Faith Questions and Finding Something Real | Janell Wood

In this episode:

Janell Wood took a meandering path from growing up in a Christian home, to questioning her faith, and then finding her way to a real relationship with God.  It gave her a passion for having honest discussions with young women who are uncertain about Christianity and searching for something real.

About Janell Wood:

Janell Wood loves to have honest, imperfect, conversations about faith and Jesus Christ. She has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, a background in advocacy and a deep interest in apologetics. She is a writer, speaker, high school foreign exchange coordinator, and host of the 'Finding Something REAL' podcast- a grace-filled journey for faith seekers and believers needing encouragement. She lives in Eastern Washington with her husband (the kindest man she knows), four kids, and (often) a teenage exchange daughter. In her free time, she can be found watching vintage television with her family and avoiding the kitchen.

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Quotes to Remember from Janell Wood:

  • I knew I wanted Jesus, but I also inside, really felt insecure. Like I wasn't enough, like I was rejected, and really felt very miserable.
  • And it came to a point of brokenness, when in my early 20s, or late teens and early 20s, where I just am crawling back to God like God, I need you, I need you.
  • Scripture says we love because he first loved us. You know, I heard for so long "love God, love people, nothing else matters." And that's true. But we cannot love God, love people unless we first receive His love for us. Well, I started believing that he actually loved me. That changed everything.
  • One of my favorite quotes is by David Augsburger. He says being heard is so close to being loved that to the average person, they're basically indistinguishable.
  • I wanted to see results, I wanted to see outcome. And I've learned that that's truly up to the Lord. It's not my job to manufacture results, or to make some come-to-Jesus moment happen. It's just to be willing to be his hands and feet.
  • I can do pretty bold things when I know I'm doing it for someone else.
  • Walk in the faith of knowing that he is who he says he is, and go out and share that something real with somebody who desperately needs it. The world is desperate, friend, for something real. That's why I do what I do. That's why I'm here today. And if you know the Lord Jesus, and you know his deep love for you, it was not meant to stay hidden within you. Go and be a light.
  • We can fight for just, "God, show me your love for me, so I can love you." And then the rest comes naturally.
  • We do a huge disservice to our young people, especially in the church, if we tell people doubt is a sin, because that is not that is not true. And actually, to doubt things and to wrestle through things is a sign of somebody really knowing and believing this stuff, because you can't doubt something that you're not working with.


Finding Something Real Podcast

Seven Questions You (or Your Friend) Might Be Asking about Faith

Books Janell mentioned:

Believing God by Beth Moore

Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Song mentioned:

Where Were You? by Ghost Ship

Episode Sponsor


Michelle Rayburn 00:00
Hey friends, I'm excited to share today's episode with you. My guest is Janell Wood. And she's one of my podcasting friends. We've never met in real life that I can think of. But we have had some really great conversations on Zoom in the past. And I wanted to introduce you to Janell because of the work that she does, in helping young women process their questions about faith. Maybe you've had some questions about faith and if you have, I think you're going to love this chat. And also Janell is podcast Finding Something Real. Today we're talking about her faith story, how God has transformed her throughout her questioning, in her doubts, and how he's brought her to just really fall in love with Jesus. And then to turn that into a ministry helping other people get to know Jesus. Wherever you are in your faith journey, Janell is a sweet and welcoming voice to help you process your questions.

Michelle Rayburn 01:07
You're listening to Life Repurposed, where you'll find practical biblical wisdom for everyday living, creative inspiration, and helpful resources. Grow your faith, improve your relationships, discover your purpose, and reach your goals with topics to encourage you to find hope amid the trashy stuff of life. Thanks for joining me today. I'm your host Michelle Rayburn. Let me tell you a little bit about Janell Wood. She loves to have honest imperfect conversations about faith and Jesus Christ. She has a master's degree in counseling psychology, a background in advocacy, and a deep interest in apologetics. She's a writer, speaker high school foreign exchange student coordinator and host of the Finding Something Real podcast, a grace-filled journey for faith seekers and believers needing encouragement. Janell lives in eastern Washington with her husband, the kindest man she knows, four kids, and often a teenage exchange daughter. In her free time, she can be found watching vintage television with her family and avoiding the kitchen. Here's my conversation with Janell.

