Inside Out with Courtnaye
Welcome to my NEW venture! Every month I will have a blog cover story and 3 feature stories that I will be sharing with you from Christian women around the globe! As I interview each one, get ready to be inspired, instructed, and encouraged as we dive into some biblical and practical insight. It's SEPTEMBER, ladies! Let's do this!
BLOG COVER STORY
Let go of the guilt
By Inside Out with Courtnaye
ell hello there, my sister. This month I have with me, Valorie Burton. Valorie is a lover of Jesus Christ, wife, mother, bestselling author, speaker, life coach, and entrepreneur. She has been featured on The Today Show, Dr. Oz, CNN, HLN, as well as hundreds of radio, podcast, and television shows. She also co-hosted the show entitled, "Aspiring Women" with T.D. Jakes, written several life-changing books, and has also written for Women’s Day, Essence Magazine, and many more publications. Oh my goodness! She is doing so many amazing things and I see her EVERYWHERE – in bookstores such as Mardel Christian Bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and Target.
Courtnaye –Welcome, welcome, welcome, Valorie!
Valorie - Thank you, Courtnaye. I’m glad to be here. (smiling)
Courtnaye – Awesome! Valorie, you are a very successful woman who is doing so many great things and now you have a new book that’s coming out on September 1st, which is right around the corner.
Valorie – I know! Can you believe it?
Courtnaye – Hey! Time flies when you’re having fun and doing the will of God. So, your book is called, Let Go of the Guilt. Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind it and how you began pinning it?
Valorie – Sure, I’ve struggled with guilt. I don’t even know if I even would’ve called it that, but as I delved into the topic, I realized that yes, this was guilt. So as I began talking about guilt with women, especially at speaking engagements, I would get this collective, “Ugh! Of course, yes! I have guilt every day.” That’s when I realized it wasn’t just me.
Courtnaye – Gotcha. So what is guilt, really?
Valorie - Guilt is something you feel that can cause you to make decisions that you wouldn’t otherwise make. Guilt makes you behave in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise behave. While writing this book, I wanted to help women let go of guilt, but also let go of my own guilt.
Courtnaye – So good! And I love your passion behind helping women overcome this.
Valorie - Also Courtnaye, in the book, I do talk about authentic guilt a bit – like when you’ve done something wrong, because that happens. So, I’m not saying that if you’ve done something wrong, you shouldn’t feel guilty. But if you are treating yourself as if you’ve done something wrong and you haven't, that is what I call false guilt. And that guilt has to be rejected. In my research of surveying over 500 women and while writing this book, so much of the guilt that women talked about and struggled with was false guilt. Again, it’s when I haven’t done anything wrong, but I feel like I’ve done something wrong or caused harm, when I really haven’t. That’s not God’s will for us to walk around feeling condemned or guilty for things we don’t need to feel guilty about.
Courtnaye – Right, Amen. You also talk about a guilt list. Can you talk about that more?
Valorie – Sure. The guilt list can look like, “I don’t visit my mother enough” or “I don’t want to celebrate my good fortunes, because I feel guilty that my friends are not in the same place.” I actually thought “mom guilt” would’ve been at the top and that was in the top five, but the top two were things like, “I don’t feel like I’m eating right” or “I don’t feel like I’m exercising well.”
Courtnaye – Wow! Well, I can totally relate to that. So I guess I need to start writing out my guilt list and shake it off.
Valorie – Right. And think about what triggers your guilt. For me, when my son was in pre-school, my guilt was dropping him off at school thinking, “You know, the really good moms are at home with their kids at this age. But look at you - writing books and speaking.”
Courtnaye – Gotcha.
Valorie – But on one particular day, when my husband and I dropped him off together and as we were walking away, I remember saying, “I feel so bad.” My husband was like, “What? Did you see him when he walked in there? His bros were high-fiving him and were like, Alex! He doesn’t want to be home with you all day. He’s social and happy. I think this is better for him. You’re a great mom!”
Courtnaye – Wow! That's so awesome!
Valorie – And then he said something that really hit me. He said, “Wasn’t this the vision you had for your life?” And I said, “Yes.” When I was 20 years old, I said that I wanted to be an author, own a business and have a family, but I also wanted to have flexibility in my schedule. Now, it took me more than two decades to get to this vision, but there I was feeling guilty.
Courtnaye – That is something, because I’ll tell you. The thing that I feel guilty about is not working out. One reason is because I’m not very passionate about it. And I have to tell you, I’m married to a fitness owner (laughing). I mean, when I’m getting ready to put a cookie in my mouth I tend to say, “Oh-oh, should I do that?” However, the great thing is that he doesn’t make me feel bad. I do it to myself. That’s the false guilt that you’re talking about. So I love how you explain that and how our husbands reel us back in to see that we don’t have to feel guilty.
