Simply Sather

DOING THE WORK: BIBLE STUDY + FIX MY LIFE

I’m still doing the work y’all.

B-e-l-i-e-v-e me…

Since sharing this post last week, I’m truly digging in; cleaning + covering the wound mostly, but I’m digging in and doing the work.

And don’t you know, that as I’m doing this work, I’m being met with some challenges. Just enough junk to make me want to quit. (Yes, again. I struggle with wanting to quit everyday.) But, just as the temptation comes to quit doing the very things God has affirmed me in + assured me to, He also gives me encouragement to keep going.

Just keepin’ it real, here are a couple of things that are helping me navigate the healing on this part of my journey.

A NEW WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY

Finding I Am, Lysa TerKeurst

There’s something about studying the Bible with just women. I mean, I love my Mister (what I call my husband, for those of you who are new here), but there is something that speaks to corners of my soul. Right ladies?

Like, when you’re going to be a complete and total mess. That you know you’ll need some help getting all the boogers wiped from your face and the dried snot crusties (too much??) are completely gone before you run to the grocery store or hop in the pick up lane at school.

We are not meant to do this life alone.

One of the things that I’m most grateful for is that I don’t know a lot of the women in my Bible Study group, but I do know two. Really well. They are flanking me (and I them) as we navigate this in-depth, authentic study about growing closer in intimacy with Jesus; as we invite Him to our soul’s cry.

I can’t recommend the whole study – today was only the first week – but y’all, the first video with Ms. TerKeurst standing in a field or mini-mountain range in the Holy Land was p-o-w-e-r-f-u-l. I believe that Jesus wants to speak directly to me (and every other woman who took a seat) and that in the next five weeks, there will be some treasures, revelations, conviction and especially growth. It is a huge encouragement that our couples’ small group is currently studying the book of John; the same book of the Bible as this study.

The last question in today’s study asked “what are a few things you are hoping and praying for God to show you as you start this study?”. And one of my answers is that I want to experience true healing. From comparison, from my past, the negative things people have said to or about me. Even worse, the things I’ve said to myself. I want to really know what it means to regularly walk in godly freedom, especially in my imperfection, when my feelings don’t align with my faith and my circumstances don’t reflect what I believe God has whispered into my soul.

It’s exciting y’all.

IYANLA VANZANT – FIX MY LIFE

The first thing I think when I realize Ms. Vanzant’s show is popping over at OWN is these people really don’t know what they’re inviting her to do in their lives.

I’ve been a fan since the early 90s when her television show consisted of women coming into a house – kind of like a mini-bootcamp – and them sitting in the hot seat seven to ten times a day (or so it seemed).

Well, I’ve been recording her show and started catching up on DVR – can you say, no commercials??? – and she cracked me up when she told a person that she was there to help them walk in their truth, that she wouldn’t leave them sitting in their mess, but that they had to be honest. Then she straightened her back and looked that man dead in his eye and said, “I ain’t Jesus.”

And there it is.

It had me laughing at her boldness, but then I’ve said that lately. A lot. I mean, a lot. And then I had to check myself because if I’m not pointing people TOWARDS Jesus, then I’m leaving the work half done.

This was so timely for me, because I really respect that Iylana has done her own work. She’s been transparent and walked in her truth (stuff she says all the time!) and she has helped millions do the same; or at least start to. And she is probably one of the ‘seed waterers’ from long ago.

One of the many things and people who have come into, through, near my life and helped lead me to what God has built and been preparing me for so long – helping people tend to their souls. As a job. For money.

Every time I consider throwing in the towel or hiding my light under a bushel, I see a tiny, but bright light guiding me back on the path – my race – to serving others and bringing glory to God in this way.

But…I ain’t Jesus.

Which, if I may, just for a second, just hoot and holla about that statement – THIS IS FREEDOM people. The fact that I do not need to be anxious, ashamed, afraid, doing it all or fearful of not getting it right. I don’t need to live in stress, depression, stuck, fear or overwhelm. I can step boldly into what God has called me into – unqualified, undervalued, underfunded – and still smile boldly, live faithfully and truly be free.

