, you’re always going back to what’s the root of it, because the actual desire might not be right. Because God gives us desires and he gives us these emotions, but then what do we do with them?

And, how do those actually manifest in our daily life and in what we’re going for? So I think that was a huge awesome realization for me- the desire is to serve. Maybe when you’re saying, how do you actually tell, I think it’s when you look at your desires and you ask what is my desire behind this action?

If my desire behind this action is because I want to serve this person. They’re going through a really hard time. I want to be there for them in that or is it, I want to be there for that person so that they like me. It’s always having to go back and checking okay, where is my heart at? And so I think that’s where your  family has been really instrumental in me unveiling that because as a kid, I was just trained to do things and it was like, if the action is good, then that’s good, as opposed to where’s your heart behind it? Because the action is what gets rewarded. People don’t really think about oh, did she have a good heart? No, they think about, oh, she did this and that was really great that she did this for that person. Or she got an A. That’s really great that she got an A.

Having conversations with Ivy, with you, with Rich, I think one of the things that you all have really taught me is how to actually get at the underlying desire that goes with the action. And I think that’s where other people entering into those conversations with you can be really helpful because oftentimes I’ll be unaware of it. And then if somebody’s like, oh, so why did you do that? Then I’m like, oh yeah, you’re right. I did not do that  out of the goodness of my heart. And that’s conviction. 

[00:22:50] Karlene Cannon: Yeah, and I think you’re absolutely right. What  makes God, and sets him apart from us is he doesn’t have those places of fragmentation or misalignment. His desires and his actions and his thoughts and his feelings, are always the same and always consistent and always aligned.

And they all work in harmony. And we got broken in the fall and those things are all out of  whack and it often is only through conversation that you become aware of the twists which are slight. I thought that was a really good description because it’s not always glaringly obvious, but most of the time it’s pretty nuanced and subtle.

I’m going to out myself a little bit here- one of the things that I actually find so powerful about these conversations that I have been privileged to have with, you and my own children and other younger people who are friends of yours, is that you are a good reminder and reflection back to me of where things have gotten off in me because I’ve had 30 more years of pain than you have 30 more years of responding to the circumstances of life in ways that are unhealthy, unkind and unloving and have built up protective strategies that are really hard to untangle and not turn to in moments of difficulty. And so often you guys will remind me and point out to me places where my heart has gotten hard or just fallen into some unpleasant ruts or just inappropriate ruts of hopelessness or futility or cynicism.

And so talking with you and others in your peer group is really helpful to me. And I want that to be clear in all of these conversations that you do as much for me, probably more for me than anything I do as I talk to you. I want to go back to one more kind avenue on this performance thing.

One of the phrases that we’ve used in the course that you and I have worked on together that continues to stir something in me is just a simple phrase- what are you energized more by,  a beauty that draws you, or a pressure that drives you.

We talk in the course a lot about the beauty of God, the relational beauty of God that draws us to him, versus this pressure that most everybody I talk to has absorbed from our fallen world that we must do and we must do a certain way at a certain level in order to be good like you said.

Have you experienced anything where that sort of energy has shifted? A pressure that drives you to a beauty that draws you in. And would you mind sharing if you haven’t? If not, what do you think are the things that get in the way of that? 

[00:27:13] Anna Lee: Yeah, That’s a . That’s a good question . Gosh, I think so.

I really find making space to be a really important part of being driven by the beauty, or being pulled by the beauty that drives you, or sorry, the beauty that draws you as opposed to the pressure that drives you. I think that when I again go with the rat race of okay, I’m going to schedule my calendar.

Every single moment has to be packed. That’s when I find myself really feeling that pressure. And, I think honestly that that, that’s , it’s sometimes hard for me to push back on that because, I and, this might just be me, but I sometimes feel like I do better when I have that pre, like the pressure is like a fire, it’s okay, I was totally that person who wrote papers the night before. Yeah. That they were due and I never was one of those people who could plan out. a month in advance and start on the outline and then and then right as the weeks went on. So I think that there’s that, there’s that reliance sometimes on, okay, I need that pressure in order to perform well.

