book review, Men, Women

Be Brave

I’ve been reading 100 Days to Brave: Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self by Annie F. Downs. Little did I know that this was the devotional I needed to be reading. I had searched through many devotionals on a website looking for the one with the “x” factor. Maybe it was the word Brave that stood out to me or the gold accent on the cover? Either way I instinctively knew courage was what I was after. Not that I’m a scaredy cat or live in fear of everything – because I don’t. My whole life is out of my comfort zone and I can look back on my life and see many times I have been brave. I can also look back on my life and see the many times I was not brave. I let insecurity and doubt shut me down. I can also look at my day to day, week to week life and see where I am not stepping up and out. I know God has many things planned for me on the other side of insecurity and doubt.

In the 100 Days to Brave, Annie challenges us to discover what our calling is and narrow it down into one sentence. I had been entertaining an idea like this but it’s been called a personal mission statement. It’s a statement that will give you purpose and direction for your life. Of course, I have over analyzed any idea I’ve had of what the statement would be. So when I read this challenge my brain went to work. For days it was in my peripheral but nothing came to the fore front. I’m called to… I’m called to….? On that Sunday right after worship at church, it came to me.

I’m called to… fortify the weak.

Fortify means to strengthen a place with defensive works so as to protect it against attack, strengthen or invigorate someone mentally or physically.

I reflected on this and could see how over the course of life (so far) I’ve done this in the positions I’ve held in and out of the workplace and within friendships. With a recipe of truth, compassion, and sass I’ve validated and challenged others in the most sensitive times in their life. Whether advocating for others in a court room or meeting, certifying that someone is not crazy for the how they’ve mismanaged their childhood trauma, offering effective solutions for other’s dilemmas, helping someone discern between the truth and a lie, not welcoming the status quo. I’ve heard many times from friends “you make me feel like I’m not crazy.” I used to think – people frequently feel crazy?

This doesn’t mean that I am perfect. I’m far from it. Hearing from the Holy Spirit what my calling is opens up my mind.

The other day I was also thinking of my assignment. I’ve decided there is a difference between your calling and your assignment. Your calling is your purpose. Your assignment is how you are to carry it out.

About a year or more ago, I felt this impression on me that I’m not assigned to minister to those in the church building. I’m not saying this absolves me from any serving that I am to do in my home church. I do serve in a couple of ways. However, there was a distinction I made regarding those already attending church and those lost in the world that don’t even believe they are worthy of salvation, even entering a church building any day of the week. Those so far gone they won’t attend a service or even dare ask God for anything. Those are the people I am assigned to.
I am to be the one that goes into the cave with a flashlight of the Gospel to meet people where they are in their deepest pit. I am to be a light that shines on them while we speak. A light that intrigues them. And when I walk freely out of the cave they’ll want to follow.

I’m drawn to the darkness, not to live but to rescue.

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For the past 10 years, my resume is filled with a variety of jobs. Topics of trauma, philosophies of care, emotional intelligence, trafficking, disorders & diagnoses, physical restraints, juvenile justice, criminology, addiction, self-harm, stages of change, abuse & neglect, sexual assault, domestic violence, CPS, probation, homelessness, and more – all saturate my mind every day. I see the world through these lenses.

I didn’t actually ask for this.

I’ve always been obsessed with the WHY.

Why do people do what they do?
What makes a criminal a criminal?
Why do people choose to do wrong?
How are they different from anyone else?

The Why is often a hard red pill to swallow. We are broken. We are fumbling in the dark with a blindfold on and ear plugs in. As Christians we are to introduce people to the spiritual realm. Ephesians 6:12 tells us there are two frequencies – flesh and blood, dark world –AND- rulers, authorities, spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.

Most people function in the flesh and blood. Everything changes when you tune into Heaven. You become acutely aware of the over developed disease of evil. You should be able to see and hear the enemy roaring, strangling and killing souls.

There are many theories out there, you can spend a lot of money hearing about them, taking exams and writing dissertations on them.

The ills of society, the brokenness of people won’t be answered by theories or a national organization or by a federal program. Those systems can bring awareness to the symptoms but they have no concrete solution.

The solution is Jesus Christ. When Jesus became my Lord, His ministry was put before me.

Love them and lead them back to me.

Loving like Jesus isn’t hard, loving like a human is hard because no one will meet our conditions 100/100.

God has given us special people to love.
-the homeless
-the unborn
-the military
-the developmentally disabled
-the sick
-those trapped in modern day slavery
-pedophiles, rapists
-pimps and johns
-children
-addicts, dealers
-parolees, probationers, felons, death rowers
-those in hospice
-post-abortive mothers and fathers
-the suicidal, the homicidal
-the abused, the raped
-the unseen and unheard
-the invisible

They are everywhere at all times. Your assignment is who God told you to love intimately and fiercely.

Ask Him right now. Who do you want me to love? Show me how to love them well. If you have yet to identify who God wants you to love, you are living in rebellion.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
-Matthew 22:36-40

You don’t want to face God and tell him that you spent your lifetime unburdened for the souls of others. You had an extra ticket to Heaven but you threw it in the trash. Be brave and send out invites on behalf of the Bridegroom.

 

Related Reading:

100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs.

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Transformation, Uncategorized

21 Before 21

As the year comes to a close in just a few days,  I thought I’d share 21 things I wish I knew before I was 21. What would I tell my younger self?

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1. Cockiness is not Confidence. Humble yourself.

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2. Don’t spend money you don’t have (credit cards, buying things before paying bills).

3. Guys will use you,

4. If you let them.

5. The bad boy is not who you want to marry and have kids with.

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6. You will need your friends.

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7. Trust God, not the world.

8. You don’t have to try so hard [titles, status, guys].

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9. Don’t give away your power. The worst times in your life are a direct result of giving away your power.

10. Feminism is a lie. An imitation. True female empowerment comes from Heavenly places.

11. Living solo is great.

12. There is a plan. God’s plan. You’ll take many detours, but God will always redirect you.

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13. Stop hiding your feelings

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14. and Stop trying to play it cool.

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15. You can depend on others, it doesn’t mean that you’re incompetent. Ask for help.

16. You’re ENOUGH.

17. You do want to get married, stop lying.

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18. People like you for you. Stop thinking you’re weird.

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19. Don’t let anyone come between your peace and joy.

20. God is not afraid to hurt your feelings.

21. When it doubt call Mom or Dad.

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In case you forgot what 2005&2006 felt and sounded like, here’s are some of my jams from back in the day! Proceed at your own risk LOL!





*Bonus* All you need to know about the old me can be experienced in these two albums!
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I could have saved this girl a lot of trouble… 5/15/06
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I’d love to hear from you! What would you tell your younger self?

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