I'm cheering BIG time for my new buddy Alli Worthington today and alllll week this week for the release of her new book Standing Strong: A Woman's Guide to Overcoming Adversity and Living with Confidence. What a title, right?!
I've been a fan of Alli for a long, long time and it was a treat to get to know her more in recording this episode. She and our favorite Lisa Whittle co-lead the community Called Creatives for writers and speakers (if you know, you know - it's been so helpful to me this year!). Her voice is one that has marked my ministry this year and I'm thankful for her.She is known for her straight-talking encouragement and practical tools that help women reach their dreams in business and life. Author of The Year of Living Happy, Fierce Faith, and Breaking Busy, she is a well-known speaker, podcaster, and business coach.
Her no-nonsense, guilt-free take on business, family, and balance have led to multiple appearances on The TODAY Show and Good Morning America.
Alli lives with her husband, Mark, and their five sons outside of Nashville with the only golden retriever who refuses to retrieve.
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I am so excited to have Holly back on the show today. You guys gave me to me so much just sweet feedback after our first conversation. And it was so fun. So Holly has a book coming out and set timbers. So when this episode airs, we'll actually be launch week for the book. So we were able to time that really well.
So I'm excited about that. So when you. As you're listening now can purchase her new book, the powerful purpose of introverts, why the world needs you to be you and I have been so excited about this book ever since you told me about it after we recorded last time. And so Holly, I'd love for you to start by just telling us a little bit about your heart behind the book and how it all came to be.
Yes. Well, I feel like it's a book I've been planning on it. We're writing since fourth grade. When I got interested in how we're wired and personality, you want to tell my mom, I was going to write this book. She said, of course you are in fourth grade, you did your science project on. Kevin Lehman's birth order book and analyze all your little friends to see if they met up with the characteristics.
So, um, then I discovered I was an introvert when I was in college and went on to read books about that. And that has been really transformational for me, but I felt like there wasn't really anything that incorporated a faith perspective into that conversation, or that really focused on the strengths that introverts bring to the world, which I feel like are needed more than ever before.
Or, and so I've been really grateful that there's more of a conversation about introverts happening, but I just felt like it was incomplete. So I hope this book will fill in some of those gaps. Yeah. That's awesome. I totally agree with you. And that's why I've been just so excited about it. So I'm curious, when you said in college, you realized that you were an introvert, was it more of like you just.
It's kind of unpacking the self awareness of your personality, or did you take a test? How did you discover that? And then what do you wish somebody would have told you back during that time? Yeah, it was one evening at a campus ministry and they had a speaker talking about personality types and it was one of those moments.
It's like a photograph in my mind. Like I remember where I was sitting on this old gray carpet, what I was wearing, red shirt and Jean shorts, like, yeah. No out so clearly cause they use the word introvert and I had never heard it before and I instantly just felt less alone and more understood and began to look into it for myself.
But for a lot of years I still define being an introvert by what it wasn't that I didn't love small talk. I didn't want, I go to parties every night and it's taken me a long time to realize that. Not the most important part of the story, or even the biggest part of this story that the flip side is our strengths and how God designed us and all of those things.
I wish back then someone had said, you know what? You are intentionally created this way on purpose for a purpose. And I would say that to everyone listening, introvert or extrovert, I wish someone had said you had nothing to prove. You don't need to change who you are. You can just, just grow into more of who you are, or, and I think that's the word that God does in our lives.
A lot of times we think I want to change this part of who I am, or I want to get rid of it completely. And God's saying actually, that's. There for a purpose. I just want to refine it and transform it. And so I wish I had known that back then because I spent a lot of years trying to be someone I wasn't, which led me to the brink of burnout, contributed to some struggles with anxiety and depression and different things.
And I wish I'd just known then that it was absolutely more than okay. To be an introvert, to be exactly who I was. Yeah, I think that's really freeing, you know, to just stand in that and then. You know, then be able to put those boundaries in place or whatever that is for you, maybe that is necessary for you to thrive and exactly who God made you to be.
So I think that's, that's really powerful and I'm excited as I was kind of through the book. I haven't read it cover to cover yet. I'm excited too. I love the letter that you write. Two extroverts and I would consider myself an extrovert. So I was, I was drawn to that. I, I flipped to it and I read it. Yeah.
I just appreciated how, you know, not only did you write this to encourage introverts, but I think it's such a powerful message for extroverts who love introverts. Um, I was, I wanna, I want to say that because, you know, that's something you intentionally did in the book that I really appreciated and I'm excited because I do, I do have a lot of introverts in my life and I want to know how I can love on them and cheer them on better.
And so I'm excited that you did that and that, that was, and one of my biggest fears in writing the books. Well, the book was that extroverts would think I was playing favorites with introverts, you know? Yeah. And it wasn't that it just happens to me. I am an introvert. I, you know, that's where I'm coming from, but I feel just as strongly, that extroverts should be exactly who God created them to be, because I think we're a complimentary pairing.
It makes me really excited when I look at how we're designed. I'm like, we are meant to go together and we are better. Together. And so when everyone is being who they're created to be introvert or extrovert, that's when look like the body of Christ and reflect the image of God. So I'm so glad that was helpful for you.
And I say the book is for introverts or people who love leader share life with. One. And so I talked to someone yesterday, he said, I just read the book and my husband's an introvert and I'm an extrovert. And we had this huge aha moment in our marriage. And so that's so cool. So glad. So thank you for mentioning that, because that is my heart.
