Do you know yourself? Or how well do you really know yourself? This week on the AU podcast, we take a deep dive into how to know yourself with the help of guest Micole Amalu of The Face of Mercy. We talk about knowing yourself through what brings you joy and through rest. We even talk about how a snack and a nap can fix a multitude of problems!
12:00-12:35 A snack and a nap
12:59-13:04 How to love God well
20:32-20:47 How has God made me?
22:20-22:28 Why Jesus came
See what Micole and the Face of Mercy is up to in regards to mental health and the Church at their website: https://thefaceofmercy.org
Follow Micole and The Face of Mercy on Instagram! https://instagram.com/thefaceofmercy
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Join us for an amazing, on-demand retreat experience to help you come to trust God from a place of safety! You can sign up right here: https://uprisingacademy.thinkific.com/courses/trust-retreat
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Hello and welcome to today's episode
of the Authentic Uprising podcast.
I'm your host Jill Simons, and I'm so
excited to grow in the radical art
of standing in what God says
about you with you today.
The show is a place where we
pour into the sense of who God is,
who we are, and how we can live
more in the freedom that He
has for us every
Hello and welcome to the Authentic
Uprising podcast. As always.
I'm your host, Jill Simons, and I'm
so happy to be here with you today.
We are talking about something
that I think is not talked about
enough in Christian circles today.
And that is the fact that it's...
It really is important that you
know yourself, that you get to
know yourself. And one of
the beautiful ways that we come to
know ourselves better is by getting
to know the person who created us.
And and how He really reveals
us to ourself as we walk in
relationship with Him. And so
to talk with me more about this
today is Micole Amalu, and she works
with an amazing organization
that advocates for
And through that has come to
this conversation a lot of times about how
vital it is for us to really
build that self knowledge.
So, Micole, thank you so much
for being here with me today.
Thank you so much
for having me.
Why don't you share with us a little
bit about your organization,
what it is you guys do and how you
came to doing that specific work?
Yes. So I started the Face of
Mercy in 2019 with
the goal of having more of an avenue for
mental health advocacy in the Church.
So it comes a lot from my
own personal journey.
So I've been
a lifelong Catholic,
my faith has always been
an important part of my life,
especially since high school I
would say that I've really fallen
in love with the Lord, and that's
been a central theme in my life.
And then after college, I was
hitting a lot of things in my
life that I needed to talk
to a therapist about.
And so I was in missionary work
and that's kind of what revealed.
Through my missionary team,
they revealed how much I didn't
know myself and didn't know
what was going on and encouraged
me to go to therapy. And as I
was doing that and getting to
know myself and what was going on, I was
also walking with other young women,
as a missionary and realizing how
much they had similar struggles
with mental health and it wasn't
talked about in the Church.
And so even when they
were getting help,
they felt like they couldn't bring that
into their conversations about faith.
It was such an important part
of their lives and their prayer
and where God was
And so I started the Face of Mercy
hoping to kind of bridge this gap,
start conversations so that
people in the Church hear earlier
that there's hope
Hear earlier that if they're
depressed, struggling, you know,
God wants them to to care of
themselves and to seek that help.
And so our big goal is really
to just have conversations like
the one we're having today and talk
more about that intersection,
so the Church can really love people
like Jesus does. I love that.
a beautiful mission.
And I'd love to go back in
your story if you're if you're
comfortable sharing and feel
free to draw a line wherever you
feel like it's appropriate. But
what kinds of things made you
realize or saw major peers c
that there was kind of a lack of
self knowledge in your life.
Because if this isn't a conversation
that you've had on a frequent basis,
people might be like, I don't really know.
I don't I don't have kind of
a framework for even maybe what
this conversation that
we're having is about?
So what were those things that
others noticed that kind of
invited you into this
So there were two
things in particular.
So one wasn't an emphasis on
self care that missionaries and
anyone in ministry
So my teammates we would talk often
about, like, what brings you joy,
what what can you do to take care
of yourself and I had no idea.
Like, every time,
like, I remember...
I think over the three
years, I was a missionary,
I was asked to make this list four times
of ten things that bring you joy.
And it was like one of the hardest
tasks I've ever sat down to do.
And there was just such
a disconnect from my own self.
And a lot of it had come from this
idea that that's what holiness looks like.
