“We are the women who want what God wants—more than we are afraid of it.”
Once upon a time, a girl sat at the bottom of a mountain in a shopping cart. She couldn’t get out, and there was no one else around for miles. Knowing she just had to reach the peak or she’d burst, she closed her eyes, hummed a hymn, and smiled because this wasn’t her idea; it came from the same God who had created her (and the mountain and the shopping cart). Her hair rushed back as the cart picked up speed, pushed along by the One in whom her hope rested. What a unique sensation, holding on for dear life as she watched the scenic road unfold before her! Bizarre, for sure, but thrilling. If you’ve ever felt completely out of control and entirely safe at the same time, that’s about the size of her exhilarating ride from bottom to top. The cart handled long stretches and wild curves, whizzing along happily as though it were made for nothing but this particular adventure.
“Say what you wanna say / And let the words fall out / Honestly I wanna see you be brave.”
(Sara Bareilles, ‘Brave’)
You get a text asking if you’re interested in taking on a big assignment. Or your old nemesis from high school (totally a thing) sends you a friend request. Or God confronts you about how you’ve deeply hurt a family member. All of these require responses, and goodness knows, your flesh has a way it wants to answer.
I wobbled to my feet, dazed, and wiped the blood from my nose. That’s one heck of a right cross. I’d just been knocked out by a forgotten resolution with a vendetta. Before I even realized I was in the ring, I was on my back.
In case you’re worried, this situation played out in my mind, not in real life. I had checked my blog post schedule only to find “year of brave” penciled in for today. That’s when it hit me: I’ve completely forgotten about my word for the year. I haven’t thought about it in over a month. Big deal, you say? To a recovering perfectionist with any kind of platform, the internal beating began.
The sage-colored plastic lid lifts off the barrel to reveal bundles of lace, sequined leotards, creamy evening gowns, and fluffy blue tutus. Costume jewelry swims at the bottom of it all, along with a few purses and gloves. My six-year-old self runs for the makeup set and applies what I imagine to be the perfect amount of bright red lipstick to finish off the best dress-up ensemble ever. (No one tells me I look like a clown-turned-harlot, so I dance around gleefully in front of the camera.) Life just feels right when I’m here in these ridiculous shoes, pretending to be a fancy lady out on the town.
Try your best to remember the first moment you moved from the shallow part of the pool into the deep end unassisted. When all you’ve felt is the solid ground beneath your feet, the feeling of complete weightlessness can be unnerving. Sure, that same solid ground is under there somewhere, but it’s farther away than it’s been before. The momentary panic is replaced by a rush of jubilant energy. You did it! This is living! No more dread holding you back. You were brave long enough to leave the old behind, and it has paid off with loud cheers from your parents (and hopefully no mean siblings looking for some fresh meat to dunk).