When I was deep in the throes of addiction and darkness, my entire life was based on lies. They were my armor. They were heavy and burdensome, but for the longest time I couldn’t figure out another way to live. I remember clearly the moment I took them off. It wasn’t courage that brought me to that place. It was exhaustion. I looked into my friend Cheryl’s eyes and I cried, “I’m just so tired.”
Yesterday, I joined Natalie Lussier’s 30 Day List Building Challenge. On the first day, we came up with our goal for the next thirty. I had a difficult time deciding because I wanted it to be challenging but achievable. Today, the second day, we talked about how before we get to the nuts and bolts of how to build a community of people that need what we’ve got, we must first attempt to clear the internal blocks. What resistance are we feeling? How are we keeping ourselves stuck?
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it looks like for me to get out of my own way. I am an ENFJ some days and an INFP on others. I can be all about people and crowds one day and the next I just want to curl up by myself and watch episode after episode of the Good Life Project. Deadlines are relative on my perceiving days, but on judging days, I just want to get the job done—and often I’m very good at doing that.
Every day, though, I am an intuitive feeler. At my best, I am brave enough to live vulnerably, with intuition and empathy. I am raw and genuine. People seem to like this about me. And that gives me great joy. Today in particular, I am appreciating this about myself because October 9th is the ninth year anniversary of a very special moment. For a long time, I called it the day I got “saved”. In many ways I was saved, from a lot of horrible things, but as I evolved away from evangelical Christianity, that term carried too much baggage. So, I began to think of it as the part in my story where I entered recovery. And although that’s true, too, it’s so much more than simply healing from my addictions of the past.
What I’ve come to realize is that October 9th 2004 is the day I started being honest.
With myself and everyone else. About who I really am. Trusting God came later. Salvation and believing in myself came later. They were the fruits, not the catalysts.
One of my weaknesses is that I often make decisions based on how I feel in that moment without weighing all of the facts. But one of my strengths is that I can remain loyal to my ideals in the face of impulsiveness and faulty decision-making. I am an idealist to the core. And I’ve made my decision.
For me, there is no plan B.
I’ve given my life to sharing my ideas, and now I’ve got to do the very slodgy work of figuring out how to reverse-engineer this massive dream of mine.
Plus, I’ve learned from past experiences that I completely lack the ability to make money in-authentically. This, I believe, is a kind of gift, but it’s difficult because one of my big goals is to get to the point where when my husband’s Army contract is up, I can support us financially and he can follow his dreams. But I think I’m scared of my glow. I think there is a real part of me that is scared that I don’t have *enough* to be the global presence I feel I was meant to be.
And it always seems to come back to the initial (and on-going) step of list building: finding the people that need my message and inviting them to be a part of this thing I’m building. And so, even though I’m working really hard to be intentional about the projects I’m taking on, this is important. This is part of my work.
And so, today, I’m daring greatly by inviting you to take this journey with me. I’m taking off a new kind of armor, and putting myself out there as far and wide as I can reach. Asking you to believe in your value and your dreams and my ability to help you do that. I’m asking you to join my list. But I hope it’s more than that. You’ll be part of a community, and you’ll be entering into a relationship with me (and other like-minded people).
And while we’re being vulnerable, may I ask, what are some of the internal blocks you’d like to work through? What habits and rhythms are you working on cultivating? And how can you get out of your own way? Leave your comment here.
And, just for fun, a video of my son, Brooklyn. Because kids have no trouble with their glow.
I’m always afraid these videos are crap (haha, how’s that for a hook?). It’s been a long time, yo. And I have to head to class pretty soon. But I wanted to post this video and say hello. I write every morning, but in an effort to carve out a more sustainable path, I have been purposely letting some things, like blogging every ding dong day, go. I miss you, though. I miss this space. I think the CITW video below explains a lot of where I’ve been these past few weeks. I hope it’s not too me-focused. And I hope it blesses you.
And I hope it’s not crap. But, the fun part about that is: it’s kind of okay if it is. It’s supposed to be raw. And well, if you’ve watched any of the previous episodes, you know that I’m a little bit ummy. I think my heart’s in the right place though. So, there’s that.
All right, go—grab some coffee or beer—and get your wild church on. Happy Thursday. Muah.
PS. All the past CITWs should be up on the CITW page now! I’m going to aim to do a new one at least once a month. Maybe twice a month if I get really excited.
Gah! Yay! Get excited! You’re in! And you should have received an email from me. So freaking stoked.
And speaking of amazeballs:
I had the opportunity to brainstorm BTDC awesome sauce with my dear friend Bianca last Friday. She’s helping me realize the scope of my dream for this class. And, um, it’s BIG. I’ll be sharing more about that in the next couple of days. But, for now, one of the major things she inspired me to do was to ask for help.
Dreaming is scary, yo. Even for professional daydreamers like me. But asking for what you need is an integral part of the dream-to-reality process. And if I’m going to teach this stuff, I’m going to have to practice it, right?
At the conference I just got back from, Rob Bell made the very wise observations that revolutions need clipboards. Now, if clipboard person, this may seem obvious. But, duude. I am so not. I’ve got the revolution part nailed. But I haven’t seen my clipboard in years.
So. With that. I’m putting together a Dream Team.
I’m looking one or two people to help me sort out my clipboard stuff: e-mail; calendar organization; a little social media; and maybe, if I can find the right person, a little bit of marketing and publicity. If this sounds like a match made in shalom, e-mail me for details at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a little bit about yourself, why you’re excited about what I do, and what skills you could to offer, that would be, as they say, amazeballs. Or, if you know of anyone for whom this might be a good fit, please pass this post along!
A couple of updates:
I’ll post my thoughts and experiences from the Rob Bell conference in the next week or so. It was unexpected and thought-provoking. I just need a few days to process it all.
OH! But, get excited! Church in the Wild will officially be back one week from today! If you want an invite to the event, friend me on Facebook—https://www.facebook.com/brandyshewrote—and I can add you to the open group.
Your dreams matter. And sometimes it’s not a Big Blue Sky Dream, but a way of living and being in life that is closely aligned to your purpose and who you were made to be. We can do this. And you don’t have to do it alone. You are, first and foremost, a child of God. And the same God who unleashed the entire cosmos is unleashed inside of you. It’s not about balance, it’s about sustainability and passion. It’s about the fact that both your family and your dreams are worth fighting for. And so, if you’re looking for a safe space to explore this stuff, I would love for you to be a part of Breaking the Dress Code. We’ll hold each others dreams. We’ll dive in together. We’ll share our triumphs and our defeats. My job is to create space for that kind of safety. It’s a holy and hard task. But I am committed to helping you find your next right step. And if you are, too, let’s do this! Sign up here.
No one, in my entire life, has ever had the opportunity to call me an early bird.
Several years ago, my daughter and I arrived 15 minutes before the start of my gym’s kickboxing class. We sat in the car awkwardly and she asked what we were doing.
“Oh,” I explained, “We’re early.”
“What does that mean?” My five-year-old marveled at this new vocabulary word.
Also, it’s not my birthday. I had wanted to do a BTDC giveaway for my birthday, but I was running late and hadn’t launched the course yet. So.
This is the month of concord grapes and Jon Stewart returns. For me, in just two short weeks, it’s the month to fly to California, meet a dear new friend, and attend 2Days with Rob Bell! It’s also the very month that my musical, thoughtful, rambunctious little boy turns two years old!
All of this is just too wonderful not to celebrate in some kind of fancy-pants way. So, I’m doing a giveaway! And and! Whether you’ve signed up already or have been seriously considering doing so—a retro-active early bird gift!
Here’s the deal. The first FIVE people to sign up for Breaking the Dress Code before Monday Sept 9th (Brooklyn’s birthday!) will get:
My daughter started middle school yesterday. In blog school**, they teach you to lead with an attention-getting first line. It’s called the Hook. Maybe I’m a mom, but the first line of this post brings me to my knees.
