“Begin not where you think you should be or with what you ought to feel. Begin where you are.” That’s the healing invitation extended by our next guest in the You Need to Read video interview series, Addie Zierman!

Addie is one of my all-time favorite writers. She’s the author of two rave-reviewed memoirs about letting go of religious baggage and walking her own faith journey, When We Were on Fire and Night Driving.

She’s also a speaker and a blogger who writes about faith reimagined at AddieZierman.com and she writes the “Ask Addie” advice column at Off the Page.

Addie Zierman writing as a road to healing

Press play to watch the interview, or watch Writing as a Road to Healing on Youtube.

In this interview, Addie and I discuss …

  • What happens when a woman “on fire for Jesus” burns out
  • What it’s like to publish on sensitive topics such as drinking and flirting
  • Going past surface-level icebreakers and getting honest about how you feel in a church community
  • The extreme emotional highs and lows of “youth group culture” and how it impacts adult life
  • Giving yourself room for healing and having the faith that you actually have, not the one you think you should have
  • What it’s like to wrestle with faith and doubt while on an epic cross-country road trip with two toddlers
  • Why re-framing the concept of “self-care” as “resourcing” is a powerful shift
  • The super-refreshing, anti-perfectionist approach to faith

Writing as a road to healing

Quotable Quotes from Addie’s Interview

“Writing was a road to healing for me.”

“When we are honest with each other it gives us the courage to be honest with ourselves.”

“Growing up in a youth group culture, there’s always this drive – if you’re really feeling low – to go to the next thing. Your faith starts to settle, so quick! Go to a conference! And then it starts to settle, so go to the beach missions trip! And then summer camp! And there are all of these really unnatural highs and lows, back and forth. So it’s my first inclination, if I’m feeling this way, then I better go do something to fix it.”

“I’ve learned to give myself room to have the faith I have. To have the journey I have …. You don’t have to do anything to make God love you more. And I feel like God will connect with us wherever we can connect. And I’m always amazed by how often it just comes out of nowhere, like a TV show, or a song, or something that I’m not even looking for …. So stop trying to muster it up.”

healing and faith

“When I think about self-care, I tend to think about indulgence …. Because of that framing, a lot of my self-care stuff has not actually been that good for me. Like, ‘I feel like crap, so I’m going to go to McDonald’s and get French fries, because that’ll make me feel better … for five seconds.’ …. Resourcing is about taking care of yourself in a way that is healthy.”

self care and healing

“I’ve been learning to feed myself well, to physically feed myself good food that’s healthy for me, and to learn the sweetness of that. I mean, fruit is so healthy, and it’s so sweet! And I have been missing it, because I’ve been stuffing all this processed chocolate pretend-ness into my system.”

“I wish somebody would have said to me, ‘You’ll make out a lot; it happens. You’ll drink; it happens. You’ll stop feeling God; it happens.’”

forgiveness and healing

“There are consequences. But when you go off the path, it doesn’t mean that God is any farther away from you. That’s where grace comes in.”

Book Giveaway Alert!

night driving and healing

Win a free copy of Addie’s latest memoir, Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark! (That said, if you already have Night Driving, I’ll be happy to send you When We Were on Fire instead!)

Here’s how to enter:

Step 1: Subscribe to the email list. If you’re already subscribed, move on to step 2!

Step 2: Leave a comment on this post. (Social media shares are always appreciated, but not required.)

I’ll select a winner randomly on Friday, May 12th at noon Central Time. Good luck to all!

Update: the giveaway is now closed; congratulations to Kristin, the random-drawing winner this time around!

Additional Show Notes

1: The Thomas Merton quote I referenced goes like this:

“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace.”

2: Quick caveat to the point I made about Charlotte Bronte’s novels in the interview: The first 100 pages are generally unspectacular (see Shirley and Villette) but her best-known work, Jane Eyre, is an exception. However, the first 100 pages of Jane Eyre are an emotional wasteland of child abuse, neglect, and trauma. So there’s that.

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