It’s real y’all.

So, as I’m taking the steps, writing the posts, coaching, planning soul-care retreats and teaching online courses (all of which are in the works right now), I am remembering I don’t need to be Him, but that I do need Him. And that it is because of Jesus and Him never abandoning me through some very, very difficult times in my life, I believe He is calling me to help others.

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What about you Soul Tender? How is it going for you on your wound healing journey? Are you cleaning, covering or exposing it? Or are you simply at the place of “walking in your truth” and beginning to identify what your wound even is so you can begin the cleaning process?

Wherever you are on your journey, in your race, I want to encourage you to invite Jesus along. Better yet, invite Him to lead you. Not sure how or what your next step might be? Leave a comment below or email me directly from the CONTACT page.

I will know how to specifically pray for you and whether I’m supposed to be the person to help you as you run the next leg of your race. Make sure you’re subscribed to the website/blog, there are so many things coming your way.

This is the other thing I’m doing, I’m praying for your soul.

 

 

Simply Sather

SOUL CARE CHALLENGE | WEEK 03

You’re doing great! No matter where you’re jumping in on this Soul Tending Challenge, please know that you’re welcome and success is yours.

Soul Tending Challenge
you can do it friend! finish what you’ve started…

And if you’re doing the work but not posting, all of your work still counts; more than counts. Because it’s about you and what you need to be doing to grow.

Along the way, I’m hearing from many of you privately.  You’re wanting to reassure me that you’re doing the work or expressing your apologies for doing it differently or on the same day. You’re telling me that you value the opportunity but you are conflicted in some way.

Conflicted about posting publicly, the prompts, the schedule or something else.

And that’s okay friend. Truly. There have been days and prompts that have pushed me and made me consider quitting. But I recall my “why” and my desired outcome and I am able to keep going. I hope you’ll do the same.

Up this week…

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17 | SNUGGLE A PET/STUFFED ANIMAL

If this sounds miserable to you, set a timer for 20 minutes and then you’re done!

18 | SMILE, SMILE, SMILE

1 post, 3 different photos of the same smile or three smiles of those you love.

My only encouragement is that you avoid using filters to alter your smile in any way, just be you.

Please share what made you smile – I hope you’ll be surprised.

19 | FORGIVE YOURSELF

This is important work in our souls.

Not designed to take you to a dark place but if you sit and consider a lingering thought, hurt or unresolved matter and how you contributed to it – you may unearth the need to forgive yourself.

The best photo I can think of for this is for you to share a selfie without fixing up yourself for the shot.

In forgiveness there is freedom. Show us you.

20 | BE STILL + SILENT FOR AN HOUR

It’s not impossible.

To be quiet for an hour. I’m probably gonna read or maybe take a nap, schedule-permitting, but this is for you to put your electronics away and just daydream. Let your mind wander.

21 | FIND YOUR SOUL CARE SPOT

A place where you can go and just repeat what you did yesterday.

Kuddos to you.

Even if you don’t get to spend much time there, add a candle or a favorite photo and tell your people “mine!”

22 | WRITE A NOTE OR SHARE A KIND WORD WITH A STRANGER

You know how sometimes you leave the grocery check-out line and you knew you were to say something kind and encouraging to that person but you chickened out for whatever reason?

Not sure who to write to? The World Needs More Love Letters can guide you.

Go into today intentionally looking for an opportunity to do something kind or speak kind words to a stranger or an acquaintance – without expectation but with sincerity.

23 | DAYDREAM

Snap a photo of your view and then get back to it.

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Remember to have fun, it’s work, but it’s still good to be silly sometimes.

Simply Sather

HEALING THE WOUND IN YOUR SOUL

It’s okay when things get hard. Or when something may be easy but you mess it up with pride, anger or acting out of unresolved hurt.

Or is it?

