Stand on Your Faith with Ann Lenaers (Re-Air)

9 February 2024

Click here to listen to the full episode!


What does it really mean to walk in Christ and experience His love? Most of us know that our identity should come from God instead of the world, but how can we make sure that happens? 


This week’s Publishing Secrets guest, Ann Lenaers, realized she had never known a relationship with God and went on a journey to discover the truth about who Jesus is. In that journey, she discovered a love so powerful she couldn’t stop the words from flowing once they’d started. Listen and be inspired by Ann’s story of searching for — and finding — an identity rooted in love and peace.


In this episode, you’ll also hear:


  • Ann’s definition of emotional intelligence, and why she says everything Jesus taught leads us to it
  • Why Ann says a believer’s born-again process follows the classic Hero’s Journey
  • Questions to help shape your identity after God’s purposes instead of after what the world says you should be
  • Why Ann says losing a month’s worth of edits on her first book was an “act of God”
  • The problem with jumping into Christian leadership too quickly
  • Ann’s advice for the aspiring author who struggles to find the confidence to finish

Emotional Intelligence for Christians

Ann Lenaers packs a ton of valuable information into her first book, Perfect Love: A Hero’s Journey, but two words stand out from the rest: emotional intelligence. Or, as she puts it, “a smart heart.” 


Ann explains that throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites are described as having hardened hearts. As a result, God communicated with them through rigid rules and structure. But when Jesus came, He taught discipleship that focuses on what’s happening inside of our hearts instead of outward actions alone. 


“In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus took it out of your head and put it in your heart,” Ann says. “It’s not ‘an eye for an eye,’ it’s ‘turn the other cheek,’ because there’s more to it.” In other words, to have emotionally intelligent “smart hearts,” we must “know the word in our heads and teach it to our hearts.” 


While the work of the Holy Spirit is essential to the process of growing in Christ, Ann believes the church has an important role to play in discipling new Christians so they can learn to let Christ reign over their hearts and live emotionally intelligent lives. 

Faith & the Hero’s Journey

Although Ann grew up in the church, there was a time when she temporarily walked away from Christianity. “I got to this point where I knew I needed something in the spiritual understanding of my life,” she recalls, “and I’d grown up feeling like the church didn’t give me answers. So I started looking everywhere else.”


After getting involved with the New Age movement for a few years, however, Ann found her beliefs being challenged to the point that she realized she needed to know who Jesus was. So she cried out to God, and after fasting for three days, she encountered the glory of God. 


Ann compares her experience to the biblical accounts of Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus and the transfiguration of Jesus: “It was just this brief moment standing in the light and presence of God… There are not enough words in eternity to try and explain it. But I tell people that the feeling it gave me was like if I could shove my hand in my chest and rip my heart out, I’d be looking at what love is. Because that’s how it made me feel.”


That was the beginning of Ann’s born-again journey, and she says it really was like starting life over. As God guided her in growing spiritually, He also guided her in writing Perfect Love to share her journey with others. 


In the book, Ann also compares the journey of being born again to the classic “Hero’s Journey” structure found in many works of fiction. “It’s not like God was trying to give us this list of hundreds and hundreds of rules we had to follow,” she explains. “He was trying to help our minds be pointed in the direction of love, which is Him.”


Although Ann admits that writing this book was an ambitious undertaking, she also says that once God had placed the idea in her heart, there was no way she could keep it to herself — she had to share the fullness of God’s amazing love with everyone, however she could. 

Four Identity Questions

A huge part of Ann’s born-again journey was reshaping her identity to build on her new foundation of faith. To find this identity, she says it’s crucial to understand the importance of our relationship with God, others around us, and even ourselves — and to understand who we are in relation to all three.


So in Perfect Love, Ann asks readers to answer four key questions:


  • Who am I to myself?
  • Who am I to others?
  • Who am I to God?
  • What needs to change about my answers?


That last question is especially important, because we as humans are always going to make mistakes and have lessons to learn. “What I thought I was is not the same as what I actually am,” Ann says. 


The more we learn to conform to the image of Christ — and to shape our identities according to who He made us to be — the more assuredly we’ll be able to stand on the foundation of our faith. 

A Month of Editing… Lost

Even after deciding to write her book, Ann wrestled with doubts about whether she was qualified or if anyone would listen to what she had to say. But when she finally surrendered to God’s calling and started to write, the words poured out of her.


“Once you know that God has called you into something, once you’re ready to start, there’s nothing that can stop the floodgates from opening up,” she says now. 


In a matter of months, Ann wrote the entire first draft of Perfect Love. But after she had spent a month editing — and changing parts of it that she now realizes she shouldn’t have changed — her laptop crashed. Ann lost all of her edits. But in losing that work, she learned that she had been heading in the wrong direction.


Ann returned to her first draft, but this time the only edits she made were to improve the grammar and structure of the writing itself, not to alter the content. “I think losing the edits was an act of God,” she says in retrospect. “Making the edits was Satan messing with my head.” 


Ann’s story is a powerful reminder that sometimes what we think is the work of the enemy is actually God redirecting us to follow His original design. That’s why it’s so important that we partner with the Holy Spirit, so He can guide us and keep us from straying too far from His plan. 

Trust & Confidence

Ann’s journey certainly has not been an easy one. And chances are, yours hasn’t been easy, either. No matter where you are on that journey — whether you’re just starting out, working on putting the message God has given you into the right words, overthinking how to edit your book, or unsure if what you’ve written is good enough — you’re not alone. 


Ann advises starting by finding and solidifying your identity in Christ, and everything else will follow as you learn to stand on your faith. 


“If you’re standing on a solid relationship with God, there’s nothing you can do that would be really wrong,” she explains. “Either it will be exactly what He’s guided to you, or He will correct you if you’re on the wrong path, and He can use it for your good because He called you.”


Ann defines faith as a combination of trust and confidence. When your trust and confidence are 100% rooted in God, you’ll be able to follow where He leads and to fulfill the purpose He has placed in your life. Stay close to Him, listen for His guidance and correction, and He’ll show you the way. 


Meet Ann

, Stand on Your Faith with Ann Lenaers (Re-Air)

Ann Lenaers is first and foremost a loving mother to Ava and a guardian to Hazel who likes to call her fairy godmother. She is also a Christian Author, Public Speaker, and Master Certified Life Coach operating under the business name Peace Is The Road. Her calling is to help raise up the children of God into maturity by aiding in the development of the emotional intelligence and healthy communication skills necessary for love and peace to be lived in balanced truth and grace. She works to bring words to life that have been abused in modern culture through fostering universal understanding of their meaning and calling people to action. She has a passion for community service and puts that love to work as the Community Outreach Coordinator of her home church as well as being a founding board member for Strategies for Life, a local nonprofit partnering with Living Free. Visit Ann’s website here. Connect with Ann on Instagram and Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *