When We Box Each Other In

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Boxes are so tidy. You can see all sides. They are one-dimensional and really there isn’t much more to say about them. It is what it is.

The same is true when we do that with people, this putting people in boxes.


We tidy them up in our minds and slap a label on them. We all do it. It helps us organize our thoughts. People do it to me all the time and it makes me crazy!

Here are some examples of the boxes I get put in:
You are a Christian so you must vote for…. fill in the blank.
You live in that community so you must be rich.
You are peppy so you must always be happy.
You struggled with an eating disorder so you must still struggle with food.
You say Jesus so you must not be any fun.

None of these are true.

Recently I attended my 25-year high school reunion and felt the boxes. A great deal of this came from the fact that old classmates now see each other on Facebook. (Here is more about the Lie of Facebook.)

We see the highlight reel.

I did it too. We don’t really know the behind the scenes, so we create stories in our heads about each other. It almost felt like we didn’t even need to talk to each other, because everyone had crafted their own stories based off of social media. And then many of us kept saying, “Oh you look the same!”

25 years…none of us are the same! Goodness I hope not!

I found this to be a barrier to the normal process of conversation. It was as if we had to remove the walls of what people perceive us to be to show who we really are. I didn’t want to think I knew what was going on with someone based on their Facebook feed, but in my head it helped organize these ideas of each other.

And then I reminded myself, only through spending time with each other, with talking and looking each other in the eye do we find out what is really going on. How someone is changing and growing and living. You can’t quite do that by scrolling a news feed. What a joy it was to spend time really hearing what was going on with people and learning about their lives now!


Hey look, we all do it. I do and you do too.

But, what happens when we build these boxes and draw people in these lines is, we make them static.

We make them un-bendable and unchangeable.

I don’t know about y you, but every day I live, I am trying to not be static. I want to grow and change and be challenged. I want to fall on my face and make mistakes and try all over again. I want to try new things and meet new people.

Recently someone said to me, “Oh I didn’t want to say anything because I know you don’t like conflict.” Or another person said, “I didn’t think you liked to hug.”
Yes. Sometimes conflict is hard, and sometimes I don’t like to hug people or touch people I don’t know very well.

AND…sometimes I like to give big huge bear hugs. Sometimes I address conflict head on with no fear. Sometimes I cuss like a sailor (I am not proud of this, but hey…sometimes it happens). Sometimes I like big parties and other times I like to go on silent retreats.

I am not a static person and nor are you.

Every day I am changing and growing. Sometimes I am nice and sometimes I am mean. I am human and I am not a fixed thing. I don’t like it when people do this to me and so I am working hard to not do it to others.

Won’t you try too? When you stop labeling and categorizing people (including yourself), you can then be curious. Curious is really fun.

If you are curious about someone you will see they are growing and changing too. They are being shaped by life and molded by experience. Be curious about each other. Stop seeing people as static news feeds and be inquiring about them.


If we are all changing every day by rubbing up against life and experience, then don’t we all have a lot to learn from each other?

Crush the box and adopt curiosity and exploration about your friends, co-workers, and family.

I bet you will be surprised by what you learn when you dig a little deeper than the four walls of the box.

Happy Living!



Are You Afraid Of Change?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

In the middle of a frigid Minnesota winter it is not uncommon to see kids in shorts or at a bus stop without a coat, because they think it is somehow uncool to wear a coat.

My teenagers are notorious for this. I stand in the foyer and holler with my hands waving in the air, “Can’t you see it is WINTER outside? It is freezing! Put on your coat!” Before I know it they are out the door in only a sweatshirt and shorts, clueless and unwilling to accept the fact that it is winter and it is cold.

Have you ever been in a season of your life like this?

Where CLEARLY the season has changed, the leaves have fallen off, the snow is on the ground, and you refuse to admit it. You refuse to budge. You stay shivering in your shorts while the rest of the world realizes it is winter.


This is exactly what has been happening in my own life (which is also why I took a month off from writing as I wrote about here).

My season for the last year has been changing, and I dug my heels in and pretended it wasn’t. The season of my career.

I have been at Melrose for almost nine years, and the season has changed. The winds were moving and the leaves were falling. I was receiving messages from every direction. From wise counsel, dear friends, and mostly from my body were signaling, It is time to move on. I tried to ignore it. Tried to pretend that I could stay where I was and be comfortable in my discomfort.

