Soul Bare: Reflections on Becoming Human

Summary: Each of us is on a journey to become more fully human, to be deeply present in the story we are writing with our own lives.  Soul Bare: Reflections on Becoming Human is a Civitas Press community project that journeys into to the depths of human experience, exploring the redemptive purpose of authentic, soul-bare expression.

It is a vulnerable and difficult practice to open ourselves wide, to share the gritty and painful parts of our story, or to explore against-the-grain ideas.  Standing emotionally naked before God and others can be an intimidating but richly prolific experience.  It is a progression of salvaging our own broken pieces, telling our story, and gaining a deeper understanding of one another and of God’s beautiful purpose for us as we seek to develop who we have been into who we are becoming.

The very Word of God is a collection of soul-bare stories, of broken people salvaged and sanctified, lives poured open for a holy purpose.  By its words and the beat of our own hearts we live out and share a beautiful picture of grace and ransom, of unique (but shared) humanity.

We are looking for real, honest stories of your journey through self-expression in your process of becoming authentic.  Why and how do you bare your soul and for what holy purpose?  We encourage you to let it all out on the page, and share in detail both the external circumstances and the internal conflicts that arise because of it.  When at all possible show – don’t tell.  Give us the gritty details, the emotions, the conflict, how you felt, how you responded (good and bad), and what you learned, if applicable to your story.  Although we rarely censor graphic content or language if it serves the story, we ask that you use discretion.  We are NOT looking for self-help essays on solutions, professional opinions, or agendas.

Current Categories:

The project is currently broken up into five categories:  Connection, Growth, Healing, Discovery, and Joy.  We encourage you to shape your submission to fit within one of these categories, although they may evolve as the project develops.  (The questions are a guideline to get you thinking.  Submissions do not have to answer any of these questions directly.)

  • Connection:  How does baring your soul help create unity in your life, overcome isolation, or experience relationships with God and others in new, deeper ways?
  • Growth:  Tell how accessing the deepest places within yourself has resulted in growth for you — personally, spiritually, intellectually, relationally.  What freedom or depth have you discovered in facing your fear and removing the mask(s) of your false self?
  • Healing:  Carefully opening our wounds can be a great way to bring about healing.  How has examining and sharing pain resulted in healing for yourself or others?  Where does transparency fit into forgiveness?
  • Discovery:  Stripped away of pretenses and excess, we are free to connect with our deepest, most authentic selves and to discover truth in new ways.  How has this been true for you?  Does authenticity shed new light on tired places in your mind and heart? How have your stories helped open the minds/hearts of others or challenged their perceptions?
  • Joy:  Joy can so often be muffled by the mundane.  Is it true that “the unexamined life is not worth living”?  Why?  How do you best express joy, even when it’s unconventional?  What roles do humor, laughter, and cheerfulness play in becoming human/becoming real?

Project Coordinator: Cara Sexton (cara.sexton

Word Count: 1,000 – 2,000 words; please include word count at the top of your first page.

Format: Email an attached Word document (not a PDF) with your name saved as the file name.

Submission Deadline: November 1, 2012

Estimated Publishing Date: March 1, 2012

Download the Project Submission Document:

Soul Bare Project Doc

Current List of Soul Bare Contributors

  • Cara Sexton, writes at
  • Shannan Martin, writes at
  • Emily P. Freeman, author of Grace for the Good Girl, writes at
  • Dan King, founder of and author of The Unlikely Missionary
  • Holley Gerth, author of You’re Already Amazing, God’s Heart for You, and Rain on Me: Devotions of Hope and Encouragement for Difficult Times; writer for DaySpring, co-founder of {in}courage, life counselor, founder of Squee Books and Squee, Inc.
  • Jennifer Dukes Lee, writes/blogs at and Author of book in progress with Tyndale.
  • Tamara Lunardo, editor/co-author of What a Woman is Worth, writes at and
  • Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus, Feminist (in progress), writes at and
  • Suzannah Paul, writes at
  • Serena Woods, author of Grace is for Sinners, writes at and regular contributor for Society of Christian Psychology newsletter
  • Sarah Markley, writes at,, and
  • Kris Camealy, writes at
  • Joy Bennett, writes at and
  • D.L. Mayfield, writes at and
  • Elora Nicole Ramirez, author of When Beauty Pursues You, writes at and
  • Annie Barnett, writes at
  • Ashleigh Baker, writes at and
  • Lindsey Van Niekerk, writes at
  • Tara Pohlkotte, writes at
  • Jennifer Camp, writes at
  • Erika Morrison, writes at and
  • Preston Yancey, writes at
  • Seth Haines, co-author/compiler of Mother Letters, writes at and
  • Christina Gibson, writes at
  • Christin Slade, founder of Joyful Mothering Media, writes at
  • Mandy Steward, writes at and

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