Michelle Rayburn 02:15
Janell there's something I just read in your bio that I really want to know about. You've talked about watching vintage television with your family. So I want to know what that is. What do you watch?

Janell Wood 02:27
What do you mean? You mean, what is it?

Michelle Rayburn 02:30
Like are you watching on a vintage device? Or are they black and white shows?

Janell Wood 02:34
I love old, old TV. I grew up watching Nick at Night. I Love Lucy and Dick Van Dyke, and I'm introducing those things to my children. And currently we're watching MacGyver 1980s version. And I feel a sense of, maybe it's wrong, but like this warmth, and like nostalgia and comfort and during 2020 when the whole world was, you know, in chaos, our kids every night, we would watch almost every night. We would watch Mary Tyler Moore, and to the point where one of my kids cried at the end when the season was over, because, you know, he was gonna miss Lou Grant and Mary and all these different characters. And so it's just it's been fun to introduce my kids to those programs. And there's a lot of things on television and media right now that I, you know, I'll turn on and then I'll think, Oh, I just can't watch this. But old things. A lot of times, you know, there's things that I have to talk to my kids about, but for the most part, they're pretty, they're pretty decent. Yeah, good messages.

Michelle Rayburn 03:37
There are some that we watched when I was younger that I started watching with my kids like Dukes of Hazzard and realized this is really bad. I don't know why my parents loved me watch this. They were so fussy, but my son really got into Green Acres. And I love the humor in Green Acres. So that was something. And then Andy Griffith, of course, our family.

Janell Wood 03:56
Oh, yes. Yeah, I we started watching years ago. Leave it to Beaver. And I'd love to finish that one cuz we started it. It was fun. But yeah, we just, yeah, I don't know why I enjoy that so much. But I've always been like that I've loved old things. Even when I was in high school, I would listen to old music and my friends would all make fun of me. But it's fun to introduce, introduce my children to it, and they don't they don't know that it's weird. So.

Michelle Rayburn 04:23
I like old things. That's where my whole repurposing theme started. This actually started as a blog for trash to treasure decorating. I would buy vintage things and make them into something else and then share the before and after photos. And then I realized that life is really the big before and after. And that all of our flaws and I mean we can come to God vintage. We don't have to be all polished up. So that really is—I love that your TV watching fits right into the life repurposed theme too. I'd love to know a little bit more about your faith journey because we've met through being so fellow podcasters and being in a Christian podcasters group, but I don't really know your story.

Janell Wood 05:06
Yeah, well, Michelle, first of all, I just have to say thank you for letting me be here. And also, you just always been so kind and gracious and welcoming to me and even for your listeners, you know, Michelle is the real deal. You have reached out to me privately and offered help, and, you know, coffee dates and stuff. And so I just really appreciate you, that's who you are.

Janell Wood 05:28
Yeah, I grew up in a Christian home. So my mom had come to faith when she was a teenager. And my dad had been married a couple of times before he met my mom, and had a lot of brokenness in his life, but came back to faith. And so we were a blended family. And I have two older sisters that I, growing up, I was fiercely defensive of the fact that they were my real sisters. But they're 9 and 11 years older than me, and, you know, half Filipino, and I'm very much not Filipino. So they were my half sisters, and then my younger brother, who's 18 months younger than me. And my mom was passionate about the Lord. And really, I wanted that love in my life. You know, she loved Jesus so much, I wanted that, and at a very early age, I asked Jesus to come into my life, and then repeatedly asked him into my life, because, you know, I wanted to make sure it stuck. And from a very young age, I was passionate about sharing faith with other people. I remember, as a little girl, I was homeschooled in the beginning, and we got on a metro bus. And I saw a guy who looked kind of sad. And I remember just boldly, like, I don't know how old I was maybe five, like, "Anybody here who loves Jesus raise their hand," because I wanted to, you know, make him happy. And he did not seem happy at all. And so I said it louder, and nothing. And finally, I looked at my mom, you know, and I'm like, "Mommy, why didn't he raise his hand? Or Why didn't anyone raise their hand?" And my mom, I'm sure was embarrassed. But, you know, for me, sharing faith was always a part of what I had with Jesus, because that's what my mom did. But I have to tell you, like I was inside a very divided, young person, in the sense that I, I felt a lot of insecurity and rejection, you know, because of trauma that I wouldn't understand until years later. My sisters were in and out of my life. And they were, especially my oldest sister, my idol, I loved her so much. And so anytime she would leave felt like a rejection of me. And, and obviously, she didn't mean it that way. But that is what happened. And so I wanted to be good enough for for everybody. I wanted to make my mom happy. I wanted, you know, the back and forth to stop. And it just, by the time I was a teenager, I knew I wanted Jesus, but I also inside, really felt insecure. Like I wasn't enough, like I was rejected, and really felt very miserable. And to the point where, you know, I got involved with a young man in high school, who went to the youth group, and he became, over the course of our relationship, agnostic. And we were dating in college, we had this back and forth relationship for a long time felt like a very long time at the time, like three years, but at the time...

