Her name is Sherri Lynn. You might know her as the producer from The Brant Hansen Show. We are so excited to have her on the Purposely network, where this podcast lives. Her new podcast Snacks & Good Company is launching so go check that out after you listen to this interview. You’ll love this conversation with Sherri as we dive into identity, what shapes us and the foundation we all should build our lives upon.
Find Sherri Lynn: Online | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
Sherri’s Podcast: Snacks & Good Company
Purposely: Your life, God’s Purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com.
Sherri [00:00:12] If you define yourself by all of these other things, I don’t know any of those things that can’t be shaken or changed. If I don’t have some kind of foundation of who I am inside, apart from these things, then for me personally, then I’m teetering on disaster.
Sarah [00:00:33] Her name is Sherri and you might know her best as producer Sherri from The Brant Hansen Show. So thankful that she took some time to sit down and discuss all things passion and purpose. And I like to start in childhood Sherri, you know this because I feel like there’s often something that shows up when you’re like a toddler that is just ingrained in your personality. Do you have a story like that?
Sherri [00:00:56] I have a story that my mom tells that she was just always very, very afraid of me wandering because I talked to everybody. And I’m sure people have kids like that that are just so outgoing. She didn’t know what to do with that. Like, she’s a first-time mom. She was a single mom. She was not with her family at the time because she was kind of ostracized because she was a single mom. And so, it’s just me and her. And she’s looking at this little person with this giant head that won’t shut up. And so, she said, I talked all the time, even when I didn’t have words. Sometimes she said she just look at me like, “I wonder what she’s saying?” She said, because it felt like sentences. It felt like there was a comprehension on my part. So, it wasn’t even gibberish, she said. It was just sounded like she actually knows what she’s talking about. And she would if she had to hold my hand very tightly in stores and things like that, because I would wander off and say hi and talk with people. And so I think from that point, I think she’s still holding my hand tightly. She’s still on edge. Still not sure how it’s all going to work out.
Sarah [00:02:17] Why don’t we come back to that. But first, I want to ask you. So there it is, that big personality pretty much straight out of the gate. And then was there ever a time where you tried to dim your light because you felt like that big personality was too much for others?
Sherri [00:02:33] Yeah, I did. It’s been a learning and growing process because I am the loudest one in the room, even when I’m not attempting to be. And then people will assume that I’m doing that for attention and I’m not. I don’t know. I always say I have one, I have two volumes, zero or ten. And so, I don’t have really gray areas. I’m either black or white. I’m either all the way on or I’m somewhere sleep for two days. I just I’m just big. And when you’re growing up, you know, it’s hard, especially as a woman, if I can say that as a woman, it’s difficult because people view it a certain way, and that’s just not who I am. I don’t seek out attention. People think that I do, but I don’t. I’m just loud. I have a big personality and I had to and God is still working on me with that of this is who you are. I think when I’m single, when I, you know, entered dating age and started in radio and, you know, thought I was hot to trot in Pittsburgh because I had a little radio show and everything. And so, everybody knew me or whatever. Sherri Lynn in your weekend is how I started.
Sarah [00:03:50] Oh, I like it.
Sherri [00:03:51] So I started with that and then I just had a morning show and all that. And dating was difficult because I’m just big and it’s hard to dial that back. And there weren’t a lot of guys who could handle that. And I’m just being honest in my life. I’m not saying I’m not making a sweeping judgment of people. I’m saying for me. And then it was like, well can I change myself, you know? And in junior high and high school, my mom left the projects where we were to take us to a high school or junior high and high school where we would get a better education. But I was the only black girl there. I was only black person at the junior high. And then there were like maybe five or six others when we got to the high school. And you know, culturally there are cultural differences. There just are, right? And so that was difficult for me at that age where you’re already questioning yourself and who you are and what you are. But you’re just the big, literally big. I was a portly child as well. So, you’re just the big one and it was so hard. That was a hard time for me. Oh, my gosh. And so, I had to battle those things as I got older of just accepting who I am and accepting that God uses it and He uses it to, you know, to make people feel not alone, that a person who feels like they’re alone in the corner. I have enough bigness for both of us. Come out of the corner and let’s hang out. I remember a guy named Danny Clingingsmith. This is my high school story of how my bigness helped others. I think I helped him. Who knows? Danny Clingingsmith was an introvert. He sat by himself at lunch all the time, and there were the table black girls. There was like four or five of us and we sit together. And one day after seeing him for months, sitting by himself, I go over and I say, Danny, why don’t you come sit with us? And he’s like, No, that’s okay. And I was like, No, come, you’re sitting by yourself. Just come sit with us, right? And so, I start picking up his tray.
