▪️FACE YOUR FEAR

TRUST.

In my scattered spontaneity earlier this summer I decided I would host a “book club” via a Facebook Group. I started a Facebook group only because I was advised it would be a good idea, somehow supporting my writing, the book club came about simply as a need to “do” something as a group. So here we are Facebook grouping together. I chose a book that would be good for me to read since I offer you a thought on courage on a weekly basis. The title is “Do It Scared” written by Ruth Soukup. As a group we’ve been slogging along through the content, that is, until now. Now, it’s time to move from slog to jog and take action.

Ruth says, on several occasions in her book, “Action is the antidote to fear.” This is wise advice. When you allow your fears to hold you back and paralyze you from moving into the good things that God has for you, you’re letting the feeling of fear win. I say feeling because it’s this emotional kind of fear that can control our physical ability to move forward if we don’t learn how to tame it. That’s why the book has such an appropriate title “Do It Scared.” Literally you will feel scared until you take action and move through your fear.

Do you realize there is a whole other form of fear that most of us deal with at some point in our life?

I’ve spent the last six months probing courage for all of its essence and the last six weeks learning about fear, thanks to the book, and have found they have a very unlikely intersection. They converge in relationships. There is a space where courage and fear are essentially the same, that space is something we call trust. A few years ago, when I was home schooling my kiddos, I learned about an invention that Leonardo DaVinci conceived during his stent working as a military engineer. It’s called the DaVinci bridge. The design is so fascinating I actually purchased my own model.

The military at that time was in need of a solution to transport large supplies of ammunition and the like during combat. When they would reach a creek or river crossing, they would be forced to travel miles out of their way to find a land bridge to pass and then spend days backtracking to their original route. That is until the DaVinci Bridge.

This bridge uses the weight and natural force created by stacking its precut logs together, very similar to Lincoln logs, to form a stable walkway that could be crossed. DaVinci designed this bridge in a way that they could carry it with them and erect as needed on the go. No mortar necessary. The simple act of fitting one piece together at a time was all that was needed. Quick to build and quick to tear down.

Eventually, when the bridge was built there would a time to cross over, testing its ability to sustain the weight of the people and supplies that were being transported. The test would call for both courage and fear, a complete balance. I call this trust. Trust requires both courage and fear.

Trust is both hard to build and easy to tear down. This week’s post is about facing your fear. If you’ve been hurt by people and trusting them is hard for you, you are not alone.

I encourage you to begin building bridges to cross, one person at a time. The only thing that can heal you of this kind of fear is your own courage.

You’ve got this.

▪️COMFORTABLE WITH UNCOMFORTABLE

Her own choices.

I was proud of her, my friend that is. She’s not shrinking back from the discomfort. Instead, she’s systematically put one foot in front of the other to get to this place, a place she had no idea would be laid before her. I can relate to this kind of uncomfortable. It’s been a decade since I laid my career aside to be more available to my family. I’ll admit, for me, this has been the most painful sacrifice I’ve ever made.

When we start a new season of life, or embark on a journey, or respond to the unexpected, we often begin with one hard choice. Once that choice is made, there will be a succession of choices behind it, that for the most part reinforce that first choice. It’s more like tipping the first domino in a sequence than facing a series of crossroads. Once you make that first choice of right or left, most of the choices behind it are almost already made, that’s what makes her so courageous, she’s allowing herself to be led down the path of her own choices.

We don’t just get where we want to be by making one huge choice, we get there by making one small first choice to get outside our comfort zone, then we keep heading down that path. Choosing our own path takes courage.

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You could say that what is unknown awaits us outside of our comfort zones, it’s our choice to discover it, or leave it unknown. It’s not easy to transition back into the workforce when you’ve laid that down for a long season, it’s even more difficult when you’re 40+. I admire her, she is courageous.

Having made both the transition out of and transition back into the workforce, on multiple occasions, I can speak from some experience to the exhaustion she will face, the insecurity that’s heading her way, and the emotionally fragile state she will find herself moodily swinging in and out of, because I’ve been there myself. But even still, with all this she is still courageous, not shrinking back, but making the choice on the path she’s created for herself. She’s heading into her great unknown, and for that I applaud her.

If you’re in a season of role transition, I applaud you too. Taking the risk to leave the comforts of your known to explore what’s out there for you is courageous.

▪️WAITING

Time’s up.

Silence is the sound that floods a space when time is up. Nothing more to do, nothing more to say, nothing more than discovering what’s on the other side of waiting. Many weeks have passed since those doves were nestled in their little mess above my garage. (see last week’s POST to fill you in) Yet, I haven’t brought myself to remove that mess. I’m still waiting. I’ve yet to discover what’s on the other side of my waiting.

