still brave.

today marks six months since A Song of Bravery was released.
the days and weeks and months that followed were full of joy and excitement and just about every existing emotion. i loved waking up to find comments and reviews and book royalty reports.
i felt happy and accomplished. my bravery, my decision to be true to who God made me to be, was being rewarded.

and slowly, with time, the excitement began to dissipate. comments and reviews and book sales were less frequent. college became more demanding and i found myself with less time and creativity to write new poetry. i’ve told you before that i tend to place my worth and my identity in my words, and this season of my life was not an exception. i was discouraged. i felt sad that i was unable to make new art. whenever i managed to get a few words out and write what i considered to be a decent poem, it felt like it was the best day of my life. that’s how bad it was.

and yesterday i sat down to read my book. i felt encouraged and inspired as i read my own words. i read those verses a thousand times when i was putting the collection together. but yesterday i didn’t see the string of words i’d grown accustomed to reading when i looked for typos and mistakes. i found hope and joy in my very own song of bravery. i remembered who i was.

and i asked myself, “am i not still brave? if my words were to be taken away from me, wouldn’t i still have worth? wouldn’t i still be enough? am i not still brave?”

the answer to all of those questions is yes.

yes, i am still brave. yes, i am still enough. yes, i am still worthy. because, oh my soul, you are more than your words. you are more than where you place your worth. you are more than your dreams. you are still brave because you choose to hope. you are brave because you have chosen to believe in your Maker. you are brave because you are still here, because your heart still beats. because you still wonder at the beauty your eyes see. because you haven’t lost all of your joy.

my soul, you are brave. your bravery isn’t big. it doesn’t shine. your bravery maybe goes by unnoticed. but it is there. between your heartbeats. inside your bones. in your glittering eyes.

yes, i am still brave. because i no longer walk with shame and fear. i walk with a head that is lifted high. i walk with grace, the same grace that erased who i used to be. yes, i am still brave. because i am not who i used to be.

i still sing my song of bravery. the melody and the words have changed, but the brave heart is the same.

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The Face of Bravery

Bravery has many faces.
It looks like climbing a mountain.
It looks like jumping off of a cliff.
It looks like moving to a college dorm.
It looks like singing on a stage.
It looks like riding a roller coaster.
It looks like writing a book.
It looks like getting on an airplane.
It looks like trusting others.

And last week, bravery looked to me like going to a tea shop to meet an Internet friend for the first time. Being brave looked like saying “hello”. It looked like sharing my heart and telling stories I’d never shared before. It looked like being intentional about pursuing people. It looked like leaving the fear of meeting new people behind.

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Bravery has many faces. It looks like many things. Sometimes it’s big. Sometimes it’s small. Sometimes it’s bold and bright. Sometimes it goes by unnoticed. The face of bravery will keep on changing every time you and I face a fear.

But there’s something about bravery that never changes. Bravery will always be the best choice. Bravery will always be better than letting fear win. Bravery will always be better than staying safe. Bravery will always be better than staying in your comfort zone. Even if it’s hard. Even if your knees are weak. Choosing bravery will always be the best choice. Because being brave means no ‘what ifs’. Bravery means letting yourself be surprised by what you’ll find. Bravery means not holding back. Bravery means living out what you were called for. Being brave means that you’re really living. Bravery means looking at fear in the face and telling it to leave.

The face of bravery will keep changing. Fear is going to be in many places.

And it’s up to you and me to keep showing up.

A Brave Year

Many friends of mine, especially the ladies from the #fireworkpeople community, have inspired me to choose a word for 2015.

My word is brave.

I know I write a lot about bravery, and it is a recurring theme in my life, but bravery isn’t a one-time thing for me. I cannot stop being brave. I cannot allow myself to let fear back into my life. I have to keep choosing to be brave. And that’s what I’m going to be this year. Brave. I’m going to pursue bravery and I’m going to be intentionally brave.

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•I’m going to be brave with my relationship with God. I’m going to pursue God more and trust Him and his plan for my life.

•I’m going to be brave with my poetry. I’m going to try and get it published.

•I’m going to be brave with people. I’m going to pursue community and friendship. I will be more open to others and their stories. And I will be more open about my story, too. I’m going to love wholeheartedly.

•I’m going to be brave with my dreams. I am going to see them come true this year.

I am going to be brave with my life, because it’s what I was made for. I wasn’t given a spirit of fear. I was made to be brave. I’m going to be brave because my life is so much more than fear. I wasn’t made to live in black and white. I was made to live fully alive, in full color. I was created to dream. I was created by the creator of dreams. And I wasn’t created to simply dream. I was made to see the desires of my heart come true. I wasn’t made to hold back. And I won’t. I will be brave.

What’s your word for 2015?

Brave {a poem}

do you know how many
people walk their way
through life never wanting
to be more than what they
are, never giving their selves
the chance to open their
hearts and be bold and
risk it all? do you know
how many people don’t
write the stories they want
to share, the poems they want
to write, the songs they want
to sing, the art they want
to make? do you know how
many people deny their selves
the opportunity to be brave, the
chance to be bold, to live in
bright colors instead of black
and white? do you know how
many people live in a cage,
afraid to love, afraid to live,
afraid to hope, afraid to feel,
afraid to be? do you know
how many people don’t let
their souls be vulnerable and
beautiful and wonderful? i
hope you’re not one of them.

brave, my poem

Friend, don’t waste your life thinking that you’re not good enough to chase your dreams, to do what you were made to do, and to be who you were meant to be. You are a wonderful creation, beautiful and bold and bright. Made to do great things. Made to reflect Glory. Made with wonder. Don’t give up on who you are. Open the doors of your heart and step out. Leave the darkness behind and step into the light. Go be wonderful. Go be amazing. Go be brave and bold. Go.

Someone Like You

Hey, I see you. I see your heart. I see your eyes. And in them I see light. I see a spark dying to set the world on fire. I see your fear. I know you’re afraid of being vulnerable. You’re afraid of being judged. You’re afraid of being rejected. You’re afraid of not being good enough. And so, you keep your heart and your soul and your passions and talents and dreams hidden somewhere they’ll never be found. I see that. And I know you can’t keep on living like this. I know your heart can’t take it. I know you sometimes cry yourself to sleep because of this fear that’s eating you alive.

But friend, you need to know the world needs you.

This world needs people who want to encourage others. This world needs people who want to change it. This world needs beautiful souls. This world needs light. This world needs hope. This world needs to know it’s loved. This world needs people to shine in the darkness. This world needs people that makes others want to dream. This world needs someone like you.

Someone who makes beautiful art with her hands. Someone who writes gorgeous poetry. Someone with a soulful voice. Someone with words to encourage. Someone who takes beautiful pictures. Someone who inspires bravery. Someone who writes stories. Someone who writes songs. Someone who moves others to dream. Someone who brings out the good in others. Someone with a servant’s heart. Someone who sings songs of hope. Someone who makes others feel beautiful. Someone who writes the truth that will set others free. Someone with healing hands. Someone who shares their story. Someone who makes others laugh. Someone who takes care of others. Someone who loves. Someone who lives out what they were made for.

Someone like you.

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Because you matter. Because you were made for more. You were made for more than hiding in fear. You were made to bring glory to Who made you. You were made to dream. You were made to live out those dreams. You were made to bring light to the world. You were made to make beautiful things. You were made to share hope. You were made to spread love. You were made to soar. You were made to love. You were made to be you.

Because this world needs someone like you.