It seems to be all the rage these days to find a word to represent your year. Last year was really the first year that I heard about this. I picked Diligence to be my word for 2016, mostly because I thought it sounded like a neat idea and that was the first word that came to mind.
I did learn a lot of new techniques to help me stay focused and on task (like developing and using a Bullet Journal). I accomplished a lot of my goals and did some pretty amazing things last year (like running a full marathon, running every day for 591 days now, and achieving tremendous growth on this blog). I’m not sure I can give all the credit to my word of the year for these achievements, but it was fun to have that reminder to help when I needed it.
This year I wanted to be more intentional about setting my word for the year. I have set some pretty big and scary goals for myself, so if I have any hope of accomplishing them, I’m going to need all the help I can get. What word could I use to help motivate and inspire me to keep pressing on toward these big scary goals?
Crystal Paine is the person who originally set me on the path toward coming up with a word for the year. Last year she used the “year of rest” and fully took that to heart. The transformation she’s had has been really neat to follow as she let go of a lot and gave herself permission to rest and take care of herself all throughout the year. This year her plan is to have the “year of yes”. I thought that sounded like a great word. A year of saying yes to all of the things I’m usually afraid of. A year of saying yes to the things that are uncomfortable. But still, this didn’t quite sound like the word for me.
Then I stumbled across a video by Melissa Radke talking about how she used the “year of yes” in 2016 and it completely transformed her life. She mentioned that two books inspired her. The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs. I immediately downloaded the audio versions of both books from Audible and listened to them right away. (Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks)
A Year of Brave
By the time I was done “reading” the books I knew that 2017 was going to be my Year of Brave. I don’t actually want to say “Yes” to all of the things, I only want to say yes to certain things. Things that line up exactly with my goals and priorities. But my goals and priorities are a wee bit terrifying right now, which means I need to be brave.
Brave (verb): endure or face unpleasant conditions or behavior without showing fear; (noun) the ability to do something that frightens one.
I need to show up even when things are daunting. I need to put myself out there even when I’m afraid of what other people will think. I need to be brave when faced with voices that don’t necessarily agree or voices that try to tell me to take another path. I need to have the courage to face the seemingly insurmountable mountains that lie ahead of me.
I have no idea if I’ll meet all of the goals I’ve set for myself this year. I know that I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting and thinking in order to create them. I spent quite a bit of time praying and journaling to clarify and narrow down these goals and dreams. And I can confidently say that all of my goals are completely possible and realistic, but they will take a lot of hard work, bravery, and focus.
And so this year I commit to being brave. I commit to showing up even when I’m tired, scared, confused, or overwhelmed. I commit to trusting in God because I know that it is only through His strength and grace that I can achieve these dreams. I commit to facing my fears and being courageous when I’d rather just stay in bed. I commit to the hard days and the easy days, the fun times and the terrifying times. I commit to looking my fears in the face and pressing on anyway.
2017, we are going to do amazing things. I am brave.
Want to Become Brave with Me?
Fear seems to be a universal struggle. You may have heard it said that the Bible says “Do not fear” 365 different times. It is that important and that hard.
You probably don’t have the same goals and dreams that I do, but I bet you have a dream in your heart that terrifies you. There may be a goal you hope to achieve that sounds really scary. Maybe you have been paralyzed by fear for years and you are tired of being stuck but too anxiety-ridden to move forward.
I want to invite you to become brave with me this year. To stop hiding in our comfortable little worlds and step out into the big, scary world that God has called us to change. The world needs us to be brave. Our kids need us to be brave. The Kingdom of God needs us to be brave.
“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
Brave will look differently for each of us. Brave will even look different in each circumstance. Sometimes brave will mean saying “no” when it is easier and more comfortable to say “yes.” And yet sometimes the braver choice is to say “yes” when everything inside of us screams “no”. Brave might be trying that new thing, learning a new skill, doing something difficult, or stepping out of our comfort zones.
For me, brave will be all of those things and more. I hope it will be for you too. When faced with your next decision, ask yourself, “what is the brave choice here?”. And then choose that path. Notice your fears, feel them, and move forward through your fears anyway. That is brave.
Here are some questions to ask yourself each week or each month to reflect as you begin your journey toward brave:
What did I do that was out of my comfort zone recently?
What is something new I tried?
What brave thing did I accomplish?
What have I done that was kind?
What have I done that challenged me?
How did these things make me feel afterward?
I think bravery is a journey, built with little baby steps. Maybe our brave choices this week will feel really small. They might feel like they don’t amount to very much, but next week we might have a little more confidence to make a braver choice. Bravery can snowball, using our experiences to overcome small things so that soon we are able to conquer the Goliath in our path. Bravery may not happen overnight, but keep making the next brave choice, pressing past your fears, and doing the hard things with all you’ve got.
We can do this. We are brave.
Today’s Action Step
Do one thing that scares you to death. Do one brave thing. Maybe it’s making a difficult phone call. Maybe it’s taking the first step to learning something new. Maybe it’s finally deciding that you can’t stay in your dead end job any longer. Maybe it’s choosing to say what needs to be said, even if you’re terrified of the result. Maybe it’s creating a plan to do that thing you’ve been dreaming of for far too long. Feel free to share your brave thing in the comments.
Brave Books I Plan to Read this Year
You Are a Badass – I’ve heard great things, even with the language.