This has been one of the bravest months of life that I can remember. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that to have a life filled with meaning it will take guts.
It takes courage to write and live a life story that matters. Excellence will never arrive at your door unannounced. Intimacy will require honest, raw, courageous and vulnerable conversation. Truly touching people’s lives in way that matter takes setting aside our own desires and plans to be present to care and love the people we can.
This year, 2018, I want to be brave. I want to exercise my muscle of courage because I want a life of meaning, depth, true love.
Courage I think is a muscle. It is one of those traits that gets, well not necessarily easier but more familiar with time. The reason it is so hard to begin that first few flexions of courage, is because the voices of fear and shame often run their web so deep and tangled through our past we have trouble getting past them. Fear is a hard thing to face. We can all agree on that. But unspoken in the use of courage is the fact that the path your forging has to be difficult. If it were not, it would not be courage. It would be ease.
Anyway, in my interior world I’ve unfortunately let these powerful voices of fear and shame have too loud of a space within my mind. I do not blame myself, nor should you if you empathize with this. Those voices at their core are lovingly trying to protect us. What will people think? What if this doesn’t work out? What do they think? Am I OK? Is this OK? What if I fail? All of these questions ended up being the familiar ones my younger self learned to be OK with entertaining all too readily and for all too long. All of those voices are fine. They are normal. We are made to fear to stay safe. And that’s OK, especially when it matters. But, I don’t think we are called to live solely under the voice of safety, fear, and control. I think it’s possible to entertain these voices and still be brave – we will never quiet the voice of fear completely. At least not if you want to follow the brave love Jesus’ life displayed or you want to live out a calling in your soul. Fear and shame may sprout out of a love desiring to keep us safe, but, and that’s a big but, we must learn to become courageous enough to know when those voices are keeping us hostage.
The life of Christ is continually brave. Jesus lived different, unique from almost every opinion and belief of those around him. He’d leave towns when people wanted him to stay. He’d touch people when religious laws wouldn’t allow it. He’d go off to pray by himself despite crowds asking for his presence. Jesus so bravely knew how to love when it wasn’t the accepted thing. Jesus knew how to say no and hide away to refuel his heart when everyone wanted him to say yes and stay social and available. He was brave enough to be completely ostracized for what he felt were the right reasons. Jesus in no way tried to fit in. He didn’t try to please everyone or even most people. He said “no” a lot because he had a bigger vision, calling, purpose.
That is how I want to live. I want to live so connected with who God has made me to be and how much God loves me today that I’m completely fine with saying “no” when I need to because “yes” would keep me from being who I’m meant to be, doing what I am created to do or connecting alone with the God who refreshes me. I want to live completely and mindfully soaked in the ever-present, within our own skin, unconditional Love that exists. I want that kind of grounding so my fear of being disappointing doesn’t get to lead the way but my courage and purpose does.
Yes, to me a life worth living will take courage. It will take my knowing a bigger Love, a bigger claim on who I am and what I’m called to do. It will call me to spend more time alone in meaningful reconnection with God and trusting I’m not missing out by doing so. It will call me to be different, to possibly disappoint people, to live with fear in a new less reactive way and more intentionally responsive fashion.
I believe this life of courage is possible. I believe it gets stronger with each flexing of our brave muscle. I believe it’s formed through a life lived by courage. Through trying and trying again. Fear will be here. Fear is allowed and good and even befriended. But this year, fear will be an emotion given to me by the God of Love to be felt, to be cared for, to be heard and to have it’s voice but also to be responded to for my good. Fear will be used to build my courage, responded to with wisdom in light of the Love God has placed on me, the purpose God has given me, the Truth of God being my protector and provider through it all, and the fuel for knowing what is really dangerous and what is mere reaction from past hurts.
By God’s grace I will lean into this practice of being brave and you will too. May 2018 be a year of courage for us all. May we all grow and transform our responses to fear and seek the courageous lives God is whispering are ours within our very hearts. His voice may be quieter than fear today. That’s ok. Have grace for yourself exactly where you are. God does. His voice is still there. Find it. Follow it once. And then again. And again until God’s voice is the one louder and loved greater than all of the rest.
Grace, peace & hope.
Those who know me or have read my blog before know I choose a word every year to be my guide and as God to instill deeper in me. This year – you guessed it – I’ve picked courage. And boy, God doesn’t disappoint to challenge me in this aspect already in this first month of the year.
One of the brave goals I’ve had for awhile I courageously started – a guided mediation podcast: yogabreathepray. You can listen on iTunes, SoundCloud, or Patreon. This is still budding, and I’m very much still figuring it out, but with my history of almost 14 years of teaching yoga, I feel helping men and women in this way is a gift God’s given me that I can’t waste. Here’s the intro if you’d like to hear my vision. Through the year I’d like to add extras you can access on Patreon such as Lectio Devina’s and yoga practices. Here’s to hoping! I’ll let you know when I figure that piece out.
Speaking of being brave by getting away – picture is from Pass-A-Grille, FL. It was cold, but it was refreshment sweet to the soul. If watching a sunset doesn’t help you appreciate the beauty of life, calm your spirit and amazement of God’s abilities I don’t know what would. Hope you get to enjoy the early winter sunsets sometime soon and let it calm to your heart.
I finished John Eldredge’s new book on Heaven – All Things New. Really enjoyed his ability to help me vision and hope in the the future and the joy of today in light of the truth of the great renewal. Friends, all things will be made new. This world is going to meet it’s moment of beauty and life and love unending. Trust it. Eldgredge does a great job opening up the vision of this hope and debunking the small angels and harps and hyms forever vision of heaven. It’s a good easier read.
Hope you are all begining your new years with new hope, with a growth mindset that all the set backs are part of the story to your future and there’s always good to come. Spring is on the move!