You have been made to play an irreplaceable role in God’s great story that ends in victory. Our guest, Stasi Eldredge is an encourager of women and the author of many books including the bestseller “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul.” Stasi joins Allie Marie Smith to talk about the heart of a woman. Stasi uncovers our longing to be loved, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to bring life and beauty to the world. As a woman, you have been created to bear the image of God in a unique way to a lost and hurting world. We are invited to live a life greater than ourselves and to be transformed by the redeeming love of Christ. As we surrender our hearts to Jesus, we discover the life we have been created for and are invited to play an unmatched role in an eternal story. This popular episode has been edited and re-released since we first aired it in May of 2021.
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Embracing Your Irreplaceable Role — With Stasi Eldredge
Stasi, welcome back. It’s so good to have you here. How have you been?
Really good. I have been well and am so happy to be with you again. Thank you.
Thank you for coming back. It’s always such a treat and an honor to talk with you. I can speak for a lot of the women in our community when I say you are one of our favorite authors. It’s a joy to have you here, so thank you for being back. I want to say congratulations on their updated and expanded edition of Captivating, a book many of us have been impacted by. Tell us a little bit more about that.
I’m excited about it. It first came out in 2005, and it was important to add that the world now is very different than it was in 2005, although the messages of God are the same. It was wonderful timing to update some of the things, the film references, and some of the language. In all of these years, we get asked a lot of questions but what we did was pick the top 25 most common. We were able to address those in the end. Here are some things that may be stirred in you. That was wonderful to get to do as well. It’s a new cover. It’s a whole new book and then a new curriculum that goes along with it that I’m excited about.
We are going to talk about a project you have been working on, a captivating experience. Do you want to tell our readers more about that? We are going to be picking your brain a little bit about it, and I’m going to be encouraging our community to be a part of it too.
The Captivating Experience is a six-week experience where people can register online at our administer website at WildAtHeart.org, or they can get it in other avenues as well. The Captivating Experience is a short film. It’s about a twenty-minute film where it’s beautifully done. Teaching precepts from the book but then a woman shares her story. You get to see her life and how it plays out in her story, and then deep things. We can take deep dives pretty quickly. In the experience, there are also short readings, some scripture references, some journal questions, and then a little bit more podcast information talking and teaching from me.
You and your team did such a phenomenal job. I have been through the whole studies session. I have watched all of the films. I was so impacted by their beauty and the powerful authentic stories that so many women can connect with. I did, and then you are coupled with your rich teaching and some great writings. I’m excited for our community to be a part of that. Friends, remember to go to WildAtHeart.org, and you will be able to find out how to sign up to receive that.God is not after our performance. He is after our hearts. He wants us to respond to His love and love Him back. Click To Tweet
It is free, which is such a gift. I love your ministry’s heart to serve people. Before we dive into each theme, because there are six themes, and then you have a follow-up in week seven. You will get a much deeper dive if you sign up for The Captivating Experience at WildAtHeart.org. Week one, The Heart Of A Woman. I love how you say that as women, we have been created uniquely but have the same core desires. We, as women, have a feminine heart that has been created to reflect God to the world. Will you please talk to us a little bit more about The Heart Of A Woman?
That’s my favorite topic. We know that we are made in the image of the goddess. It’s one of the first things that we learn about human beings is that we are made in the image of God. The second thing we learn is that we are made as either man or woman, masculine or feminine. As a young woman, I didn’t give it much thought but if I had, I would have thought it would have had something to do with my body, nails or hair, and it has nothing to do with that. It is at the deepest level of the soul, which is the heart. Gender is the core of humanity, and we are created to bear the image of God uniquely as men and women, and there’s overlap there.
We all want beauty, intimacy, and adventure but the way that expresses itself, generally, in a man’s life versus in a woman’s life, is beautiful. It’s beautiful the way it fits together. One of the core things that a woman wants is to be pursued. As we write about it as the word to be romanced but a lot of people will hear that word and think of white tablecloths and candlelight, and it’s so much bigger than that. These are things that make your heart come alive.
