Sarah Jakes, Roberts, WOMAN EVOLVE: Break Up with Your Fears and Revolutionize Your Life

Sarah Jakes, Roberts, WOMAN EVOLVE: Break Up with Your Fears and Revolutionize Your Life

“I wanted to cultivate a life where when I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t ashamed of what I saw.” Sarah Jakes Roberts shares her journey from becoming a mother at fourteen to a New York Times bestselling author set on empowering other women. After rediscovering her spirituality, Sarah connected deeply with Eve and has since used her biblical story to encourage women to find their own redemption narratives in her latest book.


Zibby Owens: Welcome, Sarah. Thanks so much for coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” to discuss Woman Evolve.

Sarah Jakes Roberts: Thank you, Zibby, for having me. I’m excited we were finally able to make this happen.

Zibby: I know. I’m sorry, sometimes the scheduling gets ridiculous, but I’m thrilled. Congratulations, by the way. Since I first heard about this book, you’ve been on the best seller list, New York Times best seller. Congratulations.

Sarah: Thank you. It’s so surreal. I feel so fortunate that this message is just reaching even more people.

Zibby: Tell everybody, please, the message that you feel is so important to get out, what your book’s about and what inspired you to go on this journey with Eve and the whole thing.

Sarah: The whole thing. Woman Evolve, for me, I feel is the mantra that every woman is going to have to answer, a command that every woman will have to answer as it relates to her identity and her life. Even as moms, we see ourselves transitioning from one version of ourselves into the next version of ourselves. We don’t do that unless we are willing to evolve. Woman Evolve is really a command. This book is an opportunity to help women really assess what is necessary in order for them to evolve. Let’s identify the areas where you’re stuck. Identify the areas where you know better and aren’t doing better. How do we begin to create healthier habits and routines so you want to evolve on the inside? Then your outside begins to reflect what’s happening already on the inside of you.

Zibby: That’s beautiful. Tell us, why write this book?

Sarah: I have to tell you, I’m a church girl. I grew up in church, but I always felt a little disconnected from faith. It wasn’t until I really started my own journey of spirituality that I wanted to look at scripture differently. When I started looking at scripture differently, there was one woman that I was always passing over because she ruined it for us all. I didn’t feel like Eve had any worth or value as it related to me discovering my own faith and identity. She’s actually the woman that I felt like I could relate to the most in the bible. She is the woman who knew better but didn’t do better. Yet even in that moment, there was still an opportunity for restoration and redemption. This moment, this time, this book is my ode, really, to Eve and any other woman like her who’s felt like, I know better but don’t do better. I feel stuck. Most importantly, how do I really tap into that restoration and redemption? I studied her life. I studied my own life. Through the process of learning those lessons through our stories, I’ve been able to connect with so many women. The book is just the capstone to what I’ve already been doing.

Zibby: What’s one of the stories you tell the most often? Actually, don’t say that. What’s one of the stories you tell the least often that you feel is really inspirational to women or a moment in your life where you were just like, this is what people need to hear, I need to share this with everybody?

Sarah: I’ll tell you. The story that I’ve shared the least often, I feel like it’s really just come full circle for me within the last year. I got pregnant as a teenager. I was thirteen years old when I got pregnant, fourteen years old when I had my son. I spent about ten years after this in this toxic relationship with self and others and God. When I first pregnant, someone said something to me. They said, “I always knew to expect something like this out of you.” That took the air out of my lungs. I didn’t really know what it was about myself that would make someone say something like that to me. I learned to really not trust myself. Hence the ten years of the toxicity in my relationships. It wasn’t until I had this moment where I’ve kind of come out of that — I’m really tapping into healing. I’m helping other women come to terms with embracing their past. I’m going on this tour. I’m supposed to be going on this tour, but I have to tell you, I feel so inadequate. How are you going to help inspire women? People have gone through much more terrifying things than you have. You are not qualified because of what you’ve gone through. They need someone who’s done everything the right way. All of the voices, all of the negativity, just this incredible spiral. In prayer, in meditation, I just heard those words, I always knew to expect something like this from you, but it wasn’t said with the negativity that it was said to me when I was a thirteen-year-old girl. This moment was really said to me from this place of knowing that even in that moment when I was sorting through my own fears and insecurities that there was this greatness and inspiration and motivation down on the inside of me. That is one of the stories that I share in the book that really just speaks to the idea that these moments in our life that we often feel will change us forever in a negative way are often the very things that are used in order to help us rebuild our lives in powerful ways that we could have never imagined.