Sarah [00:05:59] Wow.
Sherri [00:06:01] This is this is me. So, I start paying off his tray some, you know, you don’t want to be by yourself. You can’t want to be by yourself. So, he comes over and sits with the black girls and sat with us for the rest of the year and never said a word. He just sat.
[00:07:19] Let’s talk a little more about identity. I’m surprised that if you ask someone, and I’ve even done this with myself, who are you? You might get what I do. You might get certain roles in the family structure. But when it comes to like, who am I apart from all those things do you think it’s so important to know the answer to that?
[00:07:41] Because if you define yourself by all of these other things, I don’t know any of those things that can’t be shaken or changed. So, you can be somebody’s wife and maybe you cannot be somebody’s mother, but then the relationship is fractured. You can be all of these things that can be taken away. If I don’t have some kind of foundation of who I am inside, apart from these things. Then for me personally, then I’m teetering on disaster because I’ve given parts of myself that people can take abuse, whatever I have to have a sense of my own self who I am, how I operate in the world. That’s what my grandfather used to say. So, I never knew that people didn’t operate the way we did as a family until I got to college. And I was like, Oh, people don’t get together every Sunday people aren’t loud like us people aren’t like, I just know everybody’s cousins aren’t like best friends I didn’t know any of
[00:08:48] That is exactly right. And if they had a separate room, they would put us over there because it looks like it’s too much. That’s how we were. So I didn’t understand. I thought everybody was I came back from college, and I said to my grandpa, Now there’s people who don’t know they’re cousins. There are people who don’t really see their grandparents. There are people who don’t get together with their families, people who don’t go to church on Sunday and Bible study on Wednesday and revival on Thursday and all the other services. I said, Why are we like this? And he said, I can’t help my grandfather. Pastor 54 plus years and Baptist Church is I can’t help all those people do. This is how we operate in the world. And I thought that was so good. This is how I operate in the world. This is who I am. And he had such a strong sense of self that I remember telling him that one of our cousins had low self-esteem. I told him on the story the other day, you know, he has low self-esteem, and he couldn’t he had no, I was like, Grandpa, the understand what I’m saying is he’s looking at me. Blink, wink, wink, wink. Grandpa, do you understand what I’m saying? He has low self-esteem because he had asked me what’s wrong with that boy? And I said, He has low self-esteem, Grandpa. He just. He said, ha. And so I’m trying to explain to, like, an 8 year old man with low self-esteem s I’m trying to unpack it. He said, What me from meow. And I was like, Well, yeah, he just had a very strong sense of self, and I think he gave that to us to just hold your own in the world, hold both feet on the ground, hold your own. And I don’t need your space that keeps me from coveting, that keeps me from when you know who you are I don’t have to covet. I don’t have to be jealous. I don’t have to be envious because that’s your space in the world. That’s not my space in the world. This is my space in the world. And I can hold this space.
[00:10:34] There was someone that knew part of your space in the world before you knew it, and you were actually living sort of the opposite.
[00:10:48] Mm hmm. My mom, she believed God for me when I didn’t know what that mean tight, and I don’t know what it is. People ask me, Oh, you’re so wonderful taking care of your mother. Because I do. But she literally stood between me and hell and was like, No. She’s not until, like, she’s just a, you know, Bible believing woman. And in her faith, she believed that I had a purpose. And so, I was a very wild child, very wild, very obsessive, very excessive, all of those things. And one day at church, a lady prophesies and she says to my mom all these things that she felt like God said for my life, who I would be, what my purpose was going to be, how I was going to walk in the world. And my mom got the cassette tape that tells you how old I am. I got the cassette tape and had it transcribed into a letter on a piece of paper, all the things. And she would read that and then she’d fold it up and put it in her dresser drawer because she believed it so much. And what she didn’t know is that when I would come stumbling in the house from God knows where, who whatever, I would go and read it. And it just seemed so far away. It seemed like the word seemed so foreign, like there’s no way I could get there. But I did. And I’m grateful. And yes, I still have that that letter and my mom still holds on to those things now for her grandchildren, which is amazing.
