Review of “Brazen” by Leanna Tankersley
by Clark Roush, Ph.D.
“BRAZEN” by Leanna Tankersley is a clarion call for overcoming the emotional, mental, and societal forces that keep us from being not only all we can be, but all that we’re called to be. When I first started reading I thought it might be another installment of “I am woman hear me roar!” What I found what was an impassioned plea and encouragement to become fully human. Leanna may have had women as her primary audience, and there is certainly plenty of material for the ladies, but I also believe this could be a salient read for gentlemen as well.
I am inherently drawn to any text that encourages stillness, reflection, and knowing your inner self – this manuscript certainly qualifies. The anchor points of her missive are: exploring your own soul, nurturing your voice, and remembering your identity. What follows her laying this out are a series of significant tributaries all leading to the vast ocean of self-expansion through the love of God.
I think you’ll relate to her phrase “Soul Bully” as she describes the entity that so frequently wreaks havoc with how we were created by God to be. As we search to find all the ways we have the image of God inside us, Leanna encourages us to “go after what’s been silenced, hidden, lost, bruised, abused, abandoned, bullied.”
Leanna chronicles how easy it is to forget a key truth: we are beloved by God. When we do forget, the lies of culture, programming, insecurity, expectations, and even sometimes religion eagerly wait to lay claim to the space God has already designated.
It is important, not selfish, to find time for ourselves, and to surround ourselves with things that speak to us. Those habits help keep the Divine connection as He intended.
She writes of the myriad ways we try to edit ourselves, and a myriad of reasons we do it. This is detrimental to courageously finding our true selves, the selves God intends us to find and return to Him in service.
One particularly poignant chapter, “Casting Your Nets”, helps us realize what happened when the disciples were fishing and Jesus came and told them to recast after they had experienced no success all night. What changed? Not the lake, not the nets, not the boat, not their technique – what changed was Jesus showed up with a directive. God called and they obeyed.
I love Leanna’s thoughts about viewing ourselves though the “Divine View-Master.” (This label is right up there with Soul Bully in my opinion) This allows us to see ourselves more as God see us, and hence, would have us see ourselves.
At no time does she explore any necessary self-expansion apart from what God intends for us. This is certainly not a “do whatever feels good to you” book. It does encourage breaking free from the shackles we have allowed, but the breaking free is always connected to Divine reason and intent.
As she lays out the Brazen pathway, it includes making peace with our woundedness and wonder. Proclaiming we are marvelous and objects of astonishment, she brings us past all the things that have hurt and formed us and helps us find the Created Center we each have from our Creator.
Leanna writes a fabulous chapter on marriage, and then launches into some of the ways being self-obsessed is necessary for quieting the voices and opinions that frequent our ears, our hearts, our minds, and our spirits. Her encouragement is not to settle for a life in which we hide who we really are – for any reason or in any circumstance.
I liked her chapter on breaking at least one rule. She encourages her readers not to give into the following “rules”: (1) You must tame your husband; (2) You must avoid pleasure; (3) You must put yourself last; (4) You must be available to everyone all the time; (5) You must listen to the experts; and (6) You must consider your body a liability.
Leanna’s transparency and honesty are helpful in establishing her credibility as a journey taker. She never sets herself up as an expert or makes harsh judgments about others. She passionately, for our sake, chronicles a way for each of us to find a truer, bolder self – one fashioned by a God calling us to do things for Him and see us as He see us.
She ends each chapter with a section of reflection and expression, and with material for a Brazen board – a visual representation of your personal journey.
“Brazen” can be a quick read. It can be a repeated read. It can be a slow/think about it read. But it is most definitely a MUST read. If you are interested in discovering a truer, deeper sense of self and how that relates to the God who created and adores you, you will want to read Leanna’s road map for the journey!