I have never lived my life like that, so why now?

Because I was afraid. I was comfortable. I was on autopilot.

But, autopilot is not what patients need and I increasingly became unable to offer my best self at my job. The message was clear.

It was time to step out of the boat.


I was terrified. At the time, I wasn’t feeling God’s presence, I wasn’t feeling like he was with me.

So should I wait until I feel ready? No.

Everything was flashing a neon sign to step out of the boat. I trusted my body, I trusted my wise community and family telling me to step out, and I trusted…despite not feeling God, that as I stood on the water, Jesus would be there somewhere.

A sense of Jesus’ absence might be a sign of his presence – a sign that he is working already in your own life.” – Tim Keller 

So I tenderly and fearfully stepped out. And I felt scared. And I felt alone. And many nights in these past few months have been spent with me asking God this question, “Are you here?”

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

I couldn’t feel Him. I couldn’t see Him. But I trusted. And in other ways He made his presence known. Through music and people. I can’t even count the number of times Hillsong’s Ocean was suddenly playing out of seemingly nowhere.

I stepped out of the boat and with my knees shaking, I began walking.

It may seem like no big deal to leave a job, but this job has been my passion and my life. Walking in the trenches everyday with those struggling has been my calling.

My job is changing but my calling is not.

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Today is my last day at Melrose as a Mental Health Practitioner. For almost nine years I have been walking with patients struggling with eating disorders, and for the past four with those struggling with eating disorders and substance abuse.

And I will continue my passion to help people find freedom for the rest of my life.

More than anything, the patients have taught me. They have softened my heart. They have stretched and challenged me. They have made me a better person, a more vulnerable person, and a more tender person.

And it is with great and heavy sadness and excited anticipation that I close this chapter in my life and move on to another.

On Monday September 21st, I will begin a new chapter as a Business Develoment and Marketing Associate at a really cool new treatment center, Beauterre Institute. I will no longer be working in direct patient care.

It is my hope and prayer that it will allow me more time for speaking and writing as this is where I feel I want to devote more of my time and energy.

photo (19)

My heart is aching today and my hands are shaking. I am filled with doubt and worry. But, I trust in God’s plan for my life and I trust that he will guide me in moving forward.

What about you?

Do you need to step out of the boat? Is fear holding you back? 

Fear isn’t enough of a reason not to do something.

Are you wearing shorts when it is CLEARLY winter?

Don’t let it dear friends, life is precious and the water will not drown you. Yes, many times it felt like it would, but it didn’t.

Take that step.

And won’t you hold my hand with me too as I take my next step? 




When Adults Take Away A Child’s Fun…

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Wood chips and long silver slides.

These are the first things I recall when I fondly think of the recesses of my youth. There were days I wasn’t picked for kickball and days where someone made fun of my Michelin man snow suit.

There were even days when I felt alone and left out.

And, I learned many great lessons on the various playgrounds I spent time on. What I also know is that I was an extraordinary hyperactive child and recess and gym were my outlets.

It was my outlet and my creative space. I could push through those huge doors and run free at the sound of a bell.

It was the only time where someone wasn’t telling me what to do, or to slow down and be quiet.

My youngest son is in the fifth grade and this freedom has been taken from him. His school decided (without the help of the PTO) to fix what wasn’t broken.




Using an opportunity to gain media coverage and possibly money for piloting the program, they are restricting our children to the rules of THEIR recess. Now the kids stand in lines, and are told where to go and what to do. Because of this “structured play” there are no pick-up games of soccer or hockey.

In my opinion, there is no freedom.

There is a wellness committee at our school. This wasn’t their idea. There is a PTO, this wasn’t their idea. This was the idea of people in a room who thought controlling the children sounded like a swell idea.

These people don’t work in the field I do. These people don’t see the further lack of wellness this creates for our children. I see children who come into the hospital where I work with extraordinary anxiety issues and rigidity that could run a corporation. Play is the last thing they want to do, and often play feels too unstructured and uncontrolled. It is heartbreaking to watch.  Many children in therapy or who have trauma are led to return to play to heal.

Because at the heart of every person is a child that wants to play and run free. 

To climb a tree, to play a game of soccer, or to even have a clubhouse in the swing set.

“Play” and learning to “play” are a natural part of youth. To take that away from our children is in a sense stealing this from them.

