Lately fear seems to be a weed baring its thorny teeth as it slowly constricts the garden of my heart's bravery. Somehow I've given fear permission to nestle its roots into my brain and it whispers things like: "You aren't brave enough to crawl out of this rut of directionless living! Any decision you make will be rash and you'll go to the wrong place just because you crave movement! You're going to fail and fall hard! You will find desolate loneliness because you don't have a map! You're not the brave person your campers thought you were this summer."
Sometimes humans have seasons of their lives that rest at the dead center of balance between fear and bravery. If we stay in the middle, we'll starve. There won't be movement. We can give into fear but its thorny teeth will gnaw away at hope — I don't want that for myself anymore, and I don't wish that for you. It's a mighty task to yank out fear's roots but it can be done. It starts with surrender.
Late last night I made a list of the things that could happen if I can be brave enough to hand the lies that are whispering in my brain over to God and allow Him to use me in any way He desires.
I won't just speak bravery, I'll leave footprints of it behind me as I walk. I'll find growth in the waiting as I make decisions based on God's still, small voice when I hear it, partnered with the counsel of trusted friends and family. Maybe being brave will cause my heart to evolve into its fullest capacity. The actions that follow might bring light to this world that grows cloudier every day.
Maybe I'll write a book. Maybe I'll create content that fulfills my desire to show humans that they're worthy, seen, valuable, loved and brave. My camp friend Meghan spoke some powerful words to me the other day: "Kate, words are your bravery. Your words make other people embrace bravery. Share it with the world."
I just started Jennie Allen's bible study called "Discover God's Dream for You" on the YouVersion app. She shared that King David's desire to seek God's heart and will allowed him to live a passionate life that changed the history of the world. Acts 13:36 says, "After David served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep." David fell asleep, but not until he chose to serve God's unique purpose for his life.
I don't want to sleepwalk through my days on earth. I don't want to waste the breaths I take by falling into a hole of something without meaning.
More than anything, I want a job that lets God use my brave pieces for a purpose. I want to live a passionate life of seeking beauty. I crave a fearless courage that leads to the doing.
That's hard to explain to people because realistically speaking, an adult needs a job to make the monthly payments for an apartment, a car, student loans and all the other expenses that allow comfortable living. That's important and necessary for functioning in society and I understand that fully.
I'm not trying to romanticize an unrealistic lifestyle and I will be smart, but I want to walk with a faith trusting that things will indeed work out for beauty and responsibility. An equal balance of faith and realism, methodically and intentionally decided (which unfortunately is a slow process for me). I think letting the seed of bravery grow high enough to turn the doorknob is what I need for the way my heart works, opening the door to let realism mesh with God's purpose for me being in this generation.
In attempt to only speak truth, I still feel like I'm in the center between fear and bravery. I could be pulled either way but as I study bravery more and more, fear is being conquered. A life of bravery is like stepping off a cliff without the foggiest idea of what's coming next, but carrying faith that your hands, turned up in constant praise, will be grasped tightly so you cannot fall.
I encourage you to write two lists. One of your fears and anxieties, the others of what could happen if you surrender those to let God lead your steps. Realize that your fears are feelings and your dreams are actions. Actions are stronger than feelings. God has called us to be brave in purpose, and we're equipped to work on whatever that purpose is. This season for me is one of a working bravery. Maybe it's yours too.