Yeah, and I did create a one minute. What percent introvert are you quiz? So I actually have a lot of people say, I thought I was an extrovert, but I'm actually an introvert. So might be interesting. I need to go take it. So there's a lot. I mean, I feel like most personality tests measure either on a scale or they tell you, you know, either way.
And sometimes I know there's one in particular, I took for a job in the past that put you on a scale, like on a spectrum, I guess. And I was. Like maybe 10% on the other side towards extrovert in the context of that test that depending on the situation, or I guess how long I had been with him, people, et cetera, could flip either way.
And that was interesting to me because I do see that to be true in my life. I think. Being around people fills me up, but I also have a capacity for that. And when I, that I need to be by myself, you know? So I do know that I have a little bit of both, but there's just me. That's filled up by people. Yeah.
Yeah on a continuum because none of us are a hundred percent introvert or extrovert. We all lay in somewhere on a continue and we all use both parts. Our introvert partner extrovert part is kind of like being right or left handed. And so we use both our hands all the time, every day, it's just for certain tasks.
And in certain situations we naturally use one more. And that's what it's like to be an introvert or extrovert. That we all have both, but there's one that we naturally feel more comfortable with and are wired to have more strengths in. Yeah. That's so interesting. And yeah, that kind of goes into the next question, which is introversion and extroversion.
Yeah. Are not about our personality, which is, I think how we label it so often, but rather how we're physically wired. And so is there anything else in that, that you would want to kind of explain to listeners. Yeah. I was amazed when I started really digging into the research and the studies about introvert and extroverts, that it is physical, that it really comes down to brain science.
So short version, we differ in three primary ways, the primary neurotransmitter, which is just a chemical messenger in our brains that we rely on. There's one called dopamine. That acts kinda like caffeine that revs us up and energizes us. Extroverts, I'm more drawn to that and they need more of it.
Introverts are kind of like, I'm good. I have a good level of dopamine already. And introverts are more drawn to a set of Coleen, which is the neurotransmitter that's released when we turn inward and, or reflective or in quiet or listen. Stimulating environments like coffee with one friend. So it's more like T so that's one way.
And then we different which division of the nervous system we rely on more parasympathetic or sympathetic. And again, that's a difference between the side that revs us up. And energizes us and the side that helps us relax and reflect in, turn more in word. And then we even use a different primary brain pathway.
So extroverts use a shorter, faster brain pathway and introverts use a more complex brain. Pathway that goes through several different areas the past was it in future? And so I'll see introverts who say, you know, I get frustrated with myself because I need time to process. I wish I could just instantly think on my feet, like some of my expert colleagues or whatever.
And I say, no, that's actually you using that God given more complex brain pathway. And so always give yourself permission to say, Hey, this really matters to me. Just give me a minute to think about it. And it's important for extroverts to know that when an introvert isn't responding immediately, it's because they're processing, they're not holding back.
They're just going through that processing. So like in a meeting where you have. Someone say, Hey, I have a great idea. That's probably extrovert, you know, short, fast pathway. And then an introvert says, okay, let's think through what needs to be in place for that to happen. Then the expert says, all right, it's time to make a decision.
And then where it says I'll follow up and see, you know, and so you can see in a situation. Yeah. I like that. How the two work really well together. Yeah. And again, we can both use both sides, but there's just one. We tend to lean toward a little more naturally. That's so interesting because as I'm just sitting back thinking, you know, okay.
In different areas of my own life, if I'm talking about something creative, like I can spit ball stuff all day long. And I love that. But now let me think about my marriage. And I think about something more, or like, let's say I get in an argument with my husband. Like I need some time to process and we come back to that a lot because my husband is an extrovert and, and there have been many times where I've had to say, like, I just need, I need some time before we come back and talk about this again, or, you know, whatever.
And so for me, That's where I see like the differentiator, I think in different areas of my life. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Cause you do have access to both. We, again, we all use both pathways. There's just one kind of, if we're put on the spot that naturally kind of activates. Quicker where it's more likely to be our go to, but we can definitely use the secondary one as a backup or in certain situation where it's a better fit.
Yeah. So yeah. So again, the whole thing of it's introvert and extrovert, it's not all or nothing. We all have access to all these things. It's just about which one we naturally lean toward. Yeah. And for I'm thinking, even in another part of a lot of personality tests is like, Thinking versus feeling for me as I think about those things.
I think if I'm in my thinker part of my brain and I feel a freedom to just fail or be wrong or not have to get it right the first time I say it, then I'm good with that. But if it's something where words really matter, and it's more of like a feeling type conversation, that's where I think I also maybe.
Need time. Yeah. I don't know. I think even asking ourselves, okay. You know, knowing that in any given situation, I can pull on either side of who I am, like, which one do I want for the situation? Like when I go to a conference and I need to be on that, I'm going to say, all right, I'm going to sort of activate the extrovert part of me for this situation for a certain period of time, you know, knowing that it's not going to be sustainable.
Well for me forever and ever, but I can totally do it for the two weeks hours that I need to. And so I think we can look at parts of our personalities as limitations when really they're just options. You know, like probably an introvert isn't going to want to live at a party 24 seven. No one is, but can we do it when we need to?
Absolutely. And vice versa is an extrovert gonna want to sit in silence. You know all the time. No, but can you do it when it's important? Of course you can. Yeah. And so just knowing where our natural strengths lie, but also understanding we have access to so much more than just those drinks. Yeah. And that brings me to self awareness.
Right. That's a huge piece of all of this. It's so crucial to this whole conversation. And what listeners may or may not know is you're also a life coach. And so I'd be curious what you would share tools that you might be able to share that you think have been helpful to increase. Self-awareness kind of in this whole conversation.