In late October of last year, hubby and I bought our 6th house, technically we’ve had 8 houses to call home these last 2 decades, but 6 of them we’ve owned (or at least the banks did.) You can do the math, we don’t stay long in one place. The most recent purchase we’ve loving dubbed as a “fixer upper.” I suppose that means we might actually have to do some reno at some point. However, when to the eye everything needs an overhaul, you do what you can, which in my case was hit it with some lipstick and dry shampoo (aka…new fixtures and paint.)

There is one old fixture, that was kept, which I’ve come to appreciate. An old ceiling fan that moves the air near my writing desk in our kitchen. The ceiling fan has its own heartbeat, a constant ticking similar to the hands slowly inching their way over the face of a clock. It’s calm consistency gives the surrounding atmosphere a pulse. But more importantly, it keeps time with me. The end of waiting can only be signaled by one thing – knowing. Knowing the answers to your questions. Asking the hard questions takes courage.

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Why? Because we won’t always like the answers. But having the courage to pursue the questions we won’t always like the answers to is courageous. Avoiding asking the hard questions of life, might help you make your little mess more comfortable, but it will never let you leave.

You have the power to release the outcomes in your life before times up, and you know what the outcome will be – this is strength we gain in the waiting. Our waiting doesn’t always lead to rainbows – but I sure hope yours does.

*The original post included a FREE resource. I will repost this in another offering early fall.

Next week I’ll be done WAITING, and will be moving onto the other Attributes of Courage. Thanks for hanging with me friend.

 

 

▪️WAITING

Waiting.

After thoroughly embracing that courage is hard to describe, seems to be subjective, and is a force unto its own, I’m confident in this one thing, this one thing alone, a waiting heart conceives courage.

This is timely for me as a long season of waiting will finally reach its gestation by the time this post is shared. I’ll be adding WAITING to our list of attributes as a result. If courage is the virtue that supports all other virtues, then WAITING is the attribute that supports all the other attributes.

I’ll be sharing some scripture with you, personal reflections, and resources to examine your waiting, but until then I leave you with the lyrics to a song, an anthem of sorts, that have carried me through my current season of waiting. I hope they bless you.

I’m with you friend, cultivating courage, holding onto hope.

▪️DON'T QUIT

There I was fixing my gaze on the early rising sun as it cast a shadow of a million diamonds across the sea in front of me. Our yogi modeled a tree pose, I think. I’m not really sure what I looked like, all I knew is that I had to fight through the wobbling. My leg struggled to find balance beneath me. I had to find stability. I admire stability.

I’m blessed to be a part of a church where Joyce Meyer, almost annually, preaches. There was an occasion several years ago when she was teaching on leadership. She remarked that she had only written one book on leadership, this book is now 20 years old. It’s one of the few books of hers that I own. She spends a considerable number of words on the topic of stability and how it relates to capability. I’ve revisited these words a time or two. There’s nothing inside of me that feels stable right now. I’m just being real. It takes courage to be real.

When we’re faced with a season where hard resides in every direction it’s easy to lose our stability. Sure, usually we can find one pocket of life to retreat to when other areas are tough, yet when all the pockets appear to be sew closed we might panic. I’ve been in this place a lot lately. I think that explains the extra long showers, binge movie watching, and mid day dog walks. I’m simply trying to stay stable. I’m taking breaks.

Oddly, I’ve noticed something recently, somehow I’ve developed the ability to persevere through a 3 step decorative paining process on a piece of furniture-which would have eluded me in the past. Yet, today’s problems have me threatening to quit, almost daily. I guess that means that learning to persevere, not quitting, is ongoing. There will always be new tests that require us to cultivate more courage in this area.

Maybe Joyce is right, stability does release capability. I’m now stable enough to get through the tedious 3 step painting process – like a pro. I’ve become capable for the painting task. Today’s trial however, I shouldn’t expect to be a cake walk. I haven’t had to persevere through anything like this before. Which brings me back to my wobble.

When I’m wobbling to the point of falling over, completely losing my balance and stability, it’s time to take a break. Taking a break isn’t quitting. It’s the courage to be real and say, “I can’t take any more…right now.” If you’re in a place like me where you want to quit because the going is tough, I’m here to say the tough don’t always get going, sometimes they take breaks. If you need a break today, I hope you take one for yourself, your future self depends on it.

As always, be strong and courageous,

▪️COMFORTABLE WITH UNCOMFORTABLE

Yoga experience or not, I was in

She had sent me a text mid February extending an invitation to an all day retreat at her home. A Yoga retreat. She lives not far from my home on a beautiful oasis that marries the uncommon combination of equestrian life nestled beneath an umbrella of palm trees. I wanted to be spoiled, but a full Saturday I did not have to give. This is the season of life that I should have my Saturdays to myself again – right now however, my life has taken an unexpected detour. My response was intentionally honest and needy.

“I don’t have a Saturday to give, please let me know when you host your next retreat.” I texted her. Not but a day or so later I watched in envy when her pics from the day showed up on my Facebook feed. I knew I had missed out.

That was until recently, when she invited me to a morning of Yoga at our local beach. Yoga experience or not, I was in.

