It’s All Under Control Audiobook Interview – Jennifer Dukes Lee

December 21, 2018

Jennifer Dukes Lee - It's All Under Control Audiobook Interview

We had the pleasure of speaking with Jennifer Dukes Lee about her new audiobook “It’s All Under Control.” Interview can be listened to on player below. Enjoy!

ANNOUNCER:

Welcome.  You’re listening to an exclusive author interview from Christian Audio dot com. 

VICKI MORGAN:

Hi and welcome to the conversation. Are you feeling overwhelmed with responsibility, like you’re juggling chainsaws? You know what I mean. We’re goin’ along … everything’s up in the air, but you’re like, I got this. No worries. And we make it look so easy, don’t we? But underneath it all we think that if we miss just one beat, the whole thing is going to fall apart. Well, that and more is what author Jennifer Dukes Lee tackles in her new audiobook, It’s All Under Control. Jennifer never thought she was a control freak. As long as everything went exactly the way she wanted it to, she was totally flexible. But then she discovered what happens when you try to wrap your arms around everything. She got burned out. Sound familiar? If so, keep listening. The audiobook, It’s All Under Control, was born of pain, and Jennifer will be the first to tell you. In addition to being an author, Jennifer Dukes Lee is the official DJ at her small country church in Iowa. If you think that’s weird, she used to be a mime! In fact, Jennifer is a self-proclaimed weirdo. So you’re in good company. She raises crops, pigs, cats and two humans with her husband on the Lee family farm. 

And it’s all under God’s control, right? 

JENNIFER DUKES LEE:

Sure [laughs]

VICKI MORGAN

First of all I want to just welcome you to christianaudio.com, Jennifer. 

JENNIFER DUKES LEE:  It’s so fun to be here! What an honor, I absolutely loved recording my book. That was so fun. 

VICKI MORGAN:   That’s an interesting opening statement. Tell me what you liked about it.

JENNIFER

Well, the reason being, I had another book that was read by someone else and it just felt like somebody else was saying my thoughts. Like the thoughts that were going through my head and then I knew how they sounded. It just felt like an out of body experience. [Laughter] And for me, to go through my whole book and read it with my own voice, it felt like from my own heart. And as I was standing in that quiet sound booth, my mind would run ahead to the times when people would actually be downloading the book and listening to it and it really warmed my heart. So I was so grateful for the opportunity. 

VICKI: 

Yeah, it’s important to be personal and that’s what I like about your approach. You’re very personal in your writing. I don’t feel like you’re filling us with a bunch of pat answers like, “Let go and let God” or, “I can do all things through Christ” or, “Blessed are the flexible.” I think if I hear “Blessed are the flexible” one more time, I’ll break out in a rash. [Laughter] 

JENNIFER

Right. [laughter] 

VICKI: 

Why is it that we feel so guilty when we’re overwhelmed? Like we must not be doing something right?

JENNIFER

Right. And that’s why we use those kinds of phrases, right? And we’ll tell that to other people. If they’re feeling overwhelmed, then we’re tempted to say to that person, “Well the key is to just let go and let God.” I remember as I was writing this book thinking I have got to tackle that kind of statement, because it does make the overwhelmed woman feel even more guilty. Like if “I trusted God more, I would let go” and “I must be doing something wrong if I have all these things on my plate.”

And so I actually started one of the chapters, Chapter Five of It’s All Under Control with these words, “Sometimes let go and let God is bad advice.” And I remember thinking, “I can’t believe I’m saying this because these are words that are screen printed on t-shirts and a thousand coffee mugs out in the world.” [Laughs] The thing is though, I feel like when we say let go and let God, we’re telling women “You can’t be responsible for anything. You have to let God be in control of everything.” Which He is in control of everything, but there are times when God is going to ask us to hang on tighter than ever before. We’re going to need to muster the courage to do really hard things. So many books that I read are in this genre of self-care where if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you kind of need to fire your life … just simply walk away from it all and spend more time on a floaty in the middle of the lake. 

