When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?
The past few months have seen me do more brave things than I’ve done in a really long time. I’m not sure why this surge of bravery, but it has without a doubt breathed new life back into my tired mind and body. For very long periods of my life, coming up with a single brave act would be challenging at best, but I find myself with the unnatural dilemma of picking just one. WHAT?!? I don’t even know who I am right now.
And, since this is MY blog, I can make up the rules as I go and will therefore provide a list (in the most humble way I can) of the brave things I’ve done recently.
- I flew without the aid of prescription sedatives (alcohol does NOT count here), for not one trip, but two. Actually, I’ve travelled by plane 3 different times since mid September alone. For most of you, this is a very regular occurrence. It is not for me and trust me when I say this took courage….and a lot of it.
- I poured out my heart to my church for five passionate, heartfelt minutes about a little town in Alabama that so desperately needs us to show them what it means to be children of a King. I issued a challenge and I’ll do the work to see it through, but I know that God will make it happen. We must reflect God’s love and show others how to do the same, even in the places where fear controls us.
- I sat in a room with eight women I did not know (and one I did) and told my personal story of and through racism. The words that poured from my heart were not my own, but God’s gentle spirit telling a story of shame and ignorance. Our stories matter, even if they are not easy to tell.
- I spoke (through recorded video) to a group of 125 women at a retreat I helped to organize and plan. God put me in a place to tell my truth so that others could tell theirs. And truth telling is how we take away shame’s hold on us.
The second part of the today’s prompt asks a simple question. “What happened?” Had I selected a single act of bravery as the prompt suggest, this would probably be the point where I would wrap up the story with some valuable life lesson, and tie it up with a pretty bow. Instead, I’m going to tell you what didn’t happen.
- I didn’t let my irrational fear of flying stop me from traveling with two incredibly godly men to follow God’s call to help the people of a small town in Alabama. I didn’t let my inexperience and childlike faith stop me from speaking up in a room where every other person was so much smarter and wiser than myself. I didn’t let fear clip my wings.
- I didn’t let my inner voice say no when the pastor asked me to speak to the church on Sunday morning following 2 weeks of mission trips. I didn’t stress when the talking points I prepared were preempted by a request to talk about just one portion of those trips. I didn’t let my knees knocking keep me from climbing the steps to the stage, or my trembling hands from taking the microphone. I didn’t let the 100’s of faces in front of me intimidate what my heart needed to say. I didn’t stop the words God told me to speak, even if I had no idea what words would come next. I didn’t let fear silence me.
- I didn’t let myself be intimidated in a room of women who are so much further on their faith journey than me. I didn’t let the colors in the room stop me from telling a story that had never been spoken out loud. I didn’t let my own self loathing stop me from revealing a past I need to reconcile. I didn’t miss an opportunity to learn so much about unity and how our stories can help to heal a broken and damaged world. I didn’t miss making new friends and feeling accepted and loved even when I didn’t feel I deserved it. I didn’t miss an opportunity to hear the words “that was so brave” and realize how important it is to say that to others. I didn’t let fear give me a place to hide.
- I didn’t let the fact that I had never attended a women’s retreat stop me from helping to plan one. I didn’t stop the words “I think I have a story to tell” flow from my mouth to the exact person who knew what to do with that. I didn’t let not knowing if my story would matter keep me from telling it. I didn’t allow fears of judgement and condemnation to stop me from sharing. I didn’t miss a faith filled weekend with my best friend. I didn’t hold back tears and hugs and prayers when it was their time. I didn’t miss opportunities to hear other women confess and release pain they had held far too long. I didn’t miss finding a love for my sisters in Christ that I had no idea I even wanted. I didn’t miss chances to make mistakes and to struggle to find words when there were none. I didn’t miss hearing “your story is my story” countless times. I didn’t let fear tell me my story didn’t matter.
What blessings are you missing out on today because fear is holding you back? Scripture tells us over and over to be courageous. Let’s do that. God will use you when you least expect it.
Be brave, Sisters.
Thank you for reading. Please also scoot over to my husband’s blog and check out his latest act of bravery. Hint: it happened tonight!