My life has been a little topsy-turvy lately and while I’m not fully ready to talk about everything on the internet for the world to know, I am ready to talk about what God has been doing in my life.
When I was home in Mid-April, I decided to stop living in fear and start walking in faith. Now, you’re probably thinking what in the heck does that even mean?
For me, it means that I was a lot of my life in fear, fear of the unknown and fear of rejection. I have been doing the easy thing and when I got back, I decided to do the hard thing. I didn’t realize just how hard it would be but I did it anyway but I did it anyway.
As a result of that decision and conversation, I decided to reread Annie F. Downs’ Let’s All Be Brave. Although I read it a few years ago when I first discovered her books, it was just what I needed. It was challenging but confirmed that this was my year to be brave.
Here are some of the things that challenged me the most:
- To see yourself the way God sees you is the first step in being brave. (pg. 42)
- God believes in you too. He believes in all the ways he made you unique. He believes in all the drams bubbling in your heart. He believes in your ability to take hold of the tiny ledge that is your next call to courage. (pg. 44-45)
- I never felt brave. I never had a moment of extreme courage of belief this was going to be the best decision I had ever made. I just did the next thing. (pg. 53)
- Don’t be afraid. Be brave. Say the things that will speak truth and heal. Hold your tongue in anger or fear–those are the times when a coward speaks. But when the moment comes to the gracious thing that will mark a heart forever? Say it. Speak love, and watch as beautiful things come to life. (pg. 96)
- The groom says yes. The pregnancy test says yes. The college acceptance letter says yes. The job offer says yes. But will you? I hope so. I really, really hope so. I hope you’ll be brave and say yes. Say yes to the gym. Say yes to the open door. Say yes to the situations that stretch you and scare you and ask you to be a better you than you think you can be. Say yes to the moments that will only come once. Say yes to serving. Say yes to Jesus in every way–every chance you get. (pg. 105)
- But courage doesn’t equal right: courage equals stepping out and trying. Be brave and say yes. But also be brave and say no. Jump on the float. Walk into the furnace. Stand up. Sit down. Get on the flight. Say the thing that courage asks you say, even if it’s the word no. (pg. 118)
- The road to courage in lit by God’s wisdom. His word in the Bible and through the Holy Spirit to you and through others is how you know. You tap into that. You ask for that. You dig into that. His word is a lamp for your feet (Psalm 119:105). Your feet. Right under you. Look down. Take that step. It’s right in front of you. (pg. 120)
- You have to be brave enough to hold on, even when your struggle feels like it’s more than your hands can handle. I want to grab your shoulders, look into your eyes, and say it again. Hold. On. Don’t give up on life. Don’t give on God. Don’t give up on yourself. Hold on to hope, love. (pg. 124)
- I just want to tell you, from one in the trenches of this season of singleness, that I am going to make it just fine. And if you are single and want to be married, you are too. God hears us when we pray. God knows our hearts better than we do. (pg. 161)
- Be brave enough to believe you are never alone. Say yes to dates, mission trips, volunteer opportunities, weekends at the beach–knowing that whether you fly alone or bike alone or lie alone in your bed, Jesus is near. You are never alone, my friend. Never. (pg. 167)
- But then, those words from Isaiah reach from the page to grab my face and pull me close, to say straight to my eyes and my heart, “YOU ARE NOT ALONE.” “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) The Message talks straight into my bones–know what I mean? “Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” He has a firm grip on you, friend. You are not alone. (pg. 168)
- Seeing other people be bravemakes you want to be brave too. That’s why you’ll see rational adults going down a loopty-loop waterslide even if they don’t want to, because they want to show the kids it isn’t scary. It’s a domino effect. That’s why we have to start. It’s why we have to go first. It’s why we have to be brave–so that toher will be inspired to be brave as well. (pg. 171)
- You want to change the world? Be brave. Be you. Don’t try to be someone else or do someone else’s brave thing. (pg.175)
- Discipline enables courage to show up. It shows up when temptation feels like too much. It shows up when the desire to quit is more than you can take. It shows up when get middle of the night phone call from a friend in trouble. It shows up. Your discipline, the rhythm that makes you the best you–whether it’s training your body, your mind, or your spirit–shows up when it is time to say the right thing, do the right thing, be the brave person you want to be. It’s the practice that makes perfect, and the practice that makes you brave. (pg. 189)
- And today I pray peace for you. Because even inthe scariest moments, even when the map seems to be upside down or you can’t see far enought ahead to feel brave enough to take a step, Jesus promises you peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the workds gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). (pg. 200)
For Christmas, I got her newest book, 100 Days to Brave. She is doing #100daystobravesummer on Instagram and it just happened to start on my birthday and goes through Labor Day. I’m a little ahead but my roommate and I are doing it together and it’s been really great. It’s so fun to follow along with the hashtag and join in online community that is forming.
The other thing that inspired this Year if Brave is Emily P. Freeman’s “The Next Right Thing Podcast.” I cannot explain how helpful it has been and just how it has given my soul the perfect place to breathe a little for those few minutes. Some of my favorite episodes are 07: Faithfulness, Fame, and the Gift of Obscurity, 11: Wear Better Pants, 16: Walk Slow and Carry Questions, 24: Look for Arrows (Not Answers), 27: Stop Rushing Clarity, and 33: Gather Co-Listeners.
There are some things coming that are going to create space for me to step into the bravery that God is calling me to, some sooner than others. The one I am most excited about is a fiction writing community called Les Conteurs which I found about through Erin Moon’s Instastories. (Side note: if you’re not following her, you need to do that ASAP HERE!) Anyway, I had been looking at different writing options and they are mainly for non-fiction. While I love my blog and writing for it, my true writing love is fiction. (If you’re curious, I have one novel that I have completed edited draft from an editor and another one completed one that I can’t seem to quit.) When it comes to the writing world, fiction and non-fiction are very different so finding a fiction community is extremely exciting for me. I can’t wait to get started and see what comes of it.
This year isn’t going to be an easy one but it’s going to be a good one. I can’t wait to see what all year 27 holds and it all starts with being brave. So, here’s to being to brave, doing the hard things, and walking in faith. Follow along with my journey on Instagram, #RAsYearofBrave
How can you be brave today?