Victoria Osteen, wife of Joel Osteen, serves with her husband as co-pastor of Lakewood Church, America's largest church. In addition to her ministry, she is the mother of two children. She sat down with Beliefnet to talk about her first book, "Love Your Life: Living, Happy, Healthy & Whole." In your book, you mention letting go of negative thoughts and beliefs. Given the current economic situation, though,what would advice would you give for people who may be struggling right now?
This time more than ever that we need to keep ourselves encouraged. If we just focus on what’s going on in the media, we’re going to get discouraged, and the truth is, there are uncertainties.
But, one thing is certain: our families are important. Don’t get so stressed out and so preoccupied that we neglect one of the greatest things that God has given us, and that’s our families. Because these economic times and uncertainties, they will pass. We’re going to come back because we live in a great nation. Be grateful and keep the right perspective. I think all of these principles can help us.
In the book you wrote that it’s important to take care of yourself. But you also wrote about trying to understand what your family members need. How do you balance taking care of yourself and taking care of other people?
As women, we’re nurturers by nature. We want to we want to make sure everyone is happy. That’s a good thing, but we also have to put ourselves on that happiness list. Whatever gives you time to recharge your own battery is well-spent time-- because you can’t give out of an empty bucket. It doesn’t have to be a week's vacation. Whether it’s taking hot baths and or taking 30 minutes to clear your mind, just make sure you like it.
I’ve learned in my life that things change. Seasons changes, times change. We take different jobs. Our children grow. So, we have to study the people in our lives and adapt to them, because when we do that, we get more out of our relationships.
For example, when my children were young, I would sit on the side of the bed with them and read them a book. Well, now I have a 13-year-old son, and he doesn’t want me to read him a book. So, I find creative ways to connect with him because it’s so important that I keep that connection. If I want him to hear me, it has to be the way he hears best.
I talked in the book about how Joel and I have different communication styles. It takes me 15 minutes to tell a story, and it'd take him two minutes flat. So, when I’m speaking to him, I adapt to that. It’s not a matter of me just doing everything for that other person. I want my husband to hear me. That’s the way I look at it. It benefits both of us.
You also wrote that people shouldn’t forget the “God option.” Tell me more about that. What does that mean?
A lot of times we see choices in front of us, and we limit ourselves by what we see. God wants us to see His way of doing things. And His way is always greater than our ways.
I give the story about the disciples when they came to Jesus and they were going to feed the 5,000. All they could see was the little boy’s lunch, the two fish and five loaves. But, Jesus said, "You know, what? There is another option. I can do supernatural things for you that you could never do."
What I mean by the “God option” is don’t rule out God, because one touch of His favor can bring about change. He can help us see things in a different way.
That day the disciples were able to see something new. It wasn’t just what they had in their hands. When they really gave it to God, it made all the difference in the world.
You mentioned God’s favor and God’s blessing. What about people of genuine faith who are having a hard time right now and may think, "Have I fallen out of God’s favor? Is God mad at me?” Can you speak to that?
There are a lot of times that we feel like our hands are tied—“I have no control over if I’m going to lose my job.” “I have no control over if I’m going to be able to pay my bills.” You’ve got to realize that that’s where your trust comes in. You have to trust God, and keep your hope, because your hope is what produces your faith.
That’s why we have this message of hope, to believe God. He’s not mad at you. He’s madly in love with you. God created man. He created beautiful mountains, the ocean, the birds that are singing. He created it all, but His greatest creation is you and I.
Those are the thoughts we have to dwell on, that we are special to God, that He has not turned away from us. He says He’ll never leave us or forsake us. We can say, "I let go of this material stuff because I know that You’re pleased with me. I know I’m doing my best, and I believe that You won’t let me and my family down."
When He’s talking to you, you can hear Him, "Peace." In the midst of peace, that’s where you’ll find God. Peace is power.
Obviously we’re not saying give all your responsibilities to God. We’re saying give your worries to God. Yes, you have responsibility. You’ve got to get up in the morning. You’ve got to keep after it. And sometimes you send a--like Joel says, "Dig your heels in." But when you release these things to God and trust Him, that’s when you can begin to receive His peace and begin to give this direction for your life.
What made you want to write this book?
I think that if we have good relationships and we learn how to love the people in our life and value ourselves that we not only honor God, but we can honor other people. You can pass that on to other people. Our life ripples out, and it has influence. That’s why it’s important that we’re at our best and that we’re influencing others for the good.
We have to have hope. We cannot fall into despair and think that God’s not in control. We've got to understand He's in control no matter who's the president. He hasn’t left us. He’s got a good plan. That’s why it’s so important that we focus on the plan that he’s got for our lives, because He’ll make a way. He promises He'll make a way.