Monthly Archives: September 2016
Sheila, please email me at leeana (at) leeanatankersley (dot) com and provide your mailing address and a copy of Kristen’s book will be on its way to you!
And THANK YOU to Kristen for responding to all of the entries personally. She’s just gold like that.
Stay tuned for more posts from some of my favorite Brazen Voices along with book giveaways throughout the fall!
Love and more love,
I 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.
If You’ve Ever Been Inclined to Apologize for Your Existence in This World
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.
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,
We woke up to a wall of fog this morning. Gloriously. Like Northern California has blown down her mystery and romance. And . . . to be honest . . . the lingering fog puts a smug smile on my face because it is such a mirror of my internal world these past few days. Feels like irony.
Henri Nouwen quotes Antonio Porchia in the Introduction of The Wounded Healer: “A door opens to me. I go in and am faced with a hundred closed doors.” This is what I feel up against. Real or perceived, this is what I feel. And what follows is fog, angst, paralysis. Can you relate?
I decide to take my office outside this morning, to the back patio, which I reference more than a few times in Brazen, and which is always — and I mean always — a source of soul oxygen to me. I ask God for a breadcrumb.
Beth-with-Dreads prays the Lord’s Prayer this way: She says, “Give us this day our daily breadcrumbs,” and I think this really is IT. We pick up the next breadcrumb. And the next. And we trust the crumbs are actually taking us somewhere, a path to something that matters in the scheme of the universe. The breadcrumbs wind us around and through and keep our eyes present instead of out across a looming horizon.
I want a strategic plan. God whispers in my ear, what if you let go of your strategic plan and offer a sacred prayer instead. Like, “help.” Or, “here.”
Here, God, is my uncertainty and self-doubt and God-doubt. Here, God, is my fear and my need for control. Here is my hope and my most profound dream. Here. Take it and show me the next breadcrumb.
Here’s what arrives: The only thing that matters right now is how you walk with yourself through right now.
That’s this moment’s breadcrumb.
Don’t you just want to roll your eyes. That can’t possibly be the answer. Deep down, I know this is really all that matters. I have said it a million times: There are so few things we can control. Almost nothing. One thing we can control is how we treat ourselves and that one thing can change everything.
I was reading toward the end of Ecclesiastes 9 where Solomon writes, I realized that if you keep your eyes open day and night without even blinking, you’ll still never figure out the meaning of what God is doing on this earth. Search as hard as you like, you’re not going to make sense of it. No matter how smart you are, you won’t get to the bottom of it” (The Message).
This tells me I will not analyze, figure, plan, or scheme my way into space and breath and grace. I will “here” myself there. I will keep handing the heavy back over to him and I will ask him for the breadcrumb, which is light and straightforward and uncomplicated in its ease.
As I sit here, I am struck with a profound realization: No door is actually closed to me. None at all. Did you know that? I perceive doors to be slamming shut, but it’s just the work of the Soul Bullies. Nouwen goes on to say, “But I wanted at least to prevent the temptation of not entering any doors at all out of fear of the closed ones.” The Bully’s entire agenda is to keep us from entering any door at all out of fear, a sense of being doomed, an inevitability of failure or disappointment.
So the antidote, I guess, is to keep following the breadcrumbs into the fog, through the fog, to “here” ourselves there (“here, God, take what’s in my hands”), and to do all this with the gentleness we would offer a child hiding in her closet. Because SO many voices have told us to be afraid, to stop, to stay put, to quiet down, to quit with all this nonsense. And we need to help ourselves heal from the trauma that’s been done to our souls. We need to help ourselves heal from the continual self-doubt. We need to learn what it feels like to sit with our very scared selves in the closet and say, “You’re OK. You can trust yourself. Do you see a breadcrumb? I’m with you.”
Since I sat down out here, since I followed the breadcrumbs to the back patio and began writing (which, like the patio, is always a source), the fog has burned off considerably. A sweet breeze has replaced the stillness. It’s still so deliciously cool, but a bit more light has arrived.
All my love,