Narrator: Welcome to the “For the Love Podcast” with bestselling author Jen Hatmaker. Come on in, and join us for a chat with Jen and friends about all the things we love. Now, here’s Jen.
Jen: Hey everybody, it’s Jen. Welcome to the podcast. This is the For The Love Podcast, and I’m glad to have you this week–glad to have you every week. Thanks for joining in. We’re in the middle of a series that I love so much that I extended it. It’s called “For the Love Of Moxie”, and we’re taking the idea out of the book that I just wrote, Of Mess and Moxie, this sort of concept of women who are fierce, and strong, and brave, and interesting, and smart, and building beautiful things, in beautiful spaces, and beautiful organizations, and companies, and ministries, and learning from them. Without question, every one of them has this twin story of having all this moxie, but having all this mess because these things go together; they are inseparable, and so it’s actually the mess that often leads to the moxie. I can’t think of a better guest than my friend, that I’m having on today, to talk to us about these ideas and what it looks like to rise back up and to be strong and to be courageous. So, my dear friend Glennon Doyle, is on the podcast today, and you probably know Glennon, and if you don’t, let me just tell you a little bit about her before we start our conversation.
So Glennon is a writer, a really good writer, really, really good writer. She’s a writer’s writer, and she’s a number one New York Times best selling author. Her book Love Warrior came out last year. It was an Oprah’s Book Club book. So, she has sat down with Oprah, and they text each other—because what is life?–I don’t know, and Carry On Warrior before that. She has this beautiful online space that she founded years ago called Momastery, sort of her Web site and her blog and her gathering point; her online community. It reaches millions of people every week. Then out of that, she created this nonprofit that we’re going to talk about called Together Rising that’s donated over seven million dollars to really important work here in the United States and all around the world. She does it through what she calls “love flash mobs.” Probably a ton of you have been a part of them. They’re powerful and every time I cry my eyes out, because it’s this idea of what a whole group of people can do when everyone just has a small piece. We’ll talk about it. It’s phenomenal, phenomenal work.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Glennon speak, but she’s just gifted at it. Communication is—these are the cards she was dealt. She’s just so powerful and she’s all over the place as a public speaker. She’s been everywhere. The Today Show, and The Talk, and Oprah’s network and NPR and she’s in every sort of outlet like The New York Times, Glamour, Newsweek, all of it. This fall, she and her a bunch of her people are going on a tour called The Together Tour, and it’s a 10-city tour made up of really diverse women, I mean, in every possible way, and they’re all full of moxie. Every last one of them. I am, in fact, going to join Glennon and her crew when they come to Austin. I’ll be on the Austin stop with them–I think it’s October 3rd. Super excited about that. Just to learn from them, and hear from them, and listen to their stories of courage and bravery.
She’s just wise. I think she’s not afraid. She tells the truth a lot and it moves people. It freaks people out. But I am drawn to women who tell the truth, I’m drawn to women who stand on their own two feet. I’m drawn to women who lead with love, and Glennon leads with love. That’s a fact. So this conversation is chock full, you guys, of depth, and of wisdom, and of instruction, and plenty of laughter. So I know you’re going to enjoy it and I really hope that some moment in our conversation today is useful to you; that you’re able to walk away with something that you can apply, that you can think over, that you can discuss with your people. In fact, I know that you’re going to. So guys, without any further ado, I want you to listen in to my conversation with my dear friend Glennon Doyle.
Jen: OK, everybody, please welcome my girl, Glennon. Hey. Hi. Good morning.
Glennon: Jen, hi. I can’t believe I’m hearing your voice. This is so good.
Jen: It’s so good. I guess we’ll just go ahead and record the podcast and put it out. But frankly I just I feel like I’m talking on the phone to you and I’m glad about it.
Glennon: I know. I know. And I’m so bad at keeping in touch with people that I if I want to keep in touch with my friends it has to be on a podcast.
Jen: Like maybe we can do an event together and then we end up seeing each other. I know exactly what you mean. I’m terrible. I’m sure you’ve seen me post pictures of how many unread texts I have at all times.
Glennon: Same. Same thing.
Jen: Is it the same for you?
Glennon: Oh my God. It gives people anxiety when they pick up my phone, and then the irony is the only thing I’ll do is text people. Like when people call me — it scares the bejesus out of me. Like, it makes me feel like a boundary has been violated. Like, why would you use a phone to call someone?
Jen: I know. Like, it feels assaulting.
Jen: Like, do you hate me? Do you even know me?
Glennon: Yes – aggressive.
Jen: Yes, I know. So I’m the same way. But the thing is, like, I think about me and you. And we’ve been friends now for years. We could pick up on a dime in a moment. So it doesn’t matter. And I’m not a needy friend and neither are you.
Glennon: I need friends who are not needy.
Jen: Yes. Exactly.
Glennon: I’m good in an emergency, man. When my friends need me, I’m there, but not again for seven years.
Glennon: Call me if you need help, but not like the coffee date.
Jen: We struggle in the daily-ness of it all, but crisis? We’re your girls. So, I know this is going to air just a teeny bit later, but you are actually at your sister’s right now because you’ve been evacuated from your state. So, what in the world?
Glennon: Yeah, yeah so Irma is on its way to Florida, and it’s going to ravage the state. So when people hear this, we will know what the damage was. So, yeah just thinking about everybody there. And you know, this is one of those, we’ve prepared the way we could. And now it’s time to surrender.
Jen: Yeah, that’s it.
Glennon: But the beauty of being someone whose life’s fallen apart and been rebuilt a million and a half times, is that it always gets better.
Jen: It does. It builds resiliency for the next thing for the next time. Was it a zoo getting out of the state? Was everything jammed and crazy?
Glennon: Yeah. And, you know, I mean traveling with all these trillions of children I have. I mean, there’s three of them, but it feels like there’s 40. It’s always great fun, anyway. So under emergency circumstances, Jen, it’s just that much better.
Jen: Right. I know what you’re saying.
Glennon: And calmer. Yeah it’s been a good, calm, peaceful three days.
Jen: Yeah. Just the ethos in the car is this very Zen. I know. I know what you mean.
Jen: I have five, of course, which feels like five million and it’s so funny because — you know what? Your kids are just like this. I don’t have one child with a quiet bone in their body. Are you ever around a family with quiet children? Isn’t it confusing?
