on a whole year of being brave

perfect love drives out fear

It was a few days into the new year that I decided to jump on the one word idea and make it mine. I’d been making lists for a few years but I sat that first week of January with a blank piece of paper, with little idea of what goals to fix because I had no idea what this year might bring.

We’d moved to a new country, a new city, a new home just a few weeks earlier. I’d spoken to just a handful of people, cried ugly tears trying to get the washing machine delivery to understand me on the phone, and we’d just decided that I’d stop taking the pill. Deep breath.

I knew it was going to be a big year. There’d be new friends, new work, new church, new colleagues, new restaurants, new business ideas, new language… and hopefully a new baby.

I didn’t so much chose the word brave, as it picked me. Like the star that guided the wise men, it shone brighter than all the rest and I knew I needed to follow, knew this word would lead me down scary but good paths.

I decided 2012 was the year I would be brave. I lay courage over my life like a prophecy and claimed it for my own, full of nerves but so sure that without it, I would waste this year.

The prophecy came true. I needed more courage this year than I have in any previous year. You’ve been here each hard step, laying more courage over me when my own heart seemed to be failing.

The truth is, this is not a wrap up post. I’m not ready to give up my one word yet. Brave and I have a long way to walk yet, before I am truly courageous. If I’ve learnt anything this year, it’s how much fear there is in me, attacking, worrying, destabilising, causing me to say “I can’t do this” too many times. The more I have chased down my brave self, the harder the fear has tried to regain territory. Oh yes, I have a long way to go.

And yet I am proud of myself. I have faced many hard moments, and one excruciating loss, and I’ve kept walking. I’ve pulled that cloak of courage tight around my shoulders again and taken a wobbly next step.

And amazingly, wonderfully, I found that choosing to be brave with my story enabled others to be brave with theirs.

There’s a beautiful bible verse which says, There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

Somehow my whole year can be summed up here. Somehow I am figuring out, slowly, that the only way I can be brave, be truly fearless, is through love. Loving myself, accepting love from others, loving my husband, my family, my friends, people who hurt me, complete strangers.

The Dalai Lama once said, “The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your action will be”. And it’s the same truth. Perfect love drives out fear.

And so there is no end to this year of brave, because I declare 2013 my year of living with courage. I may still choose another word, if the right one comes to me. But brave and I have come a long way. And we have a long way still to go…

Happy New Year to you all! Wishing you a year that is full of daring to take new adventures, courage to walk through the hard days, and confidence in a happy ending to come.


You can read all my posts on bravery this year here.

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