Valorie – Right! (laughing) You know, in the book I talk about the “Guilt Gender Gap.” The men in our lives really can help us, because women do feel guiltier. One piece of research stated that men are guilt deficient until they get into their 50’s. But some of it is because we are emotionally more complex.
Courtnaye – I can totally see that. Okay, so before we close, what does it look like to let go of guilt? Can you share a couple of tips with us?
Valorie - Well, first and foremost, become aware of what’s going on. When you start to feel guilt, notice it and label it. Research shows that when we label emotions, it creates an interruption. We’re stopping and pausing and realizing, “Oh, that emotion just showed up!” Personally, it gives me a minute to acknowledge that emotion, pause, while allowing me to respond rather than react. And then, it’s pushing back on that guilt.
Courtnaye – Gotcha.
Valorie – And then secondly, ultimately letting go of the guilt is about taking back your joy and practicing self-compassion, which is simply treating yourself with kindness and encouraging yourself as much as you would your best friend or loved one whom you really care about. We often encourage others in similar situations, but then beat ourselves up for making mistakes, regrets, or past choices. So talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. I’ll say this, ultimately the reason why I wrote this book, Let Go of the Guilt is to help you get back your joy, because that is what guilt steals.
Courtnaye – Wow! So profound! Thank you so much Valorie, for taking the time to write the book and for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with us today.
Valorie - No problem, Courtnaye. (smiling)
Well, there you have it, my sister! Don't let guilt rob you of your joy. Grab Valorie's new book, Let Go of the Guilt and when you visit her website, check out all of the additional resources that she provides with the book like an audio version, book club info, study materials, and so much more. Let's let go of the guilt, my sister, as soon as we recognize it!
Lead Like a Woman
By Inside Out with Courtnaye
efore we dive into this week’s post, I am so excited to announce to you that I will be doing a blog cover story and features each month, while still posting my weekly blog. So you won't miss my blog posts. ;-) This is just a NEW great way to connect with like-minded women who we can all glean from biblically and practically.
For the month of August, I have collaborated with Deborah Smith Pegues, who is a devoted wife, speaker, bestselling Christian author of 18 books including, 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue: What to Say (and Don’t Say) Will Improve Your Relationships (which has sold over 1 million copies - this book is so good, Sis!). I had the privilege of sitting down with Deborah to have a conversation about how we can "Lead Like a Woman," which is also the title of her NEW book!
Join me in the conversation as she talks to us about work-life balance, flowing in the favor of God, and of course, leading like a woman…
Courtnaye – Hi Deborah, welcome to Inside Out with Courtnaye! I am so excited to have you here with me today!
Deborah – Thank you so much for having me, Courtnaye.
Courtnaye – No problem! Okay, before we dive in to talk about your NEW book, Lead Like a Woman, as a very successful influential woman in ministry and in business, my first question is how do you balance it all – work, ministry, family, and business as you lead others?
Deborah – It’s called the grace of God! (chuckling) I believe my biggest accomplishment today is being married for 41 years to a man whom I love and who I still look forward to seeing every morning when I wake up. Actually, I deliberately pace myself so that I can pace myself with my marriage and my role as a matriarch of a huge family, even though I have no children. I’ve just tried to follow God’s model - God, family, and my career. I have to say that my career has never been at the top of my list and I think God has honored that in regards to the sacrifices that I’ve made by deciding not to do or take an engagement because I had a commitment to my husband. We take trips. My husband is a fun guy, but I’m the type that can work all night long (laughing). So I just say, “Follow God’s model.” I don’t put anything before my husband, other than God. We have “date night” every Friday and we have done this for about 40 years. It just feels right. I don’t go to bed feeling guilty that I spent too much time working and didn’t spend time with him. I don’t want to be a public success and a private failure. I really don’t. That’s just so critical to me.
Courtnaye - Amen! I love the balance that you have with God, your husband, family, and having those date nights. I think it's important to invest in our marriages. So now, tell us the answer to the question of the hour: What does it mean to Lead Like a Woman?
Deborah – Well, I’ll start by saying this. Women are nurturing, collaborative, and intuitive. These are traits where we excel. I will say, some women think that they need to come to the table like "Gangbusters!" And they don’t. You want to lead like a woman. For instance, you can be assertive and say, “I just believe this would work.” For me personally, I don’t compete with men. You know, God told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” Can you imagine either one of them trying to do that alone? It has always been God’s intention for men and women to work together. And personally, I don’t like the hand-to-hand combat that a lot of people try to engage. That’s not God’s way. God wants us to work hand-in-hand. So I just try to work together, because none of us are as smart as all of us.