Zibby: It’s so true. I interviewed someone recently. I should’ve written down who it was. They quoted someone else. They said God never wastes a pain. I wrote that down on a little sticky note. I have it right down here because I feel like that’s so true. Anything you go through — not to say there’s some big reason for hardship or whatever, but there’s something that’s going to come out of it. What is it?

Sarah: Yes, I totally agree. I feel like when we keep that in mind — it doesn’t mean that we’re excited to go through things. It doesn’t mean we’re excited to experience pain. We recognize that if I keep living, I will see the promise connected to this pain. I have to tell you, I’ve lived so many lifetimes. I’m only in my thirties. There is not one painful experience that I have had that I cannot see connected to the purpose and promise that I now live in. Even when I experience pain now, I can’t help but wonder what good, what possibility, what healing could come as a result of this current pain I’m experiencing.

Zibby: I think being able to look at it that way, too, takes you a little bit out of the moment. It takes you out of the, how will I ever get through? You know it’s leading somewhere else. In that way, it almost helps you get past whatever it is because you just know. You have this faith that there’s some reason or something. That sounds really hokey. I’m sorry. I feel like that trick kind of works, for me at least.

Sarah: I totally agree. It’s so easy to think about, what are the worst possible outcomes connected to whatever experience I’m having? To challenge my mind to say, what could possibly, good, come out of this? this works in instances where it feels like there’s nothing but darkness. The idea of, maybe I’m going to be able to help someone avoid what I’m experiencing right now or maybe someone will feel less alone because I’ve been able to share my story, even that light flicker of hope goes a long way in helping us to maintain our faith even in the middle of darkness.

Zibby: It’s so true. You went from being a mom at fourteen to a New York Times best-selling author in your thirties. This is a pretty amazing trajectory. Forget anything else, just getting on New York Times best-seller list, full stop. What do you think propelled your journey the way it ended up going?

Sarah: What I really think propelled my journey — this is so anti what everything in our culture teaches us. I never sought to be on The New York Times best-seller’s list. I just wanted to be on my best list. I wanted to cultivate a life where when I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t ashamed of what I saw. I wanted to embrace my scars and kiss who I become. I just decided to share those lessons with other people. I feel like some of the people who we feel are iconic in our culture are not iconic because they made their life about doing what other people wanted them to do. They made their lives about digging deeper and deeper inside of themselves to listen to their small, still voice that tells us who we should be in any given moment. I wish I could tell you that I had this incredible marketing, branding strategy that took me from where I was to where I am now, but it was really just this authentic desire to do the best that I could with what I have left. Now what I have left just continues to be more than what I could’ve imagined. Now I have this New York Times best-seller’s list. That’s what I have left. Even now, this is not my arrival. I’m like, okay, God, I have this, so what do I do with what I have left now?

Zibby: What are you going to do?

Sarah: I’m going to go to bed. I am going to bed. I am so at a time where I feel like I’m at this crossroad, I’m sure so many people can understand, where it’s like, you got to stay on top. You got to stay on top. What are you going to do next in order to keep this momentum? I am going to do the crazy thing of resting because I really do believe from the place of rest and stability that I’m able to make better decisions. I really want to move with accuracy and clarity. I want to love on my babies and allow them to inspire me. I’m going to take a sabbatical in July to really figure out who I am so that what I do is authentic to who I am and not just a reflection of the recent success I’ve experienced.

Zibby: Good for you. I was expecting you to say you were going to take a year off. You’re like, I think I’m going to take vacation in July.

Sarah: We’ll see. I’m going to start with July and see what happens after that.

Zibby: I would imagine the best part of this whole thing for you is knowing how many women you’re helping and affecting. What does that feel like?

Sarah: Girl, it’s very surreal. I don’t feel like who people see me as. I feel like, girl, I’m on this journey just like you. I’m trying to figure it out. I feel like I’m passing notes in the classroom of life to other people to help them because they didn’t get a chance to study or they didn’t know that something was going to be on the test. Then to have those people come back and tell me that, you’re the reason why I graduated, you’re the reason why I made it through, it feels so humbling, so honoring. That’s what I want to soak up. I don’t know, it may just be me, but I have these moments where I’m like, is this working? Is it valuable? Is it worthy? I think that we have those feelings because we don’t really soak up those moments where people say, this is changing my life. That’s part of what I want to do. I want to sit in the revelation that I put something in the earth that has radically changed people’s lives and allow that to feed me in the areas where I know I often battle with insecurity.