And so I think what I’ve had to do is allow myself the space to. Rebuke that in me a little bit. And so I think, and I think that that is one of the things that my husband and I are really just, we’ve really just started it, but we were like, we really need to create space for more space for being in the Word and just like allowing that to.

Time as opposed to it just being something that we need to get done. And so we’ve even had it like we started having it via time over dinner because we’re going to have to eat every single night and I’m not very good at waking up in the morning . And so just all transparency, it was not getting done when I was like, oh, I’m going to do this in the morning.

And so even just creating that space of. We’re going to have dinner and we’re going to read the Bible every single night and talk and just allow that to not be a pressure filled time, but instead just be like, okay, it’s going to get done when it’s going to get done.

And I think also, like even nature for me is a really big place where I just feel that. Space. I don’t know, I don’t know a better word for it. Where I can just take a walk and it’s okay this is a time where I’m not going to try to get back before and just, I don’t know, I don’t know if that really answers your question.

But I think just almost pressurizing the space is like just booking it into the calendar so that you can’t actually take it away from it. And I’m not good at it all the time. I’m going to be the first to say, but I think trying to respect that, I don’t know.

I don’t know if that’s a great answer. 

[00:30:56] Karlene Cannon:No, I appreciate your willingness to struggle with the question and I find that a really challenging thing as well. And part of it is so much of my Spiritual formation almost has issued the idea of beauty. Like beauty is at best kind of a sort of frivolous empty pursuit.

And to actually get in my head that the Psalms are rife. God with David and the Psalm is talking about how beautiful God is and how he just gazes at God’s beauty, and you know that he’s captivated by beauty. And we all have experienced that whatever kind of beauty it is that draws us and so I think you’re right to say part of it is just becoming disciplined in being aware and being open to how God might invade your day with something beautiful and, with his love. 

And so that’s a different kind of spiritual discipline or spiritual reality than most of my Christian life has been characterized by. It is a paradigm shift in a little bit of a, in a way because the pressure does offer its own sort of implicit form of discipline and you have to check boxes.

And there’s a little bit of fear in just being still and seeing what happens so you mentioned your husband Walker, who also has been a part of our lives for the last year, and we’ve greatly enjoyed getting to know him. Tell me a little bit about you guys who have been married a little over a year now.

So how does this idea work? Relationality and relational holiness, relational formation. How does it influence the two of you as you’re building your future and your family as we speak? These were ideas we did not have any notion of 31 years ago when we were in your shoes.

And so I’m really curious to know how you guys have grappled with some of this and you know how it’s impacted your first year of marriage? 

[00:33:49] Anna Lee: Yeah. I think it’s definitely been a journey. And I, yeah, and I really also appreciate you and Rich being part of that. I think we both see that having conversations with you two has been really helpful. I appreciate also even you say that you didn’t have that concept, but I think now having that frame of mind and being able to look back and see, okay, this is where we were 31 years ago, and here are the lessons that we’ve learned that’s been instrumental in our lives and also in our marriage so far. We definitely appreciate that. Just to just to put that out. Yeah. But I think to answer your question, I think one of the things that I’ve really gathered and, was something that we set out with was and, now plans are a little bit up in the air of Walker. He was applying to med school. He might be now going into engineering. And so I think. . But with that sort of, again, pressure, , I won’t use that word, but with that idea in mind, we’re OK a year after marriage, he might be going into med school for the next four years and then there’s the whole residency and so there’s going to be, at the time, there’s going to be this 10 year span of  intensity.

 And so I think when we got married, we have to make the most out of this one year. And not necessarily in terms of doing tons of things, or trying to get as much done, although we’ve, we have also tried to make the most of our time that way. But I think just that urgency of where we really want to spend that time.

First year of marriage and obviously, the rest of the year two, just really focusing on building our relational relationship and getting to know each other and having hard conversations. Because I think that’s one of the biggest things of the idea of relational holiness, is it doesn’t just happen overnight.

