Be Brave

BeBrave

brave: adjective \ˈbrāv\
feeling or showing no fear : not afraid

Be brave.

I have recently moved in to an apartment of my own, and one of my favourite decorations is the one that hangs in my bedroom that simply states be brave.

I see it everyday.

I see it when I wake up.

I see it when I walk in to my apartment.

I see it when I walk in to my bedroom.

But, when I see it, I also see my reflection in the glass.

I see myself, trying to figure out what it means to be brave.

I see myself, trying to figure out how I’m being brave. If I’m being brave. Or if I’m just living my life comfortably not taking any risks.

Bravery, has not always come easy to me. I think too much. I worry too much.

I know, and have had the pleasure of knowing many brave people in my 24 years of life. I know people who have braved moving to other countries and states and just trusted that God would provide.In each instance, he did.

While I’ve been thinking about what it means to  be brave, and all the ways I think I’ve been brave, I realized that my definition of what it means to be brave has changed. I have frequently thought that to be brave means a person just does what they want to do. No planning. No thinking it through. Just doing what they want and going where they want. But I’m realizing that the bravest thing I’ve done in my adult life is stay.

After graduating college I had two options: stay or go. I was hoping I would be asked to go. Anywhere really. I didn’t have a specific destination in mind-though I preferred a couple of places over others-I was just hoping that God would ask me to go anywhere. Instead I got a job and he asked me to stay. So I did.

I stayed. 

Sometimes I thought it was a cowardly choice. Staying. I thought that I stayed because I was too scared to go. That I felt far too inadequate. Though those things may have been true at some point, but I’m realizing that staying was my act of bravery.

In some ways I was more prepared to be asked to go than I was to be asked to stay. If I went, I was already prepared for how difficult it would be. How hard it would be to adjust to a different time zone and way of life. But staying was harder because I thought if I stayed I would become too comfortable. I wouldn’t be stretched and I wouldn’t grow.

I hoped, and I prayed that God would take me somewhere else. Which is funny, because I always remember that as I waited to go in to my first job interview I remember telling God that if I got the job, if by some miracle I actually got a stable job right out of college, I would stay and I would do Chi Alpha here at the U of A for a year and a half. I got the job, and I stayed. And I was stretched. And I grew.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline” – 1 Timothy 2:7

God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of love and of self-discipline. I like to think he gave us a spirit of bravery. He calls us beloved and tells us we are brave. Even when we don’t think it, he does.

So friend, maybe the world has the idea of bravery all wrong. That bravery can only look one way. That to be brave one must roar like a lion. Maybe the bravery of a roaring lion isn’t your kind of brave. Perhaps you are as brave as a tree that stands its ground despite the chaos surrounding it.

No matter how you define bravery. Whether you are a lion/lioness, or you are a tree-standing silent but tall-bravery is a spirit we all were given. God made us brave.

So. Friend. Lets be brave.

Whether you roar like a lion or you stand as tall as  tree, be brave.

Advertisements

In transition…

 

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Transitions are tough

I was talking to a friend recently who graduated at the same time as me and we both have come to realize that the transition is where the learning is. Since I’ve graduated college I have started working a full time job and I have taken on a new role in a community I have been part of for 4 years. Each comes with its own challenges, but in each challenge I am learning so much.

Graduating from college almost felt like I was taking part in some sort of coming of age ceremony where after I walk across a stage and change my tassel from left to right I would suddenly have everything figured out and things would be fine. Though I did have some things figured out and things seemed fine, walking across that stage only signified me walking boldly into a new season of life. This new season is a season of immense change and a season of tremendous courage. It’s a season where I am already needing to learn to trust more and love more, but also I am learning what it is to be a leader and what it looks like to love Jesus. I am learning true compassion and what it looks like to be merciful yet just.

Transitioning into a new season of life is difficult and terrifying. There have been many a moment when I have thought “Jesus, only because of you can I get through this season of my life” and I feel like at this moment, in this time that is a good place to be. I am learning as time passes that transitions are truly about how we react to them and how well we do or do not adapt, but it’s also about knowing how much you can handle on your own and knowing when to ask for help.