Zibby: Interesting. What is your relationship like now with the church? You started, you were like, I was a church girl. How about now?

Sarah: I’m still a church girl. I’m creating space and environments for people who often have maybe felt rejected or unheard in spaces of faith. I try to be an avenue. At the end of the day, my goal is to get people to God. I’m not trying to turn someone into a church girl or a church guy. If I can help them feel closer to God or to feel closer to themselves so that they feel more comfortable on their journey and their pursuit, that’s my goal.

Zibby: Aw, that’s amazing. It’s so great when you meet people who have such an altruistic mission. It really sounds like that’s the place from which came. You just wanted to share your story for good. It wasn’t any sort of calculation. It’s just really great. You can feel it when it’s true.

Sarah: Thank you. I’m trying to figure it out. I know there’s this big, tell your secret and give us your marketing plan. Give us your strategy. It feels so accidentally that it takes time for me to really sit back and say, okay, what did I do that made them more intentional that can help people who feel like they have a story that’s worth of sharing? It does very much so feel like I stumbled into something that was bigger than me, and I love it here.

Zibby: Now you fit just fine. It fits perfectly.

Sarah: Five stars. Highly suggest it. You’ll love the environment. It’s so amazing.

Zibby: Tell me about your writing process. What was it like actually writing this book? How did you attack it? Did you outline it? Did you know basically where it was going? Tell me that.

Sarah: I outlined it just like an old-school English paper. I’ve got my roman numerals. I’ve got my bullet points. We go into these sub-topics on my outline. Then I just sit down, and I write. I wrote it during the pandemic. All of my children were at home. I didn’t go somewhere where I wasn’t bothered. I had this balcony that was completely unfurnished at our house. I just began sneaking out there. Sometimes I would be sitting on the floor. If I’m on the balcony, they don’t know where I am. Then they started figuring out where I was. I wrote the book in the pandemic. Writing, for me, has always been an opportunity for reflection. It’s not something that necessarily requires me to go into this zone and completely become someone different. It’s the way that I breathe. I love words. I love putting my heart on paper. I love connecting the dots for people. If I have some quiet and I can be left alone for a little bit, the words just flow. I’m so passionate about this. It’s literally what I do with my life. I felt like the words were pent up inside of me. They were just waiting to be released. When they were released, I was really pleased with what came out on paper.

Zibby: That’s great. I felt like at times you were just talking to me. I was like, I bet if I were sitting here, she might be — the passion, it was great. It was direct but full of information and relating to scripture and then talking about your thoughts on everything and your life. All the mix of everything was well done.

Sarah: That means a lot to me.

Zibby: Having gone through this book process, what advice would you have for aspiring authors?

Sarah: That writing the book is actually the easy part. When we have an idea and we finally decide to put pen to paper, we feel like when we finish the book that everything is kind of smooth sailing from there, but writing is the easy part. When you are exposing your thoughts, the way that you show up in life, your secrets in business or parenting or whatever to the world, there’s this vulnerability connected to it. When it’s just between you and the computer screen, it’s very intimate. When it’s time for it to go out into the world, that’s when you can begin to feel very vulnerable. I would give advice to the person that says to think and write on something that you would stand by regardless of the room that you’re in. At the end of the day, that book is going to go into rooms that maybe you thought you would never be in. You want to be able to stand by your content. And to never make what you’re writing about be accolades that could come. Make your writing about, what is in me that has to get out of me? I don’t care if one person reads it or a million people read it. What matters the most is that I am obedient to releasing it into the earth. When we make our success contingent on whether or not it hits a list or whether or not thousands of people buy it, it can make us feel like our success is determined by other people’s reception of us. I feel for writing to be pure, for it to be authentic and powerful that it has to be about obedience and not validation from other people.

Zibby: I love that, writing as an act of obedience. I like that. Then you’re like, well, I guess I better do it.

Sarah: I would not want to be disobedient.

Zibby: Exactly. I don’t want to break any rules, so here I go opening up Microsoft Word. Awesome. Sarah, thank you so much. Thanks for talking about your book. Congratulations again, Woman Evolve. This amazing suit you have here, I feel like I need to raid your wardrobe with all these jackets. I don’t even have a blazer, I don’t think. They look great on you.

Sarah: Thank you.

Zibby: Congrats. Good luck. Thank you so much for coming on.

Sarah: Thank you. Take care.

Zibby: Buh-bye.

Sarah: Bye.

Sarah Jakes, Roberts, WOMAN EVOLVE

WOMEN EVOLVE by Sarah Jakes Roberts

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