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.

A Wonderful Day of Thanks || Grateful Days 257-311

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetHappy Thanksgiving!!

I truly have so much to be thankful for this year. I have been blessed with a loving family. I have wonderful friends and a wonderful community. God has been so gracious and so kind to me as I transition in to a new season of life. He has shown me so much mercy and dished out so much grace. He has given me the freedom to be obedient to Him and given me more freedom in my life in general.

As I have tried to do this whole 365 Days Grateful thing, I have come to realize that being grateful is a state of mind. It’s a constant state of thanks. I’m not going to lie, being in a constant state of thanks isn’t easy. I’ve found it’s extremely difficult, not because I’m an ungrateful person but because some days are harder than others. Some days just don’t go the way you want. Some days it’s difficult to even be kind to people. Those days it isn’t easy to be grateful for things. But then there are those days that are absolute bliss. All the things are falling in to place and all the things are going as they should and it’s easy to be grateful for something. But I’ve learned that even on the difficult days there is something to be grateful for. Even if you’re grateful for the simple fact that you got to live life that day. Some days I’m just grateful I got to live a new day, even if it was an awful day I’ve found I was simply grateful to be alive.

On days like today, a day wholly dedicated to being thankful I’m reminded that I always have something to be grateful for. I have a loving family, a wonderful group of friends and a Saviour and Father that have been so kind to me. Today on this wonderful day of thanks I am thankful for life, for love, for the difficult days and the good days, for laughter, for family, for friends, for community and countless other things. I hope today and every other day you too can always find something to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

also, now the whole world can listen to Christmas music all the time!!

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

My Heart Sings (Grateful Day 149)

I don’t need to go on about my love for music. So instead I’ll let you in on my heart songs.

For a little while now my heart and ears have been on the same wave length. Always wanting to be ready to worship my Abba. Most times my mind isn’t wanting to be in line with the two, so more recently I have been choosing to want to be in a state of worship.

My mind is a wanderer. When I’m not doing something productive, my mind sets itself to its default mode: daydreaming. Interning has made me more aware of how little time I let my mind drift to the songs of my heart.

My heart doesn’t just sing one song, my heart sings many songs. Sometimes one after another like a CD in my mind. Other times the songs play all at once. My heart sings for love and affection and my heart sings for healing. Lately, my heart has been singing for simpler times and a deeper love and passion for my life!

Lately a couple of songs have been in my heart. Both songs are by Rend Collective. If you haven’t heard of them and you love some good ol’ Jesus music then I suggest you give them a listen. Both songs have given me a desire to live my life more in the ways I want to live it. These songs give me fresh vision of what I want my life to be like. What I want my love for Jesus to feel like! I hope these songs bless you in all the ways they have blessed me and so much more. If this isn’t your cup of tea, I hope you still listen to these songs and let them inspire you!

Simplicity

More Than Conquerors

Grateful Days 139-142

IMG_4606At 6:00 am the sounds of Lets Hear It For The Boy by Deniece Williams flood my bedroom and it’s time to start getting dressed. Today marks the first official day of me being an intern and even though it started so early, it was truly a day to remember.

It’s crazy how life just has this way of creeping up on you. One day you’re a little girl riding the school bus for the first time with your dad following so he knows you got there safely and the next you’re an adult driving yourself to interviews then to your first day on the job.

While I  was interviewing and getting things done for my internship I spent a lot of time downtown and walking around offices and I realized how much I love business attire, name badges, office buildings and courts. I love knowing I’m in a building full of people who are doing  things. I also like to be put to work and having something to do. That’s why I like school and offices; at school I’m busy studying and doing assignments and at the office I’m working.

It always amazes me how God gives people a love for certain things. I love anything and everything to do with criminal justice, my best friend loves administrative work and my roommate loves hospitals!

I have always been scared that in the future I would simply be settling when I start working, but I’ve learned when you do something that you love in places you love there is no settling. When I think about my future all I know is whatever I do in life and wherever I am I want God to go with me and I want him to be with me. The older I get and the more I understand my relationship with God the more I see that no matter where I go God is with me. He knows me.

In Psalm 139:2-4, David says “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all the ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD”. God just knows me; my loves, my dislikes and my strange habits. He leads and I follow; he’s always with me.

I realize now as I sit here watching Bones, wondering why I watch crime shows when I know how extremely inaccurate they are, while also thinking about what to wear tomorrow and all the other things I have to do, that every job and every place is a missions field.

In Chi Alpha the missions motto is Every student gives. Every student goes. Every student prays. We are all also asked to give a year and pray about a lifetime. I decided to do just that. I have thought and prayed so long about my life after college and the year I am dedicating to missions that I am beginning to realize even if I don’t spend the rest of my life in ministry that no matter where I go I am an ambassador for Christ. Even if missions is only a season of my life everywhere I go I can show people Jesus by the way I love and by allowing Jesus to work through me.

I finish my glass of iced tea and debate getting another while I set the coffee maker to start brewing at 6:00 am while finishing an episode of bones. I’m still wondering why I watch these shows.

Then again, maybe I watch these shows because it reminds me of something I love.

2 hours 46 minutes (Grateful Days 136-138)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetHere I sit, on the eve of my birthday thinking about the fact that in 2 hours 46 minutes I will have rotated around the sun 22 times. In 22 years I have experienced life in all the ways only I can.

I get older as the clock ticks away, and yet I cannot find ways to describe how I feel about being 22. My life isn’t a compilation of Taylor Swift tunes so I can’t dance around saying I feel 22, because I don’t know what 22 feels like. I barely know what 21 feels like! But I do know that 21 treated me well.

