Most times, it seems like brave starts with a “yes”…whether it’s to something new, something different, or something bigger. Our “yes” to God’s calling to be brave allows Him to work miracles through us. It allows Him to take our small offering and multiply it exponentially. It allows Him to use our lives to impact eternity.
Saying “yes” is scary, and it usually takes a whole lot brave to make it through. I hope that if you’ve been reading along, you’ve come to understand that, and maybe even have said a few brave “yeses” in your own life this month. Big or small, it doesn’t matter.
Sometimes, though, brave means saying “no”. And to me, that’s an anticlimactic, sad calling to brave. It means saying “no” to things you really want, tearing yourself away from a place you’ve come to love. Sometimes brave means letting go.
It means intentionally closing doors, rather than rushing through them. It means giving something up.
[bctt tweet=”Sometimes our brave decision is to let go.”]
For me, that often involves prying my death grip off of something I desperately do not want to give up. It feels like loss, this call to let go. And it hurts. Oh friends, it can hurt.
But maybe it can also bring relief. Amid the change and the mourning and adjusting to something different, our ability to let go gives God the opportunity to turn an unexpected situation into something beautiful. One that brings relief and joy, even while the dust is still settling.
This hits me hard, this call to let go. You see, when I lived in South Africa, in the middle of my second year in the Peace Corps, I started looking into what was next for me. And I discovered that I was comfortable in my South African village life. I knew what to expect. And if I’m totally honest, I loved the status of being a Peace Corps volunteer.
So instead of preparing to pack up and return to life in the USA, I extended for a third year of service. Even when all signs pointed to me going home, and I knew in my heart-of-hearts that I should not extend, I did. I never claimed to be perfect.
You see, as crazy as it sounds, I wasn’t willing to let go. Heading back to the USA meant readjusting to life there, figuring out where I needed to live, and what I wanted to do with my life. It scared me, big time. And even though I knew I needed to say “no” to extending for a year, I pushed it aside and convinced myself this was where God wanted me.
Surprisingly…not…the last 6 months of my service, between extending and my med-evac, was the most difficult time of my service. And that was when I felt the furthest from God. Funny how that works out, right? And when things got more and more difficult, I still refused to let go.
[bctt tweet=”I wasn’t willing to let go of my dreams and embrace God’s dreams for me.”]
I thought I could do what He wanted me to do, but where I wanted to do it. And then my pride got in the way of common sense. I look back and praise God for ultimately bringing me to where I am now, despite my unwillingness to let go.
God was calling me to let go, to a brave “no” to staying in my new comfort zone. But I couldn’t find the courage to embrace what He was calling me to. I don’t know what would’ve happened if I had embraced the “no” and returned to the USA six months earlier. But I do know it would’ve meant a lot less stress, pain, and heartache.
Because months later, I watched that world grow smaller as the plane left African soil. This time, it wasn’t my decision to leave. But I had finally learned to let go. And as sad I was to leave a country I had come to love, I found relief in letting go.
I knew I was finally back on the path God called me to. By learning to let go, I learned to put aside my hopes for God’s hopes. And I can’t tell you how amazing the last two years have been like, since I’ve let go.
Really, letting go doesn’t mean you’re losing out. Oh no. It means you’re setting aside something to give God more room to work. And friends, that is an amazing place to dwell.
Just let go.
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.