This new season of my life is one of the hardest and most beautiful seasons of my life thus far. It’s hard because I’m learning what it means to be an adult in a strange world, but it’s beautiful because I am learning more and more about who I am and who I want to be. I am also realizing that who I am now and what I go through now will only grow me in to the woman I will be in three or four years. My experiences in this season of my life will be the stories I tell my sisters and friends about for years to come. These are stories I hope and pray will be stories of how I conquered this season, only by the grace of God, and how I overcame the obstacles of being an adult. I also hope these are stories of how I learned to trust more, how I learned more grace and more compassion. Mostly I hope these stories will be stories that will encourage the people around me to trust God and to trust others to help them out when they’re struggling. I also hope this season is full of more love and laughter than it is with tears and struggle.

“Transitions themselves are not the issue, but how well you respond to their challenges” — Jim George

Hello 2015 || Grateful Days 325 – 365

IMG_548550 days in to the new year and I’m finally able to fully welcome it

Since the beginning of the year, I feel like I’ve had little time to actually think about that last year and this is one of those few moments I get to actually think. The last year was a good year. 2014 treated me kindly and I learned so much about myself and about the people around me.

As I think about all of the posts from the last year, I realize how amazingly blessed I am to be surrounded by the people I have in my life. I realize how greatly God has blessed me and how much God has provided for me. I’ve also come to be grateful for different seasons in my life, because in each season God has taught me how to trust Him more and He has taught me how to rely on the people He placed in my life.

Even though it’s still the beginning of the year, I can see how much grace God has had for me as I transition into adulthood. Its been so crazy and so stressful at times, but I am learning so much more about who God is and who He is in my life and for me.

Even though it’s a bit late, here’s to 2014 and all the things I’ve learned and here’s to hoping 2015 is more than I could have ever imagined.

Here’s to the Future|| Grateful Days 225-256

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

It’s finally hitting me that I am going to be graduating from college and moving on to a new season of life. I mean, obviously I’ve known I’m going to graduate this semester and I’ve thought about it, but it’s finally starting to sink in. It’s kind of a frightening thought, but at the same time it’s also a very exciting thought.

It’s strange, now that school is in full swing and I have more and more assignments I need to get done the thought of graduating is starting to excite me a little more. I’m excited because I’m graduating one, but I’m also excited because I’ll be entering a new season of my life.

I feel strongly that the current season I find myself in has taught me a lot, and is still teaching me a lot. I’m glad for where I am in life and I’m happy about all the things I have gained through all of these experiences, but I’m excited to see where I’ll be going. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous as well.

Graduating from university, or at least thinking of it, is way different than thinking of graduating from high school. When I graduated high school I knew what I was going to do. I had a plan for after graduation, but the plans I have for post-graduation aren’t plans I have set in stone just yet. At this point they are only dreams and I’m learning to trust more and have more faith.

As I see the end of this season coming to an end (this sounds a smidge melodramatic but oh well) I find myself learning more and more what it means to trust God with my future and have faith that everything will work out the way it should! I know who holds my future and I’m not scared of what’s going to happen. Yes I do get anxious about my future, but I’m not scared the way I used to be. I’m learning to trust God more and more, and I’m also learning so much about my heart in this season.

I’m extremely grateful for the things I’ve learned in my life thus far. I’m glad for where God has brought me from and where He is going to take me. Though I feel anxious about it many times, I’m glad to know that my future is in the hands of a Father who loves me deeply and tenderly.

So, here’s to the future and all the times ahead!

Car Problems || Grateful Days 185 & 186

20140722-224258-81778956.jpgToday I had car troubles.

Any problems that have to do with my car stress me out to no end. I end up in tears because I’m so flustered! I also then find myself thinking ‘this would be so much easier if…’ or ‘why didn’t I…’ and the thoughts go on and on until I find myself being annoyed at myself for being in the position. Which then leads to me wanting to cry more.

I’m not like this only with car problems, I get this way about any and all situations in my life that cause me to be slightly frustrated. Especially if it’s a situation where I feel helpless.

It isn’t often when I find myself feeling like a little kid lost in a large store, but when it happens it scares me. I get anxious and I feel weak. Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t like to feel weak. Even though I know in my mind that I am a weak person I don’t like feeling weak. I don’t like feeling as if  I need someone to come to my rescue; but sometimes I do.

Sometimes I need someone to come in and save me the way Superman saves Lois Lane. Sometimes I need to be a little weak if only because in moments of weakness I am humbled.

I am a fairly prideful person. I will admit that right now. Since I am a prideful human being, I often find that God comes and humbles me. Today was one of those days.

