Get your brave on

Must be this tall to ride

“I don’t know how old you are. But I know the lie you hear. You are too young. You are too old. You don’t know enough, or you know too much. The truth is that courage doesn’t have an expiration date. Courage doesn’t have a marker that says, ‘You must be taller than THIS to ride this ride.’”
– Annie F. Downs

Do you feel brave?

If yes, skip this (unless you want to understand how the rest of us feel).

I rarely feel brave. So when I need to do brave things, I either (a) don’t do them, or (b) do them scared.

I learned a long time ago that I can’t wait to (c) lose the fear first.

A year ago, I wanted to take this trip. But I was uncertain. I was skeptical. And I was scared. So I let it pass me by.

This year, the trip came back. Again I wanted to go. Again I was scared.

But I’m going anyway. I’m getting my brave on. (Pray for me please?)

What do you need to get your brave on for?

In Let’s All Be Brave, author Annie Downs says “courage looks different for each one of us.”

We each just have to be brave in our own ways.
Maybe you do want to be a missionary in a foreign country. My friend, that is brave. It really is. But so is being a stay-at-home mom. And so is being a counselor. Or a professional athlete. Or a writer. Or an event planner. Or a technician.
Courage looks different for each of us.”

Let's All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs

What takes courage for you and what takes courage for me can totally differ. Maybe traveling overseas is nothing to you, but visiting the elderly in a nursing home is too uncomfortable. Or maybe you can speak sermons over crowds, but you won’t risk being vulnerable to your spouse.

The circumstances differ, but the fears are similar.

When Annie was afraid to move away from Georgia, she took it one step at a time.

“I never felt brave. I never had a moment of extreme courage or belief that this was going to be the best decision I had ever made.
I just did the next thing.
Quit my job.
Sold my house.
Packed my belongings.
Said good-byes.”

That’s how we can do it, too. Just do today’s next thing. Maybe it’s committing to prayer for a season. Maybe it’s verbalizing your dream to someone. Maybe it’s investigating details for a trip out of your comfort zone, even if that’s just down the street.

One step at a time. That’s the only way I put on my brave. First I asked God about Guatemala. Then I talked to Jeff about it. Next I researched the specifics.

And this week, I’ll zip up my suitcase, step into an airplane, and step out into Guatemala, Lord willing.

I’ll still be shaky, but I’ll also be excited and invigorated and expanding.

Because I won’t be alone. God never calls us to do a brave thing on our own. He goes with us. In us. Ahead and behind us.

“And really, the thing that keeps us from the brave thing? Fear that we’re in this by ourselves. We. Aren’t.
In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says one sentence that slays that fear: ‘And surely I am with you always…’ Surely he is.”

Surely he is. With us at home. With us in the air. With us in the mountains of Central America.

Whatever brave thing you choose to do today, don’t think it’s too small to be significant. I love how Annie puts it:

“Making the brave choice in your life is going to change the world. At the least, it will change your world.

I know I won’t change Guatemala just by my presence there.

But God can change me by his presence there.

“Do whatever it takes to expand your map. Because if you will go where you’ve never gone before, you will see God like you’ve never seen him before.”

* * *

How are you being called to be brave this week? What is today’s next thing for you? Please share.


My thanks to BookLook Bloggers
for the review copy of Let’s All Be Brave

44 thoughts on “Get your brave on

  1. Etta

    Good morning Lisa – thanks for the reminder that we never go through this life alone, He is always with us indeed! Getting my Brave on: this week I start volunteering at a local Food Kitchen. Lunch and dinner are served to anyone who comes through the door. This is all new to me, with women I have never met, in a place I have never been. But I do know how to wash dishes! 😀 Hoping to be used by Him through this experience.
    Blessings over you

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      This is SO awesome, Etta! You’re definitely getting your brave on. 🙂 Stepping out in faith to serve the poor is going to not only bless them, but bless you.

