my Guiding word

following your dreams requires not only creativity, but vulnerability

Last January when I was picking my word for the year, I picked a “be” verb. Rather than doing, I wanted to “be.” I wanted to embody a word that made me recognize how I lived my life. I wanted to “be” something that reflected how I carry myself. Last year I wanted to “be inspiring.” At the end of the year I asked myself – what did I do to inspire? I sought to be authentic in my speech – which sometimes resulted (and results) in saying things I wanted to swallow. Being inspiring was not about standing out, it was about encouraging people to know love and vulnerability.

I mentioned the other day that I was certain on “Be Creative” as my “be” word for this year. I wanted to get a bullet journal which I was sure would manufacture creativity (and distraught over my perfectionism.) I wanted to write every day. I wanted to craft. But as I was going to sleep one night before January 1, a different word popped in my head.

Be Brave

I’m going to be honest with you: I wrestled a lot with this word. Why bravery? Bravery requires a lot of things: more vulnerability, courage, choosing to do the scarier thing when you would just rather cozy up with a cappuccino and the Netflix . . . so I tried to get it out of my head. I don’t need to be brave, I need to be creative! I need to write! I need to try that new DIY wood pallet tree sign I saw on Pinterest. But I couldn’t shake it. Be Brave.

So then I freaked out.

What does this mean?!

And the first thing that came to my mind were all the terrible things that could happen to anyone. Don’t worry, this is a regular routine.

When my parents left my siblings and myself with a babysitter while they went out for a date night, anxiety ensued. My face would get hot, I would start to cry, because what if they didn’t come back and I was left forever with this baby sitter who doesn’t smell at all like my mom? Would I have to get a job and take care of my siblings? Would I never get to chase my dreams? Seven year old me probably needed some therapy.

Now I have adult freak outs. That’s why I went for the whole “prisoner of hope” goal last year. So I guess the good Lord just wanted to extend beyond that and encourage me to step out and be brave.

So after I pushed the 10 plauges, death, and pestilence out of my head, I sat down with my journal to figure out:

Why bravery?

I can’t decide if I am comfortable or complacent. On the relationship side of things, I am 100% out of my comfort zone since, you know, I live with a boy now. We’ve already covered that intentionally dating is like Vulnerability 100, engagement is like “Vulnerability and How to Communicate Through Stressful 200,” and then you just jump to a 500 level practicum called “MARRIAGE: The Vulnerability That Never, Ever Goes Away. Subtitle: Trying not to freak out when your husband picks up your creative writing notebook.

On the dream chasing side of things, I’m paralyzed. Maybe because I don’t want my husband to read my creative writing journal . . . So it got me thinking. Bravery doesn’t just mean standing strong during life’s challenges. Yes, we’ll face hardships. And am I prepared for those? Nope. But I believe God will give me the strength and courage when that time comes. For me, bravery means going into a deeper understanding of vulnerability. Blegk.

This is what I’ve decided: It’s time to punch my fears in the face. What if there is something amazing in store for my life and I am too weighed down by the “what if’s” (of failure, let’s be real here) to seek out the things I’m passionate about?

Since I graduated college, it feels like I’ve been on one of those rooftop decks that just spins around and I’m trying to find solid footing and the room just keeps on spinning. It’s hard to dream when you’re motion sick.

This year I’m going to be brave. And what is my first step to being brave?

Dreaming.

Being vulnerable.

Punching fear in the face.

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