Photo Friday: Become Brave

"Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave." - Mary Tyler Moore. Desktop wallpaper, 1920x1080 resolution. Find more free inspirational desktop wallpapers at www.talenawinters.com/desktop-wallpapers.

Even when I have reaped pain as a reward, I have the satisfaction of knowing it was garnered from living my life courageously, not regret from missing an opportunity to make a difference.

The theme of my life for the last several months has been about becoming brave.

Really, it's a change that began last year with the loss of my son.

After that, it just seemed like life is too short, too precious, to let fear bind me. That the important stuff in life is too important to not tell people about because I am afraid of their opinion. That the dreams I have are too powerful not to change myself in order to achieve them.

My passion has always been helping people in one way or another. But I can't tell you the number of times I have let my shyness or fear of rejection hinder me in fulfilling my dreams.

In January, I decided I wanted to write as a career, not just a hobby. Making this decision was a risk in itself. I'm not professionally trained as a writer. I just love to do it. I've studied it on my own in recent years, but have no credentials to my name except a self-published book, my history as a musician, and ten years of blog archives to recommend me.

The Accidental Journalist

In May, I responded to an ad on a local billboard. "Creatives for hire," it read, above the phone number and logo for Move Up Magazine. I didn't let myself debate too long. Ten minutes later, I called the number.

I had misunderstood the ad--they provide services like graphic design and advertising as well as publish their magazine, so the "creatives for hire" were Tormaigh and Jenelle Van Slyke, editors of Move Up. But Tormaigh said it was "perfect timing" for me to call, as they were in need of a writer. A few weeks later, I was given my first story.

I was terrified as I drove to Tim Horton's early on June 9 to cover Daniel's Coffee. The place was swarming with personnel from the RCMP, EMS, PRFD, and our local security facility. Had I just gone to Timmy's as a customer that morning, I would have been too shy (read: "afraid") to talk to anyone beyond maybe asking what was going on.

But because it was my job, I spent several hours getting to know members of every facet of our local law enforcement and first responder personnel. And I discovered that it was actually pretty fun. (The positive feedback from my editors and being entrusted with their feature article for the issue after this was submitted certainly helped.)

Taking a risk had reaped the reward of making me brave enough to take a greater risk, and that had reaped another reward that built on the first. And so the cycle goes.

This experience gave me the courage to contact the head of the local RCMP a few weeks later (whom I had met at Tim Horton's on the 9th) and ask him if he could help me get some information I needed to write my next book, Finding Heaven. He said yes.

Boldly Going Where I'd Never Gone Before

I got to have a tour of the local detachment, given by the head of the Victim Services Unit, Brian Turpin. I met everyone in the building and had a very thorough and pleasant interview with Brian.

Besides the amazing knowledge I gained for my book, I discovered something important about myself: for an introvert who never planned to be a journalist, doing this kind of thing was way more exhilarating than I had ever imagined. Taking a risk had reaped the reward of making me brave enough to take a greater risk, and that had reaped another reward that built on the first. And so the cycle goes.

My newfound boldness has affected other areas of my life, too. I've been more sacrificial with helping my friends. I've been more willing to take risks to build my business. I've been kinder and less introverted with strangers. I'm less likely to let others get away with deceiving themselves. I've been more honest with myself. I have more compassion, which requires its own form of bravery. My life has become less about protecting myself from pain, and more about how my life can bless others.

My life has become less about protecting myself, and more about how my life can bless others.

Sometimes, the things I have done have cost me. But for the most part, they have helped my heart and my courage to grow. They have helped me realize that the things holding me back were much less scary when I just faced them. And even when I have reaped pain as a reward, I have the satisfaction of knowing it was garnered from living my life courageously, not regret from missing an opportunity to make a difference.

What about you? Have you been allowing fear to hold you back from taking a chance that could change your life? Have you been afraid to take the leap towards your dreams? Have you been afraid to risk because you might reap pain?

I tell you this: Pain is part of the process. But once you have endured it, you realize what you can endure. Pain is just pain. It's not a reason not to move forward to being a better you.

Pain is part of the process. But once you have endured it, you realize what you can endure. Pain is just pain. It’s not a reason not to move forward to being a better you.

As we face our fears and walk with our pain, we realize how strong we are. It is the way we become brave.

I love to hear from you! Have you taken a risk lately? Did it pay off in unexpected ways? Are you still waiting to see the fruit of your efforts? Have you learned lessons from the process? Or have you just realized that you have been letting fear keep you from grabbing hold of opportunities? Have you made a decision to move forward instead of staying where you are? Leave me a comment so I can cheer with you, or cheer you on!

Happy Friday, friends!

(Feel free to share these images! Let's bless others, too!)

"Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave." - Mary Tyler Moore. Herb cuttings and sunflowers whose life didn't end at the first frost.

P.S. One of my favourite songs about being brave is "You Make Me Brave" by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music. It's been on my playlist ever since my friends Wes and Serena Burdick recommended it to me last year in the aftermath of Levi's death. Enjoy.

You Make Me Brave

Written by Amanda Cook

I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way