Author Profile: Leslie Ludy

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Leslie Ludy is a speaker and author of several books, including Authentic Beauty, Set-Apart Femininity, and Wrestling Prayer. She shares with us about her message and life in our interview with her:
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"The preoccupations of a young woman – their looks, their clothes, their social life – don’t seem to change much from generation to generation. But in every generation there seems to be a few who make other choices.” You mention that this is one of your favorite quotes and that it inspired you at a young age to live a set-apart life. What is your vision for those “few who make other choices”? What exactly does living a set-apart life for Christ look like?
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During most of my teen years, I lived the way countless other Christian young women live today - with one foot in the world and the other in the murky waters of Christian compromise. I lived my life only two or three steps ahead of the culture’s standards. When it came to clothes – I dressed seductively, just not quite as slutty as the girls on the Guess jeans ads. When it came to role models – I revered popular young singers or movie stars that said they were Christians (what did it matter if you really couldn’t tell by their lives?) When it came to magazines – I read the style and beauty articles and (usually) skipped the ones that justified premarital sex. When it came to pastimes – I watched the same movies and listened to the same music as everyone else, and tried to overlook all the profanity and perversion. When it came to guys – I flirted and cavorted like everyone else but made sure it was mostly with guys who claimed to be Christians and went to youth group. When it came to relationships – I gave myself emotionally and physically to one fling after another, but saved my “technical” virginity until marriage.
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I was a “Christian” young woman. But I was not a set-apart young woman.
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This is the state of countless Christian young women all across America. We are entrenched in the attractions of pop-culture, trying to fit Christ in wherever it’s convenient. We are far more consumed with becoming attractive to the world than being found beautiful in the eyes of our Heavenly Bridegroom. And we are reaping the consequences of our compromise in unhappy, unfulfilled, insecure, broken lives.
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Something has to change.
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God’s sacred intent for us goes far beyond just saving sex until marriage, wearing one-piece swimsuits instead of skimpy string bikinis, or idolizing Christian bands instead of secular ones. It is not just making sure we tack on some Christian morality to our self-indulgent lives.
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His sacred intent for you and for me is nothing short of absolute abandonment to Jesus Christ, entire separation from the pollution of the world, and ardent worship of our King with every breath we take. When we are set apart for Him, we don’t just try to fit Him into our life. Rather, we build our entire life around Him. Our life doesn’t just imitate the world around us with a few higher morals tacked on. Rather, our life is a glorious display of His selflessness, sacrificial love, and purity. We don’t live for our own pleasure when we are set apart for Christ. Rather, we become a living sacrifice for Him every moment of the day. As it says all throughout Scripture, we cannot love Him and love the things of this world. We must choose this day which master we are going to serve.
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In your first book, Authentic Beauty: The Shaping of a Set-Apart Young Woman, you illustrate the richness of God’s intimate love for us and how we should return our love by living wholly for Him. How does the message of your newest book, Set-Apart Femininity: God’s Sacred Intent for Every Woman continue the ideas you set place in Authentic Beauty?-

Authentic Beauty introduces young women to the true Prince of the heart – the only One who can truly satisfy the deepest longings of their soul…Jesus Christ. It shows them how to cultivate a daily, intimate romance with Him and find their fulfillment in Him alone rather than searching for it through guys and the approval of the world. Set Apart Femininity builds upon that foundation, and paints an exciting vision of what the set-apart life looks like in every aspect of your daily existence – from the way you relate to guys to the way you spend your free time to the focus and direction of your life. It gives young women a huge vision of God’s sacred purpose for their lives and equips them with the practical tools to begin living a truly fulfilled and radiant life, starting today.

God has challenged me in these past few years, at a much greater level than I would have thought possible, to rise above the typical mediocrity of modern-day womanhood, and walk a road that is narrow, rocky and misunderstood by the masses. Set-Apart Femininity presents that very same challenge to you. If you want to remain comfortably where you are in your feminine journey, this book probably won’t be your cup of tea. But if you are one of the thousands of young women that hunger to showcase something spectacular and triumphant through your femininity, Set Apart Femininity is what you’ve been waiting for.
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What encouragement would you give to a young woman who desires to live a set-apart life for Christ but is struggling with the day-to-day applications?
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Today’s young women aren’t finding Him because we aren’t searching for Him with all our hearts. We are too preoccupied with watching reality shows, too busy downloading the latest songs on ITunes, and too enamored with Hollywood’s newest production to let our whole being be poured forth in constant and unreserved devotion in the service of the Lord who died to save us.
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Most of us feel we don’t have enough time for prayer and seeking God. But we don’t even consider giving up our nightly T.V. time, our weekend movie fests, or our ITunes fetish in exchange for spending time in His presence. 1 Timothy 5:6 says, she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. (NKJV) That’s where most of us are at.
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When we lay everything at the feet of Jesus and find our deepest fulfillment, rest, peace, strength, and joy in His presence alone – not dulling our spiritual life with worldly counterfeits – we are ushered into the supernatural, superhuman existence God designed us to live. That’s when the presence of God draws near. That’s when our prayers are heard and answered. That’s when the life we read about in Scripture actually becomes our reality.
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Most of us constantly battle with the fact that God is distant, intimacy with Christ is difficult to obtain, and our prayers don’t seem to be heard. But God says, You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13 NKJV)
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Living a radiant, set-apart life is not a complicated formula. But it does require a willingness to make radical changes – to ruthlessly remove anything that is hindering and distracting us from a life fully and completely consumed with the things of Heaven and not the things of earth. Take some time to prayerfully consider the way that you spend your free time, the influences and voices that you allow into your life on a daily or weekly basis. If you come with an open heart, God will be faithful to gently reveal all that must be removed so that His life can be experienced in all its fullness.
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Throughout your books and website you talk a lot about Christian heroes and heroines of the past and how they have influenced your pursuit of Christ—people like Amy Carmichael and Gladys Alyward. Specifically, how have these great women of the Christian faith influenced you?-

History is filled with amazing examples of stunning set-apart women, wholly devoted to Jesus Christ. Some of my favorites are Amy Carmichael, Gladys Alyward, Sabina Wurmbrandt, Catherine Booth, Esther Ahn Kim, and Jackie Pullinger (who is still alive.) Their awe-inspiring examples of radiant femininity put modern young women (myself included!) to shame. Amy Carmichael wrote, "What is the secret to great living? Entire separation to Christ and devotion to Him. Thus speaks every man and woman whose life has made more than a passing flicker in the spiritual realm. It is the life that has no time for trifling that counts."

That quote sums it up for me. I love to read about the set-apart women of history because it reminds me that when we do not waste our life on shallow pleasures or trifle with worldly preoccupations, God will do amazing, world-altering things through our lives. We don’t have to be highly educated or super-talented to be mightily used for the Kingdom of God. We just need to offer our lives to Him as a daily living sacrifice, and follow where He leads. And that’s when our life becomes a glorious adventure that brings glory to His name.
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Originally published in the Fall 2008 issue of Bloom! magazine.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for this post... I too am a fan (that is the best word I could find...) of Leslie's books and ministry. This was a good reminder of the fact that life is not all about me - it's about God and being set-apart for His works.
    PS. I love Bloom's new look!
    God bless you girls!
    Rachael

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