Anne Lamott on Faith, Writing, and Radical Self-Love - Jen Hatmaker

Anne Lamott on Faith, Writing, and Radical Self-Love

“Through love, all pain will turn to medicine.” – Anne Lamott

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In this special bonus episode of the For the Love Podcast, Jen sits down with her literary hero — beloved author and teacher, Anne Lamott, whose candid, humorous writing has inspired millions to embrace their imperfect selves.

Anne and Jen explore the hard-won wisdom distilled across Anne’s 45-year career and 20 books – from finding radical self-love after a lifetime of shame, to surrendering to life’s ordinary miracles during periods of existential crisis. With refreshing irreverence, Anne shares her lessons on unearthing your deepest, truest voice and faith that new paths are waiting, even when the way forward feels hopelessly obscured.

Jen and Anne discuss:

The importance of radical self-love, letting go of shame, and being your own priority before trying to please or gain approval from others
Having faith that there is a “shape” or path waiting for you, even if you can’t see it yet, by surrendering and doing the work of self-examination
The wisdom that comes with age in realizing how little you know
The way small, mundane acts can be profound expressions of love and service to buoy you during dark periods

For anyone who has ever felt cracked by life’s circumstances, Anne’s perspective provides a roadmap back to wholeness.

Episode Transcript

Hey, everybody. Jen Hatmaker, here. Welcome to the For the Love podcast. Well, I guess like 60 seconds ago I finished this interview and now I’m sitting here fanning my face and pulling my crap together. It was a bit of a dream come true today. You just don’t get to talk to your mentors every day. I have a handful of women in my life, and I say, in my life, I mean, from afar, who have meant so much to me and I’ve watched them. I’ve watched their lives, I’ve watched their careers. I’ve watched them move through the world in a way that has just mattered so much and changed me and challenged me and on that shortlist is Anne Lamott. Those of you who know me well and have been around my world can tell you how many times I’ve talked to you about it and how many times I have written about her. I’ve got a whole section in a book about her, more than one. I think I’ve written about her in four books and we’ve never met. Today we met and today she’s on the show.

It was such a lovely conversation. She’s everything I have ever hoped for. This is a bonus episode. I mean, let it be said that when we do a Bonus episode, it is a BONUS. To be honest with you, Anne could fit into any series we may ever come up with. Her lived experience has so many levels — as a writer, a creator, a Christian, an influencer, a social commentator, someone who experienced the pain and recovery of addiction, and someone who sought therapy and found healing and single motherhood. She’s one of the most incredible people out there and somehow in her writing career, which is 45 years long, she has written about it all, and she does write about it all. She makes us laugh and she makes us cry, and she makes us feel sane. She makes us feel loved. There is nobody like Anne Lamott and she insisted on this recording that we call her Annie and well, say less.

The very first book I ever read on writing (this is back in my late 20s) when I just started having the teeniest inkling that it might be my path, I read “Bird by Bird.” That was my introduction to Anne and I’ve probably since read that book 25 times. And every time I’m like, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, who is this magical person? Who gets to write like that? Are we allowed to talk like this? Are we allowed to be this unself-protected in the world?” I have now read every word she’s ever written, and that’s not a joke. There’s nothing in the world that I have not read that Anne Lamott has written. She writes everything — fiction, novels, nonfiction. “Bird by Bird” is a book on writing instruction. She’s not just a marvelous writer. She’s just a marvelous human.

Her 20th book, it’s called Somehow: Thoughts on Love, Sums her up! It just hit shelves in April. One writer in The New York Times, who, by the way, calls her a national treasure, says, “In an era where so many books are DOA, ‘dead on arrival,’ Anne’s books are COA, ‘classics on arrival.’” I couldn’t possibly agree more. She’s special. She’s still original. There is only one Annie and she has meant so much to me. I tell her all this. I don’t think I got through without crying. Since we started this podcast seven years ago in our very first meeting they’re like, “Jen, who’re your dream guests?” and it was a short list and Anne was on it. So in year seven, my dream came true. We know her and we love her. She’s precious to us. Lucky us, she’s on the show today. This conversation is magic. It is like living inside one of her most delightful books, and at the end, she just says a thing to me that I can’t even take in. I love her so much. Welcome, Anne Lamott.

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