Bernie Borges | Midlife Fulfilled Podcast

Ep 161 Embrace Your Faith Journey in The Midlife Relationship Pillar

Embracing your faith journey as part of the relationship pillar can lead to profound fulfillment as you navigate through your forties, fifties, and beyond.

In this takeaway episode of the Midlife Fulfilled podcast, I share my key takeaway from my conversation with James Early on episode 160 pertaining to a faith journey in midlife.

I begin with a re-introduction of James Early and his journey from stay-at-home dad to a Bible teacher and podcaster. I highlight James’ point that he doesn’t thump people over the head with the Bible in his teachings, and why this resonates with me.

I also share my own faith journey, how it evolved, and how studying the Bible has profoundly impacted my life.

Most of all, I explain that whatever your faith journey is, including atheism, it is part of your relationship pillar.  And, you should embrace it.

As a reminder, the five pillars of fulfillment in midlife are: (as explained in episode 100)
Health | Fitness | Career | Relationships | Legacy

My challenge to you is to be self-aware of this aspect of your relationship pillar, which includes your relationship with your faith journey. Embracing your faith journey as part of the relationship pillar can lead to profound fulfillment as you navigate through your forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond.

🔥 My affiliate link to Castmagic, which I used to help produce these show notes. 🔥

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

Connect with James Early:
Resource for Midlife Fulfilled Listeners
The Bible Speaks to You Podcast 

Watch this episode on YouTube

Episode Transcript

Bernie Borges [00:00:00]:
Hello, my midlife friend. This is Bernie Borges, your host to the Midlife Fulfill podcast, and this is episode 161, a takeaway episode from episode 160, my conversation with James Early. You know the drill. On takeaway episodes, I summarize key discussion points from the previous episode, and then I hone in on one key takeaway that I want to emphasize to you. Then, I issue you a challenge to consider on this topic. So let’s dive in, but first, I’m going to reintroduce you to James Early from episode 160. James Early is a 60 something year old gentleman who embraced a career in his when he was in his thirties that was not very common in those days. He was a stay at home dad.

Bernie Borges [00:00:48]:
His wife had a great job. She commuted about an hour and a half each way to work from Connecticut to New York, and James stayed home with their 3 kids. Now he eventually realized that the skills that he was using in this role would be skills that would serve him well later in a new career chapter. But it took him a while to realize that. Now eventually, as his kids grew up, he explored new career chapters that included things like landscaping and sales. He also began volunteering at a federal prison facility in 2008 teaching the bible to inmates who chose to attend because of course it was a choice that some of those inmates made. Now James made a point of sharing on the podcast that he didn’t thump those inmates over the head with the bible. He simply read passages from the bible and invited conversation about what it means to them.

Bernie Borges [00:01:44]:
Now over the years, James received testimonies from many inmates telling him that these Bible lessons were life changing for them, which, of course, provided James immutable fulfillment. And I told him so. Now, one of James’ career chapters was voice over acting, and I can relate. I did some voice over acting myself during the pandemic. James shared that he had hired a coach and he built his book of business in voice acting, but he realized that he was reading a script for someone else’s business or product, and he felt a calling to use his acquired skills in voice acting to do something more meaningful. And then it hit him. All those years that he had been teaching the Bible to inmates, which he still does today, and also getting immense fulfillment from the positive impact that he was having on those inmates, combined with his voice acting skills, led him to understand that he does this exceptionally well. Now he mentioned that when a well known podcaster, John Lee Dumas, also known as JLD, suggested to his listening audience to identify the one thing that you’re expert at better than anyone else and go do that thing.

Bernie Borges [00:03:04]:
That was an moment for James. So he decided to launch a new career chapter impacting people anywhere in the world through his bible teaching. And he did that by launching his podcast 4 years ago, and the podcast is The Bible Speaks to You. And before I go any further, I wanna summarize 3 key discussion points from my conversation with James Early that lead me to my takeaway. Number 1. His fulfillment journey in midlife is about the transitions that he went through in his different career paths, which eventually led him to finding his calling as a bible teacher. Point number 2. The mindset of Jesus.

