Brazen Voices — Kristen Strong (+ a giveaway!)

on-your-kneesI am genuinely grateful for what I’m about to share with you . . . a vulnerable post from author, dear friend, and tender warrior, Kristen Strong. Kristen took the theme in chapter 24 of Brazen (“Don’t Walk on Your Knees”) and wrote her own version of what living apologetically has looked like in her life. And I couldn’t love it more. I know it will meet you . . . and don’t miss the details for a giveaway of Kristen’s book, Girl Meets Change, at the end of the post.

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If You’ve Ever Been Inclined to Apologize for Your Existence in This World

by Kristen Strong

Recently I recalled a memory from a few years ago, one where I sat in a booth with five girlfriends at the Cheesecake Factory. As I chatted with my people, I scanned the menu up and down, asking myself what I should order. My rumbly stomach answered that basically, every offering sounded like the best meal ever. When it came time to place my order, I still hesitated with indecision. Looking up at the waiter, I apologized for taking so long. And then once I did spell out my order for Chinese chicken salad, I quickly changed my mind and said, “Oh wait! I’m so sorry, but I’ll have the fish tacos after all!” I proceeded to apologized again for being so difficult.

The waiter tapped his pencil on his pad, eyed my group of friends collectively and said, “Does she always apologize this much?”

As if they had rehearsed it, my friends responded in a uniform chorus, “Yeeees.”

Guess what I did next? Ya, I apologized again for apologizing.

Gah, sometimes I get on my own nerves somethin’ fierce.

I have a few theories that explain this part of my personality, but they all seem to fall under one lie that in my mind has twirled into truth: In one way or another, I don’t have a right to exist in this world.

Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about thoughts of ending my life or anything along those lines. I’ve never believed I shouldn’t be alive. Rather, I’ve believed I’m somehow mistaken when I come across too big in my alive-ness. I’m wrong to take up space and in doing so, I’m in the way of all the other people taking up space next to me. So if I do something that puts me out there in a bigger, more present level–like taking extra time to make a decision or changing my mind about that decision–I apologize for it.

This manifests itself in other ways too, like apologizing to the friend I call or text to ask a question–or God forbid–for real deal help. I apologize for taking too long to pay for groceries at the commissary. All in all, I apologize for being someone who walks and moves and thinks and holds opinions and needs help.

Crazy, I know.

“God gave you a name and a place in this world and he is calling you back to his love each and every day. He is inviting us to unlearn the muted versions of ourselves that we put out into the world and to return to his fully saturated love, our fully saturated selves.” Leeana Tankersley, Brazen

It seems all my apologizing is my attempt to show a more muted version of myself, and it’s going to take some major unlearning to stop begging forgiveness for simply taking up space.

I wonder if you have struggled with the same thing? If like me, one way you attempt to mute your existence is by over-apologizing? Listen friend, you and I need to understand and remember that I’m sorry should be saved for situations that warrant repentance. It should be used in circumstances where we’ve hurt someone and need forgiveness. It should not be used because we believe we’re intrinsically sorry or no good.

We are not dingbats or dead weight here on this planet.

Still, I know myself well enough to know I won’t be able to quit apologizing cold turkey. But I think a good place to start is to intentionally listen to God’s affirmation in the moment rather than the enemy’s accusations. 

God made me and you not to be hidden, put away, or to feel like our existence constantly puts others out. You are here on purpose and for a purpose. Just as his fire orange and hot pink sunsets show up each and every day, he wants you to brazenly show up in your circles, your community and in your life. You are allowed to do your thing the way he’s created you to for as long as he asks and you need. I am too. So:

  • I get to change my mind about an order.
  • I am no less okay because I ask questions when I need help.
  • I have the right to take a little extra time at the check out line because of my coupons.

We get to be here big, bold, and brazen. Not in an obnoxious way, but in a living-how-God-created-us way.

And may we never apologize for that. 

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I am thrilled to be giving away a copy of Kristen’s beautiful book, Girl Meets Change. If there is any constant in this world, it is change. And that truth seems to always catch me by surprise for some crazy reason! In her book, Kristen provides honest and helpful companionship to any of us — all of us — who are in the midst of new territory.

