Monday, February 8, 2016

BEING BRAVE



I've been thinking a lot about the phrase "Be you, bravely", and why that resonates so deeply with me.  How God created each of us as unique and amazing in our own ways but most of us walk around as lesser versions of ourselves.  I don’t know all of your stories, but I know mine and I would venture a guess that at some point in your life, maybe a distinct event or maybe just family or cultural pressure over time, you have been made to feel that you are not enough.  Not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, loud enough, quiet enough...whatever it is.  And the fear of not being enough makes us want to hide and blend in.  I want to play it safe and be less bold and take less risk and in all honesty, be less me,  because I don’t want to fail or feel that who I am is not enough or not ok.    

Culture wants to standardize us...make us all the same size and shape and volume, but our Creator is an ARTIST.  If you know any artists, you know that they all strive for originality and creativity and to create a masterpiece each and every time.  You are not created to be like anyone else or even to be a lesser version of yourself, and when you try to be, you are no longer the amazing masterpiece that you are created to be. You can no longer bring into this world and this life what only you were meant to bring.  And so, the rest of us all miss out on the beautiful impact that is you and yours.

If you speak truth into a womans life, encourage her, tell her the good and powerful things you see in her, her eyes will well with tears and spill over.  Why is this?  Because too much of the time as women, our inner voices tell us what we are not, where we fall short and don’t measure up.  When we hear positive things about ourselves, deep down, we know it is true.  We just needed someone else to tell us and give us permission to believe it about ourselves.  

Every night, when my husband says goodnight to our kids, he says two things, “I love you and I believe in you.”  I don’t know how that tradition started, but I do know that it will have a powerful impact on our kids as they grow.  They know unequivocally that they are loved and that we believe in them, and we hope that knowing that will encourage them to live into who they are and not be afraid.  I am so much more brave when I know someone believes in me.  Can we be that positive voice for each other?  Let’s look at each other and say, “I believe in you,” a lot this year.

Have you ever noticed that we compare our insides (the often jumbled mess of our emotions and our weaknesses) to everyone else’s outsides (the parts of them that make them seem confident and put together)?  Why do we compare our behind the scenes (screaming kids, piles of laundry, and an exhausted mom), to everyone else’s highlight reel (Facebook and Instagram and that seemingly perfect mom with seemingly perfect kids).  Let me be the first to tell you that my real life looks nothing like my Instagram feed.  My real life looks nothing like the person you think you know.  

Some days, I want you to believe that I am brave.  That I have it handled.  That inside I’m not a broken mess.  I wear mascara and cute earrings, because, let’s face it, if you’re wearing mascara and earrings, you can fool anyone into thinking you’re ok.  Broken people don’t wear mascara and earrings...but don’t be fooled. I’m here to tell you they do.  

Other days, I want to be vulnerable and show you the insides of my wrists as a white flag surrender of my life and all the million little ways that I fall apart.  I want to show you this because I know that you will say, “Me too,” and we will exhale and look at each other with wide eyes and start making a mosaic of all the shattered pieces.  Because that’s what happens. Vulnerability begets vulnerability, which begets courage and uprisings, even if they are tiny. Women are amazing like that.  

Honesty is the thing that keeps us from being alone.  Where there is honesty, there is authenticity.  Where there is authenticity, there is trust.  Where there is trust, there is deepening.  Where there is deepening, there is real relationship that is beautiful and hard all at the same time.  

So, let me be honest and go first.  My name is Amy.  I have three kids.  I fear what people think of me and that I’m not enough.  I have multiple negative thoughts about my body every day.  I struggle immensely with the transition to being a mom and my identity in that.  I have survived postpartum depression and an eating disorder.  I had a miscarriage that flipped me upside down.  I yell at my kids sometimes.  I can’t keep up with the laundry or cleaning the bathroom.  I have trouble asking for and accepting help.  I don’t cook with all organic foods.  I eat chocolate in secret.  And even harder for me to say out loud:  I am strong.  I love fiercely.  I fight for my marriage.  I show up for my kids.  I have something to give and something to say.  

In the 39 years of my life thus far, what I know to be true is that my greatest satisfaction has come out of overcoming my fear.  My greatest joy has come when I have stepped out of my comfort zone.  My greatest growth has come out of greatest loss.   

Our lives unfold in proportion to our courage, and so I want to encourage you to live into all that you are created to be and be brave in all that you are and all that you do. Close your ears to all the negative voices that ring in your heads and fill your thoughts. Be truth-tellers and fearlessly authentic. Have the courage to dare greatly, knowing that you might fail, but you also might fly.





* This post adapted from a talk I gave at MOPS in October 2014.



13 comments:

  1. ❤️ You ARE strong, amy. It's staggering to me how strong and brave you are. I completely believe in you.

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    1. And I feel the same about you!! I believe in you too, friend!

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  2. So wonderful and true. Glad to call you my friend.

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  3. So wonderful and true. Glad to call you my friend.

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  4. I love everything about this! Yes, please keep writing :)

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    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement, Stacy!

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  5. Tears of inspiration, relief and joy just poured down my face. Thank you, Amy, for your strength in words and beautiful honesty. Diane

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    1. Wow, Diane. Thank you for sharing. YOU are inspiring me. xoxo

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  6. Shoot lady, thank you. I really needed that today. Not doing great lately, let me tell you. Thank you for your healing and encouraging words.

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    1. Just saw this comment. I'm so glad it was encouraging to you. Learning so much about being vulnerable and how that is healing for me as well as those around me. Thankful for you!

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