Glennon: Yeah. I mean I just assume they’re all heavily medicated. That’s why I’m quiet when I’m quiet.
Jen: It’s so true. We thought we might get a quiet child through adoption because our genetics are not going to provide the raw material. So Remy acted actually really subdued and quiet. She barely said a word the first time we ever met her — the first couple of times over in Ethiopia in her orphanage — and I was like, “You know what, Brandon? We, I believe, are about to get a quiet child. We are.” Now, of course what we know, is she was just simply terrified. So that was real short-lived and the amount of words that comes out of her mouth hole on a daily basis would just lay you to waste.
Glennon: I mean they just wear you down, don’t they? So the moral of the story is, if we can, just keep them terrified all the time.
Jen: You’ve picked up on the exact thread. That’s it.
Glennon: Maybe they’d be quieter.
Jen: That’s right.
Glennon: A household of terror.
Jen: That’s so true. You know, when I was talking to Brene´ a few weeks ago, she was saying that shame is a terrible tool to parent, but I’m like “yeah — but it works, like it sometimes makes them quiet.” So, I’m still sorting through that advice.
Glennon: Yeah, and it’s a balance, right? Because, I mean, I used to be a teacher, and I remember, actually, you know there were some kids who were so rigidly well behaved, and it looks like a good thing on the surface, but it’s often not. It’s because those are the kids who are afraid to ask questions and are afraid if they’re going to step out of line, that all hell’s going to break loose. So my kids are definitely not living a life of fear.
Jen: I’m also going to take that silver lining you just threw to me. My kids must be healthy.
Glennon: Uh-huh. If your kids are poorly behaved, it means you’re an amazing parent.
Jen: I receive that, and we’re just going to say that that’s true. So, you. I mean, what a year. You’ve had such a year. It’s been really fun to watch you. Really just amazing to see your leadership and your voice, your space, not only rise but what looks like to me, get a little sharper, a little bit more clear. It feels like to me, looking in, that you’ve found the lane that you’re running in and you’re running hard. I mean like I’m proud of you. I want you to talk to us about this last year because it’s been amazing. I mean your book went just obviously to the top of the charts. You’re friends with Oprah now. Like, what are we doing? What’s happening? Why do you have Oprah’s number in your phone? You need to explain this. Talk about this to us. Talk to us about Oprah. Talk to us about your book. Talk to us about this last year.
Glennon: Yeah, I mean, well, God, the book feels like ages ago because of everything that’s happened since the book. I mean, listen, the truth is that Love Warriorwas a book about, you know, the implosion of my marriage when I found out that my husband had been unfaithful throughout our entire marriage and the aftermath of that, which is just that everything that I thought I knew kind of crumbled around me. And that is a crisis, right?
So, crisis, we all want to avoid it. But what it literally means is to sift, right? So, like a child who holds up a one of those sand things and watches all the sand fall away hoping that they’ll be treasure left over. So that’s what crisis does. It forces us to hold our lives in front of us and just watch all the things we thought we needed fall away to find out what’s leftover.
Glennon: So what was leftover? I mean, Jen, when I found out that my husband had been unfaithful my whole life, I had built my entire identity around my relationships and what I did. So I was a wife. I was the mommy of these three little perfectly well adjusted children in this nuclear family. I was a freaking relationship expert, Jen. I figured that was going to be a tough sell, right? Like now. Wow. That might be a bridge too far.
Jen: We might need to workshop that one.
Glennon: Even for my forgiving people — like this person did not even know what was going on in her own home. But the beauty of that time is that it all got ripped away from me, so I think we end up like these little Russian nesting dolls, right?
We just put on all these costumes. Bigger and bigger and bigger. Hoping that will be impressive. And then the problem is we get hidden inside of all of these labels and costumes and then something happens, usually around our forties.
Jen: Yeah. Is that the thing?
Glennon: Yes it is, because in our 20s and 30s we think that growing up is becoming things. I mean, when I got sober I was like, “How do I become a woman? I guess I have to be an upstanding citizen now. So I guess I’ll become things. I’ll become a mom. I’ll become a wife. I’ll become a freaking PTA person. I’ll become a writer, I’ll become an activist.” And then in your 40s, something happens, and it’s like an eviction from your life. It’s the diagnosis, it’s the betrayal. The phone call.
It’s the thing that happens that evicts you from your life, and you realize that real growing up is unbecoming. It’s taking off all those Russian nesting dolls till you get back to that little solid thing that is who you were when you were born and is the thing no one can take from me, from you.
Jen: Can you talk about that a little bit? I’d like to hear you say more about that — the unpacking part. What do you think that looks like? So I just know that as you’re saying that, there’s so many women hearing that, thinking, “Uh-huh.” They know the call, the crisis, the event, the diagnosis — that is always pretty clear and circumstantial, usually. But talk about what you do after that. I mean it’s so messy and chaotic, and how do you press into that instead of avoid it, or skirt it, or deny it?
Glennon: First of all, I think what happened for me is that — I mean, the first half of my life I was an addict, right? So I was just a bad girl. I was so good at being bad. I just drank too much and I did drugs — all of it. And when I got sober, I found out I was pregnant on Mother’s Day fifteen years ago. My 15-year-old is now in the kitchen in the next room.
Jen: Put a pin in that because we’re going to talk about teenagers in a minute.
Glennon: Oh, God help us.
Glennon: So then I decided, “OK maybe instead of being bad I’ll be good.” You know, I was sitting on the bathroom floor holding that positive pregnancy test, and I thought OK maybe this is my last invitation to show up for life. So now, I’ll just be good. I’m going to be a good mom. I’m going to be a good wife. I’m going to be a good Christian. I’m going to be — and then this thing happened with my husband. I was like, “Oh my God, being good didn’t even work. Being good didn’t even work, right?” And I’m trying so hard. Every woman knows this. God, we try so hard to be the perfect this and the perfect that.
I was talking to my friend, Liz. You know, Liz Gilbert, one day. And she said — we have this quote we say to each other when we’re doing our activism work at Steinbeck — and she says, “now that you’re done being perfect, we can be good.”
Jen: Oh my gosh, I love that.
Glennon: Yeah, but then when we talked after that, this thing happened to me. Liz and Rob Bell’s wife said to me, to us, “What if now that we’re done being good, we can be free?”
Jen: Oh let’s take it up a notch.