[00:12:29] What are some of the lines that you remember when you would read?
[00:12:34] I remember that that I was going to speak and that she should teach me and that she should. There was I can’t remember the words she said but hear her because those are God’s words that she’s speaking. And I was a kid my mom took that man and she took that and ran with it. And there was a lot of the stuff that I do today about speaking about just kind of being there for people in a way that is real and authentic. And yeah, I just remember the hear her. You can correct herut hear her. And I think my mom does that to this day. One of my favorite things about her is that she’s she’s really sweet and she does listen to me sometimes, except for the fact when I told her to eat chicken soup, chicken and rice soup because she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer. And so, she has I know it’s a rabbit trail, but she has chemo. And so, I have to say to her, we can’t eat what we’re used to eating anymore? Like, we’re just a big black soul food biscuit eating family. We can’t do that now, right? So, we have to eat better. And so, she has this chicken rice soup that she loves that she can eat. You eat that before your treatment before the treatment and then after gave a little bit of that after the treatment just so you have to have a little something on your stomach. You can’t go to Cracker Barrel and have the ham and meat, meatloaf, dinner after treatment. That’s not going to work. Okay. So, I fly away for business. I send my cousin down there to be with her and I call my mom. I said, how was treatment? girl was good. I’m doing great. I said, your food, listen, I just decided. I decided to go ahead and have me two hot dogs. And so silent. And I’m like, So you decided that you decided to have some big fat processed meat right after your right after you I know, But I thought, why not go ahead and have me a couple hot dogs? And I was like, Mom, you know, I have many answers to that question of why not. So, but she typically listens to me. And I think I really think it stems back to that of here’s a person who she believes God has given some wisdom to and I’m grateful for that.
[00:15:02] Another thing she did, and I think this was before cell phones, she wanted to know where you were.
[00:15:12] And she prayed, God, where’s my baby?
[00:15:20] I can’t remember how old I was, but I do remember being at a party. And she’s done this a couple of times, more than a couple, where she would ask, God, where is she? Because I was always somewhere doing something I shouldn’t be doing. So this particular time that I remember is I was at the party and my mom knocked on the door and I was passed out on the couch and knocked on the door and said, Hey, is here? Because she had asked where I was, and I was there. And I remember that was a that was an awful day of seeing her face, the fear of a mother, because she doesn’t know where I’m at. And I just wasn’t in the place yet. And those of you who have been things, you know what I’m saying I wasn’t the place yet to really let that resonate in me on how much I was hurting her very decision I was making. But I do remember the look on her face when I got up and went to the door and saw her. And she went through a lot with me. She really did. She went through a lot with me.
[00:16:22] It just makes me think about how God is so tender hearted when a mother is going to im on behalf of one of her children, whatever the circumstances are.
[00:17:05] And she’s also gotten to see the words on that letter come to fruition. So, she has this joy of being able to see prayers answered. And what you do now.
[00:17:50] What that signifies is just, yeah, she likes to hear what you’re doing.
[00:17:54] Oh, she l.
[00:17:55] With the platform of ministry that the Lord is giving you.
[00:17:58] She listens to the podcast. I know it’s a little silly for her, but she listens every day. When I go to events, she comes with me. She gets to enjoy that. You know what I mean I’m serious about that. She gets enjoy, you know the fruit of your labor yeah you get to you get to enjoy that and I make sure whenever I can that she’s included because she worked hard for it. She prayed hard for it.
