Christian Living


How to Reinvent Yourself and Embrace Joy

Kimberly Carr - Digital Media Producer

Author Beth Jones's manner cascades with excitement for the message she carries within her. A Bible teacher and founding co-pastor at Valley Family Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan for over 30 years, she easily externds her confidence and congeniality to those within her reach.

Her book Reinvent is a tool that can be used by all, but there is a special audience that Beth had in mind when developing the text. There is a sharp edge to her message of reinvention, but it is not one meant to injure. Rather, the hook grabs you and refuses to relent until you are equally passionate about changing your own story as Beth is for you. I talked with her about Reinvent, and how it can help lead you to new fulfillment and your calling in Christ.

Kimberly Carr: You have a special place in your heart for single parents, and Reinvent was inspired by a single mom in the Bible. Could you share more about that?

Beth Jones: I definitely have a heart for single moms and for single dads and for the kids of single parents because I was a single parent’s kid. My parents split up when I was eight, but they went back and forth until I was 13 when they were finally divorced. I'm the oldest of three other sisters, and we had a little sorority going on for all of those years. My mom is my hero. She was a single mom in a time when we were the only family that had parents who were divorced and were being raised by a single mom that we knew in any of our social circles.

It was really quite a time. Reinvent came about because I've been teaching the story of 2 Kings 4 for maybe 25 years. It is the story of a widowed single mother of two boys, and the more I began to ponder her life and what a trailblazer she was – how she reinvented it with the help of godly insight – it all began to come together into this book.

Carr: Was there anything going on in your own life that inspired you to write Reinvent?

Jones: A year and a half ago, I was talking with a publisher and they asked if there was anything on my heart to write. I prayed about it and I spent some time with the Lord. And the thing that kept bubbling up was this ‘reinvent’ message. For many, many years I have shared the story of the single mom from 2 Kings 4 (who I affectionately call the Maven because she was in a really tough crisis). She answered four reinvention questions the prophet asked her, reinvented her life, and becomes an oil tycoon and an entrepreneur. I mean, she becomes a boss. I just thought, ‘This is so inspiring for women and really anybody these days.’ And this all developed before we started going through this COVID situation.

The other thing that really inspired it, I'll be honest, is I had gone through a season of ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick,’ you know, that ideal self, real self gap. I had some dreams and desires that had not realized yet and I began to seek God about it. In the process I realized He wanted to do some reinventing in my life too. So all of those things combined really prompted Reinvent. And then lo and behold, here we are in this season of history where everybody is reinventing everything everywhere.

Carr: It is truly amazing how God plans out things better than we could imagine. The message in this book is perfectly timed.

Jones: I know! Who knew, except for the Holy Spirit, right?

Carr: You mentioned four questions in the story of the Maven in 2 Kings. Why are those questions so important?

Jones: In the story this single widowed mother of two boys – her husband dies, the creditors are coming to take her boys... So she goes to the prophet Elijah for help and he asks her the first question: ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Question number one, step one, is about identifying those heartfelt wants and desires. It's critical. Jesus had a lot to say about the desires of our hearts and how important it was to identify those things. Question two is ‘What do you have?’ ‘Cause he said to her, ‘Tell me what you have in the house.’ At first she thought ‘I don't have anything. I've got nothing. I know no one,’ like we think often about ourselves. But then she said, ‘Well, I do have this little pot of anointing oil that has some value.’ We talk in Reinvent about how to identify your anointing. Maybe you don't have much but you have an anointing!

Question three is ‘What will you do?’ Can we talk about how you have to put legs to it? Faith without works is dead. And she was great! She did it!  So this idea of reinventing, it’s not like ‘Poof! Now you're reinvented!’ We have to work together with the Lord and cooperate with His wisdom and direction.

Question four is ‘Why will you do it?’ That, to me, is a significant question because we don't have a strong 'why.' Her 'why' was ‘I want my boys. I want to keep my boys.’ That strong motivation allows you to push through the pain, push through the setbacks, push through the nose, push through the rejections – you just keep going. In her case she had to pay her debt so she could keep her boys. And then the prophet said to her, 'You and your sons live on the rest.'

