You are brave. As you read those three words, maybe you disqualified yourself out of the statement before you even got to the third syllable. And you said somewhere inside yourself, "That's not me." And you thought of all the people who that does apply to, as their faces flashed through your mind like a montage.
Listen, I know what you're thinking. That I don't know your life. And I don't know the feelings of discouragement and inadequacy that wage a war inside your soul. And I don't know the trembling that sits in your bones or the stuff that knocks the breath out of your lungs or the shadows that hide in the corners and closets of your life.
That I don't know how you're afraid to make that phone call, end that relationship, quit that job, forgive that person, or just straight up walk away completely. That I don't know how that damn nightmare seems to chase you down in the night and how inexhaustible anxiety sits on your chest like soil upon the skeleton of a dead man. That I don't know how afraid you are to admit your own vulnerability and that if we really are honest here, courage is the last thing on your list when it comes to how you describe yourself.
But you know, I hate how bravery has been awarded to those who stand on platforms, sell books, and hold the microphones. And I hate that we have allotted courage to the few when it was made for every single soul that sits at the table of this life we live.
Because you are brave and I see it.
I see it in how you get up every single morning, flop your feet onto the floor, open those tired eyes and treat the dawn with a boldness. And how you surrender to that fire that is explicitly and all yours. And that look of determination mixed with irresistible zeal that you get -- it is almost as if it is written across your face in cursive, "I am not giving up."
I see it in how you allow those tears to hit your cheeks and how you sit across from that friend, that sibling, that lover, and whisper, "I am not okay." And how when you feel the sting of loss or of pain, instead of numbing it away, you do exactly what you need to and you just feel it. And that even in the mistakes, the questions, the wrestle, your heart has not grown cold. It has not grown cold at all.
I see it in how you smile even though the days are dark and how you praise even when the night isn't over. And how those promises, those dreams, those desires that maybe you once wrote in a journal, on an old receipt, or on a napkin at the diner, you still hold onto them -- you don't let go. And how sometimes you dance in your kitchen, sometimes you write about what hurts, sometimes you sing at the top of your lungs just because you can, just because you're here.
I see it in how you have shown up to your best friend's at some crazy hour just because they needed you. And how when the doctor said that they didn't have an answer, you made cookies. And when you held that child, that grieving woman, that orphan, that friend that just couldn't make sense of life, it was as if you were holding your own heart too.
I see it in the way that you look at those old pictures that fill bins in your garage. The way that you love the little ones that fill your home with laughter and wants. The way that you speak to the one who can't find their way as if you're holding courage in your very hands and you're just simply giving it away.
I see bravery in your heart. How you keep on trusting, keep on believing, keep on going, keep on fighting. That inside of you is an unexplainable thirst to live this life audaciously and out loud. That your heart has risen so many times, you'd think resurrection flowed inside of your veins. And hey, maybe it does.
And maybe you haven't thought of yourself as courageous because of how it has been sung to you. But that doesn't make it any less true.
You're brave because you're you.
You're brave every single time you wake up, every single time you feel, every single time you lay your head.
You're brave when you look in that mirror, when you forgive, when you own your mistakes, when you laugh with abandon.
You're brave because you're here.
And through this life, this messy, hits-you-in-the-heart, and sometimes slaps-you-across-the-face life, you're still here. Still living. Still breathing. Still moving. And courage itself oozes out of you.
Fear only plays with you because fear is afraid of you. So shut it down. And own this is as yours:
I am brave. I am brave because I am me. I am brave because I am here. I am brave because that is exactly how I was created to be.
Outrageously and audaciously brave.
Wow, thank you so much, Ashley, for this beautiful post! Ashley Beaudin is the founder and leader of #fireworkpeople, a place like no other. Please stop by there for a visit, and ladies, JOIN. You will never regret it.