“The hard part is reminding ourselves to be brave and do something different when we do feel stuck.”
If that sentence seems familiar to you, it is because you may have read it recently. I pulled it from Michelle’s entry for the blog she wrote this month. And since she is one of the people I do life with, I don’t think she’ll mind at all.
One of the main reasons her sentence grabbed me is because, quite frankly, I am right there with her. At all different stages of life, there is a life plan vision. What has been evident for a number of individuals, including me, throughout this blog, is that it is great to have a plan, goals, and dreams! What I have been working on the past couple years, however, is not being discouraged because my life plan doesn’t look like I thought it should. Or, that it doesn’t compare with someone else’s life plan, especially when they have reached milestones at an earlier age than me. Living life that way comes with the same sting as putting rubbing alcohol on a fresh cut. I speak from experience, so believe me on that. Sometimes, cleaning out the cut hurts worse than the cut itself. I have a firm belief in my faith, and with that comes trusting that the plans created for me, are for ME, and no one else. I can’t spend my days comparing my life to my friends lives, because what is meant for them, may not be meant for me. Cleaning those cuts of comparison from my life has been painful. I could have avoided that pain had I just trusted that my own life plan will be revealed in due time.
I read a book recently titled Let’s All Be Brave. Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie F. Downs. I don’t think it is a coincidence that I keep seeing things about being brave over the past few months. In her book, Annie writes, “I’m here to ask you to please do that thing in your heart that scares you to death. To make that move or leap or step or sound you wouldn’t have made a week ago.” When you feel stuck in life, whether it be at school, work, relationships, or your living situation, you have got to be brave enough to just do that one thing that may change it. As a 33 year old single woman working as a teacher and living in a small Massachusetts town, I feel stuck. I don’t feel stuck in any one area of life; I feel stuck in all areas.
Recently, I spent two hours at my church building Ebola kits to be sent to Sierra Leone. With the $67,000 raised within our church, we were able to make 2,250 Ebola kits, filled with items such as gloves, masks, soap, bleach, gowns, acetaminophen, and encouraging notes. The people from World Vision who ran the event said this was the biggest kit build they have done anywhere! Why do I say all of this? Because the entire time I was building those Ebola kits, I kept thinking to myself ‘There is so much more!’ For that afternoon, I felt like I was involved in something important, and that there is so much more out there for me to discover. It doesn’t take a college degree to be involved in something like that. All it takes is a willing heart and a desire to do something incredible. If you feel stuck, like Michelle said, be brave and do something different. I encourage each and every one of you to “do that thing in your heart that scares you to death.” It will look drastically different to you than it will your best friend, your parents, or your siblings. And that is okay. Your life path is yours, and yours alone.
I can’t say with 100% certainty that I was ready to rush off to West Africa that Saturday. But it certainly gave the wheels in my mind the grease to start turning. I know I want to do more of that; more volunteering, helping, building, having feelings of purpose. And, I know it will take a little bit of being brave.
Being brave comes in all forms and with a variety of emotions. What does it mean to you?