I have heard a lot about inCourage in the past few months and found myself in a new and different season of my life right as the Bloom Book Club was beginning to read Annie F. Down’s new book “Let’s All Be Brave.” I decided to read the book and join the book club. The title of the book and its message intrigued me.
As I read and connected to the words, God was strengthening, changing, and challenging my thinking without me giving it a lot of thought or noticing. Till now. Stopping and purposefully reflecting on how God shown up in reading this book and watching the videos over the past few weeks I am amazed.
Drawn in and connected to Annie’s stories. As I read them, I was drawn into what was going on, the thoughts and emotions of what she shared. Over and over I found myself relating, realizing that I was not the only woman out there that struggled. Struggled to be obey, to follow Jesus with every fiber of their being. In that struggle, in that vulnerability was encouragement to keep moving forward. Not give up. Not believe the lies of the enemy.
God has used this book to help me see that what is brave for me is not the same for someone else and that is fine. I have often found myself discouraged because my life story, my life path requires me to push down my fear and move forward and it is different than those around me. They don’t have the same struggles I do and one has to fight the comparison game, which is really hard. Over the past few weeks I have found myself with an opportunity to regroup on how I define myself as well as a bit more clarity on what the path I am to be walking. God has reached down and spoke to me, reminding me so clearly that who I am, what defines me is not my job, my ministry, my family, my location, my hair color, my weight, my fashion sense but it is defined in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. I am His daughter, saved by grace for a specific purpose. I had allowed myself to let my identity be wrapped up in things that cloud that I am defined by my relationship with Jesus.
A little over a year ago, God was clear with me that it was time to write. I obeyed and started writing some. Took steps in the direction God wanted me to go and then stopped. A variety of circumstances occurred and I allowed them to detour me. Sometimes I think detours are tools that God uses to allow me to understand myself and areas I need to grow in. They also tend to be painful. Over the next 8 months I would write periodically but I did a poor job obeying what God had said to do.
One of the things Annie talks about is discipline and consistency. Two areas that God is growing me in. Not just within my writing but within life.
- Opportunity to grow my relationship with Jesus more consistently.
- Opportunities to lean into my family and life as wife and mom in a fresh new way.
- Opportunity to catch God’s vision for where He wants me to walk with Him next.
- Opportunity to share my story. To encourage and speak truth in a way that is new for me. Its scares me.
As I reflect back, what I see is that I have chosen to take intentional steps forward. Some days they are baby steps. Other days they are giant leaps. Propelled, its one of my new favorite words to describe discipleship and God moving in my life.
- Propelled to work on being consistent with my walk with Jesus, loving my family through helping maintain the house and meals, and through my time.
- Propelled to take risks in my writing, in listening and obeying Jesus in what He wants me to say, how He wants me to say it and the ins and outs of that platform.
- Propelled to take risks in my interactions with other people.
- Propelled to be intentional with my words, when I say yes and when I say no.
- Propelled to not let fear and anxiety be my friends and keep me from moving forward but rather brave and courageous are in their places next to Jesus.
As brave and courageous are my friends on this exciting walk Jesus has me on, a big hurdle has been overcome, I know this to be true and I am finally seeing myself believe it. Annie words it so beautiful, with it I will end this time of looking back because its time to walk again.
“You are stronger than you know. You are more generous than you’ve allowed yourself to be. You are impacting the people around you far more than you realize.” p200, Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs
Today…..learning to follow, listen and obey; trusting in the ONE who loves me and HE loves you too.