[00:19:31] Gosh, that’s a great question. I don’t know. I don’t know what I don’t know what the sweet spot or sour spot or any spot. I don’t know. I think that I know I grow every year. I feel like I’m more comfortable with who God made me. I know getting older is really sweet to me. I know we’re not supposed to say that, and that’s supposed to be horrible. t’s really sweet to me because the things I’ve accrued this history, you know what I mean? With God in my mind, this history where I feel like things don’t rattle me as much and I feel more comfortable in creating and not creating for the masses. Creating because I have something to say, and I feel like it’s something important to say. I think it’ll be a blessing to people. Put it out there. Whereas when you’re younger, it’s a lot of scurrying, hoping people like it, that they like me. Oh, my goodness. Ten likes on this one, 15 likes on that one. You know all of that that is starting to fall away. And that’s the sweet spot where you just create it. You just make it. You feel good about it. You go on about your business until the next thing you want to make. That is a sweet spot that I’m getting into that I really, really love.
[00:20:52] Let’s talk about how I mean, this is called Passion Meets Purpose, so it’s not just knowing who you are and doing what you want to do or like. It’s really how you give back to the world. Why does it matter to find that aspect of who we are?
[00:21:08] You know. That’s the other thing of getting older is learning. Hopefully, hopefully. I had a really good example. I have a really good example mother that life isn’t all about you, you know what I mean? Like your bucket list, what you’re trying to achieve even resolutions and all that, that’s all very us focused. As I get older, I realize I’m going to be okay you know God forbid, if I drop dead tomorrow, I’m going to be all right.
[00:23:21] It makes me think of how Brant talks about being content and usually the most content people I know in my life are the ones that are very generous.
[00:23:33] Live below their means.
[00:25:25] How have you seen God be that networker for you, bringing something into your life that you deeply loved or found meaning in and you thought, Wow, I didn’t even know I needed this, but you brought it my way and found yourself just in a He did it. He made it happen.
[00:25:43] Gosh, that’s the Brant Hansen show. I didn’t know what that was. I didn’t I didn’t know anything really about contemporary Christian music. I think I knew Sandi, Patty and Larnelle.
[00:25:56] I sang, they sang a song. I just I’ve
[00:27:28] I think it’s such a great example of everything we’ve talked about because in order for that show to work, Brant has to be fully him and you have to be fully you. And I don’t know all the ins and outs. I kind of had a picture me in the nosebleeds of a stadium and pretend you guys are on the field. And that’s how foggy my view is. But correct me if I’m wrong, my is you guys started out on a couple networks.
[00:27:56] Yes, that’s right.
[00:27:57] And I feel like I’ve picked up the pieces that maybe they were trying to make you guys into something that didn’t quite fit or have some parameters around you. That doesn’t give you both the freedom that you have now to be fully yourself.
[00:28:10] Mm hmm. No, that’s a good way to put it. That there were parameters or just and I don’t begrudge them for it. You have your standards or whatever you feel like you have for your network, and that’s great. But we weren’t going to fit in it. And yeah, we just weren’t going to fit in it. And there were just things, there are ways, particular ways we are that just wasn’t going to work. And yeah, that’s it.
[00:28:37] And so once you guys were on your own and it has grown and grown and grown from an identity perspective, I feel like that’s an example of, okay, what if we didn’t have those parameters? What if some of the regular rules of radio simple things like I don’t know when I first got into this, I was taught sarcasm doesn’t work, right? Don’t be too silly spiritual. You guys are very silly and very spiritual.
[00:29:03] Every little thing that they read in the paper and told you not to do.
[00:29:08] You guys do it now, you do it very well.
[00:29:12] Thank you.
[00:29:13] And I think it’s just that example of, you know, don’t let someone tell you that that part of your personality needs to be homogenized.
[00:29:23] But why don’t you lean even deeper into it?
[00:29:27] And then see what might happen?
[00:29:29] I think so. And I think if you can take it with humility, I think that’s important. I think both of us bring that to the table as much as we can. Is in honoring each other. So that in honoring each other’s differences and being honest about that that the relationship of brother and sister works. And then that’s what you hear on the air to we work that and then that shows up on the air. So, I think how you are, who you are.
[00:32:45] Thanks so much for being here today on The Passion Meets Purpose podcast. We’re going to talk again in two weeks. But in the meantime, if you want to do us a huge favor, obviously you know this by now. If you leave a review, it really helps others to find this podcast. It also helps us to make it better and then you can contact us any time at purposely podcasts. Until next time thank you.