After my car decided to stop working on my way to work, in the middle of downtown Tucson, I found myself sitting in front of a building, in the middle of Summer thinking “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus”. That’s all I could think. I just thought “Jesus please give me peace. Jesus thank you for getting me to a place where  I feel safe. Jesus thank you for giving me peace and calming my heart”. In those moments I felt weak. I felt like I was going to burst in to tears every time I opened my mouth. Every time I talked to my parents as I waited I thought I was going to break like a dam. Then when I got home all I could think was “thank you Jesus for getting me home”.

Today I prayed God would use this day. I prayed He would take my heart and my mind. I have prayed that my heart and mind would be focused on Him and right before my moment of weakness I told God I’d go and do whatever He wants of me. I find myself praying that so often as a way of preparing my heart for what God is going to do with my life. I pray those prays continually because it is my desire to go and do the Lords work. It’s also a time for me to choose to surrender that part of my life. It’s my way of declaring the fact that I am weak and I need Jesus. I need my Abba.

As much as I do not enjoy moments of weakness, I am grateful for all the ways they humble me. I am grateful for all the ways moments of weakness reveal the true nature of my Father. The way I am reminded how blessed I am to be loved by a Saviour who gives me peace when all I want to do is cry and be upset. In my moments of weakness I am reminded that the hero of my story is Jesus. He comes when I call and he gives me peace when I am nervous and anxious.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

Life Musings (Grateful Days 129-130)

GratefulDays129-130The past couple of days have been so relaxing!! I haven’t had much to do lately so I’ve just kind of hung around and cleaned and such. But yesterday I went and hung out with one of my really good friends. As we were hanging out we got to talking about life and all the components that make up a persons life and I realized the importance of knowing what you stand for as an individual. Especially when you go out and are away from the comfort you knew/know.

As I get older I realize the importance of understanding what I believe in personally, whether it’s a moral belief or a spiritual/religious belief that I hold dear, before I graduate from University next semester. Growing up I spent most of my time in Church and it was fun and beautiful, but there came a point in my life when I realized that I needed to choose Jesus and a relationship with my Father for myself because my parents weren’t always going to be there for me; nor will my friends. When I realized I needed to make the decision to believe in Jesus and follow Him for myself, I was going to Church and doing all the things I was meant to do, but I was doing them to please other people and not for myself. I acted like two different people so I could please my friends and my family both, but then I realized when I was a senior in high school that I wanted to please God and I wanted people to see Jesus when they looked at me. I wanted to be firm in my faith and I wanted to learn to trust God more and I wanted to do all of these things to get closer to Jesus for myself. Not because my parents were making me or because I wanted to please the people around me. I started to pursue a relationship with Jesus for myself. I’m going to be honest, there have been times when I doubted a little bit, not because I didn’t believe in God but because I was frustrated that some things in my life were allowed to happen. Those were the times when I yelled at God and when I just let out all of these frustrations. These were also the times when I realized that God never promised life would be easy, and he never promised that being in a relationship with him was going to be easy and I was reminded that I have to know what I believe and why I believe these things.

I think so many times in our lives we as people don’t fully comprehend and understand the depth of what we believe. In the ethics class I took this last semester there was a guy who sat next to me who knew what he stood for, but he didn’t really understand why. So as we sat in class he realized that he had ethics and he had morals he just didn’t fully comprehend what they were. I’m not saying  I totally understand what my morals and ethics are, but I do know where they rest and where they were born. I also know that I’m 21 about to be 22 and I’ve still got so much to learn. I have so much to learn about life and love and music and Jesus. I have so much to learn about so many aspects of life, but the things I have learned have impacted me in such a way that I understand that it’s important to hold on the the reasons I believe what I believe.

So many situations form our beliefs and shape our opinions on issues. A lot of times they are going to be different from other peoples opinions and beliefs, and that’s okay. Sometimes I think we feel the need to think like our friends and like the same things our friends like or be interested in the things our family is interested in because we don’t want to be different. I have found that the relationships I have treasured most are the ones where my friends and family don’t like the same things I do. My sisters don’t understand the fancies of my nerdy heart, but I have friends who do. My friends don’t understand they strange way I do certain things, but my family does. My best friend doesn’t understand my love for ugly sweaters nor does she listen to music. Actually, none of my friends or family quite understand my love for ugly Christmas jumpers but that’s okay. We’re not meant to like the same things as one another or believe the same things as one another because if everyone I was friends with understood the strange way I clean things or don’t brush my hair or loved ugly Christmas jumpers as me, I wouldn’t have anyone to challenge and push me. That’s the beauty in relationships. There are going to be people who understand what you like and don’t like and there are people who don’t. In life we have the ability to be pushed out of our comfort zones and think of situations in a different light.