Like this very like false idea
growing up that like, okay,
holiness is this like cookie
cutter mold over there.
And I'm gonna like
fit myself into it,
kinda like jamming a square
peg into a round hole.
And I think yeah, it came from
a lot of like good ideas that
were taken too far of
this idea that, like,
there's a time for sacrificial love
that there's a time to, like,
give of yourself to
put others first.
But I would take those too far,
you kinda lose any idea of self,
and that's kind of what I had done.
Yeah. And then secondly...
So particularly, my team
director so is kinda, like,
a lead on our team and he
noticed how much I overworked.
Like I was a perfectionist. My expectations
for myself were insanely high.
And adjusting to life after college
where you don't have grades
as a perfectioistn, so painful because
you don't get regular feedback.
And, yeah. So I was really
blessed that the person who was
walking with me was one who had
gone through that struggle himself.
And so I feel like he
caught it earlier.
And one of the most impactful
things was at the end of our year,
we're kinda reflecting on the year.
And just like lunch as a team.
And he just... He nearly teared up and
this guy not an emotional guy at all,
and he just...
He nearly had tears in his eyes.
He's like, I see you running
yourself into the ground and I've
been trying to stop
you all year.
He's like, I know how painful this
is, and I don't want that for you.
Wow. And yeah. In that moment,
I think it was just a moment of
getting to receive God's
love through that,
and that God was looking
at me that way.
And it's like this has not been
what I've been asking. Yeah.
Yeah. I I think most people can
resonate with both of those things,
especially the, like, no grades after
college. I hit hard like, I failed
hard after college because of
that because I was like, I...
My life lacks metrics, like,
I have no like structure here,
and I got a full time job right
out of school that was a bad fit.
And so when I didn't
persist in that,
and it was a and it was a job with
metrics. Like that first job.
And so that would, you know, kinda
delayed it for, like, six months.
But then there was a lot of
ethical concerns with the work
that they were having us do,
which I obviously couldn't persist
in because of
And so when I left that
job, I was just so like,
what is worth and what is reality
and it was so hard because
that was just what I led
with always prior to.
And I love what you shared about
having struggled coming up
with your list for
what brings you joy.
I think that another, you know, the what
brings you joy is a good question.
Another one is, like,
what is restful to you?
Like, what helps you feel like
you're actually recharged.
I I'm pretty serious about
the sabbath because of a few things
that the Lord has done with me
over the last couple of years.
And this last weekend, I had
had a lot of commitments during
the week and hadn't gotten all
of my work commitments done.
And so when my children were much younger,
I used to go on Sunday afternoons.
When I was a stay at home mom
and that was kind of the only
timing used to go to Panera on Sunday
afternoons and, like, do catch up work
from the week for
Pink Salt Riot.
And that was kind of the right
thing for that time in my life,
but I tried to go back to it,
just this most recent weekend.
And oh, my gosh. I was
Like, I was literally looked
like a third grade boy.
I was just like, constantly,
like, moving to my seat.
And I was just like so uncomfortable
And I was like, what is going on?
Why do I have no peace? And
realized it's because I was trying
to work on a Sunday, and that is something
that was kind of the difference.
That used to be something
that what, you know,
felt like a good thing and felt
like something that was necessary.
And maybe it was at
that time in my life.
But in walking these
last three years,
very consertively around the idea
of rest with the Lord that
wasn't a fit anymore because He
had helped me to kind of come
from point A to point B. And so that
was such an interesting like,
check your progress moment where
I realized that you know,
the fruit of this work wasn't
just being better at knowing
myself and taking care of
myself and things like that.
It was also the fact that I cannot go
back to how I had been operating before.
That's really cool. How much
clarity you had of yeah,
this doesn't fit anymore, like,
even if it was restful then, not now.
Yeah I took like an hour where I
like, I like, changed venues and,
like kept trying to make it
work and then I was like, no.
This really isn't gonna work.
So I went home and took a nap
and made and that made
I love in. And now, of course,
I can't think of which prophet
it was where he was just so
having so much anxiety.
And and the Lord is
how about if you have snack and take a nap and things will be
better in the morning. And
and that's what happens.
And it's better in
the morning and obviously,
our Lord uses more
interesting words than that.
But essentially, that's
the story is, you know,
a nap and a snack is good clarity and
fits in with what we're talking about.
Like, not treat ourselves like
machines. Yes. Definitely. Yeah.
