The Unpopular Message of “Deny Yourself” {new video by Lisa Chan}

Apr 19, 2013

**pst…there’s a giveaway at the end of this post...don’t want you to miss out…**

uncomfortable uncertainty.

I mentioned speaking at a MOPs group last Friday, but I didn’t tell you I also spoke briefly that night…in the same room…to a completely different group of ladies.

When I said “yes” to our women’s minister, I didn’t really know what she wanted me to talk about. Then she sent me this question:

How uncomfortable are you with uncertainty?”

Ask me about humility in motherhood, raising boys, blogging…I’m good. But uncertainty… hmmm…

My eventual answer?

I’ve never been a big risk-taker. Homeschooled from 3rd through 8th grade, having lived in the same house for 18 years, having a cautious personality, upon entering college I described myself as “disliking change” and “risk averse”.

Then I got married and moved 5 times around the country in five years. Instead of pushing back against the uncomfortable I began to embrace it. Being in new towns with new faces, sometimes without the comfort of shared faith (particularly in San Francisco), I learned to see each person as a treasure box to be opened and known.

Instead of seeking my comfort in a conversation, I looked to get to know the other person. To help them feel comfortable. To connect people to each other based on common interests/backgrounds/goals. Through my uncertainty I discovered a new way to “deny myself”…to deny my comfort.


On the heels of speaking on the topic of God’s Mission over Our Comfort, I have been given the opportunity to share with you a review Lisa Chan’s second installment of her True Beauty video series,  “Deny Yourself”. (maybe you remember my review/giveaway of her first video, “Be Still“?)

Here’s the trailer (if reading on email click here to see video):

True Beauty Deny Yourself TRAILER from Flannel Staff on Vimeo.

Mission over comfort? Denying yourself? Jesus’ words: ‘…any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33.

These aren’t popular topics.

No matter how resistant you may be to the message of this DVD, the artful production and breathtaking cinematography will keep you watching. By the end of the video you may actually warm up to the idea of laying down your needs for another.

Lisa (wife of best-selling author and pastor Francis Chan, mother of 5 children) shares her thoughts on the idea of “denying yourself”:

We love to talk about: the love of God, the forgiveness of Jesus, the salvation God provides…after all, these things are astounding! But Jesus has always asked us to consider the cost of following Him. Following Jesus has always meant both death…and life.

This idea isn’t new to those raised in the church, but revolutionary for our culture. A culture full of “self-indulgence, inundated with lifting up greed, having it all…take care of me & mine.”

unbelievably undone.

My absolute favorite part of this video is the story interwoven among Lisa’s teaching. It’s a story about Irene. A woman, who fell for the “bad boy”, ended up pregnant and married this man despite his drinking problems and meanness.

After 10 years she decided she had enough, she was ready to leave him…despite his repentant heart and pleas for forgiveness.

A godly mentor of hers encouraged her, “God wants you to forgive him.” Irene heard God’s gentle reminder of how He had stretched out His arms, took His last breath for her. How could she want God to forgive her, when she was unwilling to forgive?

Once she decided to forgive, she also decided to obey God.

Sometimes we spend so much time in struggling and in misery because we won’t deny ourselves. God is saying, ‘If you would just do it, you would stop whining and complaining because you would be so filled with joy and peace.’

What we cling to is meaningless compared to the joy waiting for us.

For Irene and her husband, Domingo, they found joy and peace and a life worth living when they decided to open their home and adopt children without one.

In the video you see the precious faces & smiles of the 11 boys and girls who have found love, acceptance and family.  My heart swelled as Irene’s voice shared the background on each child, while that child’s sweet face filled the screen.


Included with the video is a devotional booklet with vivid color photos from the film, quotes, and discussion questions (even Scripture for further study).

How wonderful to think of all those lives transformed because of the redeeming work in Irene & Domingo’s relationship–from them choosing God’s Mission over their comfort.

Their story was a big story of obedience.  Lisa encourages us to look for small steps of obedience and denying ourselves. Opening the door for someone. Giving up a new shirt to new friend. Letting go of your right to be right. Listening more than talking. little acts of obedience.

Deny yourself. Take up your cross and follow Me. If you lose your life for My sake, you will find it.


Great news? I am giving away one copy of the “Deny Yourself” DVD to a lucky reader. Tweet and/or comment below to be entered to win! Giveaway ended April 25th, 2013. CONGRATULATIONS Julie Wenning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. Sarah (theGIRL)

    This sounds like a message I need to hear. Yes, I deny myself for my kids (like skipping some planned reading time to share a book with them instead)…but I need to focus on doing so for my husband and others whose care isn’t necessarily my responsibility.

  2. Emily Barry

    Pick me pick me!!! I would love a copy!

  3. insideoutstrength

    God has really opened my eyes lately to this subject. I would love LOVE a copy of this to help remind me that it is not about me!

  4. Julie Reynolds

    Sometimes denying ourselves means denyingour selfish tendencies to be doing something instead of just being present in the moment and resting at Jesus feet instead of trying to be the feet.

  5. Alia K

    I deny myself when it comes to my kids. Giving up things I want to do, (like eating!) In order to take care of them, but its not always with a grateful heart. Definitely something I need to work on. I would love this dvd!

  6. Erin

    Denying yourself by listening more and talking less… and this doesn’t just mean talking out loud, this means the talking you do in your head when you are supposed to be listening!

  7. Julie

    What a great topic for me now! I didn’t eat lunch until everyone was feed, needs met, and down for a nap. Thanks for this reminder (and giveaway!)

  8. beloved_bride

    you are right… this IS a really difficult topic. I am going through the weight of it all right now. Growing pains are TOUGH. But it is way cool to remember how much He loves us… Thanks for sharing your heart with us on here. XO, beloved_bride

  9. Heather

    This is so challenging and something that I was just talking about with a good friend. It is so hard in a culture that shouts ‘me, me, me.’ It takes the Holy Spirit within me nudging me to reject the selfish fleshly tendencies that the culture screams we embrace and live a radical life of putting others first. While I do that all throughout the day as a parent, many times I’m tempted to do it begrudgingly. :\

  10. Kelli Wommack

    Though the topic is hard, it is nevertheless necessary if we really want to follow Christ. I would love to watch this DVD.

  11. Sara Heer

    OK, not a great example but I denied myself my selfish anger to try to understand my teenager and why he wouldn’t go to work this morning. I guess I just don’t ever think of myself as sacrificing much for my kids. I’m so blessed in life I don’t think I’ve really given much up…except movies with bad words. lol.

  12. Rebecca Gorgad

    I would like to see this video. It is easy to deny myself for my children but sometimes difficult to extend that to others.

  13. Stevie

    Denying myself ex. from today. Using the restroom while holding my baby and the toddler plays with tractors on the bathroom floor. Yikes!
    Would love to win this DVD! Love you and your blog!

  14. Stacie Smith

    This looks like a great DVD!! Great giveaway.

  15. Riversofwater PsOnethree

    The video sounds wonderful and such a nice blessing to pass on to another person. Today’s sacrifice…giving them time with me instead of going and spending a few minutes listening to a broadcast from Revive our Hearts.

  16. Kathryn Morris

    I would love it! Thanks friend for this post.

  17. Allison

    And I thought I was already denying myself. Hmmm. Food for thought.


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