31 Days · africa · Intentional Living

Your Brave Decision {#write31days}

I guess I should talk about the proverbial elephant in the room. If you’ve been reading around here for a while, you may know that I lived in South Africa for two in a half years as a member of the Peace Corps.

So while I’ve been talking about living brave and how often I’m not brave, I feel like I need to talk to about the whole “agree to move to Africa thing”. Because most people would argue that this was the bravest decision I’ve ever made.

I disagree, but we’ll explore that more this month.

Back to the whole “moving to Africa” thing (which you can read ALL about from my 31 Days series last year: 31 Days of Moments in Africa). During my senior year of college, I lived in Washington, DC for a semester, and I worked next door to the Peace Corps. My roommate and one of my close friends interned there, and I literally passed the front doors of Peace Corps’ headquarters each day.

And slowly, slowly, I started to realize that maybe, just maybe God wanted me in the Peace Corps. I fought it a little, but I also remembered a vague high-school era memory of momentarily considering the Peace Corps, but quickly dismissing it because “I couldn’t possible do that!”

This time, I couldn’t dismiss it.

I couldn’t avoid this unwanted dream of moving abroad for two years. But the more I encountered it, the more I realized I could do this…because, God. And suddenly a dream that seemed impossible and formidable turned into something I pondered as entirely possible.

But I wasn’t full-in yet. I was afraid of what my friends and family would think. I was nervous about learning a new language and culture. I was uncertain about being qualified to help anyone do anything.

And so I prayed and researched and thought on it. Until one morning when I sat on the bus, heading to my internship. I was listening to my iPod, as I normally did, unsettled. I finally prayed about it, asking God to show me whether He really meant for me to join the Peace Corps.

And then “Two Weeks in Africa” popped up on my playlist, and I was filled with peace about this decision. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I knew it was a God thing.

And knowing that? The decision to go didn’t seem brave at all. I knew God had my back. I knew this was His plan. And while I didn’t fully understand why or how this fit into my life plans, but I knew God wanted me to make this decision. And I dove in head-first.

Months later, I packed my life into a few bags and boarded a plane to Africa.

Brave Looks Different

This decision may have seemed crazy-brave, but it wasn’t. My brave isn’t your brave. Maybe your brave really is committing to move to Africa. Maybe mine is staying. Brave looks different for everyone, and the brave decision God is calling you to could be radically different than the one He is calling me to.

And that’s okay.

Too many of us try to make someone else’s brave our own reality, when in actuality, God is calling each of us to something different. So what is YOUR brave decision?

[bctt tweet=”Cling to courage. Embrace bravery. Trust in His plan. “]

And make YOUR brave decision.

For me, now? That decision is to stay. In my known-since-birth, small-town-midwest hometown. It’s taken as much bravery to stay here as it took to leave…maybe more. Maybe people think that’s crazy, that moving to Africa was easier than returning home.

Just remember, brave looks different for everyone.

What is your brave decision?

-Jen


This post is part of my #write31days series for 2015: Living Brave. Each day in October, I will be posting about living brave and what that looks like in everyday life. Curious about 31 Days? Check out the website and the hundreds of other bloggers joining in this year: 31 Days.

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25 thoughts on “Your Brave Decision {#write31days}

  1. WOW! I find myself comparing my brave to what other’s do. I am encouraged that my brave will look different than another person’s. Even more encouraged by your statement that “Since I knew God was in it and had my back, it wasn’t brave at all.” I want that kind of faith…my brave is continuing to write.
    #write31days

    1. I compare all the time, and it’s a hard place to live. Because God created all of us to be perfectly unique, and so shouldn’t our braves look different?

  2. Yep, brave looks different for different people, and different seasons of life as well. At one point, being brave for me was staying in America and finishing college while the rest of my family was on the other side of the world. That’s probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do–yet I know that it was God’s plan for me, and good came of it, and the bravery was worth it.

    1. That would be really hard! But I’m so glad to hear that God worked through that difficult time, and now on the other side of it, you can see how it’s for your good.

  3. Having grown up in small Midwestern towns myself, I know exactly what you mean about being brave by staying. That being said, it would still take a heck of a lot of bravery for me to hop a plan to Africa lol.

    1. I mean, it does take bravery to fly halfway around the world. ๐Ÿ™‚ But it takes a whole lot of bravery to face the questions, assumptions, and feelings of failure when moving back to small-town hometown USA.

  4. Jen, I would have loved seeing the expression on your face when this happened: “And then โ€œTwo Weeks in Africaโ€ popped up on my playlist, and I was filled with peace…..”
    Talk about getting a postcard from God – yes ma’am!!!!! xo

  5. Brave looks different for everyone. I love that. And as I’m writing on no fear, thinking similar thoughts. What no fear, being brave looks like in our daily life.
    Glad to be journeying with you!

    1. No fear…now that would be a beautiful place to live! We talked about that a bit tonight in my growth group. Imagine what it would be like to live a day without fear!

  6. Such a good point that bravery looks so different. Going back to school with two little kids and a disabled husband is my bravest decision. It may not seem like a big deal but at the time, it was huge. I think that after taking that first brave step, it rose my “bravery bar” and now I do more brave things as time goes on.

    1. It seems like a big deal to me, and I’m sure it was HUGE for your family! But isn’t it awesome how God uses through brave moments, and then inspires us to make more, braver decisions?

  7. I would say blogging, but that is not true. Writing is like breathing to me. It is not brave. I haven’t run into my brave quite yet. Maybe it was becoming a mom? Not sure but I will be praying about it. Thanks for sharing. This post has provoked a lot of thought for me. You are brave to answer the call of God. He had your back, but He counted on you to answer His call and you did.

    1. I’m sure you’ve done brave many times without realizing how brave you truly are! And even if you love to write, publishing those words online is crazy brave!

  8. I love this because YES! When my son was so sick people told me I was brave, and strong and my faith was amazing and I felt the complete opposite. I was just doing what I had to do. That’s not brave, it’s desperate. And then over time I realized exactly it. My pain isn’t your pain, my brave isn’t your brave, etc. Such a powerful life-knowledge-moment! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. So true Carol! Sometimes life demands we do brave things. We don’t have a choice in it. Brave looks different for everyone!

  9. THIS: ” My brave isnโ€™t your brave. Maybe your brave really is committing to move to Africa. Maybe mine is staying. Brave looks different for everyone, and the brave decision God is calling you to could be radically different than the one He is calling me to.” You are so right all of our braves are going to look different. I need to remember that!

  10. This sounds SO similar to what I was writing about in my Day 3 post! God is good. I love it when He takes me to places (or blogs) that reaffirm what He is working in me.

  11. Amen and amen! I know exactly what you mean! I can remember the day I chose to let go of wanting to go and choose to trust God in the staying! You’re right: brave is different for everyone!

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