The day was windy, unlike the weather just two days earlier on my regular morning beach walk. It’s a perfect illustration of the unpredictable nature of life.

To a novice Yogi (I googled it, it’s a word) getting it all wrong within the privacy of someone’s personal compound is one level of getting uncomfortable, to do it on a public beach, would undeniably require some courage.

You know me well enough by now, I’m committed to cultivating more courage, therefore it wasn’t even a decision to make. This was an everyday ordinary moment to put my commitment into practice.

Being flexible requires courage.

The more comfortable we become with being uncomfortable, the more flexible we will be. Flexibility reveals a certain inner storehouse of courage.

Fear governs our desire for control, it builds an invisible cage around our life and traps us in a belief that what we know is all there is to be known. This is a dangerous mindset, the reality is we know very little and have control over even less.

I am 43 and here is the expansive list of what I truly have control over; my thoughts, my attitude, and maybe my calorie intake for the day. Meanwhile, no sarcasm necessary, there is a list of what I cannot control; my schedule, how much love my husband shows me today, the choices my teenagers will make, if we will all eat a meal together today, if I will ever be a grandmother, who my kids will marry, if they marry, if I will see any of that come to pass, and so on…you get the point.

Flexible people live with an awareness that each day holds a bit of the unexpected; which leads me back to my morning of Yoga at the beach. I came for Yoga (and personal discomfort) and left with something completely unexpected.

It must have been a solid five minutes into deep breathing, aligning my heartbeat to the roll of the ocean, and cleaning my mind of all its mental sticky notes, when it happened.

God spoke.

Today I choose to end the story here for you with this bit of encouragement; practice this attribute as often as possible – make it not just a habit but a sacrament. If the all knowing, all creating, all loving God goes before us then we can expect to encounter Him as we stretch our life into the great unknown.

Be strong and courageous,

▪️COMFORTABLE WITH UNCOMFORTABLE

The discomfort preceded the destiny.

It’s been 4 years since my trip to India. Although my everyday life seems as distant as the geography is, my memories tend to keep this experience top of mind. You can image that the combination of being fully present to each moment I experienced and the sensory overload of an unfamiliar culture serve to preserve these memories like a travel journal of sorts.

HOT that might be the first word I would use when describing India. There we sat side by side forming a row across the stage glued to the plastic seating provided, we must have looked like a tribe of vagabond Westerners to the women we were facing. The mix of heat and immobility resulted in legs that were suctioned together, sweat dripping from everywhere, and I swore I could wring this amount of perspiration from my bra.

To me everything in India is riddled with irony, including the HOT chai tea we were served during the conference break that afternoon. I managed to get the recipe and have made it a few times over the years. Delish. Oddly enough we were there to teach, this notion was especially ironic.

Our “fearless” leader, who was really theirs, was speaking. Not knowing if the story she was telling was true or a magnificent oral tale of Eastern decent I found myself hanging on her every word.

This message was for me.

She told us a story of what eagles do to realize their full potential – the discomfort they endure to reach their maximum life span. She with great detail, and some hilarious facial expressions, illustrated the process they go through to live beyond the age of 40. Their life span could be 80+ years, the choice was theirs.

She narrated how they would find a place to hide, a cave of sorts, high up in the mountains, a place where they could be safe in their vulnerability. It would be in this place where they would painstakingly pluck out some of their heaviest feathers, in order to lighten their plumage.

They use their hard and mangled beaks to pull out their talons one by one, for newer sharper talons to grow in. And at the final stage would crack their beaks agains the hard stone until the old came away and a more youthful beak could grow back in its place. All the while they faced near starvation in the process. Discomfort would be a slight to depict the pain of this molting.

I was 39 at the time.

I struggled with feelings of unfulfillment. I just didn’t feel like I was living my full potential. I had allowed life to push me around to the point that I wasn’t really sure who I was, what I was made for, and where I was going.

I was aching for purpose.

She implored her audience. “Do the hard work, you’re meant to be eagles.”

I wasn’t the only Westerner who was opened mouthed at the way she was addressing her girls, excuse me, I mean female leaders. She caught all of us off guard.

“Why are you acting like chickens just pecking around in the garbage?”

All I could think was, try selling tickets to hear that at your next women’s conference or retreat. But she was right, if we’re not out there enduring the discomfort to reach our maximum potential – we’re chickens.

I don’t know about you but I would rather be an eagle than a chicken. And my biggest take away from her talk was understanding this principle.

The discomfort preceded the destiny. And it takes courage to believe in yourself. Believing you’re an eagle not a chicken is half the battle.


This is especially true when you’re an adult. There are not many people offering to tell you how awesome you are and how much untapped potential you have. You’ve got to push yourself outside of your own comfort zone…and keep on pushing.

Friends, that’s what this community is about…pushing one another along as we all go through the painful process of reaching our full potential.

Eagles or chickens? Cast your vote.

Who’s ready to do the hard work with me?