The research is clear. Children need recess. It benefits every aspect of childhood development—physical development, of course, but also social, emotional and intellectual development as well. Following are seven reasons why, if we want our children to succeed, recess should not be denied.”Why Kids Need Recess 

As a working mom, I am so grateful for the moms who are going to battle on this issue for our kids. I shake my head though at all the time and energy we are having to spend on such an issue! The recess wasn’t broken, why not let the kids just play? Why does this have to be more complicated than it needs to be?

Here is the positive press (it appears the school is using this as an opportunity to sell a product) it has received so far. Hoping the other side can be told too! 

Because I am unable to attend the meetings and participate in this situation, I am choosing to use this platform to share this news, in hopes that it can further spur those in charge to stop the madness and bring out recess back for our children.

I love what one mom wrote about it:

I’ve taken a week to watch recess, talk to kids and staff, analyze data and studies, have discussions with anyone who will listen and talk and the conclusion that comes to me at the end of each day…..recess is too important to not get this right. Playworks is not right. Kids not feeling “right” about recess is not right. The District needs to look again….this time with more than a passing glance. Our kids deserve better. Our kids deserve the chance to play their way. This is THEIR elementary recess and we need to get it right for each and every single one of them.”

According to the United Nations, the opportunity for play and recreation is a fundamental human right of every child” – Fight for the right to recess 


 Do Kids Need Recess

If they need more evidence, I refer to a pioneer in research on play.

Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.” Watch his TED talk here

Dr. Peter Gray compellingly brings attention to the reality that over the past 60 years in the United States there has been a gradual but, overall dramatic decline in children’s freedom to play with other children, without adult direction. Over this same period, there has been a gradual but overall dramatic increase in anxiety, depression, feelings of helplessness, suicide, and narcissism in children and adolescents.” Click here to watch more

So if your child attends this school, I urge you to sign this petition and make your voice heard. Let’s not make recess a multiple choice question when it doesn’t have to be! If not, please share this so the message get’s out to ALLOW OUR CHILDREN THE FREEDOM OF UNSTRUCTURED PLAY! 


The End.









The Most Valuable Tool You Can Offer Your Child

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

I am kneeling next to his bed, where he is submerged under two big soft blankets. My sweet 11 year-old boy.

I ask him, “Will you forgive me?”

Me, the mother who vowed she would never be like her mother, earlier in the night repeating patterns that broke me as a child. Repeating the fighting and the biting words to my husband, loud and boisterous for all the house to hear. And he ran to his room sobbing, his chest heaving in deep cries.

I stood in the doorway with my heart in pieces. I was disgusted with myself for my lack of restraint with my tongue. For my lack of respect for my children’s precious ears. Because next door in my mind is a room with similar memories of another 11 year-old who was curled up in a ball crying due to similar fighting. A resolution never came. Apologies never made. And a childhood was split into houses, moves and step-parents and child support.



I understand his fear. I understand it too well.

And I know in this moment I have a choice.

I can do what was taught to me, or I can do something different. I can change the pattern. I can’t change the fact that I make mistakes and hurt his little spirit, but I can teach him something different than I was taught.

I can ask him how he feels, teach him to express his emotions, and teach him about apologies. I can show him I am human and make mistakes too.

I ask him, “Will you forgive me? I am sorry.” He looks me in the eyes with those eyelashes I swear were sewn on by angels. “Yes, it’s ok.”

And I continue, “How does it make you feel when mommy and daddy fight?”

“It hurts me. It makes my stomach drop.” he says.

“Oh sweet boy. I am sorry. I love your Daddy and sometimes we fight like you and your brothers’ fight, but I love him. I will try not to yell like that again, ok?

“Ok.” he says. I kiss him on his cheek goodnight.

A simple conversation, a simple discussion, but one that I wasn’t offered and it changed the trajectory of my life. The conversation (which was never had) where I the child was allowed to have my own feelings, my own experiences, and my own emotions. It is so simple, yet you would be surprised how uncommon it is. And how crucial it is to the healthy path of a person.

This ability to express and have needs.

This ability to feel one’s own emotions and to have room to experience them.

The question I am asked most is this, “How can I prevent my son or daughter from developing an eating disorder and/or an addiction to drugs or alcohol?” Every time I speak or meet someone who finds out what I do, this is what they ask me.

My response is always-teach your child emotional intelligence.