Well, I think we can approach life in three different ways from a place of self-focus self-criticism or self-awareness. And so cell focus is it's all about me. It's pride, self criticism is it's never about me. I'm criticizing myself all the time and then self awareness. It's just an, a. Understanding who God made us in a way that empowers us to better love and serve those around us.
And so I think self-awareness a lot of people think, Oh, that's selfish, but it's not. They're thinking of self focus or they're worried about getting dragged into self criticism, but self-awareness is just stewarding well, who God made us. It's just part of understanding our gifts and strengths so that we can use them.
And so I think there are a lot of practical tools that help with that. And of course the Myers Briggs is a great personality tests. Yeah. We'll give people not only are you an introvert or extrovert, but some elements of personality, like you mentioned, thinker feeler. I think that any Agram is a popular tool right now that gives us insight into our, some of our motivations.
I love one that a lot of people haven't heard of is the four tendencies quiz by Gretchen Rubin. And it tells you how you respond to inner and outer expectations. And so I especially recommend it. If someone is having trouble getting themselves to do something they want to do, it is probably because.
They're not in alignment with their tendency. And so that's a great little tool. And then I think the five love languages, which most of us are familiar with, but understanding retaking that and looking at it from the perspective of how is this different for introverts and extroverts, because it's not just what love language do you speak, but what volume do you need?
It's spoken in a way that looks really different for introverts and extroverts. That's interesting. Yeah. Okay. I have so much homework to do so good. I don't know Holly, if we've talked about this, but what's your Enneagram number? High enough, Jay. Wait, sorry. Are you, so there you go. Yeah, really similar different that is similar.
Sorry. Okay. Okay. 39 wing. So you could see that. Yeah. Okay. So like we talked about earlier, you know, one of the things that got really put on your heart is just to be able to being able to create more meaningful connections with introverts in our lives. And so I'd love for you to share what do you believe we can learn from introverts as extroverts that will help us have more meaningful connections in our lives.
Well, I think we live in a time in history when we are really pushed to have quantity of relationships that we need to connect with everyone all the time, everywhere beyond social media, 24, seven and introverts are naturally drawn to quality over quantity and relationships. And a lot of that has to do with how we're wired more impacted by external stimulation, which is anything coming into our brains, our nervous systems from the outside.
And so, so having fewer people who are very simulating our lives, it's just a better fit for us. And so we tend to want to go deep instead of wide. And to focus, it's more on quality over quantity. And of course, extroverts do that too. I mean, some of the most loving, meaningful relationship filled people I know are extroverts, but if we're just talking about temperament in.
Big generalities. I would say that is something, one that is diverts can say it's okay then I'm that way. Cause a lot of times they feel guilt or shame about not being everywhere all the time with everybody. Yeah. Or if extroverts are in a place where they're feeling overwhelmed, By the amount of people in their life or the amount of socializing they're expected to do to take their key from introverts and say, it's okay if I want to just focus on kind of my people and let some of these other things go.
Yeah, that's interesting. And I could totally see that. And one thing you said in that, that I would love to debunk is the introvert shame. So I think that is, that is such a thing. And. I don't know. How would you encourage somebody maybe on either side, if they are an introvert or if they love an extrovert too, to rid themselves of that?
So hard. I think, especially in faith culture, we can get really confused about thinking my love for God and people is measured on the amount of relationships I have. Not the depth or quality. And so when I looked into scripture, see if I could find anything like that, I didn't find quantity anywhere. Like in first Corinthians 13, the love chapter, it says love is patient love is kind.
Those are all verbs that you use one person at a time. And so it's about how we treat whoever is in front of us in any given moment. That might be one person, or sometimes it might be a thousand. And so just reframing that saying, it's not about the amount of people in our lives. It's about how we treat each person, God, places in our path.
Yeah. And also that if we connect with God in different ways, then some of what we see around us that's okay too, because. I tell people think about how you feel closest to others in your life. So for me, it's having coffee with one person where I can fully focused and engaged, you know, in a meaningful way.
And so one day I thought, why don't I have coffee with Jesus? You know, this is the way he's wired me to be. And honestly, that's what I do. And I. I feel his presence a lot more than when I'm in a worship service, surrounded by a lot of people and loud music. I can get distracted and overwhelmed. And for a long time, that made me feel like maybe I'm not a good Christian.
I create, I connect with God in the way he created me to. Connect with him. And that doesn't mean I don't engage in other ways, but I can let myself off the hook for saying this this particular way is how I have to feel closest to him because it looks like how other people do. So just saying who to God make me to be, how did he create me to love and then giving yourself permission to lean into that?
No matter what other people are telling you, it has to look like. Yeah. And that brings me back to your subtitle, which is why the world needs you to be you. And I love that because I think everything we're talking about brings us back to, you know, when we see. All of this through the right lens, it brings freedom.
And in that freedom, we're able to serve others better and bring goggles in a more full way that he designed us to do. This is, this is so good. I'm so excited for people to jump on this. And I actually posted a picture on Instagram this week. Just have some book covers of authors. I was talking to this week and I had several people, either DME or comment on the post.
Oh wow. I'm excited to read the introvert book. This sounds all. Yay. You really need. And so I'm just really pumped for this to go out into the world and listeners will be able to check it out by the time this comes out, which is great. So Holly, I'd love for you to share, um, where they can take your super quick quiz, where they can get in contact with you, order the book, all those things.
Yes, we can go to my site. Holly girth.com. If you want specifically the introvert things. It's Holly girth.com/introverts, and the quiz is on my side. So you can take it. It takes one minute. Then you can share your results and see what your friends are too. And if they get it, when this airs, they can still get the preorder bonuses.
