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Sarah Jakes Roberts: How to Recover From Humiliation and Turn Your Pain into Purpose

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By Guest Contributor: Kandia Johson

Let me tell y’all, for about 6 years, Sarah Jakes Roberts has been the BFF in my head who’s counseled me through some of the toughest times in my life, so I was super excited to interview her exclusively Black Enterprise Magazine. She dropped major life and career gems, check it out below.

Sarah Jakes Roberts is a four-time author, media personality, wife and mother of four children. She has a flair for inspiring women to get through difficult times in their lives while deepening their relationship with God—and she does it her way. Not one to be afraid to admit she’s heard a Cardi B song, Roberts often speaks on stage with a vibrant personality and effortless style while challenging everything from church and cultural norms to self-limiting beliefs and toxic relationships.

“I want to challenge the belief that your relationship with God has to look a certain way in order for it to be real, says Roberts.” I also want to challenge the belief that in order for you to be a Christian you can’t also like fashion. I believe it’s important for our generation, especially millennials who are leaving the church in droves, to look relevant to the cultures so that they can learn about our Jesus.”

As the daughter of TD Jakes, the bestselling author, pastor, and filmmaker, Roberts became a teen mom at 14 years old and later went through a difficult public divorce. Yet she managed to turn her pain into purpose by leading a ministry and creating her own entrepreneurial lane with a podcast, fashion line, and Woman Evolve, a national conference, and movement to help women shatter glass ceilings.

I interviewed Roberts to learn how she moved past public humiliation and embraced her story to become a prominent speaker and businesswoman.

Kandia Johnson: Tell us about the moment or event that inspired you to move past the public scrutiny of being a preacher’s daughter who became a mother at 14 years old.

Sarah Jakes Roberts: I wish that I could tell you that it was just one moment but it was a series of events. Each of those events was rooted in service. I was in my first marriage, and at a really broken point in my life. I didn’t want to go through another church scandal by first being a teen mom and then having a divorce, so I thought to myself I’ll blog and hopefully, through blogging, I’ll be able to help another woman avoid some of the issues that I’m dealing with. The more that I blogged about my situation, the more I asked myself what if you became the woman who is on the other side of those words? What if you actually took control of your life and decided to not just be this “mother” who is just going to die for their sake? As I was blogging and connecting with other women and seeing that I wasn’t the only one who had made difficult choices, it really inspired me to see what we could do if I dusted off the ashes and chose to rebuild.

Kandia Johnson: How did you learn to trust your self to deliver messages that challenged the status quo in church, life, and business?

Sarah Jakes Roberts: What I trust more than anything is the depth of what I am delivering. I believe if what you are delivering is the answer to a need that you should trust it. I also realize that in the process of growing and manifesting whatever this vision is, I’m not always going to get it right.
For instance, I was so engrossed in what Wild Woman means to me, that it never dawned on me it would make people uncomfortable. I was engrossed in the need. So in the process of manifestation, you have to know that you’re going to have a learning curve and you may not do things the way you would do them in 10 years. But you can never find out how to do them in 10 years unless you start now.

Kandia Johnson: You deliver messages which reach millions of people. How do you plan your content and prioritize what messages you deliver on?

Sarah Jakes Roberts: I deliver messages that resonate with where I am. I think that probably has a lot to do with the passion that I end up bringing to the message. I don’t look at what’s going wrong in the world and say, okay I’m going to preach about this because it’s the headlines. I think some people do that and that works for them. But I literally go into prayer and access my own life. I focus on where am I and what do I need to hear.

Kandia Johnson: What advice would you give to the woman who’s struggling with a transition to a new chapter?

Sarah Jakes Roberts: I would tell that person that transition has less to do with what’s happening around you and more with what’s taking place inside of you. In transition, everything starts moving so quickly that we try to just grab on to the stability. I think our greatest stability has nothing to do with what we possess externally and everything to do with who we are internally. So take a moment in the midst of transition and say, who am I now? You know, I used to be single now I’m married. I was married but now I’m divorced. I was an assistant and now I’ve been promoted to a manager position, like who am I now and how does that fit into the of this world?

Sometimes life starts moving so fast that life sets the tone and life decides how we feel as opposed to us setting the tone for our life. I’m guilty of it as well. We have to go within and make some definitive boundaries about who we are, what energy we’re going to exert, what type of relationships we’re going to entertain. From that place, we can organize and categorize our life appropriately.

Ready to hear more from Sarah Jakes Roberts? Visit kandiajohnson.com for the rest of this powerful interview!

As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.

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