Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Truth About the Soul Bullies

Happy Friday, dear friends!

I want to tell you a story. Some of you may have read it on my Insta or FB feeds last week, but I wanted to expand on it a bit here because, well, I have a bit more to say on the subject.

I started noticing how my friend Tina was wearing *the* cutest workout pants. Sassy, colorful, dare I say . . . brazen. But, of course, I am the girl who wears black workout pants. No one with my (ahem) biscuits, as we call them in our family, should draw any attention to such regions. But every time I saw Tina in the cute pants, I was at least a little bit longing.

The Soul Bullies start in: “Of course Tina can wear those pants. It doesn’t mean you can. You know that right? Those kinds of pants are not for you. You get that right? You must wear black workout pants or you will scar people.”

And then I saw these pants at Marshalls and I fell in love with them:

pants

And I decided that even I, yes ME, could and would and should wear *these* pants.

So I bought them. And I love them. And, I want you to know: You Are That Girl. You can wear the wild workout pants. Yes, you!!! Turns out, they aren’t just for Tina. Isn’t that great news!

Here’s what I want to add to the story . . .

After I posted the above, Tina posted a comment. She reminded me that when she and I first met, at 6th grade camp when we were 12, I was wearing zebra Guess jeans and my bangs were bigger than any other girl’s bangs in the entire camp. And she thought, are you ready for this, I was that girl. She thought I was the girl who had it figured out with my wild jeans and my overwrought, yet certainly on-trend, hair.

And somehow I had forgotten about all that.

Do you know why I was drawn to these pants in Marshalls? I do. Because they reminded me of me. And when we get close to something that reminds us of who we really are, reminds us of freedom, the Soul Bullies perk up. And they start trying to shut the whole thing down.

Here’s what I’m learning about the Soul Bullies . . .

Like any other bully, their weapon is scare tactics. They don’t really have much else in their arsenal except trying to run us off. Accusations. Condemnation. Empty, hollow, smoke-and-mirrors threats.

How dare you.

How dare you dabble.

How dare you desire.

How dare you try and fail.

How dare you follow an inkling.

How dare you believe in yourself.

How dare you see yourself as a reliable observer in this world.

How dare you speak up.

How dare you clear space for yourself.

How dare you feel entitled to your own soul.

How dare you don a bold lip and a statement necklace.

How dare you say how you really feel.

How dare you assume any of this matters anyway.

WHO. DO. YOU. THINK. YOU. ARE?!?

I was talking with a group of women last Friday and I shared some of this with them, and a woman who was well into her 60s came up to me after my talk and said, “You know, you never get over the Soul Bullies.” And I took that as a battle cry, to be honest. What she was telling me with her words and the look in her eye was that we do not out-grow or out-mature the Soul Bullies. The Soul Bullies are going to follow us around and they are going to keep trying to scare us and silence us and sideline us. And so we must out-wit them. Out-truth them.

We do this by REMEMBERING WHO WE ARE. And who are we?

So many of us have internalized the notion that ultimately and essentially, we are flawed. I reject this belief.

Just to be clear, I believe in sin. I believe that we, as humans, are wounded and imperfect and limited. I believe we mess up and we need help. In fact, I believe we are all in desperate need of God. But I do not believe that we are essentially, at our core, irreparably damaged. I don’t. I think there is something far more essential inside us, something we can’t wreck and the world can’t wreck, something God himself formed in us on the day of creation.

And the most devastating attack of the Soul Bullies is trying to convince you that above all else and below all else you are a F@!%-up. (Sorry, that’s the only way I can say it.)

Every time we believe our destiny is to basically just suck, then we buy into those Soul Bullies. And I’m so OVER IT. For me and for you. When we believe we’re essentially bad and flawed and an F-up, then we will — even subconsciously — fulfill that destiny. And if we believe that we are, somewhere down deep, worthy, loved, whole, then we will fight for more. We will ask God, over and over again, to remind us of his truth. We will begin again when we forget and fail and fall short. We will reach back when he reaches out his hand and throws us a lifeline. We will believe we are destined for more. We will not settle for punishing ourselves or letting ourselves be punished. We will, maybe, stop sabotaging ourselves. We will, perhaps, look into a bit of help and support. We will, even, surrender our attempts at control. Because we are worthy. Because we have within us, God-image. And we believe that matters. And we want to protect that GOLD inside us. We consider it an honor and a gift. And so we protect that treasure within. We ask God to show us how.

We don’t let schoolyard bullies silence our wonder.

All of a sudden we realize bullies don’t have that kind of power. Actually, we hold the power.

Would you do me a giant favor? Would you spend a little time this weekend writing down what those Soul Bullies are whispering in your ear? Would you actually record the awful, venomous accusations as well as the subtle, sabotaging secrets? Write out these sentences. And then look at them. Look them right in the eye. Every one.

Then spend a bit of time talking back to those Soul Bullies. What do you want to tell them? What do you want them to know about you? Is it possible that everything they’re telling you is an attempt to just shut you up and sideline you and sabotage you? Is it possible that they are NOT the voice of God, truth, grace?

If you don’t have anything else to say to them, at least kindly let them know that they will not be in charge today. They can sit quietly in the corner, if they must, but they will not be in charge. They will not have the last word. At least not today.

You and I will never eradicate these Soul Bullies, but I believe we will begin to sniff out and recognize their tactics. We will become brave enough to talk back to them and courageous enough to take the next step in life because we know they are, actually, wrong about us.