Michelle Rayburn 08:29
For a teenager, that is a long time.

Janell Wood 08:30
A very long time. And I just remember coming to the point where, you know, it's like, God, I want him more. I, I had been back and forth so much. I remember seeing this illustration, a pastor named Francis Chan gave it where he was like some of you are, you've got one foot here and one foot here, and you're drinking, you know, gave this illustration of like a Mountain Dew and a frappuccino. And he goes, and if you mix those two is miserable. You're the most miserable people in the world. And I remember thinking this was years later, as I was watching this, that's what it was for me. I was so miserable. I wanted Jesus I wanted to tell people about Jesus. And inside, I was drinking the other thing too, and I was absolutely miserable. And it came to a point of brokenness, when in my early 20s, or late teens and early 20s, where I just am crawling back to God like God, I need you, I need you. And it probably took me Michelle, another 10 years of this back and forth of drinking garbage and drinking truth. And by the time I was 30, I had been through some real, you know, trials. I was married to a wonderful man, my husband, Brian, we've been married now 18 years, but he was not my savior. We had had miscarriages and I felt rejected by God. And I remember just being like God, what is it? I've done everything right. I followed you I chose, you know, all these different things, all these legalistic things. And that was when God brought me to surrender. And I started doing this Bible study, I remember this turning point in my life. It was called I have it right here because I was thinking, what story can I share that would encourage somebody, it was "Believing God" by Beth Moore. And I've probably done it three or four times since then I don't even know if I've ever even finished the whole thing. But one thing that she does, is she puts the focus on believing who God is, before we focus on ourselves. And I realized for so long, I've been so focused on me, I'm not enough, I can't do this, I'm insecure, all these different things. And instead, just started looking to God, and started actually believing him, and my life changed. So that's my faith story. That's my journey.

Michelle Rayburn 10:36
Thank you for sharing that. I think there are others who are listening who can relate to that back and forth journey, even in, in everyday life, we always have opportunities to choose between this thing and that thing. And I think there are things in I mean, I can relate to that idea of drinking garbage while also following Jesus, because it might just be listening to the wrong voices, the wrong influences. How, how did you see people in the body of Christ? So other people who are Christians? How did you see them come alongside you during that part of your journey? Or did you not have people coming alongside of you?

Janell Wood 11:19
No, I definitely did. You know, I remember my friend Robin, she was the one who started this Bible study. And I think, you know, I was 27, 28. And I remember, you know, she's inviting me and I go thinking, "Oh, just another thing." And then I start, you know, reading and exploring, and, and at the time, I was really angry with God, to tell you the truth. You know, it's like, if this is what, at the, at the time, I was working with a lot of people who were in a lot of brokenness, we were having a lot of babies, and I couldn't have any, you know, I just remember thinking, "God, why have you rejected me?" And you know, later, I remember reading in Scripture, because then I'm, you know, starting to read the Bible, too. If you've ever done a Beth Moore Bible study, it's all about getting into the Word.

