How different would things be if I approached each situation, each person, with bravery?
That's the question that's been bumping around my head since last autumn. It's gnawed at me — challenging me to make hard choices, nudging me to open my mouth, inspiring me to move past the constraints others have placed on me. So as this new year began (six weeks ago already — woah!), I knew there was only one thing I could do. My OneWord365 simply had to be...
B • R • A • V • E
The more I mulled it over, the more I came to discover that, at least for me, in this season, brave looks very different from risk. My year of risk led me to do so many things I would likely never have been willing to attempt on my own without that extra nudge. Taking brave to heart isn't so much about doing adventurous and challenging things — although I'm sure those elements will still come into play.
Choosing to be brave is more a choice to embrace who I am, value my own voice, and walk in confidence.
Last year, my OneWord365 was enough, and I worked hard for my heart to start grasping more than ever before that I am enough because He is enough. And I know now that being brave can only come from that fuller sense of enoughness.
(I am always amazed to see, when looking back, how God weaves the tapestry of my journey. What seems random and messy while I'm in the middle of it, ends up being purposefully beautiful when He's done with it. But I digress...)
If I truly believe I am enough, I will approach every situation, every person, with bravery.
And that will change everything.
I have to be honest. I'm terrified of being brave.
It feels vulnerable and exposing. It stirs up hard questions with even harder answers. It challenges the very foundation of who I am and the breed of Christianity I was raised in. It flies in the face of some deep-seated beliefs that have been instilled in me (and at times forced on me). How can I be brave while also being quiet... supportive... humble... modest... gentle... submissive... selfless...? Now, before you start soapboxing to me about each of those, please know that I can soapbox with the best of you. But if I'm being Velveteenly vulnerable, the voices of my past still plague me at times, and knowing the truth isn't the same as knowing the truth...
It takes a healthy dose of bravery to choose to be brave.
But I'm choosing it. Or at least I'm choosing to choose it, which is really how anything truly starts. And I'm already seeing that choice play out in significant ways...
I'm leaning into the joys of my new life. I'm putting myself in uncomfortable situations to find and foster community. I'm facing the question marks of health concerns head on. I'm letting go of my need to belong in circles where I used to fit but no longer do. I'm extending grace to others and to myself. I'm planning for the future in ways I'd never imagined. I'm speaking up. I'm getting to know who I really am now, rather than simply pining for who I used to be. I'm leaning away from toxic relationships and environments. I'm tackling things I've always said I didn't have the skill set to do. I'm living more open-handedly and open-heartedly. I'm giving myself permission to embrace my now, even when I don't have all the answers.
:: DEEP BREATH ::
I'm still terrified, but that's okay.
I know that being brave doesn't mean there's no fear... It simply means doing it afraid.
So that's what I'm doing.
Right here... right now... with everything and everyone I face today... I will approach it all with bravery.
And it will make all the difference in the world.