That'll be the absolute last week that they're available. So if they. Get the book, they also get a new mini course. I created called seven ways to thrive as an introvert Aussie and a free introvert strengths assessment and a free audio version of the book. Yes. It's like a lot of things. So, and if you gift.
The book to someone else, who's an introvert in your life. You can gift the bonuses also. Awesome. So for extroverts wanting something super awesome to gift an introvert, they love and want to support that. That is totally doable too. So yeah, I would love for everyone to come by and check all of that out.
Cool. Awesome. Well, Holly, this has been so much fun. We will have to do it again. My listeners love you, and it's great to have you back and thanks for being my guest today. Thanks Rebecca.
I'm excited to share my conversation with my friend and author Holley Gerth! She JUST released a new book called The Powerful Purpose of Introverts. You guys loved her so much the first time we had her on that we wanted to make sure we cheered her on for this release!
Holley Gerth is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, licensed counselor, and life coach. She imagines a world where we all become who we’re created to be, use our strengths to serve, and grow for a lifetime. Holley cofounded the groundbreaking blogging community (in)courage and cohosts the popular podcast More Than Small Talk. Find additional resources and connect with Holley at holleygerth.com.
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I'm excited to share my conversation with my friend and author Elizabeth Laing Thompson!
Elizabeth Laing Thompson writes at LizzyLife.com about clinging to Christ through the chaos of daily life. As a minister, speaker, and novelist, she is always seeking humor in holiness and hope in heartache. Her new books, When God Says "Wait" and When God Says, "Go," are now available from Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press). Elizabeth lives in North Carolina with her husband and children, and they were totally worth the wait.
When God Says "Wait" is Elizabeth's first book through a traditional press, although she has previously published through independent presses. Some of her other books include a young adult novel, The Thirteenth Summer, and a book for mothers of preschoolers, The Tender Years: Parenting Preschoolers (coauthored with her mother, Geri Laing). Elizabeth's essays and poetry have appeared in The Huffington Post, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Power for Living, Mamalode, Coffee + Crumbs, and BonBon Break.
Elizabeth married her college sweetheart, Kevin Thompson, after spending several years swooning over him from the passenger seat of his Dodge Avenger on the drive to church every Sunday. Together the newlyweds went to work serving campus ministries in North Carolina and Georgia. After a long struggle with infertility, Kevin and Elizabeth became the always exhausted but totally grateful parents of one large dog and four loud kids. Now after 19 years of marriage, they still like each other even though Elizabeth beats Kevin at Ping-Pong and buys too many scandalously overpriced mochas.
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Okay, Lauren, would you start us out by just talking to us about your heart behind your first book and we'll get into kind of your writing journey all the way to today, but your first book into the deep diving, into a life of courageous space? Yeah. So this book was, it's such a, such a reflection of what can happen in a life when we choose to go deeper with Jesus and.
I faced several things as a young teenager and young adults. Um, that led me to this crossroads in my faith where I had two options. I could either actually three, I could have Bandon faith. I could stay shallow or I could go deep. And that's what the Lord's heart is for us is to go deeper in our faith.
But that requires courage. So it's called into the deep diving into a life of courageous faith. And I wrote it for the person who. It feels like they're drowning and they, they need hope right now. Not a year from now. They need hope right now. It's like a life preserver for people. And really, I tell people though, that it's it's for all years and walks of faith, because while there are several chapters that, you know, act as that life preserver, there's also foundational truths just about who God is and how we journey through life's deep waters with him that.
Are really important to revisit, even if we think we're mature, because we can forget, and life can get really tumultuous and we have to be reminded of simple truth sometimes. Yeah, I agree. And I think it's so cool to see how God can use just universal truth that, you know, I was raised in the church. I've known that God is eternal omniscient, omnipotent, all these things about his characteristics.
But it's cool in different seasons of my life, how those have proven true. And he's shown me just aspects or layers of that, of just some of those things that we won't fully understand on this side of eternity, but it's cool to see. Even 29 years later, him. Showing me something new about a characteristic that I've known about my whole life.
And I love we, we talked for a good while before we hit record, and I love how you are so open about kind of the work God has done in you even kind of in the meanwhile of, since the book was published til now. So would you talk to listeners a little bit about that journey? Sure. You know, one last thing I should say about the book is it's also a book to teach you how to overcome, you know, Jesus said in John.
1633 in the world. You will have trouble, but take heart for, I have overcome the world. And for those of us who choose to put our faith and our life is now hidden in him, we overcome as well. So, so that's the other mess, prevailing message. But as far as my writing journey and just my identity journey, you know, God is always taking us from faith.
To faith and glory to glory. I think about Augustine. I just recently took a class on church history and what's very unfortunate is that Augustine's early writings. He talked about how the miraculous was no more. The gifts were no more, but then later in his life, he actually recanted and he actually ended up writing of volume.
On the miraculous and on Holy spirit and how wait a minute, like Jesus, the blood of Jesus and the broken body of Jesus. It's still healing people today. It's still, you know, we can still prophesize, but what's unfortunate is that most people took only his early writings and they didn't read his later writings.
And so. You know, I think you and I were talking about this before we hit record. Like we need to extend grace to each other in the body of Christ, because we're all on different journeys. We don't know where someone is at in their faith, you know? Um, and where I was at in my faith, when I wrote into the deep was that I loved the Lord.