To win a copy of Girl Meets Change, please leave a comment below about something that resonated with you from Kristen’s post. Can’t wait to read your comments! The winner will be chosen randomly and announced here on the blog in one week! Good luck, precious souls!

Love upon love,

Leeana

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13 Responses to “Brazen Voices — Kristen Strong (+ a giveaway!)”

  1. Lindsey

    Yes!! So much of Kristen’s post resonates with me. “Sorry” for me is sometimes used as a space filler or out of shame. I’m going to consciously work on limiting “sorry” for apologizing.

    Reply
    • Kristen Strong

      Lindsey, YES–using “sorry” as a space filler is a real thing. I’ve been there too! Here’s to us both working on limiting our “sorry” to genuine apologies. xo

      Reply
  2. Abby Buter

    I loved everything about this post! It definitely resonated with me. When Kristen talked about over-apologizing as a way to mute our existence tears came to my eyes. I’ve known that I have a problem with over-apologizing but I never tied it’s reasoning to trying to mute my existence, but that’s exactly what it is! I’m so glad I’m not alone.

    Reply
  3. Sheila Millinder

    Oh Kristen this brings home so much Leeanna talked about in her book. I am an appologizer by nature, or at least that’s what I thought all this time. It would take me forever to move through a crowd because I would be apologizing to everyone as I crossed the sea of people. I am happy to say after going through Brazen twice and going back too it I have allowed God to finally break through and show me how much I didn’t value myself and where that root began in my life and bring me through a healing process. Thank you for sharing with us!

    Reply
    • Kristen Strong

      Sheila, I love what you say right here: “I have allowed God to finally break through and show me how much I didn’t value myself and where that root began in my life and bring me through a healing process.” This is SO important, and not many folks are talking about it. I’ll never get over being thankful to Leeana for writing Brazen–the launching point for so many of us to begin this process. Much love, Shelia!

      Reply
  4. Heather McGhee

    “It seems all my apologizing is my attempt to show a more muted version of myself” SO TRUE. When I was little I drove my parents and sisters crazy by apologizing constantly about any and every little thing. It has always felt risky and brazen to take up space and not apologize for who I am and who God made me. Thank you for sharing! oxoxo

    Reply
    • Kristen Strong

      I know it shouldn’t, but it does feel risky and brazen, doesn’t it? Heather, may you and I *both* stop apologizing for who we are and how God made us. Instead, may we begin to be us well. Thanks for your thoughts here, Heather!

      Reply
  5. Emily

    The whole thing! Especially; “I’m sorry should be saved for situations that warrant repentance.” Exaxtly. Thank you for telling us it is ok to take up space. I don’t like feeling like I’m in the way. I want to be considerate and all that, but it is awful to feel like I’m in the way of everyone or sometimes one someone who has an impatient spririt. (Yikes!) I’d love to read this book, and I hope I can share it with my mama. I read her the article, & I think she would like to read it too.

    Reply
    • Kristen Strong

      YES–crossing one person with an impatient spirit is enough to make me shrink back into–as Leeana calls it–my muted self altogether. No fun at all! Here’s to you and I refusing to giving into that feeling and instead moving forward into how God created us. xo

      Reply
  6. Rachel

    The thing is–nobody else was saying she couldn’t be big, couldn’t take up space, couldn’t take 20 seconds more with her order. Same with me. These thoughts come from us. We are the ones creating an inhospitable world. We are the ones telling the lie. We are the ones playing God, creating a world and inhabiting it with creatures fashioned perhaps after our own image. But we are false gods, and we need not to start over, recreating ourselves or the world, but to smash that world and enter God’s world, as he created it, as he defines it, as he speaks it. Why do we not believe him?

    Reply
    • Kristen Strong

      I love your thoughts here, Rachel. We DO need to take Him for His word! His faithfulness and character are dependable. If He says we have value and purpose, then we do. May we all believe it.

      Reply

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