Remember the high board at the swimming pool? After days of looking up at it you finally climbed the wet steps to the platform. From there, it was higher than ever. There were only two ways down: the steps to defeat or the dive to victory. You stood on the edge, shivering in the hot sun, deathly afraid. At last you leaned too far forward, it was too late for retreat, and you dived. The high board was conquered, and you spent the rest of the day diving. Climbing a thousand high boards, we demolish fear…
Richard Bach- A Gift of Wings
I am the best starter ever. I have started a thousand books. Don’t ask me how many I’ve finished. I started reading ‘let’s all be brave‘ by Author Annie F. Downs. And no pun intended (well, maybe some), but I didn’t want to put it down (see what I did there?). The message in my heart all year has been, be brave, step out, don’t compare, be your best brave. I ordered her book because I was researching the topic of brave. And this book spoke words my heart needed to hear. Sometimes in a quiet, encouraging whisper, “Hey, you’ve got this, it’s time.” Other times shouting to the fear that likes to hang around all too much, “Hey punk, leave, I’m doing it anyways.”
When I moved from Colorado to Texas, many of you know I didn’t want to move. I wanted to live and die in Colorado. True story. But God had other plans. And just like Annie talks about her move from a place of friendship, family, and comfort, I too was leaving a place that was all of that and more, and embarking into the unknown. But God knew. And He’s reminded me since something that I hold so deep and dear in my heart…. my home is wherever I am with Him. He is my home. But I never ‘felt’ brave. Page 53- “I never felt brave. I never had a moment of extreme courage or belief that this was going to be the best decision I had ever made. I just did the next thing. Quit my job. Sold my house. Packed my belongings. Said good-byes.”
I’m convinced that many of us are waiting on a feeling. We want to feel brave before we step out. We want to feel brave before we jump off that diving board. We want to feel brave before we make that next move. But we get stuck. We get stuck on the diving board of life. The jump looks too high. The fall makes our stomach turn a bit. And we wait. And wait. Let me rewind and tell you what would have happened had I waited for that ‘brave’ feeling. My 20 year old self would have never packed up her life and threw everything in her car and left Palm Springs, CA. headed for Bible College in Oak Cliff, TX. My 30 year old self would have never left her comfortable spot as the Children’s Pastors of a large church in Irving, TX. to head for a small church in a parking lot in Castle Rock, CO. (which BTW has since has grown into the largest church on Castle Rock, CO.). And my 30 something year old self would not have left a huge chunk of my heart in Colorado to head for South Texas (Literally five minutes from Mexico). And last, but definitely not least, my 39 year old self, had I waited to ‘feel’ brave would have NEVER agreed to my husband quitting his position as the Children’s Pastor, pulling my kids out of private school, homeschooling, once again selling our house, moving in with my in laws for a year, and starting a non-profit. Seriously, if I had waited to ‘feel’ brave, my adventures might be limited to anything that feels safe and comfortable, which ironically can’t quite be counted as an adventure, now can it?!
Let me make something quite clear if I haven’t already- BEING BRAVE ISN’T A FEELING. Page 37- “I know my my tendencies and fears, and I also know my gifts and hopes. It’s where those meet that I often find God cheering for me to make the brave choice. You have to believe in the One who made you. I am confident in who God made me, but certain I couldn’t do this life-or be brave-on my own.”
And everyone’s brave is unique and different. Page 41- “…God made us each on purpose. If we are unique as the Bible says we are, then our calls to courage are each equally unique.” “We each just have to be brave in our own ways.” Someone once said. “Be Your Best Brave“. Okay, it was me.
Some of you reading this have regrets. You wish you had done things differently. You wish you had taken that trip when you had the chance or chose another job than the one you have now. Here’s what I know about God- (1) He uses everything. Nothing is wasted. (2) It’s never too late to start living your brave.
And if you feel like your best days are behind you and wonder if there’s even any point to asking God what His brave is for you, I have this quote from Michael Hyatt– Here’s the deal- you still breathing? Okay, then there’s braver living to be done.
You have today. And that is more than some. No one ever said that being brave was going to be easy. But I promise, it is worth it, choosing brave over comfort, it is worth it… Every.Single.Time.
The last thing I want to say on this (seriously, I could quote this book for days), is about her chapter on ‘the rhythm’. She talks about the ‘D’ word. I know, I know, don’t check out yet. In our day and age the word ‘discipline’ has gotten a bad rap. Whatever brave step He’s calling you to take next, you won’t get there by sitting around and ‘hoping’ something happens. Page 181- “Professionals choose to practice, even when it hurts, because they know that practicing gives them the strength and power to perform in clutch moments.” Page 189- “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.” So stinkin true. Look at discipline as your tool to preparing you for your next brave move.
If it’s not obvious enough, I definitely recommend this book. Annie writes from her own brave place and I love how her voice comes through in her writing. She writes from many different coffee shops, so if you know me, she had me at the first coffee shop!
Lord, I believe you’re calling us to step out, into the great unknown. (Sorry, about to sing an Oceans song). Lord, guide and direct us to live this life that you’ve given us brave. Help us to kick fear to the curb and do it anyways. We can’t go back and change what’s already been done, but we have today. And I pray we don’t waste it. Thank you that we are brave because You make us brave. Thank You that You redeem everything and with You, nothing is wasted. Am I breathing? Yes. I have purpose. Help me to be my best brave so that You, Lord, would receive all the glory in my life. Amen.
“What if I fall?” Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?
BTW…Want it on sale? Click here… Let’s all be brave…. (you’re welcome) 🙂