CNLP 238: Lysa TerKeurst on Living and Leading Through Personal Crisis, Disappointment, and Navigating What Part of Your Life Should Be Personal, Private or Secret

The last three years of Proverbs 31 President Lysa TerKeurst’s life have been almost unbelievable as she discovered infidelity in her marriage and lived through cancer and another life-threatening illness.

Lysa shares openly and honestly about how she lived and led through the deepest personal crisis of her life, how she battled disappointment and how she figured out which parts of her life should be kept personal or private (and why secrecy is such a bad idea).

Welcome to Episode 238 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

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Episode Links

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3 Insights from Lysa

1. Christians are addicted to positive outcomes

Humans are addicted to outcomes, especially Christians and specifically positive outcomes.

We’re attached to the way we assume our life should go. When life starts to move a different direction than we think it should, we start doing what Lysa calls “God Pep Rallies” – those times when we say things like, “I know this doesn’t look the way I thought it would, but I know God will work good from this.” And, yes, it’s true that God does that, but the problem with prematurely crafting up the good story behind what God has planned for the hard times we’re facing is that we start holding God accountable for what we ASSUME He should be doing for us.

Yikes. Guilty.

So, remain faithful to receive that goodness from God, but resist the temptation to hurry the process along as if you have any control over the outcome.

2.  God doesn’t cause pain, but He does allow it

God will allow hurt, even in his most devoted of followers. He will allow His people to experience unfathomable pain and there are no greater times of confusion, frustration and questions.

If you are in the midst of the most trying of seasons, remember that God didn’t cause the pain, but He is allowing it. You have not been cursed or forgotten. He’s entrusted you to faithfully steward a journey you would have never chosen on your own and He has a plan to use your story for good in ways bigger than you could ever fathom.

3. There’s a difference between secrecy and privacy

When people, especially church leaders or people with a large public following, experience difficult situations, they often feel compelled to let out every single detail of their story. But there’s a big difference in secrecy and privacy when it comes to being fully transparent with the people engaged in your life.

Secrecy is keeping things hidden, so that the sin behind it can be perpetuated.

Privacy is not keeping things hidden for the sake of secrecy, but keeping things hidden for the sake of healing.

Allowing people to be able to identify with the depth of your hurt is a delicate road to walk, for sure. Remember that every last detail doesn’t have to be offered to anyone simply to settle their curiosity. That often distracts from the lessons God wants you and others to learn from the story. It’s okay to keep some things in your life private.

Quotes from Episode 238

God loves me too much to answer my prayer at any other time than the right time and in any other way than the right way. @LysaTerKeurst Click To Tweet Inspiration + Information + Personal Application = Life Transformation. @LysaTerKeurst Click To Tweet Fear only has as much access to affect us as we give it access to our heart. @LysaTerKeurst Click To Tweet God doesn't want to be explained away. He wants to be invited in. @LysaTerKeurst Click To Tweet Dust does not signify your end. It's often what must be present for the brand new to begin. @LysaTerKeurst Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 238

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Solve the Problems Most Leaders Miss: Didn’t See It Coming Will Help

If you want practical help overcoming some of the biggest challenges leaders face, my new book Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences tackles the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.

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“Uncommonly perceptive and generous…You have to read this book.” Ann Voskamp, NYT bestselling author

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“Deep biblical insight, straightforward truth, and practical wisdom to help you grow.” Craig Groeschel, Pastor and NYT bestselling author

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Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author

“Nieuwhof’s book provides expert guidance…with an accuracy that pierces the heart.” Nancy Duarte, CEO Duarte Inc.

“A refreshingly transparent guide for all leaders in a wide variety of industries.” Bryan Miles, Co-Founder and CEO, BELAY

You can learn more and get your copy of Didn’t See It Coming here.

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Next Episode: Jon Gordon 

At age 29, Jon Gordon’s wife told him she loved him but couldn’t stand his constant complaining and negativity. He decided to change. His decision led him to radically change his mindset. He became a Christian. Now he consults on positivity with NFL teams, Fortune 500 companies and top leaders around the world. Jon outlines practical ways to stay positive, including how to silence the negative voices in your head and the negative voices in your organization. He regularly appears on CNN, Fox and Friends, The Today Show and more, and has authored 16 books.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 239.

CNLP 238: Lysa TerKeurst on Living and Leading Through Personal Crisis, Disappointment, and Navigating What Part of Your Life Should Be Personal, Private or Secret


  1. Marsha on January 21, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Just listen to Lysa TerKeurst and bought the book before he was released. She is also one of our Bible Studys we did here in our community “I Am” it was amazing coming from Israel. She’s truly is wonderful.

  2. Jim on January 16, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Really? Does this mean the writer of Hebrews was wrong (see chapter 12)? 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.

  3. John Pearrell on January 15, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Good article. I do, however, take exception to the notion that “God does not cause pain but He does allow it.” In Exodus 4:11 God takes direct responsibility for physical handicaps and in Isaiah 45:7 He claims to “create disaster.” We do not have to protect God. Whether God does something or allows something, ultimately He is still in charge of it and therefore responsible–it seems to me if God is comfortable with that, we can be as well.

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