100 DAYS TO BRAVE: What is brave?

Inspired by Annie F. Downs devotional "100 Days to Brave," I fell in love with her journaling prompts and questions leading to growth and the commitment of escaping a comfort zone to bring about a better life for not only myself, but for those around me.  I searched and searched for a devotional to start my 2018 with a bang but couldn't find the "perfect" one.  Until, I found Annie Downs' book while walking the aisles of Target one Saturday afternoon.  Tweaked and adapted to fit me, I am excited to have a systematic way to track my growth over the next 100 days.  Join me as I follow Annie's journaling prompts along the way ... 


Day 1:  What is Brave?


Over the last few days, as I've shared my thoughts and fears and excitement of adding a third baby to our family, friends have come out of the woodwork commenting on my ability and fearlessness to share my heart with strangers near and far.  And, while I'm technically an introvert at heart, I believe that the greatest connection we have to other people is to share our stories, our fears and our life so that not only can others relate, but we can find solace and comfort in knowing we are not alone in our challenges and our adventures.


One of my friends commented that I'm an "inspiration" and always appear to have my life together.  I take risks and I always land on my feet.


And, to be honest, I'm scared 99% of the time.


What will others think?
Will my writing be perceived in the way I'm hoping?
How will my thoughts and fears affect other people?


But, even with those questions in mind, I can't afford not to take risks.  If there's one thing I learned through my Dad passing away unexpectedly at a young age, it's that if you don't take risks, you are selling yourself short on all of the many things God has in store for your life.


Taking risks is scary.  It's overwhelming and, at times, can make you question every decision you've ever made.


But, what if you don't take risks?


By staying in your comfort zone, you are actually keeping your gifts hidden from someone who many need you to be brave so they can grow in their own journey.  They may never benefit from what you have to share if you don't take the time to step out of comfort and be brave.


I love what Annie says in her book, "Brave people don't stop hearing the whispers of fear.  They hear the whispers but take action anyway."


For many years, I've been told I should write a book.


And, while that has always been a thought in the back of my mind, it's never been something I truly considered until recently.


And, truth be told, I would love to someday write a book.


To share my stories of fear and accomplishment and bravery.


But, again, fear gets in the way and excuses become frequent.  I'm too busy.  I don't know what to write about.  Who am I to share advice on bravery when I struggle with it myself?  


The truth is if there is a tug on your heart, it's there for a reason.


Don't worry about the future or what the first step will lead to.  Worry about the light that's beaming directly in front of you.  The one that's leading you to take the first step.  The one that's asking you to step out of your comfort zone and trust that God has your best interest at heart.


That's the first and most important step to being brave.


Hearing the fear and bashing it anyway.


In my world, that's all I've ever done.  Squashed the fear of stepping out in faith and trusting that God will have my back every step of the way.  That's what being brave is.  It's not because I do things that make me afraid.  Because, if I'm being honest, there are a lot of things that scare me too much to step out and do them anyway.  So, my advice?  Start slow.  Pick one thing to be brave with.  From there, bravery becomes easier every step you take.


Look out 2018, my book is coming for you. ;-)