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Guest Blog Story: A Little Bravery Goes a Long Way

Four years ago, I did something a little crazyokay, maybe not crazy, but a little brave. I got on a plane to go abroad for the first timealone.  I didnt know who would be meeting me on the other side of the Atlantic, but I had a feeling that it would all work out. Seven continents and 20 countries later, Id say that my hunch was on point.

Out of all of my travels, the greatest bravery that I found was in surrendering. Releasing my motives, my agenda, and my plan, and courageously clinging to God’s perfect will was where I found extreme bravery.  Braver than boarding a ship to sail with 90 strangers to the coldest continent on Earth. Braver than jumping beside a waterfall with only strangers at the bottom to see me surface. Braver than sleeping at a stranger’s house in Sydney, Australia and trusting that it would all work out. I mean, this bravery that I speak of is far beyond all of that. It’s deeper. In surrendering, I’ve experienced a freedom that has no boundaries. (Tweet it!) No zip codes. No limits. This bravery takes me to places that fear will never see.

This bravery manifested in this simple prayer to the Lord: I have a “yes” waiting for you. That “yes” has placed me before Buddhist monks. That “yes” has sandwiched me between atheists and agnostics, Christians and Muslims, colleagues and strangers. That “yes” has walked me down beautifully mysterious roads in Malindi, Kenya. It’s nestled me safely in various flats in Hangzhou, China. It’s welcomed me to teach women at two universities in Saudi Arabia. That “yes” took me much further than any “no” would’ve ever taken me. That’s why I have a “yes” waiting for Him. That “yes” places me in the safest place: His will.

Every time I get crazy enoughI mean, brave enough to get on another plane, I connect with some of the most beautiful people on Earth. I connect with people who have their hands out to give. Im stretched and humbled. Im challenged to do more, be more, and give more. I’m challenged to surrender. And with a grateful heart, I say “yes.”

This time last year, I made my final payment for my trip to Antarctica. I had this wild idea three years ago to see all seven continents by my 30th birthday. God had a wilder idea: to connect me to people around the globe who would pour into me, pray for me, challenge me, and strengthen me. As I thaw off from my trip to that frigid continent, I can’t help but smile. Bravery took me to a place that fear will never see. Where will bravery take us next?  

Follow more of Karissa’s adventures at sevenby30.com!

Destined to Live

Purpose is defined as ‘the reason for which something exists’. When something is created it has a purpose for its existence. For example, a hammer was created to do two things: to knock in nails and pull them out. To a certain degree, we all understand purpose, but getting into deeper levels of understanding, such as my life purpose, can get a little murky or intimidating to think about.  
There is a reason I am here. When you think of your life this way, it can shift your perspective on how you’ve been viewing purpose. If a hammer has purpose, how much more purpose must human beings have with all of their complexities and nuances? I understand this even more now as an entrepreneur trying to build a business in my early 30’s. I understand that I have specific gifts that pinpoint me to how I should be investing my life. My gifts tell me ‘this is what you were created to solve’.

When building a business you must be tuned into purpose or it isn’t going to work. You will otherwise be deterred by the many bumps along the way. Sometimes I consider how much easier life would be if I just simply lived beneath purpose and pursued an easier path. I always come to the same conclusion: it’s not worth not pursuing. It’s taken a bit of trial and error, but I am closer than ever before to figuring it out. I get a sense of exhilaration thinking about the possibilities of what my life can look like.

  
You are not here to just get by in life. That is not living. You were made with the intention of leaving an incredible mark. There is a confidence that comes from discovering your purpose, and you will only know if you are willing to exercise your bravery muscle to pursue what that is. Don’t be afraid of necessary adjustments along the way. With a sprinkle of bravery that extends from the value you’ve placed on your life, you are destined to live the life you were meant to.

It’s the Little Things

When you start a new venture on bravery, prepare yourself for the opportunities that will arise. It’s funny how that happens, the day you set your mind to be brave, you will have the opportunity to live it out, putting your intention into action.

Recently I’ve had some life situations that have required me to step out of my comfort zone. However, these were temporary situations where I had the option to choose to remove myself. While this was courage in action, these trials were things I was easily rid of. Some things are not so easy to bravely step away from. Some things like depression or cancer, abusive situations or homelessness cannot be escaped so easily.

Individuals with those circumstances have to bravely face each day with courageous fire in their eyes and a shield over their heart, bracing themselves for whatever is thrown their way next. Living a lifestyle of bravery, consistently waking up each morning, they determine to live bravely no matter their present circumstances-no matter how permanent the situation may seem.

Some circumstances are temporary and may be eliminated if we make one brave decision. But a lifestyle of bravery requires several small choices to keep going, living, breathing, and hoping.

One day-you will be free from your chains. Today, you can take that step.