I feel like for Christians, our strong ‘why’ is not our financial debts. Our strong ‘why’ is our gospel debt. We have a gospel debt to pay to have that eternal influence and impact others for Christ and help people come to know Him. It’s an eternal significance. Everybody wants their life to count for something and to make a difference.

The other massive ‘why’ for Christians, I believe, is that God wants us to enjoy life. That was the last line of the story in 2 Kings 4. In Reinvent we talk a lot about how there's so many references to joy and laughter and mirth and rejoicing and all of these words that tell us that in His presence is fullness of joy! So let's not miss that part of our reinvention. We're paying a gospel debt and making a difference for Christ, but we're also really enjoying life and enjoying God.

Carr: What about the quirky people who feel like, ‘I'm just weird. I don't fit into the churchy mold.’ How can we embrace the quirks about ourselves in order to have that confidence to share our anointing with others?

Jones: Great question. In a section in the book where we answered the question, ‘What do you have?' we talk about how all of us have quirks and peculiarities. Don't be ashamed of those things or feel like those are a deficit! Remember Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent? She's a classic example where everybody kind of raised an eyebrow like, ‘Who's this lady and what's she going to do?’ And then when she opened her mouth. Oh my gosh, it was a ‘drop the mic’ moment for the whole world! Later, she revealed that she had suffered from Asperger's and here she was owning something that maybe made her a little quirky while people raised an eyebrow? Here she is, this beautiful person with an amazing anointed voice.

Another example is the story of the guy who wrote Roget's Thesaurus. He was a genius. He was really smart. But he went through eight or ten years of depression in his later life. During that time, he made lists – a quirky little thing – he just made lists of words and more words and more words. I think he had 15,000 words gathered together when the light bulb idea came to put together a book that would help people, which we now know as the thesaurus. I think if people will own their quirks (but don't use them as an excuse for bad behavior or irresponsibility) but for the fact that that's what God's wired into you, just lean into it and let God use and anoint your quirks.

Carr: I had no idea about that. So cool!

Jones: Let me tell you another one! Do you know the cereal Lucky Charms? Well, a friend of ours, his dad was in the army with this guy who always did vocal imitations. He was really good at impersonations and he would entertain his fellow soldiers using his voice. It turns out he became the voice of the leprechaun. So it's a quirky little thing that this guy had, but then lo and behold, that's what he's known for. You never know what your quirks will do for you.

Carr: The book was officially released recently, and your team had a special event planned for the launch. Did the current COVID-19 situation upend your plans?

Jones: There was supposed to be a Reinvent Conference on May 15th with amazing guest speakers like Colton Dixon, Phil Cooke, and Pastors David and Nicole Crank. It was going to be great. When all this went down, we had to cancel it. And to be honest, we had no plans or thoughts at all to do anything online. Of course it was a bummer because it was going to help us with the book launch. Well, three weeks ago I'm meeting with my team on Zoom like everyone else and we said, ‘What if we reinvented it and what if we asked some of our guest speakers and some others to do it online with us?’

We started brainstorming and told our guests that everyone who registered was going to get a free book and all conference sessions for the cost of only $29. Plus, all the proceeds are going to be donated to single parents because we wanted to help them in this season. So it was a win, win, win! We just completed it last night and had a Taco Tuesday-themed party. It was just such a fun conference!

People can still register for the conference and have access to online videos and everything. We’ll extend it through Mother’s Day. It would make a great gift!

Carr: That's fantastic. Is there anything that you wanted to add or tell our readers?

Jones: I feel like a massive reason for people to reinvent is to experience God's love. And I was one of these people that knew in my head that God loved me because the Bible tells me so, right? But I had not experienced it to that degree. I mean, I was saved and God had been very good to me. So I experienced it in that sense, but I just was praying, 'God, I really want to experience your love.'

I prayed that prayer in Ephesians 3 for many years, and God gave me such a gusher, a revelation of His love, that I know He wants it for everyone. I've been praying for everybody that reads the book, that they'll have an encounter with God on many levels. But especially that the relationship with Him and experiencing His love would massively reinvent their lives in whatever season they're in.  Ultimately our walk with God is the most important thing, and reinventing any part of that is always a priority.

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