That story is one of my
favorites to use of,
like the importance of taking care
of yourself because you know,
he's like, I think it's Elijah.
He he's just so desperate.
And he's like, life is terrible.
I don't wanna live it.
And God's like, okay. You need,
like, a season of rest.
And I think it was like, four
days of sleep and an angel waking
him to eat like. Yeah. Just so
beautiful how God was like, okay,
you're not gonna take care of
your needs. Here you go. Yeah.
Yeah. Absolutely. I know I've told
the story on the podcast before,
but it's, you know, fits here as well.
There was in a retail shop,
there was a woman with five or
six kids that had come in and
was looking around, And we have
a sticker that says rest is not earned.
And one of the children picked it
up and looked at it and was like,
mom is this true. And she was like,
thought hard, like, and was like,
I I don't actually know.
I was like, oh, man,
how much is a appropriate
for me to, like,
give a lesson on rest right
now in our retail store because
just exactly like you
said, this idea that holiness
has certain demands that are
not in keeping with actually
resting or actually taking care
of ourselves or actually having
that reflection. And I think
a lot of that stems from a fear
of self involvement
So I'd love for you to speak
to that of kind of like,
for people that are
anxious about this,
where the discernment lies in
sort of what is what is the right
thing to give to myself? And
what is the right thing to keep
pushing on those sacrificial
That's a great a great point because
I think yeah, you're right.
A lot of... There's a lot of fear
about going too far and being
self indulgent or selfish.
And it makes sense like,
if you're following the Lord and you
want to your life to look like Him,
It's helped... Like, it makes sense
to be like, okay, we don't wanna be
following the culture, especially
there that we have a culture
that is very so focused. One of
the things has been very key for
me is seeing in the Gospel how much
Jesus protected His time of rest.
The times where He snuck away
to go pray even without His
And you also see times like the wedding
feast at Cana where, you know,
He's He's celebrating. He He did take
that step to work, but there's also,
like, the fact that He and His
followers were known as drunkards.
Like, that means He was living
life and living life with joy.
That people could
even think that.
So I think that's been
really helpful for me.
And as well as there's a passage
I read in a book called
Called to Life by Fr. Jacques Philippe. And it
talks about how every kind of
love. So there's love of God,
love of neighbor, and love of self
and how they're
all like, inter-related.
And so if you are missing one of
them, it affects all the others.
The one that was most impactful
for me where it talked about
love of God also
requires love of self.
And so if you're not accepting
yourself as you are,
which requires knowing
yourself, then you cannot...
You're not recognizing
God's love for you.
And I think that was shocking
because I thought I was someone
who who knew God's
love at that point.
And so reading it, it was like, I don't
know, just like, a brick on my head.
Or I was like, oh, wow, like,
God loves me right as I am.
He loves me, seeing me
work insanely hard.
Never take a break,
but He's also like,
but there's something
else I have for you.
And so I think that that that's
sitting with the Lord about,
okay, like, what do you want
for me in this time, Lord?
Like what what work are You
calling me to and what work are
You calling me to set aside? I think
can be really helpful to just, yeah.
Trust trust that the Lord's going
to speak to you. Like, God
won something for you. He's not
gonna like leave you stumbling.
And so we sit and
give Him that time.
And knowing that you're made in
the image and likeness of God.
I think for me, like sitting
with that and realizing, like,
He created the whole world. He created
every person throughout time,
like very particularly. And
so there's something in your
existence, in my existence that He
was like the world needs this,
and you're gonna reflect Me
in a very particular way.
And so sitting and getting to know
ourselves helps us to know Him.
And that aspect of
His heart. Yeah.
I think that's been,
like, really helpful.
Another realization that was
helpful was realizing that, like,
in the danger of pride, there's actually,
like two different ways you can go.
So, like, the the virtue... So this
is like a very Aristotle idea.
But he talks about virtue
being in the middle.
And so the virtue of humility which
means like, to see ourselves rightly.
See ourselves the way God
sees us. There's two faults.
We can, like, think very
highly of ourselves.
And I think most of the time
in Christian communities,
that's what we talk about. We talk
about this this side of the fault,
but the other one is to think
too poorly of ourselves.
To see ourselves as, like,
completely terrible, this idea
that we have to
earn God's love.
There's like, that's actually
like a reverse pride in a way.