Glennon: And so, I thought — this is an opportunity to learn. Being bad didn’t work for me, but being good didn’t work for me, either. And the beauty of that time is that I could stop trying to match culture’s ideas of what the perfect woman and the perfect wife were. And it went back to me and God. Jen, during that time, you know, I mean we were talking during that time. Everybody had a freaking opinion for me of what I should do.
So I learned really quickly that the only way that I was going to be sane during that time and do the next, do the precise thing that was right for me, was to shut out all the voices on the outside and go inside where that voice inside is that I call God. And I think you call God. Some people call wisdom and some people call intuition.
I don’t think it matters what you call it. But I think everything depends on that you call it, right? That you know how to go inside and hear that still, small voice that will always tell you what the next right thing to do is, because as women, we are trained to not go inside. We are consensus takers. We will ask every freaking body what we should do. We will trust the Internet before we’ll trust our deepest selves.
Jen: Right. Like, “Brenda from North Dakota, what do you think?”
Glennon: Jen, one night I found myself Googling, “What should I do if my husband has cheated on me for 10 years?” If you are a woman, who finds yourself Googling what you should do in any given situation, you are a woman who needs to be still and listen for God.
Jen: That’s so relatable and I don’t know why that is. I think that somehow partners up with the narrative that we’ve been probably fed the majority of our life as women specifically, which is also we are here to please the people around us and make them feel comfortable. So you know, at the same time that we are looking to everybody else for affirmation or for guidance or for advice, it’s this weird tension, this internal pressure to do what they say, to want them to be pleased with our choices, to want them to put their stamp of approval on the path that we choose.
But of course, as you so exactly mentioned, with 50 different paths coming at you, that’s impossible. You cannot please them all. And so do you find like — what would you say? What would be some really good tangible steps for that process of, “OK I need to close down all these different pipelines into my heart, into my soul, into my mind. I need to be still and be quiet and listen.” Practically, how would you say, “Here are a couple of things to do to at least aid the process”?
Glennon: Right. So, I mean you and I both know, Jen, that the only advice that is worth hearing is what you already know. Nobody else knows what the heck you should do next with your life. We have got to stop asking people for directions who have never been where we’re going. Right? So, for me what it meant during that time is that I had to find five minutes a day just to be really quiet and listen. Jen, the reason why people don’t do that, the reason why people don’t get quiet is because quiet is the hardest place to be on Earth because the truth is in the quiet, and the truth is always hard, and it’s always scary, and it’s easier just to pretend we don’t know what’s there.
Jen: Great. Oh, it’s the truest thing.
Glennon: Yeah. So, you know, I think my life as an addict helped me with this so much — helped me know this — because, you know, addiction is a hiding place. It’s a hiding from the truth. So the truth of life is love and pain. That’s it. And addicts are sensitive people who early on decide that we’re too weak to handle the pain and love of life, like the brutal experience of being a human being and the beautiful experience of being human, you know.
So we hide inside of addiction, and when I came out of that, I realized the lie is not that life is hard. Life is hard as bloody hell, like, life is so painful. But the lie was that I was too weak to handle it.
Jen: Ah, nice.
Glennon: Right? That was the lie. Life is painful. I mean I remember, Jen, this one day I had recently. I was just talking about when my sister called me and she said, “Glennon, it’s time for the baby to be born.” Her little girl. And I thought, “Oh my God, I’ve got to get ready to get on a plane.” And my mom called twenty minutes later. And she said, “Glennon, time’s running out. Grandma’s dying. Get on a plane and come to Ohio.” Long story short, during that day, I said goodbye to my grandmother, held her hand, had nothing good to say, even though I’m a writer. Just held her hand and cried. Then I got on a plane and flew to Virginia, held my baby niece for the first time. My grandmother’s name was Alice Flaherty. My niece’s name is also Alice Flaherty.
I just remember thinking, “Oh, my God, this is life.” It is this brutal. We will lose people. It’s true. That’s what’s in the quiet; is how hard and painful life is. But, there’s this big “and yet.” This baby said to me “and yet life goes on, and yet life is this beautiful also, and the brutal doesn’t break us because the beautiful sustains us, right?”
Jen: It does.
Glennon: So, the secret to me of life is this idea of the quiet, right? It’s like we are so afraid of the truth. We are so afraid of what’s in the stillness that we will use whatever is within our reach to avoid it. So that’s booze. That’s drinking. That’s the, you know, the third glass of wine that just takes the edge off. That third glass of wine that takes the edge off is your fear of the stillness. The TV, the Internet, the over shopping, the unkindness. All unkindness is somebody has just experienced the pain, and then they think it’s a hot potato, right? They don’t know how to be still with it, so they just pass on to the next person. The scroll, scroll, scroll, that’s just our avoidance of the stillness of what’s going to be there, right? So, you know, I don’t know. I’m a person who, the first half of my life I ran from pain like it was my goal in life to numb it all out. And the second half of my life I did the exact opposite.
Because I think that we are afraid of the wrong things. We are afraid of pain. But what we should be afraid of is all of the things that we use to avoid pain. Because when we avoid pain we press all those easy buttons to get ourselves out of the pain, we miss all of our transformation because everything that we need to become the women we are meant to be next is inside the pain of now.
Jen: It is. It’s true. Anybody telling the truth is going to agree with that, that most of us can chart seasons of our most intense growth or transformation or deep internal change. It is in the wake of pain and recovery. It’s beautiful. I mean, it really is. I mean there’s not a substitute for it. And it’s not that we wish pain on one another and ourselves. It’s just that that’s life. I think another real enemy to this idea of sitting truthfully in that pain, letting it teach us what it’s going to teach us, experiencing it and telling the truth about that, and then rising back up and recovering, is another idea that I see women buy into often, which is that pain in one way or another is an indictment on us– like we’ve done something wrong–we’re doing something wrong. We’ve not parented correctly because otherwise this would never happen. Something was wrong in our soul, which is why our marriage is hard or just whatever, like that we’re doing life wrong. So there’s this idea that hovers over it that’s just based in shame. So I think some of that avoidance is this a fake idea that pain equals shame because we’re doing life wrong. But the fact is we’re just doing life. We’re all in it. This is the thing. Everybody’s got the same story. It’s bananas.