      In situations like that, I remind myself all I have to do is “just show up.” God will take it from there. It helps me release some of my anxiety about whether or not I’ll know what to do.

      I know he will use you to show hope and share love to those who desperately need to see and feel both. Do let me know how it goes! Experiences like this have been life-changing to me, and once you have them, you only want more.

  2. Julie

    Lisa I will be praying for you!!!!!!!!!!!… Girls of Courage are the ones who get to see the mighty wonders of God …amen and amen. BIG BIG HUGS to you..

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you so much, Julie! You’re prayers are invaluable to me because I know you’ve got a sweet connection with the Father. 🙂

      I absolutely love this: “Girls of Courage are the ones who get to see the mighty wonders of God.” I still don’t see myself as a girl of courage, but I want to be one, to see those wonders! Big hugs back to you. Love you sweet friend!

  3. Dianna

    I put my brave on this past week and started getting back out of the house after being in for a month because of the third degree burn on my foot. Each time I went out it helped me feel good about myself again, realizing that with God I CAN do this! Hugs to you, my friend.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good for you, Dianna! Getting our brave on will look different for each of us depending on the season of life and circumstances. I’m proud of your courage to not just stay in until you’re totally pain free. You are one of those Girls of Courage that Julie speaks of!

  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Have a great time in Guatemala!!!!! You will, I know, guided by the Almighty.

    I have to be brave in two areas. One is physical; to accomplish anything I have to push into the pain.

    The second is in “taking it”. The circumstances of my life changed a lot over the past few years, and there are those close to me who somehow feel better building themselves up in comparison to my ‘fall’, emphasizing that I’m too ill to work, and that low levels of oxygen sometimes mess with my memory or rational thought processes.

    It is tempting to hit back, but what purpose would be served? The greater part of courage, as well as grace, lies in simply accepting the jibes without comment.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Andrew. I will need to trust God’s guiding for sure.

      Wow–I love your examples of courage, both in taking the physical pain that comes your way, but also in not jabbing back to those who can cause you more emotional pain. It reminds me of Jesus not fighting back on the night before his death. With all the resources ready at his hand, he chose not to use them but made the sacrifice of love instead. Good for you, my brother, in following his example. That is grace and courage indeed.

  5. Shelly Miller

    I’m smack dab right in the middle of brave as we chart our course to England while Jesus holds the map. We know where we are going, assured of his calling and now we are waiting on the details. I’ve been curious about this book given my current circumstances. Glad I stopped by.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, you are in the middle of brave, my friend! That’s a level I can’t imagine. I admire you being so attentive and willing to follow the Lord’s leading. Annie Downs shares in this book about being called to Scotland (I believe?) for a season and her fear in going, but she did go anyway too. May the Lord continue to bless your preparations and your bravery!

  6. Dana Butler

    Lisa I linked up after you at Kelli’s place this morning. Oh sister… I’m so thankful for these words. My next brave thing is writing a letter and sending it with my husband into a conversation I’m terrified of – even though I won’t be present for it. Everything you said here resonates so deeply. A breath of fresh air and calm for my soul today. Thank you. Also? Your depth and groundedness ministers to my heart. Stills me inside. Thanks for that, too. <3

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ooh, that definitely will take some serious brave, Dana. I’m sorry you have to be in that situation, but I trust the Lord to give you the courage and the words to do what you’ve got to do. One thing at a time! Praying it all works out in the end to God’s glory and for your good! Thank you for your encouraging words here.

  7. TC Avey

    I really needed to read this. Thanks for sharing it. This sounds like an amazing book.
    Next month we close on a new house. While I know God has blessed this, I still feel scared moving. It’s a small move, but I have reservations about leaving my home. I know it’s going to be good for me and my family, but I’m going to miss my old home.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It was an encouraging book for sure. At just the right time. Praying that your move will be a joyful one, even though I understand how hard it is to leave your old home too. That’s how I’ve felt about any move I’ve ever made (and none of mine have been far!). I think my youngest daughter (now 19) still misses the yellow curtains from her first bedroom and she was only 6 when we moved. 🙂

      But each move was a blessed one; I’m sure yours will be too, TC!