And that was really helpful
to realize like, yeah.
Because sometimes we only
talk about one side of that,
but like that virtue in
the middle is the like,
seeing ourselves the way God sees us,
which is with delight and love.
Absolutely. Oh, there's so much I
wanna respond to and what you said,
but especially that idea of virtue being in the middle.
I love thinking about
this metaphor of, like,
you think about in the First World
War where you had trench warfare.
And so you had, you know,
the two sides would be in their
trenches on either side, but it
was called no man's land, the,
you know, the area
And I think that that's what we
experience a lot is that there's
a lot of courage
actually in like,
coming out of one extreme or another
because when you're in an extreme,
you can just kind of
collapse into the extreme.
You can kind of just
like, relax into it.
Even if it's, you know, hating
yourself or thinking that you're
the best person ever,
you can just kind of,
like abandon your
agency to that belief.
As opposed to being in the middle
ground, there really is like,
you're, you know, dodging things
that are coming at you and
you're having to keep readjusting and
re-evaluating and it's so much more work.
And that's what I
think that, you know,
another part of what I wanted
to respond to you that you said
is that a lot of us that are
workaholics and perfectionists and
want to prove ourselves. It's not that
we are always doing too much work,
it's... We're doing
the wrong work.
I think a lot of a time because
I was in my thirties before I
realized that I
actually had to apply,
like work and effort to feeling
and accepting and doing the eighteen
inch journey from head to heart
of this idea that I was made
in the image of likeness of
God and that, you know,
there were these true things
that I had known my whole life
that I would say my whole life, but also
my whole life I could have been like,
I don't I don't really
connect with that.
I don't really feel like
that means very much to me.
And actually, that's where I
should've have been putting my time.
I should have been
working on, you know,
what is it that's going to rewire
my beliefs to really bring
me in line with that. And as
soon as I did that, well,
now it's so much more impactful
for me. And so...
And that's one of the struggles
I think in having these
conversations and and what can
make them seem trite sometimes.
Is when you listen to people talking
about, like, you know, God loves you,
you're made in the image
likeness of God,
how incredibly easy is that
for people who have heard this
their entire lives
to tune out.
Like, that is very meaningless
a lot of times with what people
are able to connect with to
their lived experience because
that seems very other to
what they've experienced.
And so putting that work in to
kind of wire it into our brains
and believe it before we feel
like we've experienced it is
actually what makes it possible
for us to experience it,
which is exactly the work you're
talking about this idea of
getting to know yourself,
spending time on this,
so that we can let God shape
our perception of ourselves,
as opposed to living by default,
which is what happens so often,
where we do fall
into this for...
I think most of us, you know, some
people probably do fall into the...
Some people do fall into the extreme
of thinking that they're
the best thing ever. But I have
met very few people, honestly,
where that's the case.
I've met many,
many more people when they fall to
the other side, And I have one friend,
in particular. She is so far that
way. It just breaks my heart.
Because I really do believe
she's doing it out of a sincere
desire to be virtuous. And I
think that that's one of those
things that makes conversations
like these so important because
this is still a widespread belief
that putting yourself down
is the correct means to come to humility.
Yeah. Yeah. I feel like it...
It's so often, I think, taken that, like,
Yeah, we want that long term good.
We want you know,
we want heaven,
we want to do God's work here
and like just like blinders almost
to absorbing the rest of
the messages that would help us to
take care of ourselves. Yep. Absolutely.
So as you have... Have you...
If you don't mind answering,
has therapy been like,
an ongoing part of
this for you? Or...
Was that something that was needed
for a season that now looks
different as you continue
this journey with the Lord?
It so therapy for me has been ongoing
because of the particular...
Yeah. Experiences in childhood that
really caused me to cut off from myself.
I definitely think it is
something that, like,
I wouldn't say therapy is an
always thing for everyone.
But like, for a season, if you're
really struggling of knowing yourself,
it's absolutely helpful.
But outside of therapy,
I think there's so much we're even
just having reflection questions,
thinking of, like, okay, what
is it that brings me joy?
What is it that makes
me me? You know,
what do I bring to the world
that's different from the other
friends I have, the other people in
my family? How has God made me?
Prayer for me has
actually been, I think,
bigger than therapy in terms of
actually getting to know myself.
