About Jackie Lea Sommers

Minneapolis YA author who rather enjoys Jesus, stories, cute nerds, and cranky teenagers. Jackie blogs about OCD, faith, and creativity at www.jackieleasommers.com.

Lies My Hormones Tell Me

My hormones and body chemistry and missed-a-day-of-meds OCD and depression are leaning hard into cruel lies today, amongst them:

  • you will be alone forever
  • you are no one’s priority
  • no one really changes
  • two steps forward, ten steps back
  • good doesn’t return to you
  • everyone is annoyed by your whining
  • you’re an embarrassment

But I know these are lies, deep, deep inside. That is something. Maybe everything.

Dear Diary: Asking for Help

Hi friends,

I simultaneously feel like I have a hundred exciting things happening in my life … and nothing to blog about. Ha!

Life feels good. Not perfect. Improving.

Health, heart, writing, finances, relationships: I have been so intentional about healing and growth this year. I know it’s only May, but the changes already are unbelievable. I feel really grateful.

The easiest way to summarize it all is with one piece of advice: ASK FOR HELP.

ask

I, who used to be so anathema to asking for help, have fully embraced it as the wisest, healthiest option.

Sometimes this costs money (hiring an organizer, meeting with a therapist); sometimes not (prayer, finding a friend or colleague who is skilled at something you aren’t).

It gets easier and easier. I challenge you to ask for help for something this week– anything, anyone, according to your needs and resources. If you’re someone who really hates this, start small. But do it. And then tell me about it in the comments.

Mojo

Last Sunday through Wednesday, I took my usual spring pilgrimage to Duluth, a time to read, write, rest, and think. Some years feel ultra productive; some years I spin my wheels a bit.

This year felt huge.

Most importantly, I was able to tackle two issues with Salt Novel that I haven’t had the time, energy, or creativity to solve since January 2018. I’m ready now. I have my solutions. The knot is to the stage where its untying is inevitable.

I also worked on my novel in bite-sized pieces. I’m reminded that showing up is 85% of my battle. If I show up and work on a one-square-inch part of the story, and do it enough times, it gets done.

This trip to Duluth also gave me some of my mojo back. Self doubt is such a poison. It’s the biggest barrier to my creative projects. That and comparison. Double-edged sword.

So I’m in a good place. I wanted you to know.

Updated Contact Page

If you click my “Contact” page under the “About” tab, there’s updated contact info.

For anything related to books, writing, or creativity, email jackieleawrites@gmail.com. I do my best to reply to every one of these.

For resources on OCD, email jackieleaocd@gmail.com using subject line OCD or HOCD. I’m not able to reply to individual emails about OCD, but you will get a response full of encouragement and resources.

Follow me on Instagram at @jackieleasommers.

Twitter is a toxic environment for me, so I am rarely active there. 

Hormones & Lies

Gosh, there are just so many things that can lead us astray. We expect “enemies” to do so, but it’s confusing when our “allies” do.

Mind (brain disorders)

Body (trauma)

Hormones (“chemical lies”)

Heart (deceitful)

Even some incredible therapy techniques rely on processing lies until they feel ridiculous. I think they still ultimately are based upon “the truth will set you free.” They just approach it slant-wise.

Why does that sound familiar?

Oh yeah.

Anyway, I’m just in a week with lots of lies coming at me. At least I can recognize it! But lies don’t cut sharp; they make blunt.

How do you resharpen when you feel dull, friends?

Why GOOD Friday?

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Growing up, I was always confused about why the Christian church called this day Good Friday– the day that Jesus Christ was put to death. I knew the story: the blood, the nails, death on a cross, the method used for criminals. I had learned about crucifixion in gory detail, and how the one crucified would struggle to breathe in such a position, how Christ would have needed to lift his body weight just to get a breath– his body weight pressing against the spikes nailed through his feet. I knew about the hours of darkness, the quaking earth and breaking rocks. About the curtain of the temple being torn in half, top to bottom.

My family would go to a Good Friday service, the front of the sanctuary bearing a cross adorned with a drape of purple fabric. Sometimes we would hold a railroad spike in our hands. We would always take communion: a small tab of bread to represent Christ’s broken body, a small sip of grape juice to represent his blood.

And I would wonder: why is this good?

I remember as a passionate, deep-thinking, sensitive child thinking, I wish I could have stopped this nightmare.

My God had been ridiculed, beaten, and killed. Why was this good?

……………………………………

Friday is good because of Sunday.

Because Friday was not God losing the battle– it was part of the battle plan all along. It was a well-conceived, strategic move before the checkmate.

Because, as I said above, the curtain of the temple was torn in two— this represents our direct access to God, where before we needed a priestly intercessor.

No matter what it looked like on Friday– the end of the world, I’m sure many of Christ’s followers thought, and certainly the end of hope— Sunday was just around the corner. Sunday, the resurrection, the culmination, the checkmate, the victory. It was all part of a master plan, one that we– nearly 2000 years later– can see in full, even if our brothers and sisters at the time could not. We can see the rescue waiting just around the corner. We can say, This is good.

……………………………………

Years ago, I attended a conference where I heard a sermon by Louie Giglio that I will never forget. It profoundly moved me and helped to shape my worldview. The bottom line of it is this: when the bottom drops out of life, we can still have hope — because of the cross.

From the foot of the cross, the cross appeared to be the worst thing– from the perspective of history, we Christians see it as the best.

And we can trust that God is at work even in the times that are hardest. This is why I have hope.

……………………………………

This is so core to my identity that I put it into my book in the form of a parable.

Silas tells West that he believes that God is in control, even over the bad things, and she asks him why.

“Writers know that the climax comes before the resolution.” He was quiet for a second, then said, “Not just in fiction, either, West, but in real life too. How many times has the worst thing turned out to be necessary? Or even the best? Rescue wears masks, you know. It’s why people say it’s darkest before the dawn. Sometimes things take a long time to make sense. Could be years and years—or only a weekend. Or they might never make sense. But that doesn’t mean you stop trusting that the world is being rescued.”

Or only a weekend.

Good Friday, everyone. I’m looking forward to Sunday.

37 Lessons

I needed to revisit this today. Maybe you need it (or even one of the 37?) too.

JACKIE LEA SOMMERS

371. Humility and vulnerability are key to leadership.

2. On this green earth, I will always be a work in progress.

3. There are so many more shades of gray than I ever imagined.

4. Grace, grace, grace: be generous with it, both for myself and for others.

5. Love is messy.

6. Carefully choose which hills are worth dying on.

7. Quit pretending like you don’t have issues and start working through them.

8. Everyone has issues.

9. I am good company, on my own.

10. “‘No’ is a complete sentence.” (Anne Lamott)

11. Boundaries are amazing.

12. Get a great mattress.

13. Required reading: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

14. Create a list of your guiding principles; refer to this often. I keep mine posted in my office and perpetually ask myself how I am exhibiting the four characters I’ve named most important in…

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