21 treated me the way I should be treated. It treated me with love and kindness; even in the hard times. 21 gifted me with a beautiful niece and it taught me the art of living.

21 showed me that the change I fear so much, is necessary. Without change, there would be no growth and that’s just not fair. 21 showed me with each new season new change comes. After all without April showers May would have no flowers.

21 taught  me even when I have little faith my Abba is faithful. When I was weak and had no where to turn, 21 showed me that my Abba is strong and carries me. When I was filled to the brim with joy, 21 showed me that my Abba rejoiced with me. Even when my heart wanders, 21 showed me that my Abba is a faithful friend and is always waiting for me.

21 taught me the art of friendship and 21 was kind enough to show me the beauty of my friendships. At 21 I saw and understood the depth of my friendships with each of my friends. I felt the sting of distance and I feel the upcoming sadness of goodbyes. But 21 showed me the art of learning to communicate in new ways and helped me see that sometimes there is beauty in goodbye.

21 showed me the depth of the love of my family. 21 showed me the grace of my mother and the gentle heart of my father. 21 showed me the beauty of sisterhood and introduced me to the joy of being an aunt. 21 also reminded me that my parents and sisters get older with me and 21 reminded me to tell my loved ones those three words no matter the circumstance.

21 taught me the joy of life and showed me the sorrows and the hurts. Mostly 21 taught me how to live life in only the way I can live it. 21 showed me the beauty of each new day and 21 introduced me to myself.

As I sit here, I begin to say goodbye to 21. 21 is introducing me to 22 in the way a gentleman introduces his lady to his mom – with love and tenderness. 21 was kind and taught me so much. It’s strange to say goodbye to 21 because we’ve spent so much time together.

2 hours 46 minutes later I say goodbye to 21 and hello to 22.

Measuring Life (Grateful Day 133 & 134)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOne of my favourite songs Seasons of Love from Rent. I remember the first time I heard it was when I was in high school because in band we played it as the tunnel song for homecoming one year. I love the song because of its beauty and all around loveliness, but I think it’s interesting that in the song they talk about measuring life. They list all of these great ways to measure life and the great one is love. I get to thinking a lot when I’m making dinner or washing dishes, basically any time I’m in the kitchen I’m thinking some pretty deep thoughts! Hehe. But really, I got to thinking about how I would measure my life and I realize I could measure my life in a lot of ways.

I could measure my life of course in love. I’ve been loved well. I’ve been loved by so many people and I have been loved so deeply by people that I know, no matter what happened in life that person would always love me. I have been loved by my Creator and I have been loved by my family and friends so deeply. Yeah at times I’ve been difficult to love and to be kind towards, but I never felt unloved by these people. I never felt like I was less of a person for the things I did. I always felt like no matter what I did they would stand by me, they would fight for me, with me and against me. I don’t know if I’ve loved people as well as I’ve been loved, but I’ve loved people. I’ve loved people the way I have been loved so I can only hope that I’ve also loved people as well as I’ve been loved.

I can also measure my life in books. I’ve read and re-read so many books that I feel I could measure my life in the stories I have read and the way certain stories have impacted the way I view life. There have been books that make me cry no matter what, and others have been constant companions through many season of my life. I’ve got a list of books that I want to read and a bookshelf of books that I want to re-read so many times I’m able to recite the story from memory.

Then there is music. Oh music. I have listened to so much music in my life, and still listen to so much music, that I could measure my life in how my music taste has changed!! I used to listen to a lot of interesting music. That’s the only way I can describe it. I listened to whatever my cousins were listening to,  which is so different from what I listen to now. Then I started to listen to what my friends listened to. I moved around a lot growing up and my friends never listened to the same music wherever I moved. I would just listen to whatever music my new friends listened to which was always something new and always an experience, to say the least! Then as I got to know myself better, I started to listen to music I liked and that fit my personality. That changes a lot, so my range of musical taste is vast! I will give everything a try, but I’ll listen to just about anything on a regular basis. Before I started writing this I was listening to a Led Zeppelin song, and now I’m listening to Big Band. It’s just kind of how I operate. Mostly though, I just listen to whatever I want to listen no matter what anyone says. Especially my sisters, who never really understood some of my music choices (especially the musicals).

I can also measure my life in television, movies and food. I really like food. It’s a family thing I think because I come from a family of eaters. I just really really enjoy food! Mostly though I enjoy sharing a meal with people because I am a big believer that people can come together over a meal. I like to cook, so whenever I cook for myself I always have leftovers because I’ve learned to make extras just in case someone comes over and is hungry. I have had a lot of bonding moments with the people I’m close to over food, so my love for food goes beyond the need to eat in order to survive. Movies and television are in the same category as food because when I hang out with a lot of people we do so and watch a movie or a television show. Growing up my family would sit at home at night before bed and watch TV together and ever since I’ve watched a lot of TV and bond over the television.

I can measure my life in cups of coffee and tea, laughter and many many tears. I think all of us can measure our lives in different ways, but I definitely think love is the greatest way to measure our lives. I think we all have a desire to love and be loved so I think Jonathan Larson got it right when he wrote Seasons of Love and used love as a measurement of our lives. It’s super cliche, but I do think that loving someone is the closest thing we get to magic in life and I think a good dose of lovin’ can change even the most stubborn of hearts.

 So friend, no matter what ways you can measure your life I hope it is measured well. I hope it is full to the brim with life, love and happiness.