This past week, in my soul tending work – on my journey – I’ve been focused a lot on healing some deep brokenness. It wasn’t what I set out to do but when I sat quietly and watched the clouds or when doodling quietly, I had to dig into the things that were bubbling to the surface.

And because I’d been burying them for so long or calling them less harmful things than they actually are, they came out ugly. It cost me somethings of value that I’m still regurgitating and attempting to leave in God’s ever-capable hands.

Simply Sather - Wounds
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your SOUL and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

THE WOUND + THE LIES

A lot of prayer and Bible reading – and a lot of unexpected encouragements – have helped me begin to see my why; really my wounds. And of course, like most of us, the reaction wasn’t really the entire story.

See, I’ve been through a lot over the past 35 years. And because wearing a mask and elevating what other people have felt or diminishing what I feel, think or have experienced is less than everyone else’s fill-in-the-blank, I have dug some deep roots around the lie that I’m not valued or good enough.

Since the first year I opened my black mouth to answer the teacher’s question (I so loved school – my top strength is LEARNER) in a room filled with white voices and registered their responses; not necessarily unkind, but definitely different. I began then to see different as “not good”, truly “less valuable”.

I began to wear “less” or “weird” or “not measuring up” as if they were my other names. My grades weren’t great because I spent more of my time trying to assimilate, adjust + fit in than pouring into the topics presented. And because I was working overtime at deciphering the hidden language or code that is often spoken in classrooms, organizations and government, I did not have the energy or strength to speak up when the material/content ripped open holes in my understanding of who I was in that version or perspective of education.

Now, you could say to a 10, 11 or 12yo that their identity should come from Christ. And that I shouldn’t have taken things so seriously or been so sensitive to the way that things were presented; I am after all a child of God. And it’s true. My family was living in church each week for h-o-u-r-s (that felt like days) every Sunday. (I ain’t sorry for saying it Mama, you know it’s true.)

It wasn’t so much that what was coming in was so lopsided or narrow in its focus, it was how this highly sensitive, deep thinking – even from the first grade – black girl in an all white world – except for black church every Sunday – was doing with it.

And it felt wrong. I felt wrong.

Simply Sather - Wounds
He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my SOUL. Psalm 23:2

WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU

Recently, some friends and I were discussing Serena Williams’ responses to her penalties at the U.S. Open. We are a smart group of women (librarians, sailors, chefs, hospital administrators, lawyers, educators) and all have opinions. I had extra.

As I was rambling my frustrations and couldn’t land the plane on my edginess in a direct flight (sorry ladies, I know it was more like a long domestic flight with 14 layovers) one of the women suggested how I and everyone speaking about Williams’ behavior from hindsight and – quite honestly from the outside – might need to consider “what happened to her”.

That maybe we would have more understanding and less judgment if we considered what she’s gone through to be at her level of professional tennis when the sport hasn’t always been the kindest to female players. In a country where there is so much animosity and tension about race, sex, class and equality.

It convicted my soul.

It dug into my wound.

Because y’all, I want people to like me.

Especially the people who look through me and don’t take the time to see me or know me. I hate admitting this, but it is my kryptonite. (Being vulnerable here, stay with me.) I feel so boxed in when someone rates and judges my reaction to WHAT HAS ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO ME but I perceive that, to them, it is not or does not seem relevant. There is no room in the conversation to ask (what happened to you gurl?) or if the question is asked, there is little patience or willingness to hear or understand. Probably NEVER intended, I hear what I learned and carried all those years ago as a 5th grader in that classroom – it doesn’t matter. You, Regina do not matter.

Rather, it becomes about bringing back control with the rules or the standard or the expectation. And in my foolishness, which I hate to admit, became about pushing ambition and drive to the top to prove the unknowing (in most cases unknowing- I hope) wrong.

Which you probably know only infected the wound more deeply.

Simply Sather - Wounds
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my SOUL pants for you O God. Psalm 42:1

HEALING THE WOUND + KILLING THE LIE

Here’s the thing.

Once it registers within me that you’d rather be right in your perception of me than actually know or hear me, I begin to swallow the hurt and push away from you.

