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  • Ep. 4.20 Do You Really Know Yourself? with Micole Amalu

    Ep. 4.20 Do You Really Know Yourself? with Micole Amalu

    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

    Want free resources to help you build your Christian identity? https://pinksaltriot.com/pages/free-resource-to-build-your-christian-identity

    Want to learn more about why you should be identifying the lies you are believing and building your toolbox to fight them? Take our totally free School of Uprising program in as little as 30 minutes! Sign up here: https://joy.pinksaltriot.com/schoolofuprising

    Visit our shop for amazing, intentional reminders of the truths we want to embrace with our lives here: https://pinksaltriot.com

    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

    You can access all our current Uprising Academy retreats and workshops right here: https://uprisingacademy.thinkific.com/

    Get instant access to our library of Christian scripture phone wallpapers: https://joy.pinksaltriot.com/wallpapers



     

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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
    single day.
    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
    mental health.
    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
    encountering them.
    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
    for anxiety.
    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.
    That's such
    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
    conversation initially.
    So there were two
    things in particular.
    So one wasn't an emphasis on
    self care that missionaries and
    anyone in ministry
    really needs.
    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
    ethical concerns.
    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
    so uncomfortable.
    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
    everything better.
    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
    literally like,
    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
    and pride.
    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
    fronts?
    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
    closest friends
    and followers.
    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
    in between.
    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
    relationship with
    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.
    Yeah. Absolutely.
    Well, Micole,
    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,
    thefaceofmercy.org,
    and we're most active on Instagram
    @thefaceofmercy. Yeah.
    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
    to be with you.
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