  8. Kathryn Shirey

    Oh, I loved this book! So inspiring and encouraging! How I long to do the ‘big’ brave thing, but I love how she encourages us to do even the ‘small’ brave things in our everyday. Each step I keep taking forward to where God’s calling me requires a new infusion of brave. Take a deep breath, say a prayer, and trust God is by my side – then step forward.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I noticed you had this book on your sidebar (along with several other great ones I’ve read too!). I’m so thankful that I got to read it right before my trip. God’s timing.

      And yes, I especially loved her take on “small” brave things too, because that’s the majority of things. I love your words: “Take a deep breath, say a prayer, and trust God is by my side – then step forward.” That’s what I’ll need to do this week. Thanks, Kathryn!

  9. Beth

    I think my quiet time had a bit of your message here in it, Lisa. I read and wrote about how I am afraid to lay a certain desire down before the Lord. I want God to give me the ability to lay it down, because I feel stuck and like I’ll never let my vice grip open and release to our Lord. And the crazy thing is, why would I fear Him? Thanks for this inspiring post, cuz I also feel a wee bit too old sometimes! 😉

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      After years of walking with the Lord and seeing him do amazing things, it’s funny how we still can have those times of not trusting him. I totally understand how you feel, Beth. But thankfully he CAN be trusted, even when we’re unsure about it. We’re never too old to keep learning that. 🙂 I’m certain he’ll give you the strength to lay down your desire in the right time and way!

  10. Linda@Creekside

    BRAVE can be oh so hard for me. I’m the one sitting in the back row, tucked into the corner. All quiet-like.

    This was good for me to read. And would you please know that as God keeps you on my heart, I’m going to be lifting you right back up to Him.

    Courageous you are. By His brave grace …

  11. Sharon

    Lisa, this scaredy-cat knows of what you speak. I am afraid of so many things all too often. Sometimes I compare my *afraids* with the things that other people face. I feel like my things are really paltry. But, like you’ve said, we each face something that is unique to us. And we all need courage.

    I am so excited for your upcoming trip! I know that God is going to expand your faith horizons! And I cannot wait to hear all about it. Prayers will go with you – but most of all, remember that God is already there.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I sometimes forget how many of us are scaredy-cats. 🙂 It can often feel like we’re alone in our fears, but we’re not. We all have fears, just of different things. Mine often seem to be over paltry things too, so I relate to you.

      I so appreciate your prayers, Sharon. And this: “remember that God is already there.” Yes! I do want to keep that full in my vision. Thank you.

  12. Lynn Severance

    Lisa – Guatemala ! I remember when you made your decision to go and it seemed a while ago. Time has flown by and now you are flying forth – “brave”, as you have said in this post. My prayers go with you.

    I could not help but re-interpret “brave” throughout your posting as “trust”. I know that anything I attempt is done in the trust of God’s strength to accomplish the smallest of tasks. I do appreciate this author you quote bringing that element of focus. What others take for granted and do so easily, may not be the exact area that is “easy” for the rest of us – not take the bravery or trust that some of us need in our areas of “stepping forth”.

    Great message and I know you and the others in your group going to Guatemala are in for some great adventures for God has paved the way – gone before – goes with – is joyous you are brave with Him.

    Love, Lynn

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I so appreciate your prayers flying with me, sweet Lynn.

      Your reinterpretation to “trust” is wonderful. I just read back through the post using “trust” and it definitely fits. Courage for us IS trusting God. More faith, Lord!

      Yes, I liked the author’s focus too on how courage/trust looks different for each of us. Just getting out of bed can take lots of courage/trust depending on the circumstances. May we never belittle anyone else’s fears or steps of faith, including our own!