I had a passion to see people rise at the, the, the ways of life that try to take you out and suck you down into the undertow. Cause that's not God's will for us. And yet. I didn't know. About the atonement. I didn't know that healing was in the atonement and I'd been sick for, let's see, when it came out in 2018, I'd been sick for eight or nine years, somewhere around there.
And I grew up in a church setting, uh, and just with friends and different people that if you prayed a couple of times and you weren't healed that it must not be God's will. And that that was your thorn in the flesh to bear. We did not have time to talk about this on the podcast today, but if you break that down in the Greek and Pauline scholars will even tell you that based on the language that he used, he was never talking about sickness.
He was talking about persecution. And even if it was sickness, when Jesus said. Paul, my grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness. It was like Jesus was saying, Paul, you're asking me to do something that I've given you the power and authority in my name to do so you better believe that Paul blasted off whatever demonic oppression was on him.
And we actually see in the book of acts, that he went on to rent a small house and he stayed in the same place and preach the gospel completely uninhibited and, and. So anyway, it's my bad theology. My, my upbringing and my lack of knowledge has, says that my people are ruined for lack of knowledge. My identity was that I was a sick Christian.
Yeah. And, and so if you get the book, um, you know, it's in my bio, you know, I would introduce myself, I'm Lauren Gaskill with this condition. Um, it was what I was known for. And so. I didn't know that God really did want me, well, I didn't know that it really was his will to heal me. And that is a whole story in of itself.
He has opened the eyes of my understanding to see that that is the truth today. But yeah, that's the journey that he's had me on since this book has come out. So he's always, he's always working in our hearts. He's always revealing truth. And that is why following Jesus. Such an adventure. Yes, yes. And amen to everything you just said.
And I, I said this when you kind of unpack that to me, that was why I wanted you to share it is because I don't think typically we give ourselves or others enough grace in that, on our individual journeys, you know, as we learn more about who God is and how he works, um, That should, that should change that when we learn more of those layers of who he is, and that will only partially understand this side of eternity.
You know, I love that. You're an example of coming back, you know, two years after the book is out and saying, Hey, here's what God showed me since then. You know, that's what I knew. And this is what I do. I know now. And I love that. I love that. You're an example of that we know, and we've talked about Jesus does not promise us sunny skies and smooth sailing and.
We need something deeper than a shallow faith to walk through test seasons as we've talked about. So how did God show you this in your own personal experience that led to the writing of the book? I think for the early years of my Christian faith, I do believe that when I accepted the Lord into my heart and I asked my parents if I could be baptized when I was around 10 years old, somewhere around there, I do believe that was authentic.
Yeah. However, you know, my faith was very shallow and it became clear to me as time went on that I could not afford to just be the Christian who. Only went to church on Sunday. And that was the extent of my relationship with Jesus. That's not knowing Jesus. And so I don't know if that answered your question, but just, it just became very clear to me.
Like there's more and, and I'm missing it and I, I cannot. Afford to only have head knowledge. I need to have heart knowledge and I need to, I need to be in the word. I need to be in the word of God, you know, full transparency. I was, I started a ministry in 2014. It looks a little bit different back then.
Very heavy blogging, couple of speaking things a year, and then a podcast I was, let's see, I'll be 28 in July. So I was 22. And I do believe I had the right intentions and yet, and so I'm doing all these things for the Lord, but I really wasn't in the Bible and that's really, that's a hard pill to swallow as a 28 year old.
I have repented for that. Um, but here I was, and I, again, I believe that my desire for the Lord was authentic. My love was authentic, but I did not have the. The spiritual discipline required to live a life of courageous faith. Yeah. And I think you bring a good point there and it makes me think of part of my story.
So remind me your Enneagram number. I'm not like super big in any gram, but I think when I took it, I was an eight. Okay. Okay. My husband's an eight a challenger. Yeah. Okay. So I don't know why for some reason I thought. I thought you were a three, which is an achiever, which is what I am. And I only, I only bring up to anybody.
My husband we're opposites. That's so cool. That's so cool. I love that. We have another, we have another couple that we're friends with that are like the husbands and eight and the wife is a three, but that's cool. That y'all are opposite. But anyway, so being an achiever. Growing up in the church, I was, came to faith at a young age.
Um, I always, when I tell my testimony, I always say, you know, I got really good at checking boxes out of, you know, and as an achiever and that piece of me that was there, you know, when I was. 1213, 18 years old. You know, that was what I, that was what I knew as you know, was my relationship with God. For many years in my childhood was, you know, I do all the things and I check all the boxes and I physically would, would come into youth group and like, yeah, I read my Bible this many days this week.
And I went on visitation as they called it then, or, you know, all the things that I did. Quote for God. And then I get to college. And really for the first time, you know, everything about my walk with God was, was mine for the first time, in a way, because, you know, seeking a new church community, I was seeking out.
No. I was in a really good small group for the first time. And then I went on and had the opportunity to leave college girls. And God just did a huge work in my heart and a lot of undoing of kind of those years where it was really formative for my walk with God. And I even, you know, I'll be transparent and say, there are times where I still struggle with that and have to surrender that over to the Lord.
Just my desire to people, please, and check boxes. That's something I've always struggled with. And so I love that God brought you out of that place and, um, just showed you not only your need for his word, but just how that would then just propel you forward and all God has for you in ministry now. And I want to say something about that because it's not a works thing.
It's not a, like you're talking about, it's not a, okay. I need to read the Bible more. So I'm going to read the Bible more. What it is is it's a love thing. And when I started to get a revelation of the love of God and the love of Jesus, I wanted to read my Bible because the Bible. Is Jesus in print. Yeah.
