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Courage

The illustrious Brene Brown* defines courage as, “sharing your whole story with your whole heart.” I think this is the most beautiful definition, erradicating ideas of faultless strength and heroics as an ideal to seek, and instead posturing that life is simply about, inhabiting your story, and doing such will do something magical in your life and those around you.

My friend, Chris, and I had a conversation on Saturday about blogging, specifically whether it is possible to have a blog that is 100% honest, good and bad. I, of course, being the Debbie that I am, said it wasn’t possible. How can you paint a full picture of a person in just this format? Not that you can’t get a good picture, and not that you can’t be honest, but 100%, I just don’t know.

But, then I’ve been thinking about what Brene (we are BFFs, I call her Brene, ok?) says and I’ve been thinking about my own life. 100% honest or not, this is just one of the many opportunities I have to inhabit my story, to tell it with my whole heart.

I’m not very good at this. I mean, I can be, but my default is much more…how do you say in a way that makes me seem awesome still…secretive and deflective. I am great at listening. At talking about you. But, myself? Insert self-depricating joke and change the subject. I mean, I’m not saying I don’t talk about myself, it’s just not always my instinct.** But, Brene makes me want to be a better person, because that’s what BFFs do.

What would happen if we all lived that courageously?

*You are welcome I’m sorry to everyone who has heard me obsess about her in conversation for the past few weeks. No, I’m not.

**Before I sound humbler and holier than you, I should tell you, I think about myself plenty. My not talking about myself isn’t a sign of selflessness, that’s for sure.

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I had a conversation with a friend last night which summed up some thoughts I’d been having on the subject. The good, hard work of life. The work of taking this theology and these ideas of who God is and bringing it down to everyday life. This is hard. But, truly, this is important.

I think of this on days when I feel so tired and I don’t want to drag myself out of bed and I don’t want to be sweet and generous. On days when isolation and self-indulgence seem much, much easier. And, admitedly, some days I think of this and isolate and self-indulge anyway. I crawl into bed and watch the Office and don’t answer my phone when people who love me fiercely call to see how I am. This wallowing can’t do any good for too long. It’s just a broken disguise for life giving rest.

The good, hard work reminds me on these days that I am doing something, that this being alive thing maybe the simple truth of it all. That sometimes it is good and enough if the greatest thing I do all day is to love one person (even myself) a little bit better, then that’s revolutionary. The good, hard work reminds me that this life, the light should truly shine in all corners of my ragged self. And that those places where I’d rather wallow in darkness are simply lies. And there is an everyday work to shining light places of yourself into dark places of yourself. We want these grand footings, these sure places, these places where we can then control, navigate, and, “No thanks God, I’m doing just fine.” And all the while God is right there sojourning on with us. Crying and weeping and sometimes screaming, although, I’m sure with much more grace and love than I do it with. But, if nothing else it makes the hard, good, everyday work of it possible. Because God is an everyday sort of person, and though it’s hard to see, it’s the work of redemption. Slow. Hard. Sometimes a little painful even.

And this sort of hard work, it takes courage. It’s in the folds of the dailiness. It’s in the mundane moments. Today, for me, this courage was simply waking up. It was knowing my car currently wasn’t starting and that I had stayed up too late. It was desparately wanting to fake illness and stay home all day long, curled up in said bed watching said Office episodes. I didn’t want to ask for help with my car. I didn’t want to go nanny boys are are rascally and often rude, but still sometimes cute. Last night, that hard, courageous work looked like admitting fault to a friend. Writing a facebook message to someone I didn’t much know. But, in these small ways, in these daily ways, through this hard, good work, we’re courageously creating pieces of light, here and there, we’re building communities, and sometimes we’re just planting trees for the next person to sit under. It’s that simple. It’s that hard.

But, in the end I love it. I love it because it is always good because God is always good. Even when it hurts like hell and I can’t remember that God is good, God is still good. And that’s the sort of thing I can hold onto.

And when I can’t hold onto it, that’s the sort of thing that holds onto me.

www.incourage.me

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