But the reality is for most women that I know, we have to hang onto a lot of things. We have to maybe have more than one job while we’re raising kids or we have aging parents who need our help. The reason that we’re overwhelmed is because there’s just a lot going on. And to simply let it go and let God take care of those things is just not always the most helpful advice. 

VICKI: 

When Jesus was tired and kind of overwhelmed and He had to go on a floaty, [laughter] people would follow Him. He never got a chance to rest. [Laughter] 

JENNIFER:

Yeah, although when He was on his floaty in the middle of a lake, He did take a nap. [laughter] You know there’s a storm going on and He’s still on His floaty. He’s taking a nap. That is so funny. But I do think that Jesus has a lot to teach us about rest; and He also has a lot to teach us about constantly doing what the Lord is asking him to do and sometimes the things that God is going to ask us to do, are going to be some of the hardest things that we’ve ever done in our whole lives. There are so many things every day that make life feel out of control and I feel like the worst advice that we can give to someone going through a hard time is let go and let God

VICKI: 

Yeah, and that let go and let God thing, that isn’t helpful when we’re trying to distinguish between our earthly responsibilities and our responsibility towards God, and just being with Him.

JENNIFER

The Earthly human responsibilities that we do have often are the same as our responsibility toward God. God calls us to do things right here on Earth, as human beings down here in the muck and the mud of things that are part of carrying out God’s purpose and calling in our lives. So a lot of times there is a tremendous overlap. It can be difficult for us to figure out what on my plate, what on my to-do list does God actually want me to do? And one of the things that I stopped doing was putting God on my to-do list. I literally put God at the top of my list, so that I would make sure that I had time with Him and I would compartmentalize God and make Him an item to check off of my list and then move on. And I realized while doing research and living out the message of this audio book, that I needed to reverse that. I needed to stop putting God on my to-do list and I needed to hand Him the whole list to make sure that everything that I was doing in my family life, in my ministry, and the care of my home and the care of the people that I love the most was under the direction of God. And I wanted to do everything in my life in conjunction with Him and I didn’t play God. I wanted to partner with Him. 

VICKI: 

So let’s talk about another list. In your audio book, you talk about “Do, Delegate, or Dismiss.” Now I can understand DO; I can understand DELEGATE, but when do we DISMISS a perceived responsibility?

JENNIFER

A lot of times, many women that I know are doing a lot of things that maybe at one time, six, seven, eight years ago, they felt called to do. And they don’t want to dismiss it because they’re asking themselves the question, “If I don’t do it, who will?” I remember in my own life I led our community’s vacation Bible school program for many years and I did it probably two or three years longer than I probably should have, but I felt that if I dismissed this that no one else would step up and do it. And I would be letting down the children in our community and so I kept doing it beyond when I should have. But what I learned when I dismissed that from my list is that I opened up a space for someone else with energy and excitement to lead it in a much better way than I was doing when I had lost passion for it. But it can be really hard to dismiss things because a lot of us women do not want to disappoint people. We don’t want to let people down and so we continue to give our yeses … almost becoming an unstoppable series of yeses … to all the things that people are putting on our plate. And you know the old saying “If you want something done ask a busy woman to do it.” JENNIFER: So out of guilt, a lot of us will go ahead and take on one more thing because we know that it needs to get done. 

And so that process of Do, Delegate, Dismiss, which I outline in two entire chapters of the audio book, really carry women through a process of understanding what do I do, what do I delegate and ask for help for, which is also super hard, and then what do I dismiss? And women who are going through that right now are emailing me, telling me that it has given them a great amount of freedom and flexibility in their life. 

VICKI:

Yes, your audiobook gave me freedom. That’s for sure. And I love this … this is one of those freedom giving statements that you wrote. You said, “The world doesn’t need me to rescue it. Our main job is not to manage outcomes.” So that’s freeing. But my question to you is, don’t outcomes determine our fruitfulness, and our effectiveness, and our usefulness in the kingdom of God?