It’s not just something that you can switch on because we’re all we’re all people. And so I think that the priority of having hard conversations about where, what our personalities are, where we differ, but also how we see the world, like how our upbringings, how our childhood has influenced and shaped our way of thinking about family or thinking about marriage. That’s been a really big thing that I think we both have really wanted to pursue and think about. And then yeah, and then also just like how, we relate to each other and, With marriage also comes this like constant being with each other and obviously that that exposes a lot of sin issues

And I think even like for me just constantly being like, oh wow, okay. I’m not perfect . I knew that, but having somebody else who’s like a constant witness to your inner thoughts or to your actions at home. Yeah. I think that is a really big accountability.

And so I think even just having to face that both in ourselves, but also in each other is okay, we recognize that this might be an area where we need to grow. How, what does that look like? So I know all the different sorts of areas in which it changes. Those of you who are married, probably think that makes sense. Duh . But obviously for a newly married person, these are the things that you don’t really think about until you’re in that situation. 

[00:38:16] Karlene Cannon: Yeah. I think you make a really good point.

It’s ironic that you talked about the newness of having a witness to your good and bad and ugly days, and We were just Rich and I, my husband and I were having a conversation about that. When you’re, for the first time in a one bedroom apartment with somebody and it’s not a roommate who has their own, like you’re building a life together, you are exposed, that’s a really good word.

And a lot of surfaces that you might have thought before you could keep contained. We were just having a conversation about our stage of life. Now we have this house, it has three floors and we have lots of places we can go. In a one bedroom apartment, there’s not very much space that you can use to keep yourselves separated. And he was just sharing about a friend who has a much different living situation and he and his wife struggle in different ways because that very thing you just can’t get away from. And so there’s a real goodness in God in those early years putting some boundaries around your time together.

And I think it’s really wise. One thing I’ve appreciated about you and Walker is you are thinking ahead and thinking about the intensity that could be coming, which by the way will come if it’s med school or something else, but to really take advantage of this year and be very intentional about building a strong foundation.

I don’t think we were smart enough to really be thinking that way when we were your age. I really admire that about you two. And you guys have pursued us probably more than we pursued you in just wanting to, have conversation and wanting to share your decisions and what’s going on, and that’s been, like I said earlier, that’s a really powerful, it’s a powerful witness to me of the internal posture that I think we all should, have of humility of openness of curiosity and Like a real awareness that we need each other. I struggle and certainly would’ve struggled with those things at your age. I was driven by a pressure to figure it out and have it all together and, not only figure, but figure it out on my own.

And, both you and Walker have demonstrated a kind of winsome humility of wanting people involved and wanting to learn and desiring for people to come alongside and be part of your team. And That’s been a very meaningful and privileged experience for me. And I think I speak for Rich when he says that too. So that brings me to where I wanted to land this plane today. And you’re aware of this because you have worked with me here at Larger Story.

But one of the things that we really want to do is to help support people and equip them and galvanize them as they go. Into their world and have the kind of conversation you and I are having and we’ve, we have had in the past and it, and start to make this kind of the norm as opposed to something that people might think is unusual.

If you were to talk to somebody more like in. My side of things, like further along what would your advice or best practices be for someone in my shoes who wants to have a meaningful relationship with people who are younger but may not know how to do that, may not have, like I have some things built in because of my children who have friends. What would you say to someone like me who would love to be in a relationship with someone your age or your stage of life and finds that difficult?

[00:43:30] Anna Lee: Yeah. So I think and, obviously this is from my perspective, , I can’t speak for everyone.

[00:43:36] Karlene Cannon: I know what you have to say, Anna. 

[00:43:44] Anna Lee: For everyone my age. But honestly I think it is just a willingness to enter in, because I will say, honestly, like I mentioned before, Walker and I are so blessed by having people like you and Rich who are willing to do that.

