Julie Ziglar Norman often says her dad is the king of “doing life right” and she is the poster child for “doing life wrong.” In Growing Up Ziglar: A Daughter’s Broken Journey from Heartache to Hope, Norman shares how for 25 years she lived every day with regret, shame, guilt, and depression while trying to keep up the positive outer appearance that was expected of her as the daughter of popular motivational author and speaker Zig Ziglar.
Q: Growing Up Ziglar actually focuses more on the struggles that started as a teen and young adult than stories of growing up. You battled depression and alcohol among other things. What do you think led you down the road of negativity, when you grew up in a background that expressed positivity?
I made bad choices that led to negative consequences. My choices were based on my immature, thirteen-year-old desire to “belong and fit-in” when our family moved from Columbia, South Carolina to Dallas, Texas. The process was complicated by a jealous classmate who started a rumor about me that was so bad that I ultimately earned a bad reputation that I had wrongly been given. I wasn’t actually a rebellious child, at least not openly. I was a people pleaser of the worst sort and that, I believe, caused the majority of my problems.
Q: What are some of the things that you struggled with most?
I struggled with being too independent. I would not ask for help when I needed it and I never let anyone know when I was hurting or when my life was getting out of control. Learning to be Inter-dependent involved letting go of the fear of judgment, letting go of being prideful, and facing the knowledge that I’d feel rejected if I asked for help and didn’t receive any. Being transparent makes you vulnerable and when your opinion of yourself is low to start with it makes one resistant to risk taking.
I also struggled with totally surrendering my life to Christ. I was so afraid of what He’d require of me.
I struggled with using alcohol, food, and men to change the way I felt. I used to think that changing where I lived would change my life. That makes me laugh at myself now but I believe many things to be true that simply were not true.
I also struggled with not understanding God’s grace and His total forgiveness. Because of that misperception I lived outside of His will for two decades longer than I had to.
Q: You now lead the Ziglar Women’s conference. What is the primary objective of your conference?
The Ziglar Women include my mother Jean Ziglar, my oldest daughter DeDe Galindo, my youngest daughter Amey Fair and me. The objective or mission of The Ziglar Women is to challenge tentative Christianity, inspire God’s people to intensify their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to become a light in the darkness for those who seek God.
We teach women about shredding the veil of false pretense and learning how to live comfortably in their own skin because Jesus loves them right where they are. We call women to get real, and thus get right with God and the people they share their lives with. The conference is about real life in the trenches, coming to terms with unspeakable sins, and the sickness that engulfs those who live with secrets.
For the Christian who has cleaned up her life but shamefully hides her past, we want her to know that she lives in bondage still. Our point is that if women hide their wrongs they are not free to help other women who are in the midst of their wrongs find a way out. There is no counsel like the counsel of one who has walked your path.
Christian women more than any other group I am familiar with hide the truth of what God has so graciously forgiven them because of shame they shouldn't even have in their lives anymore. Our conference is about gut-wrenching repentance, getting past shame, guilt, remorse and regret and using your hellish past, or if you're the more positive type, using your experience, strength and hope, to glorify God and comfort others.
(Guideposts/May 1, 2012)