I wanted to do something special and as contemplative as you can get with an 11-year-old and a not yet two-year-old to commemorate the weekend before we all started back to school. One of the coolest things about our church is the 63 acres on which it sits and the long and winding prayer walk they’ve created that meanders through fields and down into the forest. I always want to go after church. But I never have the right shoes. This is not a path to trek wearing flats. And I’m always running too late to remember to pack my gym before we slip out of the house on Sunday mornings.
But not last weekend. Someone whispered in my ear that I should bring the baby carrier and my tennis shoes. Off we went.
Honestly, I didn’t know how it would go. Brooklyn likes to be worn, but it is a long walk! I mentally prepared myself for the squirming and pleas that he be allowed to be an independent agent and then the escape attempts and eventual meltdown that would inevitably ensue once he was free. This is not something I would have considered doing by myself pre-deployment. But I was determined. And I think this season is strengthening me.
I can do this, I told myself, . We can do this.
And we did.
One of the most amazing things about my son is the way he reads people and social situations. I know he got his musical genius from his dad. I’d like to think he got at least part of this social adeptness from me.
The walk begins at a gazebo. There are 14 stations all together. You’re first asked to breathe slowly and deeply and sit in the gazebo until you feel compelled to walk on. There are always tiny but noticeable hornets’ nest in the gazebo, so we sort of skipped that one. Instead, we walked straight to the labyrinth. That’s where the fun begins.
I love the labyrinth, but I’d never walked it with a baby on my back. As we approached, we could see two others already walking the stone path. I didn’t realize they were a couple until they met each other halfway through their respective journeys and embraced. I was struck with the emotion and meaning of it and a little embarrassed I’d looked up at that moment. It felt so private.
As they neared the end, I began the journey myself. I walked slowly and deliberately, half marveling at the quiet little one on my back and half afraid to marvel and thus jinx it. But after the couple left, I relaxed. It didn’t matter if he started whining and crying or singing and dancing. Brooklyn being a toddler couldn’t take away the holy. In fact, it may well help.
Just before I reached the center, it happened. The literal pack I was carrying metaphored me and I was dumbstruck by the holy weight of motherhood. Of parenthood. Of being a single mom, then and now. Of all of the moms and dads who haven’t yet met their babies. Of all the dads and moms who can’t be with their kids tonight.
These things are heavy with wonder and mystery. I went on this prayer walk to get my awe back. To make sure I wasn’t continuing to dance with cynicism.
But what I found when I got there was that my wonder was walking with me.
Last thing—I’m running my own eCourse! It’s called Breaking the Dress Code and it starts Sept. 30th! Based on the idea that sexism is real and has had powerful and negative consequences in our lives, it’s a leadership and business course for women that combines creativity and spirituality (I am part of the Christian tradition, but all are welcome!) to help us break through personal and professional boundaries and make our dreams realities. I study sociological, business, and spiritual principles to get to the science of how to live our purpose. And then I take that information and break it into steps for you. I would be incredibly honored if you’d consider joining us! Check out the syllabus and sign up here.
**As far as I know, you can’t major in blogging (yet), but I learned a lot about the art of the hook (and lots of other genius) from my dear friend Kelly Diels, in her Artful, Heart-full Blogging eCourse a while back. Seriously, she’s amazing.
I'm Brandy. And some people say that I glow. I am a dreamer, and a believer in the possibility of impossible dreams. I think I might be an empath, too. Which means that when I say I feel you, I mean it. My husband is deployed right now. While he's away, while functionally operating as a single mom, I'm going back to school and chasing some BIG dreams. I believe with all of my heart that the world doesn't need more humble, suffering women.
If we want a better world, we need more women in power. I don't say that lightly. I know "power" can be a loaded term. But I think it's important we find that thing (or things) we're called to do and spread our own unique brand of shalom to radical places. I believe everyone has a purpose. And I believe we're allowed be hot messes while we're pursuing our dreams. This is me, not having it all together, telling my story with the hope that you might be inspired to write your own.