So when I'm reading this, it's like a love letter from the father to me. And so I, I love to be in the word because I'm, again, it's like an adventure. How are you going to speak to me today, Lord? You know, what are you going to highlight? Um, I highly recommend for people to get a Hebrew, Greek study Bible.
We have lost so much in the English translations. Uh, and I don't have enough time to explain that here, but. Yeah. It all comes back to love. Yeah. Thank you for pointing that out. That's so true. So we brushed over this kind of with a broad brush. When you talked about kind of your health issues that God's kind of delivered you from, or not kind of delivered to you from totally delivered you from, and I have loved seeing you post about your running journey, because then we, we share his friends is well, one, you are a fellow swimmer.
Which I love as competitively as a kid. And a few years ago, I started, started back for the first time in probably over 10 years. And it's been so fun, but running is a huge part of my story as well. So I've never heard you unpack kind of this piece of your stories for, so I'd love for you to share that.
Oh, it's a great piece. So first I have to say, and I'll make this very short, but essentially to your listeners, what happened was last year. I had tried all the medical treatment possible, and we even tried a $10,000 innovative treatment that wasn't covered by insurance. And, uh, had done every diet, every supplement, everything under the sun, nothing had worked.
And I sat down on the floor in my home. We had just moved into this brand new house and the Lord was giving me visions of like children running around the backyard. He was speaking to me about my future and I was like, dude, I'm done. Um, I don't know what I'm not getting here. I again, I don't have enough time here, but he had spoken to me about healing starting in 2016 in the fall.
And so it was just this weird, like his grace speaking to me, even though my ignorance, like, I didn't understand what he was saying, but in 2019 I was like, please either take me out or heal me. I'm done. I'm literally done. I've served you my whole life. And I can't. I can't live with this level nine pain every day anymore.
And all these other health issues that I have. And the next day he introduced me to two women who were supernaturally healed through prayer. One of which was healed of my condition through persistent prayer over the course of months. Now, do I believe, and have I seen the Lord heal instantly? You know, that's honestly, that's a miracle when something instant happens, that's a miracle.
Healing is gradual. We see that in, in the Greek words, when you break down, um, you know, miracle and healing, but yes, he can do that, but that started this journey, uh, over the last year of me persistently standing in prayer for. My healing, which Jesus died on the cross to give me like it, he breathed his last and he said, it's finished.
So the blinders came off my eyes and I just, I saw it. I was like, wow, I'm not just your child. And I'm not just in you. I have been delivered. One of the things that the Lord has asked me to do in this journey, everybody's healing journey is different, but he has asked me to do acts of obedience to, you know, just.
It's basically a active way of testifying. Lord, I trust your word. And, and I'm by faith. Yeah. I'm going to do this because you told me to do it. So the running thing probably in, I can't remember if it was January or February, it was one of those months. But I woke up and the Lord reminded me of a prophetic word that had been given to me.
And it was about running, but it was about running, um, spiritually and, and in ministry. But I also felt like it was literal and I woke up and he reminded me of that. And I'm like, Lord, why are you highlighting this to me today? Like, what do you want to say about running? Why? And so I'm just having a conversation with him because he's my father and that's what I do.
And he showed me this picture of a running shoes and they were purple and they were black. And he was like, I want you to get a pair of purple and black tennis shoes. And so, you know, by faith, I ordered the shoes and they came and I stared at them for a couple of weeks because I was like, Hmm. I was still, uh, contending with some symptoms in my body.
And I was like, you know what, Lord, I'm really not sure about this, but he kept, he just kept bringing it to my remembrance. And one day I felt like I was praying in my living room and I felt like I. I saw, um, 21 in my spirit and I felt like he wanted me to jog for 21 minutes. And so I, I put my shoes on and I prayed and I said, Lord, this run is unto you.
And, and I started running. I would love to tell you that all of my symptoms just like miraculously fell off in that moment. They did not. In fact they got worse, but I knew I was like, God, I know, I know this is you. I know this is you. And so, you know, he would tell me he would, he would be like, I want you to run this many times a week.
And you're going to pray while you run. I want you to keep your eyes on me. You're going to declare that your joints are strong because I am the God who calls things that aren't as though they are, and this is what I've called you to do in your body. And, and to me, it became like this, this. This fight, you know, a good fight of faith.
And I don't remember the day it happened, but eventually all of the issues that I was having with my hips and my knees and all the things while I was running, I didn't notice them anymore. And you know, that's the power of persistent faith, right? Like we just trust in our dad cause he's a good dad. He's got our best interests at heart.
And he loves us enough. Listen, if I had heard him wrong about the shoes, he would have, let me know at one point or another, you know, I wouldn't have had that, that dogged determination and that piece, you know, persistence is a gift of the Holy spirit. And so that's one way that you can know whether or not something the Lord is telling you is, is him, um, So that's been my running journey and now I am up to four miles and I would love to do a half marathon.
I've been talking to the Lord about that, and I feel like he wants me to stay where I'm at right now because I swim and I I'm so active, you know, I don't want to overdo it because. We are, we're still human, you know? Absolutely. Yeah. I've got to take care of our bodies. So I'm all for giving more lip service to those because the, the time that we are in as the church, perseverance is not an option anymore.
Yeah. It's a requirement. That's a whole nother conversation, but I just felt like I was supposed to add that. Yeah, no, I love that. I love, I love hearing you unpack that and, um, It's just, it's just fun to hear that story. And I'm sorry, I'm just so thankful for how God's worked in you. And it's been really fun this year.
