Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On Being Brave

I’m not. Brave.

At all.

In fact, I’d probably consider myself the biggest scaredy cat of them all.

I’ve never lived more than 60 miles away from my childhood home because in our early years of marriage it felt safe to stay close and now it just feels like being stuck.

I’ve borne three children, not four, because I was too afraid of the kind of mom I’d be if I had more kids than I already couldn’t handle.

I rarely confront. I rarely speak out. I rarely challenge.

And I rarely write.

Oh, I write, but I rarely write what I’d like to write because it feels too big, too scary.

I’m too afraid.

Recently I did something that felt a little brave. I invited some dear, young moms over to my house to talk about an idea I have for a book.

They’re coming tonight.

And all day, that small act of bravery has felt like a sickness. A death. Like I want to call them all up and cancel because, seriously, what a dumb idea.

I’m not brave.

At all.

Would some of you brave ones out there please tell me how it’s done?



  1. I can hardly wait to read your book that you will write. The book that you WILL write. Praying courage for you tonight!

  2. I think you and I would tie as being the biggest scaredy cats because I feel the same way about all that you said.

    BUT. I've been going to tell you that a gal from my church wrote a book and I read it last Sunday. It was good. But you. You are a writer. She has had some unique experiences that could help others and she did a good job but you, my friend, are a true writer and I expect you to write at least the book we talked about at lunch that day.
    You can do it. I'd love to talk to you about your ideas sometime. Give me a call. I'll encourage you!

  3. Oh Linda, thank you so much! THAT is amazing encouragement.

    Amanda, you are great. Thank you!

  4. Shelly, you are braver than you think. Bravery is simply taking one step after another. Today you present your idea. Tomorrow you'll figure out what comes next. Don't think about the Big Picture- that'll freak you out. Just focus on what you can do and then do it. I, for one, can't wait to see what happens!

  5. Shelly!!! This. Is. AWESOME. You know I'm anxious for your book. I'm so proud of you (is that weird?) for taking this very brave step!!!

  6. Shelly,

    Let God take over!

    All the best,

  7. Such a funny mix ... sometimes we are so brave and other times not. I see many ways that you are brave ... and honor your step today that was hard. You did it. Yeah.

    Sometime I will make a Brave Shelly list.


  8. Leigh, Mary, Donna, Glenda: how blessed I am to have you all in my life. Thank you!

    (Still looking for that Bravery Advice, though!)

  9. Sometimes you don't have to be brave. Sometimes you just have to take a big gulp of air, and then, to quote my one of my kids' fave movie songs 'You've got to move it, move it!' (Madagascar) Let the Lord be brave for you. A little fear is a good thing. Nothing wrong with that. But you have a gift. Right?? You've been called to use it, right?? So don't waste it, sister. Use it. Don't get stricken by the paralysis of analysis. Trust that He who sees the big picture will guide the conversation. Just have fun.

  10. You may not see bravery in yourself, but your posts on this blog are consistently honest, heartfelt, enouraging and full of grace.....that, my dear, is a full measure of bravery. You don't write what the world wants to hear. You speak with a heart for God. Thank you.

  11. First, let me start by saying that the fact that you wrote this post shows me you are braver than you think. In a place where you can paint any kind of picture of yourself that YOU want to portray, you chose to expose your vulnerability. That's brave.

    Also, you want to write a book and you invited women over to discuss it. Wow. Brave. Right there.

    AND, I have a lot of experience with "fear" because I was raised by awesome parents who were also very fearful and never, ever changed anything. I could illustrate this 1000 ways, but I won't. Just trust me on this.


    I think maybe you are confusing "bravery" with "having no feelings of doubt and reservation." When I look in the scriptures at people who did amazing life-altering things, I see normal people like you and me who were scared and confused and sometimes begged God NOT to use them (hello? Moses!), but ultimately trusted God that He would be there and lead them.

    One of my favorite mantras is "Do it Afraid." Because it reminds me that I don't have to wait for the sick feelings to go away before I step out and do something scary.

    All that to say, I think the very best way to overcome fear (real fear) is to just step out and do some scary things and see what happens. It's sort of like building your muscle. Once you face your fear and make it through without the earth falling off its axis, you will have strength to face the next thing. And the next and the next and the next.

    And the biggest antidote to a life gripped by fear, I think, is to face your absolute biggest fear and make it through, with God's help and grace. Once you do that, you will be able to face anything.

    For me, that was burying my baby. My absolute worst fear was losing a child. I did. I survived. And now I really do feel like I can do anything if I know God is there, too.

    I don't wish scary things for you--oh Lord please no. But I do wish for you a few stretching moments that make you depend on God with all your strength and mind. Then you will grow that "bravery muscle" and get stronger.

    And this book thing??? It will seem so small.

    See what happens when I stop blogging? I write blog posts in your comment section.

    I love you.

  12. We're all brave just in different ways. I used to describe myself as a "non-traditional risk taker"...no bungee jumping for me, but didn't struggle much with moving to China right after Tienanmen.

    So how are you brave--you put yourself out there into the blogosphere on a regular basis, you volunteer to work with teenagers, you teach college students (who can be the most wonderful and the most critical people in the world), you choose to embrace life and to embrace God.

    Can't wait to hear more about the book...

  13. I am not brave either, but I have done things that I would normally not do. I know that fear and discouragement are two of Satan's most powerful weapons against us. When I am afraid, I try to remember that I have something wonderful that I can do or contribute, and I do not want Satan to keep me from accomplishing it because I listened to his lie! Courage isn't not being afraid-its doing it even though you are afraid! JOSHUA 1:9. :)

  14. I don't think anyone
    is truly brave to the
    core ~ we all have
    doubts and we all get
    butterflies ~ it's the
    pushing past that towards
    what might be that
    takes the real courage.
    Looking forward to
    hearing where this
    journey takes you, S!

    xx Suzanne

  15. Oh Shelly! Being brave doesn't mean we have no doubts or insecurities. Being brave is doing something IN SPITE OF those doubts and insecurities. I know that you can do this, with God's help. Trust Him. His strength is made PERFECT IN OUR WEAKNESS! Where would we be if we thought we didn't need Him. I KNOW I can't do anything on my own, that's why I have to trust Him, and I know you trust Him too! I will be praying for you, and I KNOW that it will be awesome! Can't want to hear all about it :0! You go girl!!!!!