This isn’t a lesson you teach over dinner one night, but a lesson in your home on an everyday basis. Asking my son how it made him feel, without me telling him HOW to feel, or how he is supposed to feel, is one simple way to do this.

Emotional Intelligence is not only an indicator of alcohol and other drug abuse, but is linked to emotional competence, social and emotional learning, the development of healthy and life promoting behavior, and has been proven to reduce some of the risk factors associated with alcohol and other drug abuse in adolescents and adults.” – Journal article

Allowing him the language he knows and the space to have a voice.

Of course, I am not guaranteeing that he won’t travel down the road I did, one marked with a need to disappear and hide and not exist in this world. But, I know from the years of working with hundreds of patients and from my own experience, that emotional intelligence is a powerful prevention tool.

I know this because I wasn’t offered this as a young child. I was told how to feel and told my emotions weren’t real, as I wrote about in my book Table in the Darkness, I wasn’t asked how things made me feel and was expected to walk in the lines drawn out for me. My emotional experience was sucked out of me, so I stayed numb, because numb was easier than never being what the world expected me to.

What if someone had asked me that question all those nights alone in my bedroom crying, “How does this make you feel?” Would that have prevented the road I went down? Yes. And what if there were apologies and an ability to see that my parents were human? Yes.

Dr-Ludwig-quote-meme-part-3-v2-300x300And…could I still have gone down that road if my parents had been emotionally savvy. But, I know it would have made it harder for me to want to numb out had I understood my own emotional landscape, made room to have needs, and a place to talk about how I was feeling.

I turn the light out, but before I do, I blow him a kiss. He grabs the imaginary kiss, closes his hands around it and places it in his heart.

I am not the perfect parent, in fact I most of the time feel like I am stumbling along in the dark. But, I know this to be true and I hope you will place it in your heart – Your children need room to have their own emotions.

5 Steps to Raise and Emotionally Intelligent Child

They need words (their own words) to express these emotions without mom and dad telling them how they are supposed to feel. They need to see us be human and to be valued for their own needs, wants, and experiences.

Emotional intelligence appears to be a key predictor of children’s ability to make suitable peer relationships, get along at home, develop a well-balanced outlook on life, and to reach their academic potential at school.” – Psychology Today

This, will be one of the most powerful ways you can provide an emotionally intelligent household and reduce the risk for your child to need to numb out of life.

photo (8)



Struggle With Depression? #METOO

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Today I am sharing an article a fellow writer, Marlena Graves, posted in Today’s Christian Woman.

Depression disappears in my life and then knocks on my door, often blindsiding me. I have learned over the years how to manage it so it no longer completely disrupts my life, but it isn’t easy.

I am a Christian and I struggle with depression.

Many others do too, which is why I appreciate this article. You can’t pray depression away and many in the Bible struggled with mental health issues. But, there are some things you can do when you are in this season that will soften the pain and despair.

Click HERE to read the article.

Xo Lee

Share Your Story #METOO

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

For the next 30 days I want to share stories, your stories, of where WE as women support and love each other. Where we come together in a world that doesn’t judge and compare and compete, but one where we say, “YES! ME TOO!”

Here is my friend Julie’s story:

When I bought my last bathing suit, I didn’t think much about it. I have four kids who love the pool and I needed a suit. Simple.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I guess I thought it might help me blend in (or dare I say, disappear?) at the local pool where it can feel like all of us Moms are in a sorority pledge line-up.

Even though I let go of that crap a long time ago, I remember thinking – yes, this will work – when I paid for my bathing suit. And it has worked for me.

I am aware I do not have the body I had at 27, surely not the body at 17, but my 43-year-old body is a body I have worked for. Four pregnancies, hypothyroidism, a hard-to-quit love affair with cheese and wine, none of which has been a struggle, just the way I have chosen to live.

I really, truly thought my bathing suit purchase was between me, the bathing suit and the three-way-mirror at Target, but recently, a post from an acquaintance on Facebook told me that wasn’t actually true.

Swim dress new

Many wrote to this post and said things like: “It’s a cocktail dress made of swimsuit material. I don’t get it.” Or another, “People swim in them to cover up their bodies.”

What the post said to me was; Yes, we are watching. We are judging. We see you. And we see your swim dress. 

You and your bathing suit are not good enough. 