Because I think oftentimes there’s for instance in, college and, Was super blessed to be part of a Christian ministry. Where they did have every single person who wanted to be discipled. Had the opportunity to be discipled. And that was huge. Just having somebody who I could go to and say, hey look this is what’s going on in my life and I really could use some godly wisdom. And so that coming out of college especially, it just feels like a vacuum. Like you, like the first year after having graduated, especially if you’re going to someplace new where you don’t have a bunch of people who you know, it can be really lonely and even, especially during Covid that was definitely a hard transition. And so I think just having. I, we, and we just for those of you in the audience we, or who are listening we, just moved to Atlanta and so for us, that was a huge blessing because then we were able to come to your house and, enter into that relationship of, and fellowship.

But not everyone has that connection with somebody who’s older. And I think especially in the church, it can be daunting to go up to someone and say, hey, can you disciple me? Or hey I would love some godly wisdom on this because it’s just a very daunting thing. And so the fact that you and Rich both have offered that and are willing to enter that conversation and willing to give us . Yeah. And especially from somebody who is not our parents, because you really do offer this like unbiased, maybe not completely unbiased , but just like a more neutral space where we can come with problems. And even if they’re occurring in our family like that’s also so helpful.

And so I would just say Be willing to. even make an effort to take the initiative. If you notice someone who’s my age, invite them to lunch because personally I would always try to say yes. I know for, guys , I could speak to Walker. If you have food, he will come. 

I don’t think that ever ends. Just having coffee. I’m just kidding. He would come for other reasons , but just having coffee or like having lunch with somebody just to break the ice and get to know each other. And then I don’t know, like seeing where it goes, but I think just being willing to that’s something that I try to do is offer, like invite, but, and I know it’s oftentimes that’s putting yourself out there, and, we’re all busy. So there are multiple facets to that. But I’ve been really blessed by people who in the past have. Offered. And I think that’s made such a huge difference in my life. Cause again, it’s, everyone wants to be known. Everyone wants to be seen. Everyone wants to be loved. I really feel like God has just, throughout my life, put people into it who are just willing to do that. And that’s been such an instrumental part of my life.  I don’t know how better to say it, 

[00:47:59] Karlene Cannon: I love that. I think one of the things I’ve learned later about God is just how invitational he is and it’s hard for me to offer those invitations- my husband and my children are much better at that. I tend to have this sense that people don’t want an invitation from me.

They don’t care if they, if you want an invitation for them or not, they’re just going to offer it. So I actually get to benefit from that a lot, but I think you’re onto something because God’s nature is essentially invitational. That’s the whole story of the incarnation and is, making a way for us to accept the invitation that he’s been offering from the beginning of time.

And being willing to offer an invitation. And it might be rejected, it might not, it might be awkward. All of those things sound more like middle school thoughts than middle-aged thoughts.  I don’t think that goes away with age . 

[00:49:08] Anna Lee: Definitely not . 

[00:49:10] Karlene Cannon: So I think your advice is really insightful and helpful.

Just to have the courage to, to offer the invitation. So one more question on the flip side of that, if you were to talk to other people who are your age or in your stage of life, what advice would you give them about, both about what it means  to seek Jesus and, do this adulting thing, but also, how to bring people into that journey with you on?

Especially people who, might be further along and might have a different perspective than, your peers. 

[00:49:57] Anna Lee: Yeah. Gosh, I think what I was saying earlier is just the idea of space I think is really important because I think that again, the rat, like the rat race, never ends. The hamster wheel never ends, and you can fill up your time with as much as you want. But, I just think that idea of, and that’s actually something that Walker’s really good at, and he’s very good at setting boundaries and saying, no.  I’m really bad at that. And so he’ll actually be like, Anna, you need to say no to that . You need to, it’s five, it’s six o’clock and you’re still doing work.

Anna, shut down your comp. It’s that kind of accountability. And I have a friend who we still will text and just say like, how is your quiet time? Have you been spending time with God lately? And I think that also is just really valuable to have that accountability partner.