  13. Natalie

    Well how adventurous is that!?! I will be praying for you as you step out in the best kind of faith, the kind with the quaking that reminds us that there’s no way we’re doing this on our own.

  14. Kristin Hill Taylor

    This book sounds so good! I’m brave sometimes, totally depending on the circumstances. 🙂 Your words here encourage me in a situation I’ve been dwelling on for a long time. I need to forgive someone who has affected me so deeply that the anger from that is spilling over into so many other areas of my life. God’s working on it within me, so I need to brave to let Him finish His work.

    And … I can’t wait to hear about your trip! 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Being brave or not depends on the circumstances for me, too. 🙂 Which is unfortunate since God is with me in ALL circumstances.

      Forgiving someone is definitely a brave thing to do, Kristin. And a hard thing. Praying with you to trust this person to God’s care and release your own desire to control it.

  15. ~ linda

    “I know I won’t change Guatemala just by my presence there. But God can change me by his presence there.” Those individual steps are all we can do, adding one at a time, and then there were 101 steps. God is already working and you are in this plan. Praying for you and the rest.
    Visiting from Jen’s.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  16. David

    Dear Lisa

    Very good post! Stirring and inspiring. “I am with you always” is definitely one to remember. Your discussion is always worth reading too.

    I hope you have a fantastic time in Guatemala. I am sure you will make a difference.

    > How are you being called to be brave this week?

    All quiet here. Just trying to turn this tanker around and keep it on course. Bravery applied to mundane things like getting paid (I’ve relied on luck and native genius; I need to make something).

    Bon voyage — et Bon courage!


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, David. Knowing God is always with us really makes a difference for me–I wish I could keep that truth in my awareness 24/7. But regardless, he is with me whether I’m aware or not! That’s what matters the most.

      Good for you in trying to stay the course. Sometimes being faithful in our “ordinary” days requires the most courage of all….

  17. Barbara H.

    I am not brave at all. But I have found God faithful to help and uphold when I’ve needed to be brave, and just taking one step at a time helps a lot, too. Taking an overseas trip is exciting to my husband but I would need a major dose of brave to even think about it, LOL! Hope your upcoming trip goes well.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Barbara. My husband hasn’t felt called at all to go on this trip, but he never has the same fears I do anyway, even when we’re doing the same adventure. ha. I always say my imagination is just too active–while I can picture good things, I can also picture all the little things that can go wrong. 🙂 I’m too into the details. That’s where the one step at a time comes in handy. Just do the next thing God puts in front of us, and let God be responsible for any outcomes.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Nice point, David. I have a few friends who do crazy brave things (lots of gumption!) but not necessarily because they’re trusting God with it–they just don’t care if they get hurt or else don’t think it’s possible they’ll get hurt. ha. So, yes, there is more to being brave than having gumption. Thanks for this.

  18. Kelli Woodford

    As one who has always had a certain proclivity for all things “brave”, I LOVE what you shared about how courage has so many different manifestations. It can be easy to judge people as fearful when we look at their choices and assess how different they are from our own. But THE HEART is what matters – always – and I feel broader already by your perspective that each person has their own brave things – things that likely are not the same as my own … and who am I to say otherwise?
    Thank you so much for sharing this at Unforced Rhythms, Lisa. So needful.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You get this, Kelly. Thank you. I know it can be hard for those who are naturally more brave to understand those of us who are more timid. 🙂 But yes, fear and courage come to each of us in different packages; we call need to give grace to each other. Thanks for yours!

  19. laura

    oh, lisa, you are one of the bravest people I know :). I have to admit, the older I get, the smaller I feel and the less sure I am of most things, except this: God is good. And His love will cover all. I haven’t read this book but it sounds like a sweet read :). Thanks for sharing it here.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I had to laugh when I read your first sentence, Laura. I feel so very NOT brave. But you inspire me to be braver, friend. I love what you know the most: God is good. I want to rely on that more than my own courage. He will never fail.

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