Let’s face it, being brave looks easy in the movies, so much neater and cleaner, and it’s all done in 90 minutes or less. Real life takes guts, lots of ugly crying, and much iteration. It’s never as well ordered as it is in the movie Taken or in Disney’s Brave. Real life can’t be like the movies because we are not following a script. Every decision we make has a million other micro decisions that we and other stakeholders make. A change in the temperature, an argument with their partner, staying awake all night with a sick child, anxiety over a work project, unspoken trauma, panic attacks over facing an unethical bully of a manager can tip the balance to change the decision we or they make at any moment. Writing this article may not have happened had I not made my 4 A.M. trek to the bathroom this morning. I decided to use the quietness to do a facial mask and use the mask’s required waiting period to dump my swirling thoughts down.  

 

The moment I decided that I would write, the title came to me…Being Brave. Images of the past year flashed through my mind and settled on one crucial point in time. Saturday, January 12, 2019. This was the morning I had a most revealing talk with a wise lady. We talked about how I was ripe with potential for so many brilliant things, but I had let fear limit me. I allowed people close to me to influence and control the path my life was currently taking. I knew it, nothing we spoke about was new, but that conversation came at the right time…you know the saying, “Nothing happens before it’s time”? Inside, I was harbouring deep resentment and anger because I allowed these things to happen, but I was in a ‘between a rock and a hard place’ type of situation. I stayed silent because I was afraid of rocking the boat. I was coming out of a rough period of severe depression. I was vulnerable and I was not financially secure enough to change my circumstances. This trifecta of obstacles made me an emotional ticking time bomb. So, that Saturday, after much ugly crying, I wiped my tears and decided I would be braver than I had ever been. I was going to take back the control I had leased to people that were taking advantage of it. I was going to stop talking about being a travel writer and actually write (and publish). I was going to stop giving silent assent to the myriad of injustices that I tolerated because I was afraid of losing that personal comfort, home situation, or financial security that I craved. For better or worse, I was going to take back the life that I had been a silent partner to for more than a decade.

 

So, I wrote my first post-new me article a few weeks later. I make the distinction because a month earlier, I had written an article (published online) about being ready to come out of my self-imposed social hibernation entitled, ‘Ready To Be Seen.’ I tied it into a review of two new exhibits at the National Gallery by drawing parallels to each artist’s work and my journey of dealing with depression and anxiety. I used what I had on hand to ‘be brave’ about a deeply personal matter, to shed light on the stigma of mental health and being vulnerable, and to show that even though I was not one hundred percent sure I should do it, I did it in spite of the fear.

 

Fast forward twelve months later, I have written and/or published no less than thirteen articles and one poem. 

 

  1. Ready To Be Seen  (December 2018)
  2. Why I Like Christmas Lights (January 2019)
  3. A Woman Loved (Poem, February 2019)
  4. Trust: To Allow Credit To (February 2019)
  5. Life Finds A Way (March 2019)
  6. Sanctuary (March 2019)
  7. What a Woman Loved Knows (July 2019)
  8. Evolution Revolution Devolution (August 2019)
  9. The Tango of Forgiveness (September 2019)
  10. Judging A Book By A Distorted Cover (October 2019)
  11. Dealing With Disappointments: Growing In The Spirit (November 2019)
  12. Unburdened (November 2019)
  13. When Being Strong Is Not Enough (December 2019)
  14. Being Brave Takes Practice (January 2020)

 

Impressive list isn’t it? 

 

1 Chronicles 28:20, David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.”

 

I put this list up just as a reminder to me that I have done the work, I am still doing the work and, as a signpost for you. We can be brave in one moment, and completely lose courage in the next. And that is perfectly okay. Being brave takes practice, doing it again and again until it becomes as second nature as breathing. 

 

Being brave does not mean going it alone.  

 

Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” 

 

While developing the theme for the first article in December of 2018, I shared my writings with close friends who gave encouraging, helpful, and constructive feedback. I have continued to do so with each article I write. 

 

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

 

Psalm 56:3-4, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”

 

Being brave requires being vulnerable and sharing private details that you would rather hide, but doing so encourages, inspires, and lends courage to others. Here is some of the feedback I have received from my articles that I would like to share:

 

“That is beautiful!! I have to tell you that to understand grace best is to experience it as you have just done. Our Father God is so loving and compassionate and extends grace to us to draw us closer to His heart. What a wonderful testimony!!” ~ Charmaine on “Dealing with Disappointment: Growing in The Spirit.” 

 

Being brave takes practice…so keep doing it. “We believe that your articles are orchestrated through the Holy Spirit, intended for Kingdom purposes to help those in need while edifying and strengthening the Body of Christ.  Our efforts are from our original instruction. ’Go out and feed many!’” ~ Chris on “What A Woman Loved Knows.”

 

“My heart goes out to you.  But I see a lot of strength – inner strength – and I know you will be okay, no matter what life may throw and I am sorry for the path of pain that you are presently navigating.  Sadly, that pain usually does not go away, but the strength to face and “manage” the pain does increase.  I believe you have that strength.”  ~ Paul on “The Tango of Forgiveness.”

 

“You go, girl! I, too, was impacted by your writings.  Mt you. You are very articulate:  I got caught up (emotionally) in your writings, and I just wanted to keep on reading. So keep those articles coming!”  ~ Susan on My Collection of Essays, Short Stories and 

 

Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

 

Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” 

 

Hebrews 13:5-6, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So, we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” 

 

Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” 

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”