Love and Faith

Be Brave, Not Safe

It was my dream job, but it was hundreds of miles away.

I always knew that if God opened the doors into the publishing industry, I would have to leave where I was living at the time: Austin, TX. And let me tell you, I love that city! I had incredible community, deep friendships, and a church that challenged and encouraged me. Plus, the food…it’s some of the best in the world. Really, it is.

As soon as I got the offer though, I knew I was leaving. I had been applying to publishing jobs for two years. I knew God opened the door I had been praying for. But would it be worth it? Would it be worth it to leave everything behind to such a great unknown?

Prior to my job interview, 98% of my experience with Colorado had been with the Denver airport. I hated cold weather. I didn’t know a soul in the city or of any churches. It was terrifying, even while exciting. Would I make friends? Would I find a church I loved? Would I survive winter?!?

The Lord was faithful through that season and He continued to remind me of this truth in so many ways. Through scriptures like this one found in Ephesians:

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

But He also spoke to me in one of my love languages: Fiction. In C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan (the Lion who represents Jesus) has seemingly remained quiet in the land of Narnia as the terrible White Witch has claimed it as her own. Slowly things start to change, the never ending winter begins to melt and true Narnians began to have hope.

Aslan was on the move.

He was on the move in my life too. Did that mean my fear went away? Nope, but it gave me the courage to be brave. Just like in the book, where even though Aslan was moving to destroy the hold the White Witch had over Narnia, the four Pevensies siblings (and array of amazing creatures created by Lewis) still had to fight. They still had to choose to be brave. Safety wasn’t an option. But they had the best guide. One of my favorite lines about Aslan comes from Mr. Beaver, after one of the children asks if this Lion they kept hearing about is safe. He responds: “Safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NASB)

It’s been two years now that I’ve called Colorado home and there continues to be plenty of opportunities to choose bravery over safety. Whether it is safety from failure, safety for my feelings, or safety from hurt.

It was pushing through as I searched for months for a church home. It was trusting that God would provide community, trusting that while I hadn’t connected in those first few months through different church groups, it would come. It was pushing through the awkwardness of making new friends (making new friends as an adult is hard!). And yet.

He was and is faithful.

These days? I love my church, my friends, and my community in Colorado. They are a gift to my soul. There’s plenty of times I need to remind myself about this (as life tends to send changes all the time), but I am so thankful the Lord continues to give me the strength to be brave and not safe.

Being brave isn’t fully conquering fear. It will always be there. It’s choosing to not let it stand in the way. It’s not always easy, but I’ve learned it is always worth it. When I don’t want to take that step of faith? I remember my favorite lion Aslan. I remember Who he represents and am reminded I’m not alone, Jesus will always be with me. And I can remember that “He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”

May we always choose to be wild.

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

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Ponderings

14 Lessons From 2014

A few months ago, a post I wrote on an old blog, popped up on the radar. It was titled “Bye bye 20s – it was fun!” My first thought was along the lines of “what in the actual what? How was that over two years ago? That means I’ve been in my 30s for more than a minute and that sounds weird.”

Yet, it was also rather refreshing to read and inspired me to have an end of the year post along the same lines and since we’re in 2014, I’ve decided to share 14 lessons I’ve learned from this year. So here we go…

1. The Lord can move mountains. A few months ago, one of my closest friends moved to Austin and is now my roommate. Y’all, this is something I would never EVER have thought possible (of all my girlfriends, she always had the strongest opinions against Texas ;). So yes, the Lord can do the impossible.

2. When you are hoping for a red light (say to finish a text or write a reminder note), you get all green lights. The time you are late? Red. Every.single.time.

3. I still want to be a Goonie.

4. Sometimes God’s yes is scarier than His no.

5. Texans still don’t know how to drive in the rain.

6. I want to change the world in any way I can. It looks different for everyone and I don’t get why people don’t at least try.

7. There is so much brokenness in this world. Much of what’s happened recently in the US (and the world) has reminded me to urgently pray for the Gospel to reign, for reconciliation and for people’s hearts to turn to Jesus. It makes me sad that battles fought decades ago are still being fought today.

8. I don’t think there will ever come a time when I don’t need my parents. Whether to just text a picture of my cat (my Dad is always thrilled to get those 🙂 or ask about the differences between eggs (Grade AA or A? No idea) or why my truck is making a weird noise or ways to pray for me, they truly are a rock I can always lean on.

9. I recently tried something I’ve never done before and while the jury is still out, it’s encouraged me to try at least one thing that scares the living daylights out of me more often than not.

10. Writing has become such an important part of my life. Even if it’s something I don’t post, it’s therapeutic. That’s an exciting discovery.

11. I don’t know if there is a magic age when you feel like an adult, but 32 isn’t it. 🙂

12. Since I’ve become a Christian, Joshua 1:9 has been a life verse. Since my life in Texas, Romans 12:12 has been added. I’ve experienced and prayed this much in 2014.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

13. People can be jerks and selfish, but don’t let their actions change who you are. Learn from it, pray for them, forgive and move on.

14. This year has been an incredible year of blogging and making friendships with fellow bloggers and readers! It’s truly been a blessing. 🙂

How about you? What lessons have you learned this year?

Also, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year friends! Thanks for making this year an incredible one! I’ll be back with all new material on She Laughs with Dignity in 2015!!