So, I defended my beloved swim dress.After someone posted this:

Swim dresses are usually skirted bathing suits. The skirts are usually full to ‘cover up and minimize trouble spots like thighs and butts’ (in quotes because thighs and butts aren’t trouble). This is not that kind of swim dress. This swim dress has a modesty panel so you can look hot with your poolside cocktail while the kiddies take their swim lessons, and momma doesn’t have to worry that her bikini wax is scheduled for next week.”

Someone responded:

Is there something under it?”

Why do we do that as women? We categorize and assume and make all of these statements to imply things that we don’t even know about other women, when all of us are just trying to make it. We need each other, not to be stepping on each other! 

I wrote:

Whoa. Le’ts just go easy. No need to be swim dress haters. Mine–that I wear all the time–makes it possible for me to feel beautiful among the teeny-tiny bikini parade at the Edina Pool.”

Another woman responds:

You have always been thin. You can’t know.”

Why do we constantly compare and assume and make these statements about one another? We need each other. We need to be saying, YOU WANT TO WEAR A SWIM  DRESS? YOU GO GIRL!

After 24 hours of letting the banter on FB stew, I can’t help but think one thing.

Why the hell does anyone care what I wear TO THE POOL?

If I choose not to judge myself, why does anyone else think they have that right?

It’s so subtle, but it is there and it infuriates me. And my gut (same one that is hidden under some Spanx in my swim dress) tells me that others may feel the same way. Enough is enough.


I decided to do something about it.  #swimdress  #metoo #iamenough



Love this girl! Won’t you join me in 30 days of #metoo? Send me your stories and I will share them here! You can email me at:

contactleeblum@gmail.com xo Lee henri nouwen

A Season of Rest

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

For everything there is a season. For the past 10 years my season has been to plow forward. Birthing babies and books and careers. I have been in a constant state of, what is next? But you cannot live in a perpetual state of forward. There has to be time for rest, reflection and to sit under the tree and hear God’s whisper.


In a state of complete and utter uncomfortableness , since my nature is one of constant motion, I am choosing August to rest. To settle into the wilderness of the in-between and spend time restoring my soul. My book sales might go down, I might have poor numbers to report on my blog, and my readers (you) might fall away. I am choosing to trust. Trust that God is in this all. So I rest. And this is my prayer for this month of stepping back:

God, nothing is impossible with you. Restore my soul. Relieve my anxious heart. Show me the next right step. Fill me with your wonder and rejuvenate my spirit, so I feel encouraged and invigorated by you to do what you have called me to do. Whisper to me in this wilderness and provide me rest so my body, soul and mind can be restored.

I will be back on September 1st.

under a tree

Thank you friends.

XO – Lee

The Dam Issue of the Tissue

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

She sits in the chair, her head hung low, the tears falling so quickly they land, not on her cheeks, but on her shaking arms. Her pain so palpable you can feel it in the small room, you can see it in the bodies of those witnessing and watching her sob. Often the others in the group shift in their seats, wanting something to interrupt the sounds of her cries, something to make them more comfortable as they watch her cry, watch her pain, and see her let it out.

In my job as a Mental Health Practitioner, I sit through scenes like this every day. Hour after hour of group therapy where women and men feel safe enough to allow their true and most deep feelings pour out of them. And when they do, I often want to cheer, “Yay! Good job you did it. Way to go!”

But usually something else happens, something that makes me want to jump out of my seat and stop it before I see the movement. It is movement by the others in the room and I see the scanning of the eyes looking for the box of tissue.

The tissue looker is no longer paying attention to the one in pain.

They see the snot coming from the nose or the wiping of the tears on the sleeve and they are now focused on one thing, get this girl a tissue!

I don’t. I sit. I wait. I allow her to have the full expression of her emotion without interruption, without words, and for sure without jumping out of my seat to find her a tissue.

I can’t tell you how many times patients in the room have said, “Why didn’t you get her a tissue? Can’t you see she is crying?”

Yes, oh yes, I see she is crying, and what a beautiful and amazing thing it is. That she feels safe enough with us in this room, this room sometimes full of people she has only known for a short time, to trust us enough to hold her emotions safe.

When we jump up and grab a tissue, or when we say, “Oh do you need a hug?”

We stop the flow.

