• Sheila Harkins

From Podcast Listener to Podcast Guest

I think podcasts are wonderful. It is unbelievable to me that I can listen to many experts, celebreties, professionals and fellow faith sojourners from across the world. When I remember my Dad in Zimbabwe trying to listen to static-filled football games on an old radio way "back then" it seems truly amazing that we can now listen (and often see) so many events and conversations so clearly and currently.

I also think that it is incredible that many podcasts have free content. I love that while I am cooking dinner or getting ready for the day or painting a picture, I can be listening and learning without paying anything.

Often, I have wondered what it is like for the guests of a podcast. Do they know what is going to be asked beforehand? Do they reach out to the podcaster or does the podcaster reach out to them? If they aren't in the studio, how does it work?

Well, I can now share from my own experience how it worked for me!

I have many conversations with teenagers about the Christian perspective on topics of sex, pornography, pre-marital sex, and same-sex attraction and I am always looking for resources to help me. When I came across a Sexual Integrity Summit that had keynote speakers that I recognized from podcasts (like Juli Slattery and Nick Stumbo) I was interested in attending. When I contacted the point person for the summit to ask about getting CEUs for my professional development at the summit, I found out he was from Be Broken Ministries.

As the conversation about CEUs between our school and the Sexual Integrity Summit and ACSI continued, the idea came up from Be Broken Ministries that it would be good to hear an educator's perspective on their podcast. Since I have often told God that I want to be willing to share the many things he has taught me the last few years about sexual discipleship and purity, I agreed to appear on the Pure Sex Radio Podcast.

Also, this is a podcast that I regularly listen to and I have appreciated the host's transparency in sharing his own story. Jonathan Daugherty's book Secrets puts language to some of the feelings that I think accompany many people when they first encounter porn. I shared this quote from Jonathan Daugherty in a staff meeting in January:

“I don’t know any 12 year old who can adequately process an encounter with pornography. It is traumatic, confusing, exhilarating, and overwhelming.” He goes on to say “Most adults can’t even manage their sexual feelings very well, so how can a kid be expected to?”

Sexual brokenness issues are a lot more complicated than many of us give them credit for. I have a desire to continue learning and sharing in this area in hopes of helping all of us find the freedom that Jesus speaks about in every area of our lives-including our sexuality.

So, in late February of this year, Jonathan Daugherty and I sat down across the world to record a podcast. I was very nervous as I propped up my phone on a stack of books and and tried to set everything up perfectly. I thought I had the angle of the phone and the background just right. However, when Jonathan called in, he let me know that I needed to turn my phone. When I did that, it threw everything off the background and the angle from the way I had planned it! So, there wasn't any room for vanity when I did this podcast!

I had just turned fifty-two the week before and I kept reminding myself to not get my age wrong if I mentioned it. So, you will be happy to know that I didn't make the mistake of saying fifty-one. Instead, for some unknown reason I said forty-two years old! I truly am content to be fifty-two and I am not trying to act younger than I am, so I have no idea why that came out. I know the teens in my life and my own children will never let me live that down, so again, I was humbled in my podcast attempt!

I was nervous and I did not know the questions ahead of time, even though Jonathan and I did have a brief conversation beforehand. So, I was just responding naturally to the questions he asked (and praying hard that the Spirit would guard my mouth and only give me His words to say!)

He also informed me that they recorded interviews a couple of months in advance and my interview would be aired later this year. So, this past Wednesday I was not expecting to wake up and find out that the podcast was up. For some reason I thought maybe it wasn't what people needed to hear during this time of corona and that it might not be aired, so I had put it out of my mind and I hadn't thought about it in awhile. So, it was a surprise!

Overall, I feel like this was a good experience and I'm thankful that I did it. Each time I try something new it is certainly a risk. But I am thankful that I can keep learning and growing even as I get older. I'll never be able to speak to teens in their own "language" or totally understand what they are feeling, but I can continually be on a quest to listen and to learn and to love them.

In my quest for knowledge God often teaches me much about my own heart. I am so thankful for how we can continue growing throughout our lives. My Mom, who is eighty, listened to the podcast this week and sent me a sweet message saying how much she enjoyed the i-pod cast. I just love that even though she may not always get the terminology right, she has set such a great example in continuing to learn and grow and trying new things throughout her life.

I have been blessed this week by many comments and e-mails and messages and I am thankful for all the support. Thanks so much to all of you who have sent encouraging messages!

If you haven't had time to listen, maybe today would be a good day to listen while you take your morning jog, or do your evening dishes! Let's keep growing together!

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