Well, 2014 is officially over. I’m not too sad to see it gone, honestly.
Writing that year just gives me goosebumps. 2015. I can’t believe it’s here.
I haven’t been this anxious about a year in… well, I don’t think I’ve ever really been this anxious about a year before.
The year I graduate college.
The year I become a licensed teacher (I hope. *gulp*).
The year I grow up and become some semblance of an adult.
The year everything changes. College is over, a grown-up job must be found, friends move or move on… it’s overwhelming looking at everything this year has in store.
It’s terrifying, this unknown territory. In May, all the friends I came into college with will graduate and move on into the real world; in December, it’ll be my turn to do the same (after student teaching).
So, for the 3rd year, I’m doing my one word resolution– one word for me to believe in, to set my goals around; I think having a one-word mindset instead of a list of to-do’s to check off really help me grow and change the way I think. Honestly, I think my word chose me- like it has in years’ past.
**Sidebar: LOVE IS FREAKING HARD. Especially when your brain turns against you mid-year. Really freaking hard to love yourself and be vulnerable when your mental health goes to hell in a hand basket. But I digress; I really think love was the perfect word for me this year: in the midst of my mess, I learned to love myself, warts and all. And through music (Ellie Holcomb and Mary Lambert=love)and Bible studies and what not, I started to really let it sink in how much God loves me in the middle of my mess, too.
Even when I can’t feel it for myself, His love is holding me tight and steady, and despite everything, it won’t let go. Hallelujah for that. /end sidebar
Like I said earlier, this word chose me. I am not a brave human, by any means. I’m the biggest scaredy cat known to man; I’m afraid of everything, and worry constantly. I don’t have a courageous or adventurous bone in my body. How on earth could I be brave?
Truth is, I can’t– at least not in the adrenaline-pumping superhero-esque definition of the word. I can never be that kind of brave, nor do I want to be.
But I can be brave, right where I am, with what I have.
It all started with a book… Let’s All Be Brave, by Annie Downs. I’ve mentioned Annie and her book before; I adored her in person, and the book? Life changing. Hands-down the best (and most needed) book I read in 2014.
I was planning on reading the book over Christmas break; however, after Q Women, I kept seeing the book and feeling a nudge to read it right then… even when I had a million other things to be doing. I kept ignoring it, but about a week after the conference, I caved and started reading.
This book. It’s a game-changer, y’all.
I didn’t want to put this book down- and I usually don’t feel that way about non-fiction. I highlighted so much in this book, I went through 2 highlighters. (Seriously. It was kinda comical). Her style of writing made me feel at ease, like we were having deep talks and swapping stories over coffee; her stories were relatable and funny, and our struggles similar.
But her thoughts about being brave? Made me rethink what brave truly means.
“I’m here to ask you to please do the thing in your heart that scares you to death.”
“You aren’t headed out to find courage. It’s in you, it is blooming, and it is with you as you travel and say yes to things that seem scary. Remember, it’s not only the X that matters; it’s getting there.”
“When God tells you to be brave, he will make it work. It’ won’t be perfect. It won’t be easy. But it will be your story and your best story.”
I never thought about bravery in context to my everyday life; I thought bravery was reserved for the fearless, those that sacrifice and do scary things every day. I never thought that God made me, this anxious girl that’s scared of her own shadow, to be brave. I honestly never thought I had a reason to be.
Until this year.
This book came into my life at the perfect time. In the midst of my life changes and transitioning, when my anxiety is at its peak? These are the words I need to hear at this pivotal place in my life. At first I wasn’t really sure what I needed to be brave about– but now I realize how much bravery I’m gonna need to simply make it through this year.
To enjoy my last few months on campus, instead of being sad that this chapter’s coming to an end.
To (try to) enjoy my classes and soak up time with my favorite professors, instead of rushing through to cross the finish line.
To spend time and talk with friends–both those graduating and those that graduate after me– instead of focusing so much on getting out of here I forget about the friendships I’ve made here.
To embrace the changes and transitions that are about to come, instead of letting worry about the future overwhelm me.
To figure out how to not let this horrible anxiety and panic cripple me like it has been for the past few months. I’m tired of letting anxiety rule my life.
I don’t know what being brave is going to look like for me. Asking that of God kinda reminds me of when people ask God for patience: instead of simply giving patience, you get something to BE patient about. Yeah, I don’t think I’m ready for that! 🙂
I do, however, know this: this is the year for me to truly figure out what brave looks like for me. It’s the year I have to figure out how to use the courage inside me… no matter how un-courageous I feel.
This is a year of firsts, lasts, and in-betweens; while I may feel anxious or fearful of what’s in store, my hope is that instead of giving into fear, I find my courage and my brave. I don’t know what that looks like for my life yet, but I know I can be brave. I just have to find the courage to start.