Those are different. Some people love water and kayaking. Some people love gardening, novels, international travel, missions or one-on-ones. It’s very different but there are things that we would love and God knows what those are. He pursues our hearts with these love notes that are scattered extravagantly around our lives to woo and win our hearts to his own.
The truth is that he is not after our performance. He’s after our hearts. He wants us to love him, to respond to his love for us, by loving him back. The way that begins is by beginning to know, increasingly throughout our lives, how smitten he is by us, how head over heels, and that Jesus has been pursuing us throughout eternity.
He moved through time and space. He conquered all of death and hell to win us for himself. A woman wants to be pursued. She wants to be wooed and won. She wants to be fought for. She wants to feel that she matters and is worth pursuing. It’s a deep longing and that the world is messed up. It’s a place where we get wounded, and it is thought that we are only wanted for such and such or not for our hearts or who we are, or we are not wanted at all.
To think that if we haven’t been pursued by a man, then we don’t have any value. This is about being romanced by the ageless romancer himself. It’s a core longing in our hearts and one that we bear the image of God in because he wants to be pursued too. He says, “You will find me when you seek me with all your heart.” He wants to be wanted, and so do we.
The second core desire that we write about, as I wrote it with my husband, John, is the desire to be irreplaceable. Everyone knows. They want to make an impact for the good that they want to be significant. There is something fierce, valiance, and heroic in The Heart Of A Woman. You don’t mess a woman in, particularly those that she loves, and if you do, then you better be ready to run if you insult your best friend or your child. No.
There’s a strength given to women on behalf of others, and she’s meant to offer her unique strength and to make the world a better place, and the one that she found, it’s for such that we are made. The way that plays out in our lives is different because every woman has unique seasons of our lives, and that changes throughout our seasons.
A lot of the time, a woman’s irreplaceable role is not seen by the world, the accolades of people. A lot of times, it’s hidden but Jesus sees those hidden places. He does. He loves them. He does his best work there. We are made to be irreplaceable. We are made to offer our unique strength, and that’s where we bear the image of God too because he wants to be irreplaceable in our lives as well. We do unpack the more in the book, Captivating. The third one is the most tricky one to talk about, which is to have a beauty all our own to unveil. We can go into that further as we talk about it in that session in The Captivating Experience.
In our culture and our world, we think of romance, this relationship, a person romancing us. God, the creator, is romancing us daily through the beauty of his creation, through people, and the desires of our hearts. It’s an imitation that we are given to respond to. I love that so much. The idea of where we are each made with an irreplaceable role to live a story greater than ourselves.
You talk about adventure, and there’s so much good stuff here, and you dive much deeper into the book, Captivating, and into The Captivating Experience. I feel like we wanted to. We could park on each of these three right here, the full show conversation. We are giving our friends here a teaser to get them. If they haven’t read Captivating, get the new updated copy and sign up for the experience. Week two is fallen Eve. You say that Eve fell into the lies of the enemy because she believed God was holding out on her. Even in our lives, we can believe this to be true. How does this concept play out in so many women’s lives?
I wish that it wasn’t true that we all worked fall in but we all did. We are all daughters of Eve. We all have places where we have been wounded, and our trust has been wounded. It ultimately comes back to not trusting God that he has his best in mind for us or that he is trustworthy. Like Eve, we will reach out and take matters into our own hands.
She reached out for the forbidden fruit. We might reach out for some form of self-protecting, which generally comes down to hiding, which comes down to fear. We hide because we are afraid. It’s Genesis 3:1. “Why are you hiding? Where are you, Adam?” He says, “I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” Every person alive knows to a lesser or greater degree that they are not all that they are meant to be.The antidote for fear of rejection is love and the mercy of God. Click To Tweet
There is this underlying fear that if people knew us that they would run for the hills. We talk about the way women fall and the way we express it. It’s on a spectrum between controlling, demanding or domineering women on one side, and we all know those women. We might be that woman. It’s the woman that clamps down on her world if things begin to go awry.
