Last weekend our family went on a hike together. Tom and I are adventurers at heart, so it's pretty fun to see our boys following suit. At one point along the trail, we took a break from the hiking to have some lunch. The boys were playing on top of a big rock and just as I went to take this picture of them, I overheard this beautiful little conversation:
Ben: Blake, c'mon down here with me.
Blake: I can't Ben, I'm not as brave as you.
Ben: Yes, you are, Blake. You are brave. You just have to try.
Seriously, melt my heart. And so spot on. You just have to try.
Just try. This is one phrase is among many that have been jumping out at me over the course of the last few months. You know when a certain thought or phrase just won't leave you alone? The message flies at you from every direction. Lately for me it's people flippantly say things and the words just scream at me. Or I spot the tiny print on the Outside Magazine cover that says, live bravely. Or I happen to pull out a journal someone gave me who's cover reads, Take Epic Chances.
And then of course, there's music because both the composition and the lyrics of a song often speak directly to my heart like an IV to my bloodstream. Lately, the song of choice has been one from the Dirty Gov'nahs, called Where I Stand. And these lyrics are the ones that I most resonate with:
I don't know where I'm going and I don't know where to start with fear in my body but fire in my heart; I've got fire in my heart.
In all honesty, I have no idea what the rest of the song is about or the meaning behind it, but that line, it grabs me every time. I'm pretty sure I listened to the song at least 6 times on my last run just to hear those words again and again. Like I said, this message, the one that beckons me to live bravely, take chances, and go forward even in fear, was coming at me from every angle. I usually take this kind of thing as a clue from the Loving One in Charge, that he's trying to teach me something and it's just not getting through.
Ok, ok, I get the message. I used to be better at doing things that scared me. Or maybe when I was just younger, fewer things scared me. Either way, I think I used to take more chances.
About a month ago, someone randomly or maybe not so randomly messaged me an application to be a regular contributor for a local moms blog called, Metro Denver Moms Blog. Hmmm, writing, local, moms, that's totally my jam. But then I immediately thought, why bother, it's unlikely anything would come of it. And let's be honest, the last few months have been no picnic, so I didn't know if I even had the energy for something like this. And man, if it did happen, I'd actually have to write at least twice a month for a fairly large audience, and by large, I mean more than my immediate family and some friends. The inner critic was raging. My mind and body were tired. But on somewhat of a whim, I applied.
And guess what? It happened. I was selected as a contributor. Two immediate feelings emerged: excited, terrified.
So I will actually need to write consistently. I'm thrilled about this because I've been trying to dedicate more time to writing for a while now. These two little people I have running around in my house provide me with some great content but they also steal the majority of my time away that I might otherwise use to write. I wouldn't trade it but now I have to figure out how to fit the regular writing in. Again, excited and terrified.
And as though I hadn't already taken enough of a step out of my comfort zone, this happened: head shots. What? Yep, we had to get head shots taken for the blog. For a girl who barely ever wears make-up and who calls it a good day when both her hair and teeth are brushed, this is a big step. Huge. In the words of the Dirty Guv'nahs, I don't know where I'm going and I've got fear in my body but fire in my heart!
I recently got up in front of our church to share for a few minutes about working in the kids ministry. Afterward, my friend commented to me, "Wow, you're so brave. I could never have done that." And I responded, "no, not really. I'm not really brave for doing that. Because in order to be brave, you have to be scared of it in the first place. I'm not scared of speaking in public. I actually, really like it." Oddly enough, speaking is not being brave for me because it doesn't scare me. Writing regularly for a blog, that scares me. Getting head shots, that scares me. But the message was loud and clear, I need to keep doing things that scare me. I never know how they might turn out, so why don't I just give it a shot and live bravely. Going forward, I'm going to hold on to the words of my four year old son, "Yes, you are brave. You just have to try."
What is out there that feels big and maybe out of your reach? What do you want to go after but feel too scared to do it? Where are you being called to live bravely?
I'd love to hear your story and how you're stepping into uncomfortable places and living bravely.