Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jennie Allen on The Call to Bleed

There are times I stumble across a blog and immediately know I’ve come across a remarkable person. This is how I found my guest today. I welcome Jennie Allen as she joins ~ thoughts that move ~ today with these powerful thoughts…

The Call to Bleed

Cut open. Spread out. Picked through. That's how I feel.

It sounds painful? You're right. It is.

I've always been transparent in my friendships and in my marriage....and then I started a blog, and then I wrote a book. It felt different... it felt out of my control.

I didn't know how else to be. So I did what I always did, I bled out in front of everyone... I cut myself apart and laid myself out, and then I pushed "Publish". But that little blue button did something to me, like the girl who did something stupid at a party and everyone took pictures of her and posted her on Youtube. I kept taking down posts feeling regret, but mostly I didn't want to live so exposed.

At the time of this inner war, I was reading Henri Nouwen. Nouwen was ahead of his time in the way of authenticity, a priest who wrote in the mid 90's. He wrote about his soul and sin and struggles, as if he were writing about what he ate for breakfast. I clung to this quote, not as encouragement, but as my calling,

“it is my growing conviction that my life belongs to others just as much as it belongs to myself, and that what is experienced as most unique often proves to be most solidly embedded in the common condition of being human.”

I had never considered that my life was not mine to own and to hide and wall up and protect. I am not my own. God bought me, and He is the one wanting to cut me up and spread me out and allow others to take what they need for their lives.

It is our call as writers.

We are to be the well. The place where readers come and find a piece of their own soul. The place where they come and see our sin and want to run from their own sin. The place where they come and find comfort in a friend that is worse off than they are. The place they see how to wrestle with the God of the universe. We expose our humanity so that they can see their humanity. As writers we are called to be the ones bleeding out for all to see.... no matter the cost... no matter the pain.

Our lives are not our own, so we write to give them away.

Write on. Bleed on.

You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Jennie Allen’s passion is to make God known through writing and teaching. She graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Masters in Biblical Studies and serves in ministry beside her husband Zac, senior pastor at Austin Bible Church in Austin, Texas. They have three children—Conner 11, Kate 9, and Caroline 5—and are in the process of adopting their youngest son from Rwanda. Thomas Nelson will publish Jennie's first women’s Bible study titled Stuck: The Places We Get Stuck and the God Who Sets Us Free in the fall of 2011 and her first trade book in the spring of 2012.


  1. This is an amazing post. I have been struggling with the conflict of vulnerability as I get ready to embark or a journey of pouring out my own soul in writing about things in my own life. This is the confirmation that I needed to keep moving forward. THank you for sharing.

  2. Wow. Beautiful post, Jennie. I'm naturally a very private person, but writing has pushed me past that. Thanks for these words. I needed them.

  3. What a well-written reminder of the power of vulnerability. When I look at my life, I see that I connect with those who are open about their weaknesses and inadequacies. I'm pushing myself to follow their example. When I publish a blog post in which I've been transparent, the response is far greater than when I deal with "safe" subjects.

    Thanks for the insightful post, Jennie and Wendy.

  4. I love this writer! What a privilege to call her a friend!

  5. Wow, this is a beautiful post! I love the images of it and the truth of it.
    Awesome. Thank you for sharing with us, Jennie, and thanks for having her, Wendy. :-)

  6. I am so thankful for this post. My heart feels lighter and richer for you both sharing this. Everyday I get a little closer to understanding that God will cause all things to work for my good. All the bad that comes gives testimony to me and those around me of God's great love for us.
    I'm learning to bleed:)

  7. This is wonderful and very powerful. Thank you!

  8. Thanks for introducing me to Jennie Allen and her wonderful writing! Truly inspirational! What great insight on the passage in 1 Chorinthians. Thanks for sharing! God bless!

  9. I love Jennie's post and her open spirit! THis post is a huge encouragement to me as a writer, Thank you!

  10. Oh my goodness. This was amazing. Wow. Thanks Jennie - for reminding me why I write. Thanks Wendy, for having Jennie on your blog. I am inspired.

  11. I felt the same way when I found Jennie's blog, Wendy. I knew I had found a special writer and a remarkable person.

    Thanks, Jennie for this beautiful post. I so agree with you. We are not our own. This is a nice reminder during a time when the sense of entitlement pops up so often in our culture.

  12. What insight! Thanks for that.

  13. I love this. I'm still trying to figure out how to be that well, that perfect broken vessel since I don't write Christian fiction. It's all up to Him and His wisdom will have to prevail. I am perfectly week in figuring this one out.

  14. I saw this earlier from Twitter and had to come back to comment. Beautiful. It's hard to grasp that God wants US to share our deepest selves with the world, but it's so true. Thank you for this message.

  15. This is a great post. Thanks to Jennie for opening her heart and soul to us. I think there is a perfect balance in blog world about being real and authentic, but also knowing when things might be too personal.

  16. Thanks Wendy for having me and thank you all for your insight and comments! Love meeting all of the fellow warriors out there writing! Grace and peace to you as you write and build!

  17. Wow. Powerful stuff. yes. I will write and bleed for I am coming to understand everyday that I am not my own. I was bought with a price :)

  18. This is deep stuff. Wendy, thanks for having Jennie here. Thank you, Jennie, for your humility.

  19. We were bought with a price. Thanks to both of you for this reminder.

  20. Jennie, it's so great to meet you and I'm so glad I came over here tonight. Writing is a lot like bleeding -- we're called to pour out our souls. It's not just about us. I'll be sure to follow your writing and look forward to your new bible study.

    Wendy, thanks for being a giver -- for always looking to build others up and promote other writers. Yes, this one is truly a find!


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