They are generally that you well in leadership positions, and then the other side of that spectrum is the desolate woman. It’s the woman who refuses to offer her too hard, who won’t speak up in a group or is not going to disagree with you on anything that matters out of a fear of being rejected. The antidote is love. Perfect love cast out fear.
The other antidote is mercy because of the love of God. Look at the ways that we send and hold back. The ways we take matters into our own hands or go to a false comforter, which could be shopping, food or bingeing on anything, whereas Jesus wants to meet us in these deep places but he knows our story. He knows why we are feeling the need to self-protect and why we go to control or why we go to hiding. He doesn’t come after us to repent of those places because he’s mad at us but because he understands and is more for us. It’s all with mercy in his eyes that we can take a look at our lives so that we can become more wholehearted.
I love the concept of mercy and how it meets us right where we are at. In whatever way we are hiding, protecting or afraid. I will have a vulnerability moment right here to say I’m in recovery from overeating for my whole life, and that’s a way that I want to experience God’s mercy deeper and run to him and let him heal that area or that heal that spiritual hunger so I can be more wholehearted. Sometimes those things are what draw us closer to God because we are more dependent on God in those areas. If I were self-sufficient and didn’t struggle in any of these areas, I would be relying on my own strength and missing out on the mercy and the love of God.
That struggle is mine as well, and so many women. For me, I feel like a fallen Eve overachiever because I don’t go to control or bingeing. I go into hiding. I go to angry withdrawal. I am in the process and a work in progress. We don’t have to be ashamed but rather see those places that are the invitations of God to come closer because we need him, we need a savior, and we have one.
I find it valuable to speak about those places of shame in safe places, and I consider this show a safe place to speak those out so we remember that we are not alone. You are not the only one overachieving, hiding in different areas and ways. We all have the areas that we do that in. We hear other people’s stories and their experiences and realize, “We are not the only ones.” That shame begins to ease a little bit. You’ve done that so beautifully through your writing. You have been authentic in many things that you have been through and the areas that God has met you in. It’s continuing to meet you. There’s a graceful way to do that.
I do this in my relationships too, is parade the pretty. I’m going to show you the shiny things but if you want the true things, I’m going to need to trust you a little bit more. If we only show one and another is the places where we are excelling, or maybe we are struggling with depression but when we are together, we are going to put on our happy faces. That doesn’t bring life. It doesn’t bring encouragement or hope to others. Whereas our testimony is how we worshiped Jesus over the reality of how he’s meeting us in the places where we may be grieving, failing or sorrowing. It’s so much better to be true.
To find those safe people to be true with.
Yes. It’s not everybody. You are right. You have to identify both.
I have this concept I call vulnerability remorse, where I like to say something and then like, “Why did I tell that person something?” Finding safe people to be vulnerable with so that when you walk away, you are not like, “Why did I tell that person?” You feel like you can breathe a little easier because you were open and authentic with that person, so praying for wisdom in that.
Are we only two in, Stasi? We will do what we can because I know you have many things to do for the rest of your day. Let’s talk about the wound and the healer, something you write about in your email for this is the idea that it’s true that other women’s lives can look good from the outside. Maybe perfect. You are better than ours from a distance but then you say, “Only from a distance.” Let’s talk more about this.
You get close to any women’s life and hear the details. There isn’t a personal life who’s escaped the fall, who has not been wounded in their life or who is not trying to make it work. Think about beauty. If you have friends and see how beautiful they are, it’s a rare woman who can merely say, “Thank you,” and believe you. It’s very difficult to see our own glory.
I have had women that I have looked at from afar and like, “If I was like her or if my children wear matching outfits, if I drove that car or if I had a boyfriend,” like any event, “Then I would be such and such.” The truth is that everybody struggles. You don’t get through this life without being wounded and without being wounded very deeply.