Michelle Rayburn 12:05
Yes, that's what I like about it. All the studies in the margins, and yeah,

Janell Wood 12:09
You're reading your Bible, and I was reading about Job, you know, and how did God respond to him when Job was, you know, falling apart, he reminded him of who he is. And there's this amazing song, if you want to google it called, "Where Were You" by Ghost Ship. And it's kind of a strange name for a band. But it's basically that God reminding whoever is asking the question, it's basically right out of scripture of Job, you know, where were you God, and He responds with, let me tell you, and then he goes through and he says, "Where were you when I made this, and I did this, and I did this." And somehow, and focusing on him, you know, and being surrounded by people who love—Well, my husband, you know, loves the Lord, my friend, Robin, like I mentioned, there were other people, I'm sure I can't recall right this moment. But walking in that is what really ministered to me during that time. And also, I would just add, it is a daily struggle. It's not like, you know, you have that moment of freedom. And then all of a sudden, you know, everything's hunky dory and perfect, but it was life changing for me. Yeah,

Michelle Rayburn 13:19
Yeah, that's actually the misconception of life, that there's going to be a moment where everything changes, and that's perfect from there on. Like, not gonna be that way. I didn't ask you how to tie if it's okay to ask this question. So I'm going to ask it, and then you can just cut it out if we have to. But I heard somebody recently on a podcast say that doubt is a sin. And I disagreed with that.

Janell Wood 13:41
Can I just say, I think that's a horrible, yes. I think that's anti-Bible.

Michelle Rayburn 13:44
Because that's the thing. There's this conception, whether it's a young person or somebody later in life, wrestling with questions and wondering, God, are you real? There is something in church where we do, like right out, say, It's a sin to doubt. So I'd love to know your thoughts on that.

Janell Wood 14:03
Oh, my gosh, there's so many people in Scripture who doubted. My favorite favorite example that I've given to people is John the Baptist. You know, here's John the Baptist, who has prepared a way for his cousin, Jesus Christ, you know, and he baptized them. And you he sees the Spirit of God descend on him. I mean, he had no doubt he left in the womb, you know, even before he was born. This was his, you know, purpose he knew. And he spent his whole life and devotion to Christ. And then what happens? He gets thrown into prison and look it up in Scripture, right? He sends His followers, his disciples to Jesus, and says, Are you the one who wants to come or should we expect somebody else? John is in prison.

Michelle Rayburn 14:49
Just checking to make sure you're the guy.

Janell Wood 14:51
Yeah, just checking. Because I'm in prison right now. Jesus, you know, the same Jesus who is you know, healing The blind man and making the paralyzed walk. He's letting John sit in prison. For John, that had been devastating. And what does Jesus do? He reminds him of who he is. And so I think I mean, I think there's other examples. And I think Elijah, most of other people that have

Michelle Rayburn 15:20
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Janell Wood 15:22
Yeah. Other people who have doubted, but we do a huge, and I'm really passionate about this, as you can tell, we do a huge disservice to our young people, especially in the church, if we tell people doubt is a sin, because that is not that is not true. And actually, to doubt things and to wrestle through things is a sign of somebody really knowing and believing this stuff, because you can't doubt something that you're not working with. So anyway, that's just a little. I could go on and on.

Michelle Rayburn 15:53
Thank you for that, though. Because I did want to, especially because your podcast is Finding Something Real. I did want to establish that because you are all about encouraging people to wrestle with hard things, and to ask those questions. So how did you find something real than in the midst of the wrestling? You've kind of already summarized that, but what was the real that you found in them?