Therapy has helped me to kind of
like dig into the meat of it,
kind of work through wounds,
but I've had some really good
experiences with prayer,
especially prayer with Scripture.
So one was on a retreat where
we talked about creation.
And it was like a reflection based
around the creation narrative
and as as I was praying with
it just see how intentionally
God chose to make me as as just
kind of like imaginative being
in that that place
where God is creating,
putting myself in that scene and
realizing how particular He created me,
and that what I was living was
not what He created before.
That I was bound and struggling
in places He didn't want me to.
Yeah. And another favorite
is from the book of Isaiah.
Isaiah 43, and it talks
about you're precious and honored
in my sight and I love you. And
that's probably been the passage
I prayed with the most of just
going back and like, okay,
help me fix my eyes to
see what you're seeing.
Because you're seeing something
in me that I still struggle
to see you with years
of working on this.
And so just sitting with a Lord
of like, okay, like, where...
What are You seeing in me?
How did You make me?
I'm really sitting with Him
because it's not something God
wants to hide from you.
Yes. Like, God wants...
Like, this is a huge
part of Jesus coming.
Like, He came and His coming,
like, helps us to know ourselves.
But He came to reveal
us to ourselves. Yeah.
And reveal the story that we're
meant to be a part of. And yeah.
So that's very powerful.
I love that.
I've always thought that that
was really what Jesus is talking
about when He says in John 10:10 that I came that you might
have abundant life. It's not about,
like, you know, the financial,
kind of the way it gets spun, sometimes
in Prosperity Gospel and things,
but you think about the richness of life
when you do have that self knowledge.
And and also just
the balance of loves,
like you were talking about love of self
and love of God and love of others.
What a beautiful life to live
and that really is an abundance
that is only possible because
of the communion we're able to
have with Father because Jesus
came and brought us into right
Him. And so, yeah,
that's such a beautiful
starting point for reflecting.
I also love Isaiah 43.
And I think that it has been very
similar for me where therapy
has been kind of a interjection at certain points
that was really helpful.
But the the actual, like,
breakthroughs for me have happened
in prayer where it's been like,
Jesus. So clearly,
once I was praying,
and I had this huge awareness of
my perfectionism and performance
mentality and it manifested as
a cape, and I was going to Jesus,
and I was like, I don't know how to
take off. Like, what are we gonna do?
And in prayer, He literally just, like,
flicked the knot and it fell off.
And I, like, panicked.
I was like,
this was supposed to be
a hypothetical conversation.
Like, why are we actually doing
things right now and and it
was funny because He laughed
and was like, I know,
but I wanted you to
know that I could.
Like, this is something
that could just be gone.
But I know that's
gonna freak you out.
Like, we'll we'll walk the the longer
road, and that's what we did.
But just that reminder of the power
that He does have. So Yeah.
Yeah. And that, like unburdening that He wants, like,
He wants to break through
the lies but like.
John 10, having that,
like, perspective of like,
anything that's coming in
stealing is not of Him. Mh.
And so those are the things that
He wants to break us free from.
share with us a little bit
about where we can follow along
with what you're doing in
mental health advocacy.
And I know you have something
exciting coming that you can
share a little bit about as well.
Yes. So you can find us online.
We have a website,
and we're most active on Instagram
I'm just sharing bits
of this conversation,
what our speaking events
on stuff like that.
But we'll will also be launching
a podcast soon called Misery and Mercy.
So we'll be hosting it with
friend who is a newly licensed
psychologist and just be talking
about a lot of things that
fall in this kind of place of mental
health in the spiritual life.
I love it. That is so awesome. We'll
be following along when it comes out.
I'm gonna put links to everything
that Micole is doing in our
show notes and in the Youtube
description. So check it out there.
Thank you so much for
being with us this week.
Micole it was such a pleasure
to talk to you. Great
talking with you as well. Thank
you so much for joining me on
today's episode of the
Authentic Uprising podcast.
It is always a joy
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whether it's in your community,
whether it's at your church,
whatever it is, there is more
for you and we can absolutely
walk with you into it through
the Uprising Academy.
All those links are
in our show notes,
and if you enjoyed this episode I
encourage you to leave a review.
Reviews are the number one way that
we help get in front of new faces,
new people that are able to be
touched by the radical art of
standing in what God says about us.
I love you. I'm praying for you.
I hope you have
an amazing week.