Glennon: The funniest thing, Jen, is that. Well, yes. First of all, that we believe that life is easy. That life is supposed to be easy. So if it’s hard we’re doing it wrong. It’s hilarious because we would never — we know that life is hardest, relationships are hardest, work is hardest. All of it is hardest for people who are doing it right, who are showing up, making themselves vulnerable, falling down, trying again and getting back up. It doesn’t look pretty for the people who are doing it right. It never has and it never will.
Jen: You know, what’s interesting about that as I hear you say that, and I think that’s absolutely true. I’m doing a mental Rolodex of my heroes and my mentors, and they’re just in the mess of it all. I mean everything is just a mess. I’d like to hear you talk about this, too, because you’ve had experience here as well. I think there’s a special gear for this nonsense within the Christian community because in addition to saying, “pain means you’re doing something wrong,” there’s this idea of living within a certain set of rules, within a system, within a framework, that’s going to guarantee you a certain life. Right? If you do this, this, and this. Right. I mean capital “R” right, do it right, in the right way, that the right people think is right. And then I mean you’re just obviously going to get this beautiful life handed back to you, and so it’s the spiritual layer on top of the whole thing that we just talked that about makes it worse. Do you agree?
Glennon: Well, I mean, yeah. I mean religion’s job is to say to people, “We will keep you safe from life.”
Glennon: What Jesus said is, “I will bring you life to the fullest.” I mean it is so hilarious that Christian people of all people would have this idea that life is not supposed to hurt. This is the religion that professes to follow a man who literally walked to his crucifixion. Right? So this is a man who the night before he was crucified, Peter walks up to him and says, “OK, Jesus I just figured it out. Right? You’re about to be crucified. You’re God. We don’t have to have to deal with this; let’s run.” So this was Peter holding out the easy button. It doesn’t have to hurt. Life does not have to hurt this bad. You can find your way out of it if you want to. But what did Jesus say? Jesus said, “Get behind me. That cross is meant for me. There is no glory to any of this story, except straight through the pain. “
Jen: Yes. Exactly.
Glennon: It’s first the pain, then the rising.
Jen: It’s the Gospel.
Glennon: It’s the Gospel. It’s what we profess to follow. And it is inherently different than religion.
Jen: They are enemies, actually. They are enemies. They are sworn enemies.
Glennon: Yes. Religion will keep you safe, and Jesus will get you killed.
Jen: Yeah, he will.
Glennon: Right. So I don’t know. I mean you can pick one or the other, but you often can’t pick both. Right?
Jen: Absolutely. I know.
Glennon: If you’re trying to stay safe from life. And anyway, you wanted to get to my story. So, I, yeah, this process of Love Warrior. I think what it taught me — Brene´ told me that she was handing Love Warrior to somebody.
And somebody said, “What is this a book about?” And Brene´ said, “When I started reading, I thought it was a book about trust inside of a marriage. I still think it’s a book about trust, but I actually think it’s about one woman learning to trust herself.”
Jen: Mm-hmm, that feels right. That’s an excellent assessment. It’s so weird that Brene´ can be right about something.
Glennon: I know it’s so weird. She’s so dumb.
Jen: She gets things right every so often.
Glennon: Yeah. She can only figure a few things out. So I agree with that. I really deeply agree with that. I think that it all comes down to being as simple as learning to sit in the stillness and listen for God to reveal the next right thing. Right? I don’t know why God can’t just give us the freaking five-year plan. I’ve begged God. Never. Has God ever given you any sort of five-year plan? It’s always just the next right thing.
Jen: That’s so true. You know Bob Goff, you and I both know him. He just said something like that online this morning. Something like, “we keep asking God for a plan and He just keeps telling us we’re loved.” It’s so maddening. God, just give me a couple of things. But it’s so true. You know, just last week, I sat down and I wrote something online and I had that internal check. It’s that still voice. I know it well and the voice said, “don’t do it, don’t do it. It’s not the right thing. It’s not the right time. You don’t have the right attitude toward this.” I knew it. I knew it. Then I talked myself out of it, because I can do that as well. I’m very convincing to myself. Posted it, naturally of course. The true voice of people came back and went “this doesn’t feel good.” And I was like ,”I KNOW!”…I took it down.
Glennon: Okay, so for me knowing, so that first voice that told you no, right now, that’s like gravity. It doesn’t even come in words it just settles in like cement.
Jen: Right, exactly.
Glennon: Then the voice starts. People always ask me, “how do you know what’s God and what’s yourself?” Yourself is just words, words, words. The fear voice just uses arguments like a frickin’ lawyer, right? God is not words, it’s just a knowing that you can’t explain. It’s like, I knew. I knew better. So for me, the journey of the warrior, what Love Warrior is about; it’s about never again allowing that loud, incessant fear-voice to drown out the still small voice.
Jen: I love that. With that, I read something like years ago. 15 years ago, from Dallas Willard, who said something along the lines of; “the voice of the Spirit does not argue, it does not try to convince you. It does not batter you with words. It just speaks gently and it is self-authenticating.” And I’m like, “yep.” It’s this right away knowing that thing is true.
Glennon: That’s right.
Jen: That thing is right. Now doesn’t that make that thing easy, ever. I’m waiting for that moment… “yay! Can the right thing be easy for once in my life?” Oh my Lord. But it is self-authenticating, like right in your gut. And you’re like, “well what am I supposed to do with that? I guess I’ll just have to obey and let the chips fall where they may.”
Glennon: Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, right? That’s the other thing.
Jen: That’s true too.
Glennon: To me, this is the revolution for women. I mean, men have been kind of trained to trust themselves for their lives. Right?
Glennon: I sit with my son in our house. He has friends over all the time and we will go into a room of boys and girls and I’ll say, “are you guys hungry?” and the boys will go, “yes,” and the girls will say nothing and look at each other.
Jen: Ahh, Darn it.
Glennon: If that’s not an example of the way men respond and the way women respond. We do not know what we want anymore. We’re not even in touch with our selves because we are consensus takers. We look outside of ourselves, and we ask everybody in the room, in the world, in the Internet, in our church; “what should I do?”
Jen: It’s true.
Glennon: Then we call that “God.” I can’t tell you how many people have said to me “Oh you’re just fulfilling yourself,” right? But the thing is—is it more fulfilling your selfish self to look outside and ask everyone else what you should do? Or is it more, it’s going inside to your deepest intuition and that place where only God speaks to you? Is that the right place to find your wisdom?
