Hard Truths. Soft Hearts.

Hi, I’m Kate. Let’s untangle our culture’s obsession with toxic positivity and self help, shall we?

I am a Duke professor, podcaster, and author with a single mission: giving you permission to feel human. (And letting you have whatever weird or boring hobbies you can’t explain to strangers. Do I love roadside attractions and exotic potato chip flavors? Yes. More than I should say.)
I believe that the world would be a gentler place if we took apart the well-meaning clichés we use when life is hard. (What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Maybe what doesn’t kill you might try again tomorrow. 🙂 )
I am determined to create a gentler world for everyone who wants to admit that they are not always “living their best life.” After years of being told I was incurable, I was declared cancer-free. But there’s no going back. I am forever changed by what I discovered: life is so beautiful and life is so hard. For everyone.
Kate Bowler sitting in front of books

Are you living your best life now? Not always? Well, this is a podcast for you.

Kate Bowler is a historian and expert in the stories we tell about success and failure, suffering and happiness. She had Stage IV cancer. Then she didn’t. And since then, all she wants to do is talk to funny and wise people about how to live with the knowledge that, well, everything happens. 

featured episodes


Free discussion guides for our favorite episodes and books to use with your churches or groups or book clubs.


Join Kate Bowler, journalist Nicholas Kristof, and musician Sara Groves on Thursday, July 11 in Indianapolis for a night of hope-making.

Everyone loves free stuff. (Especially if it helps?!)

These free resources are designed with you in mind. Encouragement. Meditations. Conversation starters. Pick what fits whatever day you’re having. 

  • Suspicious of Joy – Discussion Guide
    Free Discussion guide

    Suspicious of Joy – Discussion Guide

    Free group discussion guide on finding hope and joy in the midst of difficulties with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Kate Bowler.

  • Illness Happens

    Illness Happens

    This curated care package is meant to offer love, support, and encouragement if you’re facing difficult medical news. Or maybe someone you love has been recently diagnosed and you want to be a support.

  • For Chaplains

    For Chaplains

    As leaders of faith you are often called to enter into the holy space of lives coming undone, such as the waiting room, the hospital room, or even the dreaded family rooms. You are so brave to enter into these spaces, realizing you may be the only person who enters into this room who has…

  • 7 Prayers for Uncertain Times
    Free Download

    7 Prayers for Uncertain Times

    May these prayers comfort and hold you when there is nothing else to do but pray. May they give you a bit of courage to live here, in all of your beautiful, terrible humanity again today.

Give up on good, better, best.
Ground yourself in what’s still true.

Daily Meditations for the Ups, Downs & In-Betweens

Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day! is packed with bite-size reflections and action-oriented steps to help you get through the day, be it good, bad, or totally mediocre. This is a devotional for the rest of us—which is to say, the people who don’t have magical lives that always work out for the best. As she composed these meditations during a season of chronic pain, Bowler understands how every day can be an obstacle course. She encourages us to develop our capacity to feel the breadth of our experiences. The better we are at identifying our highs and lows, the more resilient we become.hope while acknowledging our real, messy lives.


Want to start living your Okayest Life Now? Look no further. 

Kate loves to challenge the clichés we use to think about success and failure. Instead, she celebrates the necessity for courage, honesty, and the embarrassing amount that we rely on each other. (Sorry, individualism.) Join Kate at an event near you.