Saturday, December 26, 2015

My New Understanding of Bravery {In Lieu of #BeBrave2015}

I was told pumpkin was going to be in low supply this year so I bought 10 cans. Don’t ask me what I planned to do with all of them because I can’t tell you but that’s how I roll. I always want to be ready. Prepared.

When God haunted me with the word “Brave” until I claimed it, I can honestly tell you that I thought my biggest, bravest thing was going to be teaching the newly designed mother/daughter dance class series I created. The newspaper coverage that followed humbled me, and the aftershocks in new class creations and national inquiries overwhelmed.  

Bottom line is I quickly discovered I was wrong.

Going into the year I imagined brave to mean feeling confident and strong. Already off kilter, I was stunned when this new aspect of public life stirred interest in my speaking to women’s groups, mothers groups, youth groups, adult ed, and Intergenerational events. I started to shrink, wondering, why in the world me?

The devil has a way of talking you out of things before you can even completely entertain the options. I’m not a powerhouse, I kept telling myself. And God began breaking me down. It wasn’t His easiest work. I was a hard sell before realizing that perhaps people aren’t seeking a robust authority in me so much as my heart, which I truthfully place before you as passionate, timid, and sometimes broken but always with hope to connect deeper as families and with God to create healthier futures. You want a relatable me. I dropped my obstinance and decided that if I were to address groups like I would talk to friends there was room for possibility.

I finally understood that my perception of equipped may be completely different than the way God intends to use me, and if I rely on feeling I may miss the note I was intended to play.

A new, scarier definition of bravery was starting to form.

My private life proved no different. In both my writing and relationships God challenged me anew. I took to the computer keys fueled by inspiration with no known outcome. Interactions with people, friends, and family involved risk taking in sharing, sitting in the valleys with others, and finding way when life looks different than dreamt. I said yes to going places I couldn’t imagine and I said no and redirected when what I thought would be best, in fact, didn’t prove helpful. At times, it was courageously saying no to begin with.

I spent more time on my knees but stood taller.

There is this beautiful image in Scripture of the potter and clay. “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” Isaiah 64:8. It gives me this mental picture of God slowly, carefully working on a compliant subject who easily bends as they are prompted to be exactly the individual the Lord fashioned for them to be.

I’m not really that. I’m more like the ice block in the Ice Sculpture Christmas Hallmark movie that has to be tendered to a certain temperature before I’m even a candidate to work with and then I need to be chiseled and shined. I’m resistant. But, as I listen and go with God’s voice I’m stronger and more beautifully exemplify the abundant life offered.

#BeBrave2015 has taught me that bravery is moment-to moment resubmission to God. It’s a choice. Bravery means constantly listening to the Lord’s voice. It’s trusting that God’s not going to drop us. It’s letting go of what we think life should look like and giving God breathing room to create new experiences and opportunities we didn’t picture. It’s stepping forward, sometimes with wobbly knees.

God placed this word upon me because I would need it in 2015.

I began the year wanting to feel brave.

I leave it opting to live brave.

So do I have a word for 2016? I’m taking a little different route. Stay tuned :)

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