Luke 16:10 says, “one who is faithful in little will be faithful in much…” The same can be said of bravery: when you are brave in the little things, you will be brave in the bigger things.

For me lately, those small choices have come in the form of saying no to things that will over-commit and overwhelm me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I have made small decisions to get up earlier, even though that may be the hardest decision to make, it helps me be more productive and feel more at peace.

Whatever it is, you can choose bravery today and not let your circumstances determine your life or your attitude.

If you dare to live a lifestyle of bravery, we would love to hear from you! Maybe you are still in the struggle. Maybe you are one big brave choice away from your breakthrough. You may be several little brave decisions away from that bigger. Let little brave acts be repeated and your fear will be defeated! (Tweet that!)

What is your brave moment? Where are you along your brave journey?

Visit our Facebook and leave a post on our wall or Twitter at us @braveavenue so we can hear about your brave moments.

Three ways to crush your fear

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Last weekend I went on my first getaway with my husband. We traveled a few hours away for a three day trip filled with horseback riding, hiking, tubing, and a hot air balloon ride! I was anticipating our trip as soon as the hotel was booked, but as it grew closer to our departure, I started feeling anxious; unhealthy thoughts filled my mind: “you can’t leave the kids, you’re still nursing your daughter this will not work, will my son be okay with us disrupting his new schedule, and the worst one of all–what will happen to the kids if we die??”  I secretly hoped that God would give me an excuse to stay home: Dear Lord, can you bless me with a 48 hour flu so I can control my own life and stay at home. You’re awesome-Amen!

Has anyone else experienced this?  Fear is sneaky. It robs you from experiencing adventure, building relationships, and living your dreams boldly and passionately. You have the power to crush fear and here are three ways to do it.

1. Recognize that your fear button is being pressed.

A friend of mine left me a beautiful note and prayer featuring those words. You can’t remove what you don’t acknowledge. It takes vulnerability to acknowledge you are fearful. As a Mother, I never want to appear weak or afraid; especially in front of my kids. I tried to crush fear by ignoring it not realizing that it only increased fear and anxiety. What do you need to acknowledge today?

2. Turn back to the truth. 

2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and a sound mind. Living in fear opens up the door for reckless thoughts. As I said before, fear is sneaky so you can unknowingly leave the door open for those thoughts to enter. What negative thoughts are you replaying? Acknowledge the fear and turn your thoughts and your heart to the truth of who God says you are.

3. Commit your treasure to Him.

“Parenting is as much about our sanctification as theirs; it teaches us to trust God and listen humbly, to commit our greatest treasures to His safekeeping. We can confidently give Him our fear, our hopes, and our kids.” – Jen Hatmaker (Author of For the Love and mom of 5 kids) My kids are my greatest treasure. I will do anything and everything I can to help them live a life with purpose. I learned from a Mother early on to release my children’s lives into the hands of God. Catastrophe can happen at any time and I cannot control it. Committing your treasure to Him releases the pressure off of you and allows you to trust in His outcome.  What treasure do you need to commit to Him? Your children, husband, a family member….You have been empowered by God to live with abundant faith therefore you can release fear into the capable hands of your Father.

Uncomfortable Bravery

Sometimes being brave means speaking the truth even when it may temporarily hurt the person to whom you are speaking. While it may hurt at first, you know that in order to fully heal or grow, they need to know the truth, acknowledge the truth, and deal with the truth.

This past week I had the opportunity to get real with an individual, in a less than comfortable situation. Though I tried at first to glaze over the root issue, she blatantly asked me to tell her the truth. I did not like the fact that I was going to have to say something difficult and although it would not be easy for her to hear, I knew that I would be the only one to speak this truth to her.

Out of love and genuinely wanting to help, praying desperately that God would give me grace with her response, what gave me courage to speak the truth was this verse:

Proverbs27.6

Just a few months ago, the reverse situation happened to me. I had people who loved me deeply tell me the truth about some things in my life that were so excruciating to hear, but were realities that I knew deep down were true. I knew they had my best interest in mind. It was the most loving thing they could have done at the time and it takes real bravery to choose love over comfort. However, it did require that I go through the uncomfortable process of humbling myself and listening to their wisdom.

I am so thankful that I had the examples of sincere friends who were not afraid to inflict that small little wound to spare me further intense pain in the long run. It helped me do the same this past week, taking that small brave step to love outside of my comfort zone.

I’ve realized more and more lately, that being brave is staying true to who I am, speaking truth, and not shying away from uncomfortable situations. In a world where most of us are scared to become vulnerable, as it may appear weak, we are longing for someone to take that first brave step to have a conversation that matters.

Is there an unpleasant truth or reality facing you or a loved one that needs to be brought to light?

Today you can choose genuine love over comfort and inspire others to do the same.

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