Janell Wood 16:20
Yeah, well, once I started focusing on God more and me a little less, and just really trying to believe what I actually said that I believed, I remember going to a therapist, actually. And around that time, and I would say, I should do this, I should do that. I should do this. And she's like, "Janell, you say, should a lot." I said, "Well, I'm a Christian, I should do a lot of these things." And she's like, "Well, why wouldn't you do them out of love? When you start to fall in love with the Lord, right?" Scripture says we love because he first loved us. You know, I heard for so long "love God, love people, nothing else matters." And that's true. But we cannot love God, love people unless we first receive His love for us. Well, I started believing that he actually loved me. That changed everything. Now, do I still have days where I struggle with that? Yes. But if I truly believe that, and I walk in that the trajectory of my life, it is life, it's freedom, because that love, in fact, sidenote, you can clip this out. Go on tangents. But there is a story, Brennan Manning, I don't agree with all of its theology, but he had this great line. He said, I believe on the day of judgment, the LORD Jesus will ask one question, and only one question. "Did you believe that I loved you?" And then he goes on. And he says, the real believers will say, "Yes, Lord, we did we we formed our lives around it," in a response to it. And that is the walk of the believer. It's a response to it. I don't know if that's the one question Jesus will ask us, I think will be so in awe, and he can ask us whatever he wants, because he's God. But here's the deal. If we truly believe that God is who He says He is that he loves us the way, the Bible that we love, says he does. It changes everything when we walk in that. So yeah, for me, when I found that I'm like, "Whoa, there's power in believing this." I had read a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan, I think I referenced earlier, love that book. It changed my life, because I'm like, this is exactly what I've been wrestling with. If God is who He says He is, and I am who he says I am. Then my response isn't just to go to church every Sunday. And there's nothing wrong with that, you know, everyone's in a different season. But I don't want my response to just be this, I should do this, I should do that. I want to be all-in. God, my life here, according to your Word is with tremendous purpose. Tremendous, you know, mission. It's a short, very vapor in a wind, you know, very short vapor in the wind. So God, use me, according to your will. I want to be all in for you, which your spirit lead me to whoever you want me to use that to go and make disciples, teach me how I just want to be all in for you. And the Bible is very clear, Michelle, and you know that the Bible says in John 15, I believe it is. Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, you will bear fruit." It is a promise to, to abide in Him to abide in his love to know his love to receive it. And then to go out and there's another great resource, "Sit, Walk, Stand" by Watchmen Nee. It's one of my favorite books. It's this little book, and it talks about the sitting with Jesus so that we can stand against the enemy and his lies and then walk out to the people around us. I hope that answers your question.

Michelle Rayburn 19:44
That's a life purposed that really is like. You were this like, we all have this story of we were this and now we are this and then we're always becoming what God wants to grow us into. So it's when I think of a life repurposed. It's not that it's just a one and done. It's kind of like with my house. I've been here 16 years. It's the longest I've ever lived anywhere. I'm having to repaint everything that I thought was beautiful. And I finished it the first time. There's always a process. And so I love that you shared your story. Janell, I know there's more to it, too.

Michelle Rayburn 20:23
This episode is sponsored by the Life Repurposed book. It includes stories of grace, hope, and restored faith from 34 women just like you. You'll find comfort, inspiration, and wisdom as they share their accounts of how they found hope and renewed faith, as they've come through trials in tough times, including family struggles, infertility, health challenges, doubt, fear, human trafficking, depression, heartbreak, loss, and so much more. In these examples of forgiveness, starting over, renewed joy, fresh faith, and love and healing, discover inspiration to experience your own story of transformation. There are some thought provoking questions to use for your own reflection or group discussion at the end of every chapter as well. If you'd like to know more about Life Repurposed: Stories of Grace, Hope, and Restored Faith, you'll find that at, that's life

Michelle Rayburn 21:28
What else has God repurposed in your life?

Janell Wood 21:31
Well, I used to be really afraid to talk publicly. You know, I, I've always enjoyed speaking and being dramatic and getting passionate about things. That's always been my nature. But I remember, you know, as a teenager, some people pointing out that I had a speech impediment that I didn't even know I had. And then also that if I ever wanted to speak publicly, that I would have to get that fixed. And, and I went, and I tried, I couldn't do it. And so I thought, Well, me wanting to speak, is probably prideful, I probably shouldn't do that. I should probably just be quiet. And, you know, if I was a better Christian, maybe I wouldn't want to do or should. Yeah, yeah, I've had a lot of shifts in my life. And God has really redeemed a lot of that, Michelle, because, you know, there's this part in scripture where it talks about Moses, and he's arguing with God about what God has called him to do. And God is just like, Who made your mouth, you know? And there's the parable of the talents. And scripture talks about the the man, the two guys who did you know, they hid, I'm sorry, they didn't hide, they took the talents that their master gave them. And they increased, right, they invested them. But then there was a servant, who took the talent and buried it, and he buried it because he mischaracterized who his master was you read if you read the passage in scripture, and he was afraid, right? And God just convicted me one day of that, like, are you going to be like that Janell, you know, within my spirit. And so I just finally came to a point of surrender like that. Okay, I'll say yes, I will say yes to following you, even if it causes me to, you know, get nervous and scared, I'll do it scared. And I've been doing that now for a number of years. And God has blessed it and been so faithful to me. So I'm, I'm sad that I didn't learn that early on earlier on in my life.