While this may be a compassionate response, it often sends the message, “hurry and stop crying.” Also, as we move into the role of caretaker, we are, in essence, able to avoid our own fears of darkness descending as we rush to physically remove or pat dry the evidence of sorrow.”  - Don’t Offer Tissues

We are now a dam blocking the water from the natural flow of where it needs to go…out and through her body. 

I don’t cry in front of people. Hardly ever. I know, it is a total hypocrisy that I sit every day with people and encourage them and celebrate their ability to cry, because I can’t seem to do it.

Part of why I don’t cry in front of other people is because of what I am describing. Dam workers. People who have stopped my flow. Metaphorically and literally. “Stop crying, you should only cry if you are bleeding!” My parents would say. “Don’t be sad. Don’t cry!”

Phrases said so often they now come without prompting in my brain, don’t be such a baby. You feel too much. That is not something to be crying about.

Guess what? It was and it is. And so because of these phrases, I learned at a very young age, crying is for the privacy of my room. And unfortunately, it is still that way for me. I try to allow others to see it, my tears, to allow them into my world, but the tears stay holed up, my breath stopped and everything waits…until I am alone. Only when I am alone.

Is it like this for you too?

And this keeps me from deeper relationships. Keeps me from being fully me around others, I am working on it, and it is a struggle. The truth is, expressing our full emotions and allowing others to witness our pain, is an honor to them. It means you trust them to hold your pain, your sadness, your hurt.

I am so honored by the patients I work with that trust me with their tears. And eventually, it is my hope that I will be able to do the same.

But if I do, please please don’t offer me a tissue.





What Makes You Enough?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for LifeLee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

What makes you enough?

“I realized I would rather follow my heart, even if it is really hard, that is worth taking a risk on.” Says Michael John, an aspiring Magician on this season’s America’s Got Talent.

“These might be the most important 90 seconds of my life so far.” Michael says before he auditions.

Handsome, humble and super adorable. He rocks it.

(Photos from Google Images.)


They give him a standing ovation, they tell him how good he is.

He responds, “It is what I love to do.” He then begins to cry and says, “It feels like a dream. This is all I have ever wanted to do.”

And Howie says, “Your dreams are coming true.” He begins to cry.

michael crying

Validation. Enoughness. Finally someone is saying what he has always wanted, YES! You can do this. Yes, you are good at this!

I remember the day I received my book contract. I had the exact same feeling. The feeling that finally I was being validated. Someone telling me I could do it.

Validation is wonderful and necessary to live, but dangerous when we rest our identity on it.

The contract didn’t just mean I was an author, it meant someone was telling me that I meant something. The publisher didn’t say that. They didn’t call me up and say “Hey lee. You weren’t an accident. You were meant to be a successful author.” But, that is how I felt, and I imagine Michael felt the same way.

I felt validated, heard and finally someone recognizing that I had a voice and story to tell.

It buoyed me to a place I know I had been striving my entire life.

If you read my book, Table In The Darkness, you know I spent most of my life rarely feeling accepted for my choices in my family environment since I was so overly emotional, went to Christian camps, and loved theater. I didn’t fit. The book contract meant I was something. Finally after eight years of early mornings, of constant rejections, of draft after draft and hundreds of dollars at writing conferences…it was happening.

A dangerous alter to set my identity on, to believe that I mattered now because I was an author. To believe that I finally deserved to take up space in this world because someone believed I had something to say. I couldn’t help it. I was starving for the acceptance. I was striving for the acknowledgment.

What makes me successful? What makes me worthy? Is it the validation and the acceptance of others?

Is that what you are longing for too? 

The thing about Michael’s story is the even more inspiring backstory. There always is. He was a baseball player recruited to play pro. But he took the other path, the path to be a magician. Everyone thought he was crazy. Everyone thought he should have taken the baseball contract. He wanted to be a magician.

Last night, Michael returned to the AGT stage to perform again and he was quickly ripped to shreds by Howard stern. Howard buzzed him out before he even finished his act.

“Look Michael. It is hard to get worked up about what you are doing.” Stern says. Wait? Weren’t they singing is praises a few weeks ago?

Mel B. chimes in for a softer blow, “While your magic is good, there is a mismatch in how you perform. You will get that in time, so don’t be discouraged.”

Michael says, “All I can do is have faith and keep pushing forward.”

Well, until a better magician walks on the stage, “Piff” the dragon, and he is given the golden buzzer. We see Michael tearful, discouraged, and beaten down.

