Brave scares me. It makes me dig into times I’ve been brave and times I haven’t, and look at the choices in front of me now. As crazy as it sounds…right now the “unbrave” choice in front of me would be packing a bag, boarding a plane, and heading back to Africa. The brave decision? The one I’ve unwillingly made and have tepidly committed to? It’s staying here, in my hometown, and committing to live the next few years here.
I never wanted to stay here. Like many young people, when I graduated from high school, I went off to college and never intended to like in my hometown again. I would spend my college summers there, and visit my family, but I would never live there again. I knew I was made for more than beat-down, going-nowhere, hometown life. And if I wound up there someday, I had failed.
I was focused on getting out. And after graduation, I left. I moved to South Africa with the Peace Corps and didn’t look back. I knew that after the Peace Corps, I would likely end up in Washington, DC, or down in Houston with my sister. Not back in small-town Iowa. Anywhere, but not there.
Then God brought me back.
I thought it was just for a season. I was injured, and recovering at home was a blessing after being abroad for two and a half years. I figured I would stay for a few months, work through physical therapy, and leave. Nearly two years later, I’m preparing to move into my own home this weekend.
Early this year, I was faced with the decision to leave or commit to staying. And oh how I wanted to leave. But I knew that was not God’s will for me. So I chose to brave the stay.
[bctt tweet=”I finally let those firmly held roots burrow down deeply into the small town soil.”]
You see, brave looks different for everyone. But I always thought my brave was working abroad. And I still have a heart for it. But now, for this season and the foreseeable future, I am committing to brave the stay. I may have been brought to my hometown accidentally, but I am staying intentionally.
Brave the stay doesn’t just mean living here. It means fully investing in this community that is winning my heart. It means getting into the trenches to help build up a beaten-down place.
[bctt tweet=”It means getting involved and living full-out for God right where you are.”]
It takes a lot of bravery to be a missionary in a foreign country. But it takes a whole lot of bravery to be a missionary in your hometown.
Maybe your brave decision is to go. But perhaps, like me, it’s to brave the stay. And maybe you’re fighting hard against that calling because you equate staying to failure.
Hear me now: You are not a failure. If you are living the life God plans for you, there’s no way you can fail. So embrace that brave calling to stay, and let God make the most of it.
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.