Jen: Well there’s so much built-in safety to going with the crowd. There’s an intrinsic reward to doing that from inside the tribe. You know you’re going to get back approval. You’re going to get back belonging. For me, when I go against the grain, when I listen to the outside voice and then obey it, no matter what my insight is telling me, no matter what my conviction is saying, no matter how I feel like God is actually asking me to move and lead and behave. When I go with the outside voice, again, I know that I’m going to keep the currency that I value so much, which is belonging. That’s the thing. the bargaining chip.
If we want to continue belonging to a certain space, then we have to toe the party line. It’s a very powerful incentive. Very powerful. I don’t mean to make light of it, because a loss of belonging in any way; it’s painful, and it’s scary, and it’s disorienting. All of a sudden, it’s that sifting that you talked about earlier, when a lot of things that you counted on fall away. That falling away process—it’s a freefall. So I understand why, and I mean literally here, we can fill in the blank. There are so many ways right now in which group identity is leading our culture. You know where this is this is our group this is our set of beliefs. And you’re either in or out here. We’ve lost all nuance, we’ve lost all discussion and conversation, we’ve lost any sort of value on diversity. It’s just a hard time to be alive in the in the world. I get why people choose to make their inner group happy, because at least we get to keep belonging and there’s a place to fall.
Glennon: And listen Jen. For sure this is what we need and want and crave.
But to me, there’s just this chasm wide difference between fitting in and belonging, right?
Jen: That’s the difference right there.
Glennon: Trying to “do” is “fit in,” and fitting in is so deadly because it means I am going to change who I am, who God made me to be, so that I can be who you want me to be. Then you slowly die. So belonging, and the only groups –I mean institutions run on fear, on people being afraid, of being more desperate to fit in, than to be who God called them to be and to live how God leads them to live. I mean, this is literally what happened to Jesus, right? If you want to look at what happens to you when you go against the grain of the dominant narrative in any given institution, you just look at the cross.
Jen: That’s right.
Glennon: The reason why institutions crucify people, whether it was literal in Jesus’ time, or where it’s metaphorical in yours and my time. They don’t crucify us publicly on the Internet to us, for us; because I don’t care. I’ve already chosen to live as God made me in particular to live. I know it’s going to go against the grain. I know it’s going to cause some drama in the institution. They publicly crucify us as a message to the rest of them. This is what will happen to you, if you break the norm, this is what will happen to you. They point to Jesus. They point to this Internet article; beware, beware. Jesus’ message, and my message, and your message, is: it is better to live a life outside of the tribe and true to who God called you to be than it is to be in an institution with millions, and in hiding.
Jen: It’s true. That is ringing so true into my soul, and I think there comes a point for a lot of us, where we can no longer–the sense of being so fractured, to sort of fit in–because you do have to be a little bit fractured. You’re going to have to fracture off some parts of you that disagree. The parts of you that believe something different. The parts of you that understand this differently. The parts of you that look different. So it’s this fractured identity and that is the worst. That is the absolute worst. That season for me was where I felt like I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I felt like a fraud. Of course I love the metaphor, not just because it’s beautiful, because it’s true. One thing that I’m learning right now, sort of on the other side of what feels like being cast out and used as a warning to a huge amount of my tribe. There is a really shocking, never saw it coming. can’t believe how much better it was than I could have ever imagined, resurrection on the other side.
I mean better like, “wait, there’s more to the story? There’s more? There’s something next?” Oh my God, I have goosebumps. I’m sitting in my chair with goosebumps. The resurrection, and that freedom in that place, where you’re integrated again in your heart, soul, mind spirit.
Glennon: It’s like when Jesus says “I and the Father are one,” it feels like that, again. Like, there’s no more fracture. I’m back in the flow, and back in the zone, and God and I are one again. I’m not hiding anymore. It’s like the scripture that most Christians translate to “be perfect as God is perfect.” The original Hebrew word meant “be whole –whole as God is whole.” So a life of integrity, everybody’s talking about integrity, integrity. All integrity means is “integrated.”
So your private “inside” voice is the same. as your outer voice. What you believe on the inside you’re living out on the outside.
Jen: That feels so good.
Glennon: There is no more fracture. What you find out, is that the acceptance of millions never kept you warm at night anyway. Acceptance and praise will never help you look in the mirror, right? You find out that you’d rather be honest, and true, and whole with one person than be admired by millions.
Jen: It’s true.
Glennon: And look, we’ve got Jesus. Jesus only had like 12 friends, right?
Jen: It’s true. And one of them was awful.
Glennon: Terrible. He only liked one of them. I mean how many times did we hear, “the one Jesus loved.” One friend that he had. And we’re sad when a few people on the internet hate us, right?
Jen: Good point.
Glennon: We just need to be true and honest in who God made us to be in this time, on this earth, with a few.
Jen: We’re only here for a minute. And you know what else is exciting about that resurrection season too, and that place, that is a wonderful surprise; is that all the people that have already done that work ahead of you, that have already paid that price, and come through on the other side? They’re over there and it’s a fun party why. Oh wait. Look at all these people who are telling the truth, and being honest about what they know and don’t know. And holding space for one another with a lot of grace and dignity. I mean, I like those people. Brene´ calls it –she calls it the wilderness. That’s kind of her metaphor for this.
There’s sort of the safety inside the city, and then there’s just like the random, chaotic, bananas wilderness. It just doesn’t have any walls, it’s a hot mess, right? Just a bunch of like firepits everywhere, except it’s joyful, and it’s creative, and everyone can come to it, and there’s a lot of room in it.
Glennon: And it’s not fear based.
Jen: Well, no–it’s the wilderness for crying out loud. It’s out in the woods.
Glennon: And there’s something about perfect love there, because you know. We know that perfect love casts out fear. It’s in institutions where you have to stay one way or be shunned forever. You have to think one way or be shunned forever–you are always living in fear. In the wilderness, you belong. You don’t have to fit in, you belong. It’s not because you have the same as anybody else, it’s because you’re finally admitting that we are all so different and we’re not going to cast anybody out for their differences. It’s messier there, it’s complicated, you have to ask harder questions, you have to listen. But there is this knowing that casts out fear, that the way we love here; it’s sublime. It’s sublime, meaning, I don’t love you because you are without differences, or you’re without what we call “flaws.” I love you because if it’s true, the deeper I can get to know you, the more I will love you. We don’t have to be afraid of each other.