I have found that although my closest friends all love Jesus and we are all part of the same community, I do know a lot of people who do not believe in Jesus and do not believe the same things I do. These are the people who have pushed me to further understand my beliefs. I have found that there is beauty in the fact that my best friend thinks it’s weird that I like ugly Christmas jumpers because I also don’t understand the strange things she likes. I appreciate more that my sisters and I are completely different people with different beliefs, ideas and personalities because they have taught me how to love.

My family, my friends and the people around me have taught me life is hard. They have taught me that nothing comes easy and that nothing in life worth having comes for free; it takes work and dedication. They have also pushed me beyond my limits and so far out of my comfort zone I don’t know what to do but trust God and learn from each situation. From every situation life has thrown my way I have learned to trust God more and I have begun to understand that my life is a series of events that help shape and solidify my beliefs. My beliefs in God, my beliefs in humanity and my beliefs in myself.

Life is a series of learning events that shape us in to the person we are meant to be, whether it be in our current season or the one to come. Life is fun and it is beautiful, but it is also hard and it hurts. When life is fun it’s easy to understand and hold on to our beliefs no matter what they are, because we are not being challenged and we are comfortable. But the heartache and the hardships, the desert places if you will, are the moments in our lives when we learn the most of how firmly we hold on to our beliefs. The hard times challenge us and teach us if we truly stand by what we believe. Some times through the hard times we let go of old ways of thinking and claim new ones, other times we find our footing in our beliefs. Either way we are choosing what to believe and why we believe what we believe. In my life I am grateful for the times when I was pushed by those around me because I began to better understand what I stand for. My reasons for believing what I believe may be different from other people’s, but they are mine and I understand what I stand by and that’s what matters.

Grateful Days 112 & 113

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIsaiah 55 has always been a favourite of mine. I’ve read it so many times for so many different reasons. During quiet times, or at Church but yesterday when I read it I felt a whole new kind of peace! It was the most stressful day of finals week because I had an exam I had to study for like crazy and I had a 5-10 page paper to finish by midnight. I had been in the library on Thursday for hours and didn’t get home and in bed until after 1, then I get up and started a new day of studying at 8. I was exhausted and I was not feelin the whole study for a final then write a paper thing. In the midst of all the stress, I wanted so badly to have a little quiet time with My Jesus.

I’ve said this before and I will continue to say it, but no matter how much I have to get done and no matter how long it has been since I’ve done it, quiet times with Jesus are always so refreshing! I was so stressed out about my exam, but after a little Jesus time my stress faded and I was at peace about my exam. I knew that Jesus was going to be with me. I knew He was going to give me peace and guide my thoughts from stressful ones to ones of great peace.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread and your labour on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel for he has endowed you with spelndour” (Isaiah 55:1-5)

Reading this passage gave me such peace! I felt like nothing could take that peace away because in those moments I began to understand what it means to go to God and tell him what worries me and cast my burdens on him. I understood that I didn’t have to stay in my own head about the things I worry over. I went to the water and I got the peace I needed. I drank and I ate of the goodness of Jesus Christ. I went to Jesus and I told Him my concerns. I went to my Father and I asked him for what I needed and I told him my heart. I mean that’s all he wants after all; for us to tell him what worries us and what concerns us. He doesn’t think it’s petty for us to tell him all we want is a certain grade on an exam. He doesn’t think it’s too much for us to tell him what we’re really scared of! God just wants us to tell him, because even though he is all knowing and all seeing, he likes for us to invite him in to our lives! Its taken me a long time to understand and realize that, but I’ve been on this journey of understanding the gentlemanly nature of God. The more I understand his character, the more I fall in love with him and his goodness.

Now friend, I’m not saying it’s easy by any means. It’s actually really hard to hold on to these truths at times, because life happens. Difficult circumstances occur and it makes it difficult to hold on to the concepts we are finally beginning to understand, but God is still good and He is still there to hold our hands and comfort us. I don’t know what you deal with or struggle with, but I do know that God wants to hear from you. Whether you’re angry, sad or filled with extreme joy he wants to know your heart. He just wants to hear the sweetness of your voice, even if you’re yelling at him.