And then, finally, let’s commit to nurturing the good in ourselves an each other. The God-given GOLD that is inside you and me. Our gifts, talents, strengths, unique ways of being, style, creativity, passions. Let’s nurture our empathy and compassion and joy and hope and kindness. How deliciously subversive.

I’m so sorry if no one has ever nurtured this God-given GOLD inside you. I’m sorry if no one ever told you that you have “eternity set in your heart” as Ecclesiastes says. I’m sorry if most of the voices in your life have just served as an echo of the Soul Bullies.

I’m here to share a different story with you.

My dear friend Rickelle sent me the following via Insta earlier this week. She found it over at the amazing @junkgypsy feed, and I had to share it with you because it is such a genuinely helpful mantra for today.

supernova

Have a beautiful weekend, FREAKING SUPERNOVAS.

I believe in you,

Leeana

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Brazen is HERE!!!

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Happy Wednesday, my friends!

What a THRILLING week it’s been, launching Brazen out into the world last Tuesday. Feels like we’ve been celebrating ever since! I’ve watched my Instagram feed fill up with so many beautiful hot pink images (#beingbrazen), many of you already sharing your favorite quotes from the book and your stories about what “being brazen” is looking like in your own life. I am overwhelmed by how beautifully you are capturing the heart of this book.

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We’ve hit 100 reviews on Amazon, if you can believe it. It is such a huge support to an author when you leave honest feedback about their work online. It helps other consumers make their decision about what book they might purchase next. And it helps people know what the book is actually about and how it’s actually landing with real readers. So THANK YOU!

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I was absolutely honored to write a guest post — “When It’s Time to be Brazen” — for Ann Voskamp’s beautiful blog, A Holy Experience. In the post, I talk about the soul behind the word “brazen” and how it came to me in the first place. I’d love for you to stop by Ann’s site and read the post and share it if it speaks to you. I was especially appreciative of Ann’s comment at the very end of the post, “I wish I could get this book into the hands of every woman.” WOW. Thank you so very much, Ann! Um, yes please!

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The heart of this book is about returning to the absolute gorgeous gold God put in your soul on the day of creation . . . nurturing that image-bearing center, and learning to live from the God-in-you. We lose track of it, don’t we. I know I do. I settle and silence and deny and allow other voices to drown out my own. Well, now it’s time to go in search of those sacred parts of you and me that may have gone dormant and to awaken the beauty that God has spoken into our very being. I’m with you!!!

All my love,

Leeana

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when it’s time to keep casting your nets

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There’s a story about a crew of fisherman who fished all night long, casting their nets into the sea, to no avail. They fished and they fished and they fished, and nothing happened.

A man called to them from the shore. It was Jesus, but they did not recognize him. He told them to cast their nets one more time. Likely they scoffed. Don’t you know we’ve been casting our nets all night? Don’t you know we’re trained professionals? Don’t you know this sea just isn’t producing? But, what’s crazy, is that they did just what the stranger on the shore told them to do. They cast their barren nets into the unproductive sea one more time, and their catch was so great, their nets began to break as they hauled them in.

I think this story is about one of two things. It’s either about the product, or it’s about participation.

I always want to believe that if I participate perfectly enough, then the product will turn out perfect too. That’s likely because I’m a bit of a striver. You know the type: “I can be perfect. I can do things perfectly. I can achieve perfection.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that this is really not a helpful way to live. This isn’t really how life goes. Sometimes we “do everything just right” and we “try really really hard” and our efforts don’t produce. Like the fisherman.

What then? Often, we’re strung out, and slightly worn out from all the circles we’ve been running around ourselves. It’s easy to question our ability, our proficiency, our reliability, especially when we are not seeing the results we had hoped we’d see.

I have been thinking about those fisherman a lot lately. Their story. Their efforts. Their disappointment. The call from the shore. Their participation. And I’ve come to believe that the story is about re-investment, about casting our nets one more time if God asks us to. Even if, and this is the kicker, it doesn’t make perfect sense.

If God is calling to you, asking you to cast your net one more time, I think it’s important. I don’t think a full net is as important as empty hands that have offered back to God that which he has called us to offer.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE RESULTS. Who doesn’t. But perhaps it’s the participation, not the product, that God is concerned with.

keep = continue showing up bravely and

casting = offering

your = no one else’s

nets = what God has put in your hands

The word “offering” implies a sacrificial element So it follows that our offering is not something we come by easily. It’s something we fight for. It’s something that costs. You can’t really offer something and keep your hands on it. You’re giving this love, this creation, this artistry, this contribution, this dream . . . away.

Doesn’t it makes sense that real, enduring purpose comes from sacrificially giving back to God what he has put into our hands and trusting that what is meant to come back to us will, in fact, come back to us?

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So we put our butt in the chair one more time and write a paragraph or two. We show up to the counselor’s office one more time in order to keep offering our marriage to God. We reach out to God one more time because the dialogue always matters. We listen one more time. We hope one more time. We believe one more time. We trust one more time. We care one more time.

If he’s asked us to.

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Brazen releases in less than [ONE] week — April 5! You can pre-order your copy now on Amazon and B&N or wherever books are sold. When you do, I’d love to send you a thank you gift in the mail just for pre-ordering. Go here, fill out the form, and I’ll send you a signed bookplate and a decal with a quote from Brazen . . . just my way of saying thank you so much for your support!!!

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