Michelle Rayburn 23:32
I love that it led to a podcast, and that and getting behind a microphone like you, you didn't let it stop you. It wasn't like you just said, Okay, I'll, I'll teach Sunday school, or like, you just went all in and said, I'm gonna do a podcast. And that leads us perfectly to the podcast, because it's, I love your podcast, Finding Something Real. I'd love to know how, like you have an interesting format. So for the sake of the listener who's not listening to your podcast, tell us the premise of your show format.

Janell Wood 24:04
Yeah, so Finding Something Real. We're into our third year. It started out just me having conversations with Christian guests, because I wanted. We host exchange students, I wanted my girls who didn't know Jesus to listen. They didn't. So then I thought, Okay, I've got some people on here to talk about the gospel. Maybe they'll co host with me, they came on, they co hosted, one and done. And then I thought, no—actually, one of my favorite quotes is by David Augsburger. He says being heard is so close to being loved that to the average person, they're basically indistinguishable. And I thought, how could I bridge this? How could I get a girl who I want to listen to a Christian podcast? Answering questions that she might have about faith? How could I get her to actually join me here and be heard? And there's a wonderful podcast especially for people who are interested in doubt and apologetics and answers to hard questions. It's called Unbelievable with Justin Brierley. He's out of the UK. He's been doing it for a long time. And I listened to that podcast and I had Justin on my podcast. And I asked him about his format. Because in his podcast, he allows a Christian and a non Christian to debate different issues. And he doesn't play sides. He doesn't really, I didn't know he was a Christian when I first listened to the podcast. And so when Justin was on my show, I was like, isn't that a risk? Or isn't that a risk to allow the space for somebody who's not a Christian, to just go on and on with their, you know, arguments? And he's like, "Yeah, but it's a risk worth taking, because that's life. And I'm not the Holy Spirit, you know." And so anyway, all these things came together. And so in season four, in, I think it was February 2021, I started inviting young women, to co host with me on my podcast, the first episode of every month, it's an episode just me and her. I don't push back with her, I just allow her the space to share who she is her story, her faith journey, or lack thereof. And then her faith questions, doubts or objections. And some of these girls come from foreign countries, they maybe have no, sometimes they'll say to me, I've never met anyone, like you, you know, I've never met a Christian like this, or whatever. And sometimes they're girls like this month, when we're recording this, a girl who grew up in a, in a Christian home and now is, you know, adding things to her faith, like, tarot cards, and, you know, crystals, and, you know, choose your own adventure kind of stuff. And so there's no condemnation, I just want to give them the space to have that open dialogue. My background is an advocacy and some counseling. And so I try to I don't do counseling there, but I allow them that space. And then I invite them, and they know this ahead of time, but I invite them to join me as I invite Christian guests to come on throughout the month, who address those questions that that girl brought up. Whether she comes back or not, that's up to her. And that's again, something that's morphed over time. In the beginning, I'm like, you're gonna be here, you need to be here for these conversations. I've learned to hold things very loosely. And the outcome is up to the Lord. But one of the things that I was sharing with you before we pressed record, you know, I just recorded a few months ago with a girl who's an atheist, and she's like, I don't want anything to do with Jesus ever. And so she came on one time, because she, she knows about the podcast, and she cares about me. And she never came back for the other conversations. But I feel like each month it's like a little love letter to that girl. It's a benefit to the listener to especially to the my Christian listeners who are going man, how do you have conversations like this with people who are wrestling with faith or struggling with doubt, or dealing with things that I really don't know how to deal with. And then it's also hopefully a benefit to the girl who's struggling with faith or questioning it. And then it's finally a gift to that young woman and who I think of the most, who is wondering about faith doesn't have anything real for her restoration, eternity, authenticity and love found in Jesus. And it's an open invitation because of podcasting and format for her to come back and listen if she wants. So that's what I do.