Courtnaye – Great point! Once again, bringing that balance whether we work in the church or the corporate sector as we co-labor together. I think this is a good segue into my next question, which is about “confidence.” As women who lead, how can we increase our confidence?
Deborah – Confidence is my favorite subject to talk about, because the world teaches us to have self-confidence. The word confidence means “with trust.” Now, self-confidence means “with trust in self.” And let me tell you, “self” is a very limited entity. In fact, Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom is safe.” When you have self-confidence you’re relying on your experience, education, and maybe some contacts that you have, but there will come a time in your life when you will need something supernatural! In Daniel 2:21-22 it says, “He reveals deepest things, He knows what’s in the darkness and the light dwells with Him.” So whenever I’m faced with a situation and I feel inadequate, I don’t seek self-confidence. I say, “God, I know adequacy doesn’t come from me. It flows through me.” Also, 2 Corinthians 3:5 says, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.”
Courtnaye – Amen! I’m telling you when you started preaching the Word, I was like, “I am here for it!” Preach! Ladies, eat it up! It's all about having a God-confidence vs. self-confidence. Okay great! Moving right along. As more and more women are becoming influencers and doing a lot of things, many are stepping into leadership roles. How important is it for women to build a strong network?
Deborah – Do you have an hour for me to talk about that? (laughing) Networking is so critical! And I am really big on it! God works through people. So you need to connect with people. I can say that significant strides that were made in my career was because somebody knew somebody or that person had access to someone who had some source who could say, “Yes or No.” And I’m speaking from being on major TV programs to radio interviews where you get heard by millions a year. Just a phone call to say, “Do you know someone over there?” That’s important. I've found that a lot of women don’t like networking, because they may think it feels insincere. But instead, they need to see it as mutual. In other words, “How can I add value to you?” So I’ll say, keep networking, but don’t rest your faith in it. Don’t get excited about the number of powerful people you know, because ultimately, it’s God who gives you favor. Psalm 5:12 says, “Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” This verse is so empowering to me!
Courtnaye – Oooooo! Yes, good stuff! God is the One who ultimately gives us favor. Favor with Him and with man. I am truly feasting on this! Now, in Chapter 10, which is entitled, “Servant-Hearted: Unveiling the Secret to Greatness,” you talk about servant leadership and I’m pretty big on this. Can you expound a little more about what it looks like to have a servant’s heart as a leader?
Deborah – In the book, when I talk about it being a path to greatness, there is a story in the Bible where the disciples ask Jesus, “Who would be the greatest in your kingdom?” And He said, “He who would be the greatest will be a servant.” I believe that’s one of the traits that God has innately given to us as women. We come to the table with an attitude of service. We are interested in helping others in personal development. We like adding value to people. We like teamwork. We look for ways to serve. Yet, the caution that I share in my book helps us to excel in leadership, while managing being a servant and a leader. Jesus was a leader (and He wasn’t a pushover). He also didn’t just take everything to do it all Himself. He empowered His disciples. So the important thing is that we balance it out. What I’m encouraging women to do through the book is to manage those traits that I share, while understanding that you don’t have to lead like a man. Just come with the mindset that “I really am here to serve.”
Courtnaye – Love it, love it! Just lead like a woman, right? I get it! ;-) Ok, last question. Let’s talk about what’s happening in our world today. Lately, there has been a lot of racial tension and division, and I really want you to share on how we can work together as Christian women in leadership?
Deborah – I recently put out a little piece that has almost gone viral entitled, “10 Ways Whites and Blacks Can Bridge the Racial Divide.” As Christian women, I would start by looking within (at our own biases) and go before the Lord and say, “Search me, O God." Then, in the meantime, let’s decide to work together. I’m encouraging people to get together and be responsible for initiating a cross-cultural relationship. I am actually having so much fun explaining to my friends, things that they probably shouldn’t say or what they didn’t know was offensive (because they just don’t know). And I give great grace in this area while explaining it to them.
Courtnaye - Wow! You are so amazing! I want to end it with this quote from your new book, Lead Like a Woman - "Faith is one of the leading traits." Thank you so much Deborah!
Well, that’s it Sister! As I met with Deborah, there were so many great nuggets that I wasn’t able to share in this written piece, but stay tuned to watch the full interview on in the coming days. Also, to find out more about Deborah Smith Pegues' books, ministry, and booking inquiries, please visit www.contfrontingissues.com. Don't forget to grab her NEW book, "Lead Like a Woman," which comes out August 11th! Pre-Order TODAY!
And remember, Jesus Christ is coming back soon! So let's be ready from the Inside Out! Also, let me know how this special blog cover story ministered to you this week. And email me directly with prayer requests @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
BLOG COVER STORY