Jen: It makes us better human beings too, because as comfortable and comforting as it can feel to be in a really homogenous space, and whatever that is, like I’m thinking about everybody who’s listening right now; you can think about your own community right now. Whatever, wherever you are. You gather with people who are mostly all the same and there’s a comfort in it. But I think we become a lot better human beings when all of a sudden that is blown up, and we have people in our world speaking in ways we’ve never heard before, with experiences that we’ve never listened to before. It’ just good– it’s good for our minds. I find one of my favorite benefits to that person who is not afraid to be in that space, is it makes us, in general, more generous in every way. More generous in soul, in nature, in welcome, in community. We need it. We need more generosity in our world right now. It feels cruel. Right now it feels punitive. It feels terrified, which makes us mean. I think it’s just scared presenting as mean. So I’m just craving; I’m craving generous people who are not afraid.
Glennon: The freer our people are the better they will be. We don’t have to rule each other. We don’t have to. Getting back to the whole Jesus thing, sister, the same thing was true of that time, right? The Romans were out there conquering people in the name of God and trying to make people like them, and Jesus and His people were like, “that story’s not true. That story is not beautiful. Here’s a better story.” What if we just gathered all of the people that they said were out? What if we just loved everybody. Jesus asked two questions: “who is religion oppressing and who is power forgetting?” Then He gathered all those people to His table and that became the wilderness, that became the new tribe and the difference in that new tribe was that everybody was invited.
Jen: I can’t tell you how much my heart swells, and how proud and thrilled I am, just to kind of watch; just to watch Together Rising grow and change the world, and serve the world. I’m so proud of you. Can you just talk about that a little bit for anybody listening that doesn’t know about it?
Glennon: Yeah. Well, Together Rising is our nonprofit. So Together Rising; so Jen, this one day I was just feeling so grateful for my community, and I said OK, I’m going to open my e-mail and just do the first thing that somebody asks me to do. People always ask us to do things. So I opened up my email, there’s this message from this woman who was running a home for homeless teenage girls in Indiana and it said; “I had to turn away a 14-year old girl last night with a baby boy because we don’t have enough funding for her to come in.” So basically, I was like, “OK, this is it. This is what I want to do.” So I called this woman back and I said, “alright, I’m going to give you the money to get this girl in. So how much do you need?” She said, “I need $88,000.” I said, “Okay, well then we need a new plan.” So I am going to think about this. Anyway, long story short she and I stayed up all night. We wrote this story about the home that she ran, and this girl who needed a home and I figured out, this would be a good story—like, these people that I’m doing life with online—they’re beautiful. If they hear this story they are going to want to step up and make this girl our own.
Anyway, I opened up the giving the next morning with this story that this woman and I wrote, and I said “OK we’re going to get this girl in this home by tonight. OK. And the way we’re going to do that is everybody’s going to give. And nobody is allowed to give more than $25,” because I think that people don’t give because they don’t think that their little donation is going to make a difference. That’s not the way it works, right? It’s the small things with great love—it’s the community that all comes together. So anyway, that day we had like almost $80,000– all of it– in like three hours; all with $25 donations. So it became what we call the “love flash mob” I mean that little girl; they went and got her that night, they brought her to the home. I got to go visit them recently. It’s just gorgeous, this idea we that actually do belong to each other.
Basically that turned into a lot of different efforts, and we are completely volunteer run, so 100 percent of everything that’s given goes directly to people in need. I think we just hit 7.6 million dollars, for domestic and international. But we’re really, really in the weeds with the refugee situation right now.
The beauty of that is, that there is a way to live in which you keep watching the news and you actually believe the story that’s being told; that we all hate each other and we’re all divided. That’s not the story I live in. I don’t live in it. Each day I see it. I understand you could buy into that, but I live in a world where people take care of strangers. People do that, not just like me. I mean I get all the credit for it, right? “Oh, look at me I’m so good I’m raising all this money.” The people who are giving this money are giving it in their own homes. No one will ever see it. No one will know. They’re doing it because they’re good. The truest story is that we belong to each other and that small groups of people can literally change the world.
So that’s why I’m not jaded. That’s why you’re not jaded. That’s why we can keep showing up, because there’s two ways in which to live; and one is a story where it’s dog eat dog and there’s a much more beautiful story to live inside of too, which is legacy and “together rising.”
Jen: That’s right. It’s possible. It is possible. It matters who we are listening to; who we’re grabbing hands with, and where we spend our energy and our time. We can pick. We get to choose this. This is not happening to us. We are not victims of our own culture. I like what you’re saying right now; that’s the true story, the good story, it’s the right story–so pick it. Just choose it. It’s just that simple. We do have the capability to unhook ourself from the rage machine, and hook into something more beautiful. That’s my choice.
Glennon: Jen, I mean my kids and I–nobody in my family has had social media on our phones. We don’t have the internet or social media on our phones for the last like two or three months. So anytime you see anything that I’m posting, it’s something that I have written on a word document, and sent to my team, and they post it.
Jen: That sounds amazing. Does that feel good?
Glennon: I cannot even tell you. We are people who believe that the world was spoken into existence, right? Words that we take in and that we say create the worlds that we then step into. We pick up these phones like we are cutters, cutting. We know they’re going to cause anxiety, we know it’s all information and no wisdom. We know. We know it’s divisive. We know. But we pick it up and that becomes our reality. Why is everybody so angry? Because everybody is staring into anger machines all day.
Jen: You are like slicing me open right now. I’m going to stop talking.
Glennon: We use the excuse of, “oh, we have to stay informed.” You’re not staying informed, you’re staying entertained.
Jen: That’s great.
Glennon: You pick up a frickin’ newspaper. Read a book. You can be informed each day in three minutes. You do not need 13 hours–you are not getting your work done. It becomes this impotent, temper tantrum rage that is not creative.
Jen: That’s good. You’re right.
Glennon: There’s work to be done. It’s like serious times and we need wise serious people. And the wise serious people are not staring at their phones all day.
Jen: That’s good. I am ingesting what you’re saying like a girl drinking water who’s never had a sip. It’s true. This year has been so contentious, and so enraged, and so bonkers, but if that’s the message that I’m taking in on the daily–and not just on the daily, all day on the daily—it makes us into angry, scared people.
