Brave

Have you ever been rock climbing? Last year while vacationing in Estes Park, CO my husband and I went to an indoor climbing gym on a rainy day to attempt rope climbing and bouldering. Back home we decided to go all in and purchase a membership to the local climbing gym. For the first few months, what came naturally to my husband left me paralyzed with fear. Who in their right mind climbs to the top of a rock wall, without ropes and without fear? Those who are brave, of which I am not. So many times I’d make it halfway up the wall, only to get stuck. Not because the route was too difficult but because my bravery didn’t match my ambition. What if I let go and slipped? What if I let go and failed? What if my own strength wasn’t enough? It was a frustrating, exhilarating and eye-opening few months! I have reached a point now where my bravery is beginning to outweigh my fear and it is easier to press on {up} when I feel the what ifs begin to creep in.  My husband and I joke all the time that this ‘activity’ has been good for me – pushing me to let go, be brave, and take a risk. In reality, so much of what goes through my mind while rock climbing mirrors what I feel when I am pushed out of my comfort zone in relational situations and in situations I don’t feel “good” at.

Next weekend, I am venturing out of my comfort zone and doing something that both terrifies me and exhilarates me, much like rock climbing did. I am attending an IF:Local gathering hosted by our new church, New Heights Bentonville. Not only am I going alone, I am also leading a worship set on Friday night with my husband. Two things that are completely out of my comfort zone. Two things full of promise, yet frightening all the same.

Because what if:

  • I show up and no one recognizes me
  • I spend half of my weekend away from home and come back defeated
  • Everyone else has their own friends and I have no one to talk to or connect with
  • I don’t fit in
  • I can’t relate to others and they think I am unfriendly
  • I suddenly can’t remember how to sing well and I’m not very good at it

Our gracious, merciful God is ready and willing to answer our cries and our pleas. For peace, wisdom, help, and bravery. What I am finding is that God doesn’t always call us into massive, life altering assignments and our lives aren’t always going to look shocking and grand. More often God gives us small opportunities to grow in our weak areas so that when that bigger assignments come, we are ready. We have learned the process, we have stored up wisdom and understanding, and have drawn in closer to God. Much like rock climbing, it’s these moments of the what ifs that strike us with two things – fear of the unknown and an opportunity to grow and rely on God’s provision and strength.

Looking back on the last three years, I am encouraged to take a step into the unknown  of next weekend. Where the what if’s in my marriage kept me bound to sin and darkness, God shed light. He is teaching me to let go, give up control, and just love. With passion, with grace, and with understanding and peace that only his strength can provide.

What if my husband can’t get better – What if God answers my prayers in exceedingly abundant ways

What if we can’t find common ground and transparency – What if God redeems all the moments of pain and suffering

What if in my heart I can’t trust my husband again –What if God teaches me that grace abounds and unconditional love trumps all

 This week, I am praying for bravery. I feel like that is where God is leading me now. Give a little and he takes a lot – now that I have embraced giving up control of fixing my husband and sustaining my marriage, God is calling me deeper. “Don’t just trust me. Obey me. Go and seek opportunities outside of your comfort zone. Share your story. Build trust and relationships with other women. Be Brave.” For years I have been afraid to open up to other women and to truly pursue community with them. And through our new church, I have been presented multiple opportunities to do exactly that. The same day I stopped lurking on the IF:Local site and actually registered, I got asked (for the umpteenth time) why I don’t sing and lead worship with my husband on Sunday mornings, and if I would be interested in leading with him at the Friday night session. Another give a little, take a lot moment!

Going into next week I am praying that God takes all the what if’s and uses them to speak to my heart in ways that will continue to shape me and mold me into who he wants me to be.

Because what if:

  • I show up and find that the women at our new church want to get to know each other in a genuine way
  • I spend half of my weekend away from home and come back feeling refreshed and renewed in God’s strength
  • I begin to foster new friendships with other women who are passionate about Jesus, that can develop into lifelong mentors and friends
  • I discover who God created me to be, how I am created in his image, and how my unique personality is essential to his plan and purpose for my life
  • I find transparency and discover that I’m not alone in my struggles and fears
  • I discover that the nudge I’ve felt from the Lord for the past year to serve him musically and lead with my husband is an area where satan has been using fear to hold me back

What if we asked God for bravery to be obedient in small assignments with open arms and open hearts. What if  we asked God for opportunities to step outside our comfort zone and grow and rely on his strength.

How powerful could we be as daughters of the King if we truly believed in our hearts
God makes us brave.

I have only heard wonderful things about the IF:gathering and can’t wait to experience it. For more information or to find a local gathering near you, follow this link: https://ifgathering.com/

 

 

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