So I ran a ton before we got married and moved down here last summer, where it is. Hotter than Hayden really, really hot. I did nothing last summer in Mississippi, but there's a group of say at home mamas that just were going go in a little nuts with their, with their people at home. And it'd be wary. We started with a mile.
And we went out and we ran a mile and every couple of weeks we would add half a mile and these girls have never ran long distance, but one of them came to me and she said, I know this probably sounds crazy, but I've always kind of wanted to do a half. And I don't even know what that means. I don't even know what to do to get there, but I know you've done one, so will you help me?
And so it's been, it's been so fun. They are, they're up to six on their long run day. So. I'm just, I'm just so proud of them. It's like their thing for themselves. And just, just to have something that they're pouring into, um, and just friendships that we're pouring into during this kind of weird, crazy season that were absolutely.
That's awesome. It's been really fun. I think we're gonna shoot for one, maybe in December, if. If we're doing things like running races and gathering in groups of people by let's price. So, yes, exactly. So one last question about the book before we'll kind of wrap up. So the book includes, which I love this, just some practical examples and tools to kind of arm people who are.
Like you said, looking to go deeper in their relationship with God. And so would you share just with the listener who hasn't read the book yet? Just an example of what that looks like, what they can expect from the book? Yeah. So I'm a big proponent of things being practical. Yeah. And. It's not enough for people to have information, you know, people need to be activated.
And so at the end of each chapter, there's a prayer section and a question section, just reflection questions that you can do either by yourself or I've had. Several dozens of churches do Bible studies with the book with their women. But one of the most practical things, there's a chapter called overcoming your deepest fears.
And I have what's called the faithful swimmers battle plan. And, uh, it's a step by step. Like what do you do when for lack of a better word, crap hits the fan and you are just like, Lord help, help, help, help. And, uh, I'll highlight a couple of the things in that battle plan, but the first there's some steps and the first step is to remember what I call the three PS.
And these are resting in God's promises, asking for provision and then also resolving to persevere. So again, that perseverance thing, and you know, what's interesting about this book is that. These were all things that I was such a baby in when I wrote this, but since I've written it, I have had. So much, I've grown so much in my faith in other areas, just by applying those three things like rest in his promises, ask for provision, resolve to perseverance.
Those tips alone will revolutionize your faith life and your life in general. Uh, one of the other things that's in this battle plan, it talks about keeping your faith suit on. So I think that the, and this is talking about the armor of God, but I think one of the chief ploys of the enemy is to get us to try and put down our sword and to it's kinda like this, the enemy will come in and not only will he try to get you to lay down your sword, which is the word of God, the sword of the spirit, which is the word.
But he will also, then it's like, he's slowly undressing your armor, um, in certain areas of life, in certain circumstances, if you allow him, but at no point are we told to take the armor off and the armor of God is so important. I have a whole chapter on the armor of God that breaks down the significance of each piece.
What did they mean? Um, And so that's another practical thing that I think is really going to bless people. Yeah. Oh, I love it. I love it. I was on the launch team for the book when it came out. So I remember reading that chapter and that's so fun. That seems like a lifetime ago because, so my word has happened and I actually think that's probably around that time is when I met you originally.
I think probably. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. It's funny because I saw a meme the other day that said people who were asked in 2015 by their bosses, where do you see yourself? Five years from now? They all got the question wrong. What's funny is that whenever my boss would ask me that I would be like, I don't know, like wherever God has me, because we just don't know.
We just don't know. I know it's crazy, crazy, crazy. And even just like in two years, like the book two years ago, and so much life has happened, so that's really cool to think back on. So there's one question that I ask every guest that comes on the show. So I'm excited to ask you that is what is the best piece of advice that you think you've ever been given?
Wow. Oh, that's tough. Uh, can I, can I pick two? Absolutely. Okay. One of them is just life advice and it's from my dad and he always said, just smile and be yourself and just go for it. So the just smile and be yourself that has helped me in every job interview that has helped me on every stage that I've ever had.
The privilege of taking the mind to preach the gospel, uh, just smile and be yourself. Like God made you for such a time as this and you are uniquely created. In him and he loves you, but the also just go for it. My dad always said you, you never, you'll never know if you don't try. So for example, I'm trying to get somebody to write the forward for the second book right now.
And it's a big ask, but my dad, I can always hear his voice. Just go for it. The other thing is. It's definitely spiritual. And this advice comes straight from Jesus. Yes, but it's John. Uh, sorry, I gotta make sure I'm right on this. I always get my scripture references out and I feel really bad. Yes. It's John 15 and it's all about the true vine and abiding in him.
Listen, you guys, that is what it's all about. When Jesus said, when he was talking about eternal life, he said, this is eternal life that you may know the father and the son and that word. No, it's it's in the Greek. It's the same word that. Matthew used when he was writing about, um, the intimacy between Joseph and Mary.
Like he did not know her, meaning they hadn't had relations yet. And so it's that intimacy. You may know him, you may, and you can't know him if you're not abiding in him. And he said in his word that apart from him, we can do nothing. So, you know, he's really been teaching me these last two years, too. Live from the secret place.
And that's where everything that we need is found. So yeah. Wow way to just drop the mic at the end. I love everything that you just said. That one was so good. Well, this has been so much fun. Tell all the people where they can get the book, where they can find you get in touch with you, all the things.
Yeah, for sure. So you can find firstname.lastname@example.org. I also hang out on Instagram at Lauren underscore inspires I'm on Facebook too. You can find all my social media links on my website. I also, right now I have a ministry called she found joy. We normally are touring the nation doing women's events.