Glennon: What people say, Jen, “oh, well that’s just burying your head in the sand if you don’t stare at it all day.” No, no, no, no. I am not saying I am a privileged person, so I don’t have to know what’s going on. I’m saying, I’m a privileged person and I’m a leader, so I need to be using my time wisely. I need to be actually creating projects and creating a plan for us to lead better. I need to use my privilege wisely. Staring–it’s an easy button. It’s giving me an excuse not to do my work. But what’s away from the phones is the stillness, and we don’t want to be there.
Jen: Thank you for saying that and making me feel incredibly convicted. I appreciate that. Also, as we talk about Together Rising, by the way; I just I love it, I love you, I love Together Rising. I love what you’re doing. I love where you’re sending your dollars. I love how it works. I love how it’s set up. I love it all. Sort of birthed out of that space; out of that sort of approach to life, approach to women, and to community, this is going to be your second season of the Together Tour, which is amazing. Talk about powerful, smart, intelligent women coming together. Really and truly, I love who is getting to step up to the microphone. I do. I love how it’s getting passed to voices that are not just white. I’m looking at this going; this is going to be beautiful, it’s going to be strong, and it’s going to matter. Can you talk about it just for a second?
Glennon: Thank you. Yeah, I mean the way it started was exactly like you said. I had to do another tour–I had to do a tour for Love Warrior. I sat down and said, “I hate book tours with a deep, burning, abiding passion cause I just want to stay in my pajamas. So I said, “all right, the only way I’m going to do this tour is if we find a way to invite people to this stage who are not normally passed the microphone.” Because I don’t believe that we speak for the voiceless–I think that’s B.S.–there are no people who are voiceless, there are just people who don’t have microphones.
Jen: That’s right. They have a voice.
Glennon: So what we ended up doing was going across the country speaking and inviting everybody onstage that basically our culture at that moment was being taught to fear. So we had everybody that you can imagine that’s “othered” was handed a microphone and it was utterly gorgeous because, of course, the only thing we need to do to stop fearing each other, is to look at each other closely. We cannot handle proximity, so we just invited people to meet the people they’d been taught to fear. So anyway, it was utterly beautiful, and just transformative night. So now this year we’ve got, I don’t know–it’s me, and Abby, Luvvie, oh my gosh Luvvie. I heard that this badass Jen Hatmaker is coming in Austin.
Jen: I’m going to be with you in Austin–I can’t wait.
Glennon: My dear friend Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. She’s the literary agent of everyone you know that has a big voice. She’s just a revolutionary. Then we’ve got like all the celebrity activists you could think of, and they’re all coming for free–like they want to just use this time to bring people together. So we’ve got Sophia Bush, and Connie Britton, and I don’t know–just go look at the list. It’s ridiculous. I actually went to meet some of my neighbors recently who are all migrant farm workers and doing ridiculously revolutionary things change farm workers’ rights. They are now coming on tour with me.
Jen: Are you serious. You know what? That’s what happens when people are your neighbors. They just need to hold their calendars loosely.
Glennon: Yeah, so one day I was like getting so stressed out about our culture and I was outside going, “God help me,” and God kept saying, “Love your neighbor.” And I said, “listen I am, I’m yelling at people to love their neighbors all day. That’s what I do.” And He was like, “no, no, no–love your neighbor.” I was like, “God, that sounds hard.”
So I went to my next door neighbor–I live in a rich, white neighborhood–the next neighborhood over is poor and farm workers. Anyway, I end up making really good friends with this woman named Lupe; coolest woman I’ve ever met. Immigrant farm worker. So now she’s coming on tour with me.
Jen: Of course Lupe’s coming on tour with you. Do I get to meet her in Austin?
Glennon: Oh yeah. She’s coming to all of them. All 10 dates.
Jen: Bless her. She should not be answering the door when you go over.
Glennon: No. Poor Lupe, poor Lupe.
Jen: That’s so great. The Together Tour is going to be amazing. Just for everybody listening. I’ve got all those links on my website you can go to.
So. OK. Let’s wrap it up here. Let me ask you a couple of quick questions. So these are just questions that we’re asking everybody. Just stream of consciousness, down and dirty. What’s your first reaction here? So, this is sort of the series on Moxie, which obviously you have. Isn’t that a good word?
Glennon: Oh, it’s the best.
Jen: And of course, it’s paired with “messy,” because there’s no separation here.
Glennon: They’re sisters, right?
Jen: What would you say if you were going to reach for one–it can be recent–we don’t care; a moment that presented as mess. It started in a mess, or it was a legit, bonafide mess, and that you just sort of dug deep and powered through it to the other side.
Glennon: Jen, that would be so hard for me because my life is just really tidy.
You know I don’t know I guess recently coming to the truth I knew, which was that my marriage was over. Just the utter devastation I felt that my kids would have to walk through a divorce. I mean, I thought that that was the one thing that would break them, right? Learning, you know, I look at my little one right now–actually I’m looking at her right now–she’s sitting outside this window. My sensitive one that I thought would never be able to handle this. I realized I’m a parent who thought that my job was to help my little girl avoid the fires of life. That was my job, because that is what our generation was sold.
Glennon: All we had to do as parents was just protect them from anything ever happening to them.
Glennon: Which is why we all feel like horrible failures. So I look at her right now, and she walked through that, and I walked through it with her, and it was hard and it was brutal. There were so many tears and there were so many sleepless nights. Now I look at her. She survived. She’s a child who no longer waits for the other shoe to drop in life. She is a child now who knows that she does not have to avoid every fire in life because what she has learned is that she is fireproof. That is what I have learned over and over again, every time I’ve had to walk through a mess, every time I’ve had to walk through a fire that I thought would burn me up. After a while, and you know this Jen, after a while you just walk around going, “oh my God, the secret is not that I need to figure out a way to avoid the fires. The secret is that the fire will never burn me up.”
Jen: Right. We live.
Glennon: We just always survive. That fire is actually what transforms into the fuel that allows us to get our work done on the earth, which is why the people who avoid the fires never live life on fire.
Jen: That’s so true. You’re so good. You’re such a good teacher when it comes to pain and using pain to live. I don’t have a better teacher, honestly, who just went so directly at that idea, dismantled it fully for the lie that it is, and rebuilt it on something strong. You live it. It’s a marvel to watch.
Also, your kids are real pretty right now. Like, the oldest one. It’s too much to look at him directly. He just had a birthday, right?