Michelle Rayburn 28:18
That's been really cool, because there are times when you're in an interview that you're learning to, I can think of an example that I listened to quite a while ago, but it stuck with me. You were interviewing someone who was experimenting with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and she helped you understand why people in that faith don't want to be called Mormons, they want to be LDS and, and like you were open to understanding how to respectfully have conversations with and about people in different faiths, even if you don't agree with their perspective. So I love that how you model that and being open to that discussion and asking questions, you asked a lot of questions that made her go back. And research like, well, actually, I don't know what that means. So I really liked the format, because you have a very approachable way of having those conversations without having, like, I've never sensed judgment in the way you do your format. And I love that.

Janell Wood 29:14
Thanks. I feel like God has been so gracious to me and my questions and doubts. You know, I think, for me, especially if it's someone I love, like on the podcast this month, it's somebody I love. Sometimes I feel defensive or fearful when you hear the questions that are coming out of their mouth, you know, or where they're actually at. Sometimes it's easier to just kind of be like, I know she's in a kind of a weird place right now. But she'll get over it or whatever. I feel like and I feel it's pretty strongly that things need to be exposed to the light in order for healing to begin. And so the healing may not happen on their podcasting journey. You know, it's just a small little snippet of life, but it's an open invitation to expose things and to address things maybe have been covered up for a long time. Yeah.

Michelle Rayburn 30:03
What's the what's something you've learned about yourself because of interviewing the guests or something that has changed or shaped your fate?

Janell Wood 30:14
Yeah. I've learned to be more respectful, I guess of other things, other ideas and to listen more than I talk, I think, also something I've learned. When I first started trying to reach the girls that I love, and a younger version of myself in a lot of ways, I wanted to see results, I wanted to see outcome. And I've learned that that's truly up to the Lord, it's not my job to manufacture results, or to make some come to Jesus moment happen. It's just to be willing to be his hands and feet. And I think too, for me, I feel compelled to share this, I don't know why, because of my issues with insecurity, you know, when I was blogging, and sometimes even when I'm solo podcasting, I can get really caught up in me, it's, it is a struggle, it's a lot easier to look at myself than to look to God or to look to the person across from me. But here's the thing, when I have that person across from me, when I have a girl that I'm thinking of that I'm advocating for that I'm, you know, sharing her story with a Christian guests, it's so much easier to share. It's so much easier for me to put myself out there, because I'm doing it out of love. And it's not out of fear. And so that's something that I've learned about myself that I can do pretty bold things when I know I'm doing it for someone else. People ask me sometimes, well, how do you get how do you get some of the gifts that you do? I started having people ask me, Well, I ask, but the reason I ask, if not for myself, is for the girl who have a really hard question. And I want the best person that I know who could possibly answer that question to join me in response. And sometimes the best answer comes from somebody unexpected. But God has been so gracious to provide people to answer those questions either from their own experiences are from their own studying and research. And so yeah, God, God has been faithful, I've learned that he always comes through in the beginning of doing this format, I was so scared, like, Where are the girls gonna come from? What if I can't get them? What if I can't find Christian guests to come through? Because what if there's a can of worms that's being opened, and then it's out there. And in fact, I have a situation like that this month, we were just praying about it this morning, my husband, I pray about the podcast all the time. And he's like, God, you've come, you've come through before; you're gonna come through again. And he's right and living like that. It's scary. And it's wonderful. Because you get to see the power of God show up all the time.

Michelle Rayburn 32:48
Your podcast is great for somebody who has questions. So we could share this with somebody who's really wrestling with things. And it's a great place for them to really sense that love that you're talking about, and this message for them. But it's also a place for those of us who maybe have come from a let's see, I'm from a little more legalistic background, God has changed me a lot. And for me, it's like, I need examples of how to have conversations with people that in the past, I would have shut down right away, like, sadly, I'd like to go back and redo some of that. So earlier on this year, we've connected because we host exchange students, I went to your podcast as a resource because I was hosting a student who is an atheist, and I didn't want to have arguments, I wanted to have just open conversations. And I knew that your podcasts would give me examples for how I could do that. So I encourage the listener to find the finding something real podcast and share it with someone else or binge listen to episodes is a great resource. Janelle, where can people find your podcast? Specifically, if they're looking for you?

