I’m not sure where to start, because there’s no good place to start. 2019 was a journey of ups and downs and deeply painful challenges for me. Still, 2019 made me brave.
When I was a kid, apparently, I’d put my hair up in four ponytails- one at the top of my head, one sticking out of the left side of my head, one in the back, and one to the right side of my head. I’d walk around the house with my four ponytails strutting my stuff like I was the queen of the world. I can imagine that I had some bright pink shirt on or a wild pair of pants. (I really had no concept of matching or minimalism at the time.) These are the details my cousins would use to describe the unashamedly, brave, young Meg.
I wish I could say that I stayed that way… That as I got older I continued to be true to myself and flaunt my stuff like no one else in the room mattered. But the reality is I became more and more shy. I was timid, I took a long time to warm up to new ideas, and I preferred the quiet of my own corner. There were instances- and with certain people- where I would be loud and proud, but when I look back I don’t know if there were any times in my life where I was as brave as four ponytailed Meg.
Until 2019 came around and God whispered the word brave into my ear. I thought this meant I would finally muster up the courage to climb the side of rock walls or maybe get over my fear of heights. I thought brave looked like jumping out of a plane without peeing my pants. At the least, I thought brave would mean going ice skating without holding on to the railing the whole time. But it didn’t. And sure enough when I went ice skating with my cousins last week I held onto the ice rink rail for the entire hour we were skating. (They were skating… I was inching myself along.)
Brave wasn’t how God wanted me to act, it was how he wanted me to feel.
Because towards the end of 2019 when it felt like a world of pressure had been growing on my shoulders, God didn’t tell me to be brave enough to climb a mountain. Instead, He told me to be brave enough to express how I feel. He was preparing me to have courage to express my deepest, most intimate thoughts- to put them out in the open where I couldn’t keep them a secret anymore. He was making me brave. Not on my own will and surely not by my own doing, but because I knew deep in my heart that He would be with me every step along the way so then I could be brave.
But don’t give me credit just yet, because it didn’t start out like that. I didn’t trust God like that. I didn’t believe Him like that. Because before I could be brave enough to know that God was with me, I was stupid enough to believe that I could be brave without Him.
The first brave step I took in 2019 was admitting to myself that I had stumbled. This in turn led to me crying out to God and asking Him to guide me once again. Because when things didn’t look how I had expected or hoped them to, instead of taking brave steps with God I took stupid steps on my own. I kept walking farther and farther away from God- growing in anger and resentment as time passed. I began to doubt that He cared. I started to let myself believe that God wasn’t working, so in retaliation I was done waiting. I was done praying. I was done worshipping. I was done believing in someone who wasn’t showing up for me anymore.
And as a result of trying to do life on my own, nothing came crumbling down, nothing shattered to pieces, nothing slipped out of my grip. Life was seemingly ok, and I was seemingly ok with doing life without God. So, I continued to walk farther and farther away from where I was supposed to be. But the war that raged inside of me couldn’t be masked no matter how many times I tried to cover it up.
For most of my life my head and my heart have been at odds. I’m a logical girl who likes reasoning and explanation, but I act based off of how I feel and sometimes I can’t control that. So, as I tried to turn my back on God, the battle between my head and my heart intensified. My head kept telling me that I was making a mistake, and my heart kept reminding me of the hurt I felt when I thought God was absent from my life. How could I possibly reconcile what makes sense versus what hurts most…
Then I remembered that God wanted me to feel brave, and in order to truly know what brave felt like I needed to know what terrified was. Because terrified was what I had been walking around with. The feeling of hurt that nearly convinced me God wasn’t around. The feeling of disappointment when nothing seemed to go the way I had thought they were supposed to go. Terrified was a life without God.
Once I opened my eyes, once I fell to my knees, once I admitted defeat, then I could believe wholeheartedly that God makes me brave. Brave enough to trust in Him throughout the unknown. Brave enough to relinquish my hopes and desires to His plans. Brave enough to feel- and know without a shadow of a doubt- that I am not in this alone.