Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Courage is Relative

"I know it's something God wants me to start living out, but often it's hard to know where to start."
Very nearly a year ago, my first post here talked a little bit about courage. About how I felt like it was time for me to start telling my story - but how that took a lot more bravery than I thought I had at the time.
What fascinates me most of all is that back then, my idea of brave was to write that bit of my story. Back then, honestly, that terrified me. And, if I'm being really honest, I still really struggle with making myself vulnerable. It just doesn't come naturally to me. Learning to have the courage to be vulnerable plays a huge part in what I've been learning lately, so I'll unpack what that means in more detail another day.
The thing that's really struck me, though, as I've thought about my journey over this past year, is how much my concept of what counts as "brave" has changed. I'm doing things now that even thinking about doing twelve months ago would have had me paralysed in terror.

Starting this blog and beginning to share my heart. Signing up for events that I know will take me out of my comfort zone. Voluntarily voicing my opinion to a room full of relative strangers. Going back to the college I loathed as a teenager, to learn something new. Taking the risk and being honest with a friend about something that really needed saying.
Different things, at different points in time - but all with one thing in common. It feels the same, each time.
Before: the what-am-I-doing, this-will-not-end-well-and-I-might-die trepidation; the knot in my stomach as I hover over the “publish” button, raise my hand to speak, push open the door, or frantically fumble for the right words to say.
It’s done, and then comes the sigh of relief, still tinged with uncertainty as I wait to see what will happen next.
Inevitably, what happens next is nowhere near as bad as all the worst-case-scenarios that flashed through my head as I tried to muster up the courage to do the Thing in the first place. Mostly, it’s absolutely fine. Often, it goes really well. And on some rare occasions it goes so much better than any best-case-scenario I dared to hope for: I’ll find something I love to do, and that I’m good at; my opinion makes a difference; relationships are stronger because of it. Whichever way it goes, I’m glad I did it. I feel better, stronger for it.
I know, too, that these things, too, are just practice. As ever in life, what I’m doing now is just the training ground for whatever comes next. Things that I never dreamed of daring to do. Yet.
“I’m not brave enough for that” is a phrase that has been uttered by me far too many times. I’ve even written it here before. But for too long, I’ve used it as an excuse to stay inside my comfort zone. For all my big talk about “I’m going to” this and “I want to” that, when push comes to shove, most of the time I’ll decide it’s too big, or too scary, that I’m not brave enough and leave it for someone else instead.
Saying “I did a brave thing” is - slowly - becoming more commonplace. I’ve even heard “hey, what you just did was really brave” from someone else, now. Because, it turns out, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
I don’t do it right all the time, for certain. Sometimes my urge to run and hide will still win out. But I’m getting there, one baby step at a time, and I’m determined to keep trying.

I'm sharing this post as part of Coffee for your Heart link-up and the Beloved Brews link-up:

Beloved Brews Linkup


  1. Thanks for having the courage to just start coming outside of your comfort zone. It seems as though you have been blessed by the experience.

  2. Hi Steph. I admire your ability to be brave and find courage in sharing your story and opinions. Well done! It's been a large part of my own writing journey and still is. It seems that the more we allow God to open our minds and hearts and we grant Him access to the dark places, the more we find His light shining there and His peace pushing back the pain of the past. These words also ring true for me:"Because, it turns out, the more you do it, the easier it gets." Amen! Blessings to you as you continue to reveal God at work in your life. Visiting from #coffeeforyourheart :)