Janell Wood 34:00
Yeah, it's really simple. You can go to Or Either one will take you there.

Michelle Rayburn 34:07
So that's for the podcast. But I know you also have a resource: seven questions you or your friend might be asking about faith. And I'm going to link to that in the show notes. But tell us, do you have a short link you can give us?

Janell Wood 34:20
If you go straight to my website, it will pop up. It's an automatic pop up if you'd like to.

Michelle Rayburn 34:25
Yep. So if you want to get that resource, the fastest way to find it is to go to Finding Something Real. And then it's right there in a pop up. But I will link to it in the show notes for people who want to get a link to that as well. So what would you like to leave with our listeners? I know I could talk to you all day. Because we started out talking longer than I normally talk before we hit record and I just know that I can talk to you forever. But I love to wrap things up with something that we can leave with the listeners. So let's think of someone who is searching something real? What word of hope do you have for her?

Janell Wood 35:05
Yeah. Look to Jesus. I know that sounds really simple. I had a gal come on my podcast, her name's Kelly Lindsey. And I was asking her about her confidence. She's like, my confidence comes from alignment. And if you're searching for something real, if you're feeling a lot of insecurity or confusion, or just like, then the heaviness of the weight of the world, look to him, look to his word, start reading the book of John. It can be so comforting. Maybe pick up that book: "Sit, Walk, Stand" that I encourage people with. Feel free to reach out to I always love to hear from people, if you have questions about faith, and you're just wrestling. I mean, there's, I hope, no judgement, you know, God has been so gracious and so good. And then when you do receive something real, if you're listening, and you're like, Yeah, I've received it, but I still wrestle. Walk in the faith of knowing that he is who he says he is, and go out and share that something real with somebody who desperately needs it. The world is desperate friend, for something real. That's why I do what I do. That's why I'm here today. And if you know the Lord Jesus, and you know his deep love for you, it was not meant to stay hidden within you. Go and be a light. That's my encouragement.

Michelle Rayburn 36:27
Thank you. Janell. I love that. There's something you always ask on your show. What is it that you you wrap up with asking a question?

Janell Wood 36:35
I always say, "The Finding Something Real podcast is about a journey towards restoration, eternity, authenticity and love. Of those four things, and there are many more I'm sure that we can find in relationship with Jesus Christ, which stands out to you the most in your life right now. And why? So Michelle, are you gonna answer that question since you asked?

Michelle Rayburn 36:55
This is an acronym R E A L. So you can say can you say those four things again? .

Janell Wood 36:59
Yes. Restoration, eternity, authenticity, and love.

Michelle Rayburn 37:05
Authenticity resonates with me the most in the season I'm in right now. Because that's where God challenges me to be my real self. And not the polished version that I love for other people to see. So that's what he's working on me right now, as I'm in my own journey of finding something real.

Janell Wood 37:24
Yeah. I love that. Someone pointed out to me one time about that word authenticity, it's like, you know, it's about author, it's about the author, right? Going back to that, you know, looking to him to find our true authenticity. And yes, he'll figure it out. In fact, one, one final thought, where Jesus said, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. The loving yourself is implicit. We don't have to fight for it. We can fight for just, "God, show me your love for me, so I can love you." And then the rest comes naturally.

Michelle Rayburn 38:01
Perfect wrap up. Thank you so much, Janell. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Thank you, Michelle.

Michelle Rayburn 38:07
Chatting with Janell gave me a sense of peace and joy, and I hope it did you too. I just love her heart for Jesus. And I love her approach. So thank you for being part of this discussion today. And I hope that it changes your life in some way. This is episode number 148. And so if you'd like the show notes for this, you'd like a transcript of our discussion. You'll find that at I'll be back next week with another interview getting close to wrapping up season five of Life Repurposed. You've been listening to Life Repurposed with Michelle Rayburn. Check out tips, resources, and inspiration at and to get the show notes for this episode. Each week I share links to everything mentioned in the episode, graphics you can share, and guest quotes. Before you go. Which friend needs to hear this episode? Share a link with a note to invite them to listen.

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