Glennon: He did. And he’s 15. He looks like his daddy, who just happens to be the most gorgeous human on Earth. So he’s been blessed with his dad’s looks, and his generosity, and he’s a good guy. Far from perfect, which is such a blessing, because all of his little quirks make him who he is exactly.
Jen: What do you think about teens? What do you think about having teens–you know it’s raining teen boys in my house. I have five kids and four teenagers. So all my boys are on teams right now and I cannot get enough. They’re delicious. I want to eat them with spoons.
Glennon: I mean I don’t know. I don’t have the horror stories yet. Chase has been good to us. I don’t know. I will tell you that I think that teenage parenting is lonelier than young child parenting, because when they’re little, they don’t have any rights, and you can just ridicule them–you can just talk about them till the day is done. Because the experience of raising babies and toddlers is kind of so universal. They’re all the same you know. I don’t know–I guess you’re less afraid of shaming them. I don’t know. I just find that raising a teenager–their personalities and challenges and path is all becoming so unique to them in private, that it’s harder to kind of crowdsource encouragement.
Jen: I like that and I think that a lot of people don’t talk about that. Number one; I think parenting teens is wonderful. That’s not the story I ever grew up hearing. It’s mostly wonderful. I mean, they’re not all wonderful. Nothing is. They’re messy human beings. That’s when they really start en masse, going through heartache, and struggle, and pain, and loss. That was supposed to not happen. But it does. So then, it’s like, it’s not only dealing with our kids who are growing up and struggling like we we were going to have them not to. But then it’s confronting that we built a house on sand. You know that, “oh I guess, that whole parenting structure that I established when they were six months old was a big fat lie from the beginning.” So yeah, I wish we had more time to talk about that. Let’s put that into our next conversation because everybody talks about how to raise a baby and a toddler and a preschooler and a first grader. I mean I’m grabbing on to anything from somebody talking about raising teens and young adults. That was in an apartment!
Glennon: Maybe we need to take our parenting the same way we take this whole idea of religion. We’re not trying to protect them from life. That’s what we think the structure of family is supposed to do. I think in the beginning we’re trying to prepare them for life and then in the second part we’re just trying to get them to react to life, in a way that’s creative, and brave, and beautiful. I agree with you. For me, I feel like they should start an “it gets better” campaign for parents of little kids because to me, raising–once they hit seven–it’s just life, it’s freedom. I mean, I will take all of the emotional torture to just stop some of the physical torture of how exhausting the small ones are.
Jen: I was so in the weeds when they were all babies and toddlers and preschoolers, that I honestly don’t remember it. I’m glad I took some pictures because I don’t remember a thing of it.
Glennon: Well, that’s the universe being kind.
Jen: It’s so hard. It’s so hard, baby mamas.
Glennon: When they come to our events, Jen, they’re like holding their babies looking at us for wisdom. I’m like, “you’re not in the time for wisdom, dear God. Take a nap! Don’t listen to the words I am saying. This is no time for learning.”
Jen: Oh gosh that’s amazing. OK, last question. Do you read Barbara Brown Taylor at all?
Glennon: Of course.
Jen: I love her. So you know what she asked. I’d love for you to answer; what is saving your life right now?
Glennon: I mean, I’d answer the way that that I’ve probably been answering since I was three years old. Right now my sister is literally saving my life. She’s been my shelter my entire life. She was born when I was three. I do not know how I survived for three years without her. She is the one who is my safe place to go. I think she’s love, because love is this dual and bold thing where it’s just fully and totally accepting of who you are, while also somehow inviting you to be braver and bolder. It’s not a control, you know, it’s an invitation that is always there, and you know if you never take it, you’re OK with that person. She was such a safe place for me to land when I was going through my divorce and falling in love with Abby. She just blazed the path before me, and just dared anybody to get in my way. She saw me coming into the truest version of myself for the first time. So I would say, sisters.
Jen: She’s a treasure. She really is. She’s fierce. I love her and I’m a tiny bit afraid of her. So I wouldn’t cross her.
Glennon: Yeah, I get to be me because my sister is her.
Jen: Yes. That’s right.
Glennon: I get to be “love and light” because if you don’t love me back, my sister will kick your ass.
Jen: That is so true…Oh I love her. I love your people.
Glennon: I love you. I love you. I love your kiddoes. Please give Brandon a hug for me. We’ll all have to get together in real life soon, please.
Jen: We’re going to–you’re coming to my city and I’m going to sit on the stage with you and we will laugh, and we will laugh, and we will laugh, and so I can’t wait. Okay, sister–so much love you
Glennon: Love you.
Jen: Thank you.
Glennon: Bye bye.
Jen: Amazing. I wrote down three things from that conversation that I am really going to think about. The first of which is social media intake, and having it available on my phone. I don’t like what that’s doing in me right now. I have this low simmering like rage and that’s not even my natural way. So even as she was saying that, I just felt like she was reading my cards, she’s reading my mail. So I think that’s wise. I’m drawn to some of the things that she said and I hope you were too.
Listen all the things that we talked about today, I’ll have on my website at JenHatmaker.com I’ll have Glennon’s speaking schedule and all those links. We’ll have her books, links to Momastery and Together Rising. If you’ve never been a part of a flash mob for Together Rising, you’ve got to be a part of the next one. It is so exciting to watch it happen. Just a minute by minute, hour by hour–just to watch those numbers climb into astronomical amounts–all just giving little bits at a time. Anyway it’s so fun. You’re going want to be a part of that, because it’s just such a good way to serve our neighbors and to serve the world.
So thanks for joining me this week. I hope you’re liking this series. I originally thought the series was going to be five, and now it’s at 10. I have too many women in my life with too much moxie, and so, I just I felt like we needed more of their voices, more of their stories, more of their experiences. So we’re going to keep at this “For the Love of Moxie” until I feel done with it. So thanks for joining us every week. Thanks for your great feedback. We love hearing from you. We read all of your responses. We love that you’re subscribing, thank you. I love this space. This is my favorite new thing with you. So guys, have a super week and next week we’re just going to keep our foot on the gas on this series. You’re not going to want to miss this. Every week, I promise, if you’re going to walk away with something. So, have a great one, guys, and I’ll meet you back here next week.
Narrator: Thanks for joining us today on the For the Love Podcast. Tune in next week, when we sit down again with Jen and friends to chat about all the things we love.
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