Everywhere I look and in every word I read, I hear,
Brave. Brave. Be brave.
We welcome in this dear girl, knocked around and emotionally roughed up by peers this school year, and she brings her self, an intact smile and quirky sense of humor as if she is not afraid, though she very well may be terrified.
The girls begin to spread their wings as they re-enter conversation, light giggles building to careening jumps and all sorts of games with a giant beach ball on the trampoline.
She is so brave, I think.
I can barely put down this book (The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown). It’s one friends have told me about for months, and then Monday I received it in the mail from a friend across the country, with her note a blessing of the good she sees in me, the hope she holds for me.
Brown’s words add to the brave, brave, be brave refrain, affirming life to waiting dry bones, stirring up what I’ve known, helping shake caked grime loose.
And as these things so often go, the timing couldn’t be more right, and I’m holding this book just hours after I am asked to be the speaker at a women’s retreat — my second such invitation in six weeks.
I’m stunned and excited and feel entirely ill-equipped.
I haven’t known what to do with the voice that says “write,” but write.
I haven’t known what to do with the strong nudge to do more speaking, but wait.
Because there’s been a murky gap between the years-ago prompting and a picture taking shape. To write, I pick up a pen or type on a keyboard. I can press “publish” or not, but I can and will write.
But you don’t just walk up before an unsuspecting group and proclaim, I’m here to speak. Listen up.
Like you (I suspect), I deeply want to do what I’ve been created to do. To live in the sweet spot where the world’s need and my gifts meet. Gratefully, I receive the opportunity to see glimpses of this in my everyday life, but still I live with the longing.
I’ve been holding a place for trust in the midst of uncertainty, wisps of vision swirling about with desire and the need to make the most of this one beautiful life — for Love and for love.
I’m taking some practical steps, yes. And I’m journeying with vulnerability and weakness, a good hunk of fear in the pack, too. I’m afraid of being rejected, of being too much or not enough, of laying myself out there bare, of having impure motives, of getting it wrong.
The sweet spot may be a mirage, but I’m trying to cling to my Guide who loves me right through broken parts and barren lands and promises I do not need to travel alone.
Though I’m feeling all the feelings, I am believing the still small voice that reminds me I am loved right here and now, with my wobbly knees, adventurer’s heart and childlike excitement, before I’ve even taken a step.
I say yes. I tell the truth. I practice brave.
I’m becoming more brave.
The girls run inside to play Italian restaurant, and I hear their raucous accents through the open window. I linger in the sunshine, my eyes following the path of the swallowtail butterfly that soars, careening through our yard into the next.
Liquid yellow and black wings open further with each pulse, and then she glides.
Linking with Kelli, Heather and Jennifer today.
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You are brave.
Quite brave, indeed.
Thank you for leading the brave way, friend. xoxo
This makes me smile so much… and gives me hope for my own sweet spot, mirage or not. I am SO excited for you, sister. Cheering you on and loving you dearly.
Your smile, your love and sweet face cheering me on…what gifts! Love you, Dana. Truly.
Wow, friend. God knows and sees, doesn’t He? Excited you didn’t have to wait too long on these next steps in your brave journey. Always in your corner, Ash, even from afar! Love you.
I know you are, Mags, and that means the world. I love doing life with you. I’m in your corner, too, girl. I hope you always know that.
You just stun me, your billowing swallowtail butterfly wings and all! You have Been equipped, you Are ready, a newer aspect of your sweet spot is calling and you Will meet it, and Be met in it, and it is a beautiful beautiful thing that is happening here and I so delight in bearing witness to the wondrous work God is creating in you Ashley!! And I could just go on writing run-on sentences all day for the joy I feel for you my girl! xoxox
Your joy and love, Mama — thank you. That butterfly was such a sweet moment of gracious serendipity in the midst of what I was sorting through. Love you.
Oh sweet friend… it’s not like any of us are surprised! It was only a matter of time… love you, proud of you, and so cheering you on! You are brave… and you make the rest of us want to be brave too!
Always the encourager, dear Karrilee. You are such a constant source of love and support. Thank you for being who you are. Cannot wait to see you in just a few weeks!
To learn to fly feels a lot like learning to fall, doesn’t it, Ashley? I relate to so many of your fears and inhibitions – in different areas, of course – but I every time I make excuses to myself saying “But I might fall … “, I hear a voice behind me whisper “Or you might fly.” ;)
Brave, indeed. Love you, dear friend. Thanks for sharing this with Unforced Rhythms.
Exactly Kelli! :)
Thank you for hosting that beautiful place, Kelli. I love the whisper in your ear. I will remember that.
You are so brave, an inspiration to many, & I am proud if you!
I love and miss you, Becca. Cannot wait to spend time with you soon. xoxo
The thing to show up brave,
expected to behave,
is not the thing to do.
Then better is to view.
| † | Andrew
Brave and behave…hmmm. I’ve never thought of that connection, or rather sometimes the inverse relationship of those two words. Brave causes us to turn things on their heads sometimes, doesn’t it? To make people (including ourselves) uncomfortable for the right reasons. Thanks for sharing your words, Andrew.
I am so happy and excited for you and for the women who you will surely impact greatly!
Thank you so much for your encouragement, Elizabeth. Our coffee together when I was in that discouraged, soul-searching place was such a breath of fresh air. Thank you for cheering me on in Jesus. xoxo
We are all testament to the sweet spot you are living in–as your words minister, humor, reveal and inspire. Speak up sister. Be bold. Be brave. You already are. I love you.
I am returning to this comment several weeks after you wrote it, but I need this today. Sis, you bless me…thank you for helping me see the purpose in this. I love you.
I wish I could express to you how very brave you are. How much your admissions of fear and anxiety soften the edges of your bravery and also make it glow. I am proud of you, so proud. And the way you weave in the story of this little girl with your journey of writing and speaking and trying to live into brave, the way you wrap it up with this gorgeous image of a butterfly gliding… your storytelling is masterful. I can’t wait to see how brave continues to look on you.
Precious Amber, I love you. It’s an incredible thing, isn’t it, how God gives us pictures that don’t seem connected until we see how much they are? I am grateful to be on this unfolding journey with you, my friend…stepping into new places of brave with hearts very much connected whether close or far.
Have you read Annie Downs’ new book about being brave? It’s really good. And yeah. That Brene Brown. Wow. So much wow.
Hi dear Jennifer. Yes, Annie’s book is on my reading list for sure. Hearing about it was one of the take courage drumbeats that helped me hear God’s message.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown changed my life (each of the 3 times I’ve read it through, both quickly, then slowly, then with others) I pray it will be the same for you. (And when you’re done with it, get Brene’s Daring Greatly — it’s kind of the How To follow-up to Gifts)
Thank you, Beth. I am really looking forward to Daring Greatly, too. I know I need to keep being immersed in that wisdom that feels afraid and does it anyway, that finds joy in the imperfectly beautiful of this life. Thank you for your words here.
Loved that you are seeking to trust in the midst of uncertainty. I am in that same place. Thank you for sharing authentically. It encourages more of that here in this online space, something that is healthy for us to do together in this wonderfully supportive environment! So glad I found you through #TellHisStory this week.
Leeann, thank you for sharing. It’s a joy to “meet” you. You’re right…what power in telling our stories that intersect with God’s story, together. It can be such a frightening place — this trust in uncertainty — and we need each other, need to know we’re not so all alone. Bless you.
And Leeann, I just visited your blog where you are caring so beautifully for your friends who are enduring such pain and unknown. May you be held as you stand with them and sit with them and cry with them and coordinate practical help for them to show them they are not alone. Much love to you.