This is why we love Jesus so much because this is why he came. He came to heal the brokenhearted and to set the captive free. In doing that, that’s a journey. That’s coming to trust him, coming to know him, coming to a place of not minimizing our wounds by comparing them to someone else and thinking, “My life is not so bad. Look what they suffered.” No. Get over it or the past is past. The old is gone. The new is gone. No.Everybody struggles. You cannot get through this life without being wounded deeply. Click To Tweet
Brennan Manning says, “A wound that is denied is a wound that cannot be healed.” By holding Jesus’s hand, following the Holy Spirit throughout our lives because it’s a process. Going where he leads, we can know profound healing from the wounds that we have received. We can receive the fathering that we need, the mothering that we need, and the friendship. All of it is available. The critical part is that our hearts are the treasure of the kingdom, and it’s in our hearts where we receive our deepest wounds, and it’s for our hearts that Jesus came.
You capture that powerfully through the stories that you share. In The Captivating Experience, you start with the woman’s story that the areas of woundedness in her life, and then you take the viewer on a journey of how Jesus has mended those broken places and brought her into this wholehearted life. A wholehearted life is possible because of the restorative love of Jesus.
We have had so many amazing women on our show here, and their lives are a testament to that. I want to speak to anyone reading, and you might be wondering, “Is that available for me?” It is. With God, all things are possible, and he wants you to receive that invitation to be romanced, loved, and restored by him. I’m going to skip week number four, Special Hatred, because we did mention A Beauty To Unveil. Let’s talk about A Beauty To Unveil, week five. The world has a message for us about what beauty is but God has something better in store for us. Can you tackle this for us?
I would talk about this as a core desire but it’s pretty much the core desire because women bear the image of God and the essence of their heart in their beauty. God is nothing if not beautiful, and it’s in the place of our beauty that we have usually, not always but mostly received our deepest wounds. Either saying that you don’t have it or that’s the only thing of value that you do have.
When God is talking about beauty, he is talking about something that is so much deeper than the reflection that we see in the mirror. He’s talking about the reflection that we see in his eyes, and it’s this weightiness to what we bring. Beauty can’t be measured. It’s not the number on the scale or the age on your driver’s license because how do you measure the beauty of a nursing mother or what it feels like when you are greeted by someone who feels safe?
The most beautiful things aren’t what you see with the eyes but what you experience with the soul. God has planted a unique beauty into every woman that she’s meant to rest in and offer. Beauty speaks to the world that all is well, and it’s completely different from striving to obtain it. As the world says, you never will. It’s always out of reach but Jesus says this, “I have already bestowed it upon you. Rest in it and then offer the room for other women to be who they are and to become who they are meant to be.”
I love this imitation God gives us to port truth and beauty into other people. It’s so much deeper and better than what the world is getting us to chase after. It’s about how we make people feel. It’s about the way we see people and the way we know people. The way that when they are in our presence, they feel understood, accepted, loved, valued, and cherish.
That is the beauty that we have to unveil to a lost and broken world that is so hungry for true, genuine beauty. Lesson six, your irreplaceable role. We touched upon this a little bit at the beginning but something that you say, which I love, is, “A woman doesn’t come alive merely by being useful. She wants her life to matter and to matter deeply. She wants to be irreplaceable.” Let’s unpack this together.
For those that are reading, didn’t your heart go, “Yes, I want that,” but in the next breath, that thought goes through, “It’s not true, and I could never have that?” No, you can, because that is how you were made. You desire it because that’s where you bear the image of God, fashioned into your very being. Each person created before time was also their calling and what their destiny is, what beauty they are meant to bring to the world, what life they are meant to bring to the world, and the impact we are supposed to make.
It’s real, and we do. Where we get messed up is when we go to numbers. “How many friends do I have? How many Facebook likes do I have?” The temptation. When you write and when you are published is to go, “Why the numbers? How many sold?” You write because you want people to read it. It’s a gift. It’s an offering.