Who’s making sure that you’re not just, again, it’s so hard. In the moment I sense like, my desires for this, the desires behind this action are not good. It’s so God has given us a community for a reason. And so I think even having somebody who you can go to, who’s going to ask those hard questions and that can be a peer, it also can be somebody older. And so I think that as long as you have somebody and, honestly, the more people , the better, the more people who, cause there are going to be weeks where you’ll go without talking to one person. And that is, there are just seasons of your life in which I think different people are so instrumental. 

But I also think the biggest thing that I’m not always good at is just recognizing I don’t know everything.  And so I think that also is really important, and that’s where I think it’s with marriage the whole idea of newly married, that’s something I was like, I don’t know? So that, to me, was a lot easier to go to people like you and Rich and just say, “Hey I would love to know more about how to operate under this because, it’s a new thing”. So, I think even finding those places where you really don’t know anything about this area, or, I really need some wisdom.

And then I think that can also lead into other areas because then once you get into the habit of asking,  then it becomes a habit and so then it’s then Karlene, and hopefully you feel like this , because I definitely want you to speak into more areas of my life.

Besides, and I feel like you, you have besides just marriage, but it’s just like getting to know a person and finding one thing that you really would like to develop and maybe it’s a character flaw or maybe it’s a certain situation you’re in. And then find somebody who you feel like has some wisdom on that matter and ask them again. It’s all about the asking. And I think that can go both ways. But it’s about asking somebody Hey, I would love to get coffee with you and learn more about your experience with X, Y, and Z. And they might say no, but also, they might say yes. And then it could actually become really almost like an unofficial discipleship.  

[00:53:53] Karlene Cannon: Those are great. That is really good advice, good thoughts. A couple things you said that really stuck out to me when you said something to the effect of, I don’t know everything.

One of the things that’s so daunting for me in these conversations is you come and talk to Rich and I about the first year of marriage and I actually feel incredibly humbled and often almost totally unworthy to have that conversation with you because I’m so aware of what, we didn’t know, what we don’t know how much I fail is, and so there’s actually something redemptive for me in those conversations because it’s, okay.

It’s okay not to know.  And I’ll struggle in a conversation to think 30 years and I still am getting this wrong, or I still not further along or and, what I often experience in the conversation is God’s kindness. To remind me that I’m on a journey and, you’re on a journey and our journeys intersect in these really important places and that he promises to be there. And as disappointed maybe as I am, that in 30 years, I don’t have better advice for you. He’s actually not disappointed with me.  And that he’s still able to use whatever little bit I offer. Him taking those pitiful little minnows and crusty crumbs of bread and turning that whatever he’s going to turn it into. 

Anna, thank you so much. I always like talking to you. It’s always not only enjoyable, but really encouraging and inspiring. Yeah. It inspires me to do more to not settle. So thank you all. Same . 

[00:56:25] Anna Lee: I also really appreciate all of you for all the wisdom.

I will argue with that scrap of crumbs and analogy. I’m going to say it’s a lot more than that, but I really appreciate it. All the wisdom that you have given. 

[00:56:43] Karlene Cannon: Thank you, Anna. And hopefully we’ll get to do this again. I’d love to talk to you again sometime on screen . Great. Thank you so much and thank you to all of our listeners.

Thank you for hanging in there in our conversation and we hope that God uses something to bless your life today.

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Anna Lee’s Bio:

Anna was first introduced to Larry Crabb’s work while in college at Duke and was able to go on a few retreats that centered around Larger Story. While there, she was struck by the profound depth of community and relationship. In a culture where truth is seen as relative and life is lived on social media, she found this community centered on God and real connection with Him and others to be a breath of fresh air. In the years since graduating, Anna started working at Rali, which offers a change experience platform. She has found it to be a joy and a privilege to help bring the Larger Story material onto the platform, and even be part of some of the videos.  

Anna grew up overseas as a missionary kid, living on 5 continents and traveling to over 20 countries. As a result, she deeply resonates with the idea that our true home is in heaven, as home in her experience has been more of a transitory concept. Anna loves adventure in all forms—traveling, reading, hiking, art and painting, and even cooking. She got married a little more than a year ago and is enjoying the new adventure that has brought as well.