JENNIFER

I don’t think so, because I don’t think that God is really after outcomes in the way that “culture” suggests. Often managing outcomes looks like success and we equate success with fruitfulness. But what God is really after with each of us is our obedience. He is not after results in the same way that we are. God is doing something relationally in each one of us and it really has much less to do with our effectiveness and our usefulness. It has much more to do with following Jesus into a meaningful, eternal relationship with Him. 

VICKI: 

Yes I love that quote. I have to read another quote because I’m so excited about it. This one ministers to me every day and it says, “Today I refuse to be held back, chained down, worked up, or shoved ahead. I am committed to God’s agenda for God’s purposes and I ask for God’s peace so that I can pursue God’s glory. I abstain from useless brooding, worrisome thinking, frantic pushing, or jittery striving. I want the self-controlled mind of Christ, not the anxious mind of chaos.” 

JENNIFER

That’s part of the Manifesto that I wrote and that I read at the end of the audio book. I really felt like women needed something to just sort of put their foot down against all of this pressure, not that just other people put on us, but that we put on ourselves. I wanted a statement that people could say with me to push back against expectations so that we could live lives that are less about control and more about connection. That are more about fate than about trying to manage all these outcomes. That are more about relationship and intimacy with Jesus than in trying to do whatever I think is going to get me ahead. So those words … I remember when I wrote them and when I read them too … I almost started crying while I was reading the audiobook because there’s so much emotion that I can feel about those particular words as I read them. And my hope for women is that we can live those words in our own lives every day. 

VICKI:

Well, that’s what the Bible calls us to do. If you look at all the advice for women, the excellence that He calls us to is not the excellence as the world defines us. 

JENNIFER

So true. 

VICKI: 

Now I’m not asking for parental advice here, but when you’re a parent, and you’re studying with young children in the home, they don’t always understand that, “Hey, Mommy’s going through a special study with Jennifer Dukes Lee.” They still operate very much out of the needs of the flesh. So as parents, we’re supposed to meet those needs. Doesn’t that mean that when kiddie chaos happens, we have to address it immediately?

JENNIFER

[laughter] Well, when there is chaos in the home, the truth is we do have to address it. But I remember when I was a mom with much younger children, I remember thinking the fact that they are seeing me right now at my kitchen table, going through this Bible study workbook, is going to teach them lessons that they couldn’t otherwise get. That Mom’s time with the Lord is something that she makes a priority. 

Now that doesn’t mean that if the girls were pulling each other’s hair in the living room that I would ignore them, but it did mean that I was pretty intentional, especially when they were younger, about letting them see me with a Bible open on my lap, going through studies and letting them know what I was reading. And I remember when they were really little, they each had their own little journals and they would sit with me and they would open up their journal and they would write little prayers in their kindergarten, first grade handwriting. And I still have those and I treasure them so much. So I hope that maybe if there was a little bit more fingerprints on the walls, if there was maybe messier living room, and Cheerios on the floor, that what they remember most is probably that Mom made time to be with Jesus and also time to love my girls and help them walk them into a life of faith. 

VICKI: 

Yeah, and I’m really glad that you added that Bible study at the end of your audiobook. Have you heard from women yet who have gone through that as a group? I mean, can somebody do it on their own or do they have to do it as a group? What’s been the feedback so far?

JENNIFER

Right, so women over the last few weeks have just started finishing it because it came out in September of 2018 and we’re speaking right now in December of 2018. And so a lot of groups that first started it are just finishing. So I’m starting to get the feedback and it’s been so cool. I wrote it probably thinking that it was going to be individuals taking the study by themselves. I wanted to at least make that an option, but because I knew that women needed resources to do with a group, I do have a Leader’s Guide in the back of the Bible study. And I also have free videos to go with each of the six weeks of content. 

And those are on my website. I really felt strongly about creating free video content, because those videos can be pretty expensive. 