I may get really quiet but bristle with anger and frustration deep within. In my silence, I rot. I believe that sharing my opinion will make the distance I’m already feeling and stepping into uncomfortable for you and that that is my fault.

Grateful for wise counsel from a woman further along the road in these things than me, I was challenged to start the healing process once and for all. Here’s what she shared with me.

  1. CLEAN the wound.
  2. COVER the wound.
  3. EXPOSE the wound.

Simple right? I love me some checklists…

I curled up in my quiet soul tending space and got my candles lit, journal and pen ready and was ready to tackle step one until I realized, Regina…

Before you do step 1, you need to spend some time identifying the wound.

So, I did. And eewwww…

I had to dedicate an entire page in my journal to writing out the wound. It was the stuff I mentioned before and even more puss-filled, icky stuff that makes the infection in the wound really stink.

I came to the realization that it was not really the things I’d been outwardly professing that were hurting me (people, missed opportunities, injustice), it was the stuff that I’d internalized and buried deep within myself.

Yes, people said things that hurt. They judged. They ignored. They de-valued. They were rude, dismissive, racist, prejudiced, complicit, unkind. They laid curses over me and used scripture to condemn me. They boxed me in to grieving the way they thought I should and left when I didn’t consider their feelings first. They talked about me behind my back and they criticized my decision to leave. All of it and more.

But, the biggest culprit was me. I’d done all of the same things to others in response to what had been done to me. And instead of starving the poison in my wounds, I nursed the junk and let it spread. I was infected and rather than identifying the wound, then cleaning, covering and exposing it in safe environments, I kept nursing my hurt with more hurt and believing the implications, the judgments and curses. I kept growing them and letting them shape me and let it overtake what God says about who I am to Him.

Yesterday, I started this soul work by identifying my wound.

And now, I’m developing the other steps. I’m taking my time; I’ve been keeping my wound infected for 35 years, it’s gonna take a little time for this heal. God is working on me, I am so thankful for His patience, grace + mercy.

Simply Sather - Wounds
My SOUL thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:2

So thankful that when I cut a fool:

An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. Proverbs 29:22

He is big enough and not bowled over by it and makes room for my heart:

All prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. Acts 10:43

I’m not even responsible for cleaning up my mess/cleaning out my wound. In this process, my responsibility in step one is confession + surrender, so that He can do what only He could do. Right?

Like, if I could have cleaned out the wound(s) deep within my soul, wouldn’t I have already done it? Or never let them become wounds in the first place? Oh to have such self-control and live so perfectly all the time in response to everything us hurting people (and everyone is hurting with something at some time) are walking through.

Today, I’m in the tension between where I’ve been living (uptight, angry, stressed and just deeply wounded) and where God is taking me (peaceful, mature, dependent and healed). I wish it were prettier. this process. I wish that the people I’ve hurt and who have hurt me would be so able to see and understand and love me anyway. I so want this. I want us all to be cleansed by the perfect love of Jesus.

This is the reason for the soul tending work I’m doing.

I’m not Jesus. (Stop laughing, I never thought you were confused. Ha!)

I certainly don’t act like Him and reflect His light as brightly and consistently as I’d like or others may, but I know Him. And I can introduce you to Him. I can tell you that even though I did some pretty hurtful things this week, He stayed by my side tending to my soul. He still let me eat (I used to lose my appetite when in conflict). He still gave me rest (I’ve slept every night and rested). He still let me laugh (I would choose depression because I believed I deserved to be sad – face must reflect wounding). He still let me receive love (oh this one).

It’s not about your wound friend.

Simply Sather - Wounds
A longing fulfilled is sweet to the SOUL, but fools detest turning from evil. Proverbs 13:19

It’s not about your grief, your mistake, your self-talk, your anything. It’s about the healing He wants to do in you, through you, for His glory. I hope you’ll make some time on Day 15: Social Media Free Day or any day to sit quietly and call out what your wound is so that the healing can begin. I’m cheering + praying for you.

You’ve He’s got this Soul Tender!