Bernie Borges [00:03:49]:
James emphasizes the importance of understanding the mindset of Jesus and how it’s become a cornerstone of his work. That’s what he teaches. He explains how Jesus says in the bible that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, which means that it’s revealed to us spiritually in the present moment here on health. And, he links that to the idea of having the mindset of Jesus in daily living. And point number 3. Impact through sharing. James highlighted the rewarding aspect of his work conveying the fulfillment that he experiences from making a difference in people’s lives by teaching the bible. He shared examples of individuals whose perspectives were positively influenced by his teachings and from connecting with and helping others.

Bernie Borges [00:04:44]:
So where I want to land from my takeaway, from my conversation with James Early, pertains to the 3rd discussion point about his impact through sharing. James made a point of saying that he doesn’t thump people over the head with a Bible. This has a lot of meaning for me. As I often do in these takeaway episodes, I am going to share a personal story. I mention on the podcast, episode 160 with James, that I became a believer in Jesus and a church goer in my thirties. And again, I’m in my sixties, so 30 years ago. Now, throughout my youth, I was not interested in anything related to, quote unquote, religion or church. And reflecting back on those days, I now know why I had no interest.

Bernie Borges [00:05:37]:
It’s because I had no understanding of Jesus. None. For whatever reason, the Jesus brand, I’m using air quotes, meant no fun, stodgy, rules based, religious, and now I laugh at that perception of Jesus, because that’s not what it is at all. I now have the benefit of really knowing Jesus. Now, look. We all have free choice. We all have our beliefs. And to this day and until my last breath, I will always respect a person’s belief system.

Bernie Borges [00:06:16]:
For me, my belief system was radically transformed when I gave myself permission to learn about Jesus. Now James Early wasn’t my Bible teacher, but fortunately, really fortunately, the several Bible teachers that I have been with and even to this day are just the same as James. Meaning, they never thump the Bible at anyone. They explain it and invite conversation. Now I could not possibly summarize my 30 years of my experience studying the bible in a 15 or 20 minute podcast episode. So legacy me give you the TLDR version. In case you don’t know, TLDR is an abbreviation for too long, didn’t read. And it’s often used to indicate that something is too long to read.

Bernie Borges [00:07:09]:
So career the TLDR version. I learned why the Bible exists. I learned how it was written. Over what span of time. I learned that it’s comprised of 66 small books. 39 of them in the old testament that lead up to the life of Jesus and 27 books in the new testament which explain the life of Jesus, why he was crucified, and his resurrection, and most importantly, the meaning of his resurrection, which is the pillar of the Christian faith. Now, during my bible study journey, I admit that I had some doubts. I think a lot of people experienced that.

Bernie Borges [00:07:47]:
So one thing that really helped me deal with those doubts was a book that I read titled, The Case for Christ, written by a guy named Lee Strobel. Lee Strobel did what I wanted to do so that I didn’t have to do it. You see, Lee Strobel was an atheist. Now, I was not an atheist. I’m not even sure what I was. I wasn’t an atheist. Anyway, one day, his wife announced that she accepted Jesus and had become a believer in his resurrection and in her own salvation as a result. Health, Lee Strobel was livid.

Bernie Borges [00:08:29]:
I mean livid. He literally punched a hole in the wall in their home. Literally. Now at this time in his career he was the legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. So he decided to use his skills to put God on trial. He set out to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Bible and all its teachings are a farce. He spent the next 22 months flying around, sitting down, face to face with Bible Scholars. Now, Bible Scholars are people who are part theologians and part historians.

