The Courage To Step Forward

There's nothing quite like stepping out into the unknown, especially when we have been comfortable where we are for so long. 

I remember that feeling after a crisis of faith in 2011, as I emerged from all my doubts and questions in a different space than I had been.  

At that point, I had a choice. I could return to my old way of thinking and its familiarity and certainty, or I could forge ahead into an unknown future without knowing what would happen. 

I worried that my newfound ideas about faith and belief might have a consequence.  I worried it would cost me church members, friendships, and maybe even my career.  

I was right about everything but the career. 

I would like to think I am a consistently courageous person, but I know that's not entirely true.  Like most of us, I want to stay put in what I know rather than step out into the unknown.  

But I did learn that if I was willing to show up and be courageous even a little at the right moment, it could make all the difference in the world. 

Author Kate Bowler wrote a fantastic poem that I recently read, which goes something like this: 
Rescue me from familiar self-hatred. 
(You'll never do it. You can't do it.)
Refine my ambition into honest goals. 
Quiet my mind when it is already certain 
that nothing could possibly be different. 
And rekindle a tenderness in my uncertain heart 
for my own small moments of courage 
as I peek my head out
from this hiding place--and all the comfort
of this familiarity--to announce, "I'M READY!"
if only to myself. 
I love the phrase "small moments of courage" because that is precisely what I mean.  

We are not often presented with moments that require great courage, but there is still some measure of greatness in the small ones where we peek out and decide to emerge.  

Author Brene Brown puts it like this: 
The willingness to show up changes us.  It makes us a little braver each time.

I'm not sure what you are facing right now, whether it be a crisis of faith, health, tragedy, decision, or a host of others.  But I can tell you with all confidence that hiding and trying to avoid the discomfort of stepping out in faith will do you no good at all. 

You might think that you don't dare to move toward uncertainty, and the cold comfort of the familiar keeps you from trying.  

All it takes is one moment of showing up, though, and it can change your life. 

May God grant you the strength to step out in faith to face the unknown with courage and peace.  May you discover that uncertainty can hold treasures of purpose, hope, and a future if you're willing to embrace it. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all now and forever. Amen. 


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