VICKI: 

Is that the same with Love Idol and your other audiobooks as well?

JENNIFER

This was my first Bible study. However, both of those books do have questions at the end of the chapter or at the end of the book. 

VICKI:

Let’s get into the three types of women. The Driver, the Devoter, and the Darling. 

JENNIFER

I thought it would be fun to create a few categories of what I call control characters. And I think that women love to know that there’s other people out there just like them. And so I identified three control characters while researching and writing the book. And each of these types have different motivations, different strengths, and different shortcomings. And so the Driver tends to be that person in your life or maybe it’s you, who is a planner, maybe the group leader for the high school group project. She can handle a lot of things at once, super decisive, goal minded, confident. Her dark side or at her worst, she can be a workaholic. She often sets unrealistic goals for herself and she feels as if it’s all up to her. 

And then the Devoter tends to be energized by genuine concern and love for the people in her life. Very caring, very generous, very loyal. And at her worst though, a Devoter believes that she knows what’s best for everybody she loves. And she gets upset if somebody makes a decision without her input. 

And then lastly is the Darling. And so darlings tend to be more energized by internal order. So, unlike Drivers and Devoters, she’s more likely to try to control herself instead of controlling other people. She’s really passionate about her goals and she holds fast to pretty high standards of personal integrity and behavior. Very loyal, well liked, hard working. But at her worsT, a Darling can be a perfectionist and often feel like she needs the approval of other people … a people pleaser. 

So I help women who identify with usually one or more. Like me, I am a hot mess of all three of these different characters. But I help them see who they are and how they can improve in their lives and take the pressure off of themselves. No matter which of the three types they are. 

VICKI: 

That sounds great. And I don’t know a single woman who can’t use the information in your audiobook. It’s a great audiobook. Let’s end with a note of encouragement. Talk to the woman who feels hopelessly trapped in her responsibilities without any time for this kind of transformation. She’s done the math, there’s no open door for her. She can’t seem to fit in quality time with God and the study of this audiobook into her life. 

JENNIFER

I think a lot of women are in that space right now, feeling like there’s so much responsibility on their shoulders. And I will say to the women out there feeling that way, I think that a lot of us go through those seasons. And the last thing that you need right now, is to feel guilt over what’s on your plate right now. My prayer for you and my hope for you is that you would be able to figure out what is yours to do, figure out areas where you can delegate and ask for help, and figure out if there’s even just one thing in these next two days or in this next week, that you can dismiss so that you can have the time that you need to rest in the love of Jesus. 

I think that rest doesn’t always look like time in a hammock, or time for a massage, or time for vacation. Rest is a state of our soul and I think that even in busy seasons, if you’re connected to the Vine and connected to Jesus in meaningful ways and just little pockets of time that you can steal every day that you will feel rested and peaceful in your spirit. And just not to give up hope. I know how hard it is. I’ve gone through some really, really, really difficult seasons even in the time when I was writing this book, editing this book. Even during the days when I was recording this audiobook, I’ve been going through some really difficult seasons and I just want to encourage women to just keep stepping through each of these seasons and keep walking towards the light. And knowing that you don’t walk their alone, that Jesus is with you every step of the way. 

VICKI: 

That is such great advice and I am so glad you took the time to share the richness of It’s All Under Control and what it has to offer. And every word does point to Christ and it reminds us of our value and our purpose in Him, so we all need that. Thank you very, very much.

JENNIFER

Thank you Vicki. Take care. 

VICKI:

Get your copy of Jennifer Dukes Lee’s brand new audiobook, It’s All Under Control, at Christianaudio.com. We’ll even treat you to a free audiobook every month when you join our mailing list. I’m Vicki Morgan. Thanks for listening!

ANNOUNCER:

For over ten years christianaudio.com has been providing top-quality Christian audiobooks and audio Bibles. To learn more about the titles we discussed today or to learn how you can get a free audiobook every month, visit christianaudio.com. Thanks for listening!

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