Bernie Borges [00:09:08]:
In other words, they were exceptionally informed and expert in specific areas of the Bible. And, by the way, the Bible spans 4000 years. So it’s impossible for one person to be an expert in every single area of the Bible. Anyway, after 22 months of debating face to face with Bible scholars, Lee Strobel awoke one day and realized that it takes more faith to be an atheist than to believe the teachings of the Bible, including the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection and what it means to the human family who chooses to believe in it. And from that day forward, Lee Strobel was a believer. He eventually went on to become a pastor, and I’m pretty sure he’s still around. I think he lives in Houston, Texas. Not quite sure.

Bernie Borges [00:10:04]:
You can Google that. Anyway, Lee Strobel wrote this book as an account of his own transformation from being a devout atheist to becoming a believer in Jesus. And he admits that he didn’t see that coming, but it’s where he landed. This book, The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, really impacted me. I mean, really impacted me because I began my bible studies with a lot of doubts. And aside from The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, the more that I studied the bible, the more it spoke to me. And that’s very common, by the way. The bible is often called the living word because it’s alive and it speaks to those who choose to study it.

Bernie Borges [00:10:53]:
Notice I say study. You don’t read the Bible. You study the Bible. Now I could go on, but I am going to bring this to a wrap. And look, I know that I am sharing something on a topic that is sometimes off limits for some. And the Midlife Fulfill podcast is certainly not a podcast about faith or religion or any of that, but I’m sharing a personal story. And if you don’t believe in Jesus, I respect that. I really do.

Bernie Borges [00:11:21]:
Again, this is my personal story because it’s my real experience. I gave myself permission to study the Bible, and it’s changed my life profoundly. So what does my story have to do with midlife fulfillment? You thought I’d never get there. Right? Well, remember the 5 pillars that I talk about all the time. Health, fitness, career, relationships, and legacy. My friend, faith is in the relationship pillar. Whatever your belief system is, that’s a relationship. So, my challenge to you is be self aware of this.

Bernie Borges [00:12:00]:
You may be a person of biblical faith like me or a different faith, or an atheist. Whatever you are, I totally respect whatever your faith journey is. All I’m simply saying is that your fulfillment is predicated on being aware that it’s a relationship. And, as I want you to do in each of the 5 pillars, ask yourself, How fulfilled are you in this aspect of your relationship pillar? Do you need to acknowledge it? Do you need to work on it? If you do, you’re in good company. So again, my challenge to you is to embrace this journey. It’s part of the relationship pillar, and the relationship pillar is huge for us when we get to our forties, fifties, sixties and beyond. So my main message to you in this challenge is that your faith journey is a part of your relationship pillar. Embrace it.

Bernie Borges [00:13:00]:
You know, I really admire what James Early is doing with his The Bible Speaks to You podcast and his teaching and speaking and coaching. A lot of people are hungry to understand the bible because it’s so often misunderstood, and I speak from personal experience on that. So if you’re interested, I encourage you to get James’ playlist of 12 previous episodes on his podcast that focus on the journey of self discovery and finding your spiritual identity. That’s linked up in the show notes. Also linked up in the show notes is my affiliate link for Cast Magic. Now, if you’re looking to save time on transcribing, recordings, writing blog posts, and more, check that out. Hey. I wanna remind you that you can watch my video recording with James Early on episode 160 on the Midlife Fulfilled YouTube channel.

Bernie Borges [00:13:49]:
That is also linked up in the show notes page. Hey. My next guest episode features Shep Hyken. Shep opens up about his attitude of gratitude. He’s accomplished a lot in his Midlife, across his family life, his career, his fitness, and he credits how an attitude of gratitude is what grounds him in life. So in episode 162, we’re gonna unpack that. Don’t miss that episode. And, hey, if you’re a new listener, welcome first of all.

Bernie Borges [00:14:23]:
I invite you to hit the subscribe button on your podcast player so that you don’t miss this episode as well as future episodes. If you’re still with me my friend, you know what time it is. It’s that time when I remind you that if you’re 80% fulfilled, you’re doing great. And if you wanna know how I know this, listen to episode 100 where I explain it. I’ll see you on episode 162. I’ll see you then.

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