The impact can’t be measured. The impact isn’t a number. We also fall in this area when we go to comparison, and that’s why it’s important for a woman to be rooted and come to know deeply who she is to the creator of the universe. Only then can we rest and go, whatever it is that you have for me to do. Whether it’s now, I’m going to give a warm hello to that stranger in the grocery store or let them go ahead of me in their cart. What impact is that having on them now?
I had a stranger smile at me once when I was going into the doctor’s office. It changed my entire day, how I felt about myself and how the experience went. We are going to compare that to an income that I make because of my position in this corporation or how many tips I received at my job as a waitress, then we can spiral out of control but that’s not it.
Our irreplaceable role is to bring the kingdom of God to everyone that’s in our circle of influence. That’s friends, family members, people that we work with, and sometimes, quite often, that happens without speaking. That’s how we live and how the more we know that we are loved, then the more that love is an aroma that entices other people to the love of God.
There is no grander or more important role than to pull back the kingdom of God and the reality that what’s available in him and to others like, “That’s it.” Jesus invites us to partner with him and brings this kingdom to bear on a world that needs him desperately to each one of us, wherever we find ourselves or whatever our unique giftings, callings, or desires are.Our hearts are actually the treasure of the Kingdom. It is in our hearts where we received our deepest wounds and where Jesus comes. Click To Tweet
Jesus extends the greatest imitation. He breathed life into us and gives us the opportunity to seek his kingdom and seek him first in our identity. As we do, those broken pieces began to be healed. We are invited to a greater story. We are invited to the beauty that transforms other people’s lives. That’s better than the world’s definition of what they think beauty is. It’s so beautiful. It’s exciting. The depth of purpose, value, and adventure that we are invited to. If we can get quiet enough to listen to that invitation, to receive and live into it. I love talking about this with you. The life that God offers us is so profound and beautiful. He’s worth every bit of our hearts.
I’m nodding up and down. Yes. I have been a Christian for many years now. What I love is that it gets better. Jesus gets better. The more I know the father and the holy spirit, the more it gets better. It’s an exciting life that we have been given.
Thanks for being here, Stasi. If you could go back and speak the truth to your younger self, how old would you be, and what would you say to her?
I would go back to my fifteen-year-old self, who, at that point in my life, my family was a disaster, and I was not a place of safety or security. I was full on at that age, looking to boys to validate me, to give me a sense of worth, belonging, and being wanted. I would want to tell myself, and I do now even, “Little fifteen-year-old girl that’s listening, you are worth everything. The king of heaven loves you. You are worth protecting and guarding. You are worth every good gift. You don’t have to give yourself away freely to anybody that you think might offer you some temporary love in return. The truth is you are profoundly loved now. You are seen, you are safe, and it’s going to be okay.”
What would you say to the woman who’s not so sure about Jesus if she wants to get to know Jesus, if she is ready to believe Jesus, that Jesus is who he says he is? What would you want to tell her personally?
I would want to ask her first to pursue her own story so that she might know, “What is it that you are afraid of? You are afraid of something or it may be that you were taught him wrong. You’ve learned him wrong.” What I would want to say is throw down the gauntlet. Ask Jesus to reveal himself to you as he is, and then keep your eyes open because he will.
Thank you so much for being our guests. Is the best place that our community can connect with you at WildAtHeart.org?
Yes. That’s the best place. That’s we have got so many resources on there. Sign up for The Captivating Experience. I have a Facebook page. If you want to interact there.
It’s great. You always share some great things.
At WildAtHeart.org, that’s the place to come.
Thank you so much for being a part of our community here at Wonderfully Made. It’s such an honor to have you as our guest. Thank you.
- Stasi Eldredge
- The Captivating Experience
- The Heart Of A Woman
- Facebook – Stasi Eldredge
About Stasi Eldredge
Stasi Eldredge is a New York Times bestselling author, and her books have sold nearly 3 million copies and changed women’s lives all over the world. A teacher and conference speaker, Stasi is the director of the women’s ministry at Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own hearts in God’s love, and learn to live in God’s kingdom. Her passion is to see lives transformed by the beauty of the gospel. She and her husband, John, make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.