We are not right now. Um, That also is something that is shifting and changing as the Lord leads me into a deeper things with him. So we have a podcast every Monday, but yeah, uh, email on my website or Instagram is the best way to get ahold of me. Awesome. Well, Lauren, this has been so fun. I'm glad we got to catch up today and thanks for being my guests.
It's been a joy and a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me, my friend.
I've been on the edge of my seat to share my conversation with Chrystal Evans Hurst with you!
She releases a new book soon called The 28-Day Prayer Journey: A Daily Guide to Conversations with God!
Chrystal Evans Hurst is an encourager who teaches people to love God, to love others, and to love themselves. Chrystal is a wife, mother of five and grandmother of two. She is also a speaker and the best-selling author of She’s Still There and Kingdom Woman and the newly released, The 28-Day Prayer Journey.
Chrystal is an energetic, life-loving “girl-next-door” who loves encouraging others to fulfill their potential in Christ. With humor and vulnerability, Chrystal tells it like it is but does so with grace, integrity, and love. You can find Chrystal regularly sharing encouragement via her podcasts and blogs, where she poignantly reflects on faith and speaks with frank honesty about the everyday experiences of women. Chrystal firmly believes God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans that I have for you…” and she desires to help other women believe and apply that truth to their lives.
We got the opportunity to talk about:
Go listen NOW wherever you like to download podcasts!
I'm so excited to share my conversation with Megan Fate Marshman with you about her new book Meant for Good!
As an international speaker at churches, conferences and university chapels, Megan Fate Marshman is a leading voice to this generation. She has devoted her life to loving God and overflowing His awesome love to others.
She authored the books “Meant for Good” and "SelfLess," and co-wrote the book, "7 Family Ministry Essentials," with Dr. Michelle Anthony. Megan also served as the Director of Student Resources for David C Cook Publishers, where she led a team in creating TruIdentity, a spiritually forming, Christ centered, and family empowered youth ministry curriculum.
Megan lives in Lakewood, California, with her husband Randy, and their two boys.
Go listen to the conversation on your favorite podcast platform!
The one where I sit down with Nicole Zasowski to talk about her new book From Lost to Found!
Nicole Zasowski is a licensed marriage and family therapist, writer, and speaker. She lives in a small town just outside New York City with her husband, Jimmy and her son, James. With the vulnerability of your closest friend and the wisdom of your most trusted resource, Nicole reveals her own story of how challenges such as unwanted transition, multiple miscarriages, and crippling anxiety gave her empty hands to receive everything she had been looking for in the presence and Person of Jesus Christ. As someone who wears her heart proudly on her sleeve and considers her story to be an open book, Nicole’s message invites others to discover how the surprising path to healing begins when we lose our grip on what we have known, and swerve right into God’s transforming grace, where we find what we need.
In addition to maintaining a private practice, her professional work includes leading marriage intensives at The Hideaway Experience in Atlanta, GA, facilitating support and enrichment groups at several local churches in the greater New York City area, and serving as an adjunct professor at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, NY where she taught marriage enrichment courses. A gifted communicator, Nicole speaks regularly on topics that combine psychology and faith and has conducted several seminars and been invited to speak at several retreats throughout New England.
Nicole co-authored Families and Forgiveness, Second Edition, (Routledge, 2016) with internationally recognized Marriage and Family Therapist, Dr. Terry Hargrave. She has also been a regular contributor to Darling Magazine – a publication for women that seeks to redefine femininity and challenge women to find their true identity and purpose. Her article, “How to Work a Room When You’d Rather Walk Out of It” was featured on Donald Miller’s Storyline Blog. Nicole’s writing has also appeared in All Good Things Collective devotionals and on the Grit and Grace Project.
I'm thrilled to share my conversation with Teresa Swanstrom Anderson!
Teresa is a speaker, blogger, and Bible study teacher (and she hosts some very cool community-building events for women). She is the author of Beautifully Interrupted, in which she tells the story of how God drastically altered the path of her life when she finally surrendered her plans to Him.
After publishing several Bible studies on her blog and leading studies with women at her local church, she is now releasing the Get Wisdom Bible Studies with NavPress. This series is really the best of both worlds—it is in-depth and challenging, but also conversational and accessible to newer believers. Teresa has a heart for women to come to love God more through the study of scripture, especially when they feel ill-equipped to understand scripture and to step into God’s calling.
Teresa lives in Denver, CO with her husband and six children. Two of her children are biological and four were adopted from Ethiopia.
You're going to love hearing from Teresa today, specifically about her new study Living For What Really Matters, available wherever books are sold! Head on over to your favorite podcast platform to listen!
This episode is really important.
Rebecca Bender thought she found her fairytale when she moved to Las Vegas with her boyfriend. But her dream became her nightmare when her boyfriend became her pimp at the age of 19. Trapped in a life of chaos, coerced into prostitution, abused and controlled by her trafficker, Rebecca was forced into sex trafficking for nearly six years. Many attempted escapes, two brandings, and several pimps later, Federal Investigators raided the home, allowing her an eventual avenue for escape.
These days, Rebecca can be found either telling her story or helping others tell their own. Her trainings on this underground world are highly sought after by FBI, Homeland Security, undercover, SVU, medical professional and prosecutors. She speaks on leadership and founding non-profits, serves on the United States National Advisory Committee, Dept of Justice Human Trafficking Advisory Council, and the board of Exodus Cry.
Rebecca shares her testimony of redemption in her new book In Pursuit of Love. On this episode we talk about her story and common misconceptions about sex trafficking. Go give it a listen on your favorite podcast platform!