One Word 2014

on becoming brave

link window brave How different would things be if I approached each situation, each person, with bravery?

That's the question that scratched away at my heart and made me choose brave as my OneWord365. I really wrestled with committing to a word like that, for—well—lots of reasons.

At least for me, brave is a big, scary, monstrous word. I have never felt brave. Ever. It's not a word I would ever use to describe myself. I've done brave things at times, sure. I've taken some risks. I've made some choices others have deemed courageous. But deep down, I would never categorize myself as a brave person.

But I want to.

I want to be someone who's life is marked by bravery.

Don't hear me wrong... I don't want to be known for living an adventurous life. I'm not trying to be edgy, or reckless, or thrill-seeking.

I don't want to do brave things. I want to be brave.

And, I'm discovering, there's a big difference.

It's more about the posture of my heart than about my actions. It's about changing my internal dialogue—the words I say to myself, about myself. It's a willingness to lean into who I really am... and live it out wholeheartedly.

Six full months into the year, I paused to take stock. And I have to admit—I'm a little surprised by all the ways I've seen bravery come to bear in my life so far this year. It's probably not been in ways that others might expect (or that they'd even call brave), but it's usually the smallest steps of bravery which are the most difficult. For me, anyway.

I've opened my heart to possibilities. I've let myself enjoy the present without knowing what the future holds. I've let my guard down. I've let others in. I've leaned into relationships. I've used my words more. I've embraced hard truths. I've taken steps towards healthier boundaries. I've put myself first in areas I'd always put myself last. I've started going to church again. I've stuck my neck out work-wise. I've resumed regular writing commitments. I've made big financial decisions. I've intentionally dug into enjoying my now-life. I've faced a huge loss and didn't fall apart like I once thought I would.

I don't expect to feel like I've crossed some huge finish line in December, having arrived-at-last at being brave. But I do sense that I am already becoming brave. And that is what I want to feel every day for the rest of my life.

The process of becoming holds more value than the being, and I don't want to lose the wonder and vulnerability of the journey. 

So I take a deep breath, and I close my eyes, and I ask for an extra dose of courage for everyone and everything I will face.

And I choose to become braver today than I was yesterday...

:: :: ::

I'd love to hear about your OneWord365 journey at this halfway point. If you blog about it, please share the link.  Otherwise, would you share a few thoughts in the comments? 

Originally posted on Velvet Ashes >

enough for now

benches He asked if I could explain my swirling thoughts.

"I'm waiting to find the words... and the courage to say them."

And then I sat in silence a good long while. He didn't seem to mind. His shared silence gave me a dose of bravery. I took a deep breath, and shook my head, and words clumsily stumbled out of my mouth. I rambled for a few minutes, covering my face at times, wiping away tears at others. My stammerings weren't eloquent or even complete sentences, but he said they made sense.

"I'm really scared actually."

Just saying those words out loud made me, somehow, feel a tiny bit less afraid. Maybe because what's named can no longer lurk in the shadows, like a coat rack impersonating a monster. 

"I don't know what to do with all of this..."

His words, full of grace and patience and wisdom: "Maybe you don't have to do anything with it all just yet. Maybe all that's needed is to name what you're feeling, and just let yourself feel those things. Maybe simply acknowledging it, like you just did, is enough for now. "

Maybe it is.

Maybe it is.

i'm terrified of being brave


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

I wrestled with it at first. After all, risk was my original OneWord365 that began this whole incredible now-global movement. And brave is basically the same as risk, right?

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.


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.

in the news

NBC local news in Nashville ran a story about OneWord365 last night.

(Yes, I'm still freaking out a little bit.)

(Okay, a lotta bit.)

 It was exciting and nerve-wracking and more fun than I expected it to be. But mostly I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for this incredible community... I definitely don't see this as a "me" thing, but a "we" thing.

Thank you for linking arms with me and with each other, and choosing to live with intentionality in the context of this amazing community. 

View the video on the WSMV Channel 4 site