Compare and despair. In the world of books I see a million Piffs. Other books that are selling like wildfire. Other authors who are able to make a living off of writing and I lose my wind. I lose my desire.

When we compare, we will inevitably despair. 

So is he still a magician? Will he press on?  Which example will he remember going forward? Will he believe what they said the first time, or will he live in the darkness of failure?

A few weeks ago a false tower that I had built my confidence on came tumbling down just like Michael. A quick phone call with my editor as she relayed the sales numbers of my book.

“Wow.” I said. “Wow.”

“Yes,” she said quietly. “Yes, so odd that it just hasn’t reached the numbers that we projected.”

The voice that haunted me most of my life slithered back in and told me what I have always known. See? You are a failure. See? You don’t matter. And it has paralyzed me. Everything I have been working for, sacrificing hours and hours of my time, and this is the response? Am I a writer? Am I worthy?

I could end here and quit. I have been thinking about it. What is the point? Who cares?

No no no. There, of course, as there always seems to be in life, a valuable lesson. One I am learning, yet again, and that this young man hopefully will learn.

I am valuable and I am worthy because God says I am. I am worthy and deserve to live, not because I have published a book or make money and not because I fall on my face over and over. Neither determine my worth, or yours.

I was doing it backwards and instead I need to operate out of a place of worthiness that doesn’t come from the world. Then the waves of failure and success won’t be so defeating.

What are you falsely putting your worth in? Thinness? Success? A relationship?

When He created us… He said, “It was good.” It is good no matter what I do or don’t do.

There is nothing wrong with achievement. Nothing wrong with success. But when we rest our identity on it, as if the validation from the success makes us ok, that is dangerous. I know because I am slowly crawling out of this trap I once again found myself in. Once again numbers began to define my worth. Geese I am slow to learn.

I refuse to let it. I hope Michael presses on, trusts in his worth and the desires of his heart, and believes he is good enough, and keeps performing magic for the pure joy of it.

I will keep writing, because I love it. Simple.

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Philippians 4:12 (The Message)

Am I enough when the world tells me I am, or am I enough simply because God says I am?  

And how about you?

You are enough. You are adored. Live out of that!

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When You Feel Like You Have Lost The Wind For Your Sails

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Wind keeps sailboats moving in the direction determined by the stern or the bow or the skipper. I know nothing about sailing, so I just picked these words since they are sailing words.

I do know that the wind is necessary and crucial for sailing.

I have lost the wind.


I can’t find it in the morning. I can’t find it in the evening.

It is as if it was never here and it is never coming back. I know it will, in my wise mind I know, but in the moments of waiting, it doesn’t feel like it. I stare at the leaves waiting for a brush of wind, for a tiny little blow and nothing happens. There is no movement and the boat sits. The water is becoming stagnant and the view monotonous. I ask God, “Am I supposed to move the sails? Am I supposed to do something different? Or am I to rest and wait? Whose move is it to make the change, to stir up the wind?” There is no answer.

Do you ever feel like this? This losing-of-wind-in-your-sails feeling?

This is how I am these days. It has kept me from doing the things I love like writing, kept me from the deep laughter and soul filling fun, this season of “something”.

I am not sure what to call it except a season of no wind.

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Sometimes people can be uncomfortable with my uncomfortable. Because my former uncomfortable led me to a very dark and scary place. Please hear me and know that this is not what I am talking about. My season without wind is not my normal me, but I trust that there is learning here and I am not running from it.

Are you in this season too? If so, it is important to know that what formerly might have worked, might no longer be of use.

So find what works.

For me, I have found a few key comforts in this awkward space. Maybe they will help you too?

  • Prayer – I have been having a hard time with prayer, so instead I have been repeating the Lord’s Prayer over and over. When I find my anxiety and worries flooding me, I quietly whisper it. The repetitive nature and not having to think of words to pray is soothing.
  • Music – I am also finding music to be the balm to my ache. Listening to some of my favorite artists like JJ Heller or Sara Groves, helps put words to what I can’t seem to express.
  • Rest – Without the wind moving me I am finding that instead of making life happen and trying so frantically to make the sails move, I rest. Allowing the time to rest is so helpful for resetting the mind.

So if you have lost the wind in your sails too, try some new soothing things and trust it is ok.

Just let it be what it is.

Find what soothes you, be gentle with yourself, and trust in the season and eventually the wind will rise up again. It always does.