Fear wins a lot with me and I have trouble moving onto the next brave thing.

When I was a single mom with my Summer, a very good friend gave me a children’s book written by her friend called, “Whimsy’s Heavy Things”.  She said that she immediately thought of Summer and I when she read it. 

In this story, Whimsy is having to carry a bunch of heavy things that resemble black bowling balls.  I guess you could say that she was having trouble moving onto the next brave thing.

At first she tried to hide, bury or ignore them and went on with life but they kept causing her to stumble as much as she tried to act like they didn’t exist.  

Finally Whimsy decides to break them down to make them more manageable. 

She breaks one heavy thing so that she can play marbles with it.  Another, she plants so that it becomes a beautiful tree.  A third, she breaks down to use as steps to climb over a very tall wall. 

By the end of the book, she is going through life lighter and happier because she has learned to manage her heavy things…not get rid of them or pretend they don’t exist.  She has simply learned to do the next brave thing, one step at a time.

On Sunday, Whimsy came to mind even though I haven’t read her in a few years.

next brave thing
The truth is that I have been on a downward spiral and if depression or anxiety is a part of your world, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  
I can’t see straight let alone see the next brave thing that I should do.

It is a terrible place to be and mine is often filled with panic as I try to solve the mystery of what is causing it. 

When I’m in this mental space, I do NOT talk to anyone about it, not even Ted.  I shut down while my brain is working in overdrive trying to figure out the source of these feelings.

Lately I’ve been following mental rabbit trails, desperate to get rid of this pain but they all lead to dead ends.  My head is tired.  So tired.  And I’ve solved nothing. 

On Saturday, I read a quote that said, “Be on assignment for God today.”  Just today.  Not a week from now.  Not a year from now.  Just today.

The verse that accompanied it was Matthew 6:34:  “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

As I sat there, I felt burdened to tell Ted what I was going through, even if I didn’t even really understand it myself. 

However, I very much so struggle with being vulnerable with him…I push him away and only go to him when the situation has been resolved, which has obviously brought its own problems.  As I sat there I wrote a one-sentence prayer. 

“Help me to be brave and talk to Ted.” 

I proceeded to sweat my glands empty and my heart raced as I took 5 minutes to build up courage to talk to him.  Then the verbal diarrhea began.  I sobbed.  I sobbed and said I couldn’t figure it out and that I don’t know what’s wrong with me. 

He let me cry and offered no solution, which was perfect.  At the end, though, he said something that hit me and made me think of Whimsy.  I had told him I had prayed to be brave enough to talk to him. 

When I had finished that task he said, “Thank you…onto the next brave thing.”

Onto the next brave thing.

Oh how this has stuck with me.  Please do not get hung up on some grand definition of ‘brave’. 

Merriam-Webster simply says: having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty. 

Danger, fear and difficulty are relative terms and represent something different for anyone.  It doesn’t mean you are trying to save a baby from a burning building. 

Do you know what brave meant to me that day?

Brave meant making the 10 minute drive to my friend, Jess, so we could run together and talk.  She is therapy to me but I didn’t feel I could do it that day.  So that was my next brave thing. 

And when I conquered that, I had to be brave to be a mom to my 4 kids and love on them as we celebrated Ted’s birthday. 

Maybe that doesn’t sound brave to you but when you want to crawl into bed and close the blinds, then I think it is brave to not give in to those feelings.    

What are the brave things you need to do today? Just today? 

Don’t worry about whether or not someone else thinks they are brave…they don’t know the battle you are fighting.
Just go do the next brave thing.

Brave things can be getting out of bed when you would rather sleep because, when you sleep, you don’t feel.

Brave things can be choosing to go to work even though you don’t feel you have what it takes to survive 8 hours in the world.

Brave things can be working out when your head is telling you it isn’t worth it…YOU aren’t worth it.

Brave things can be reaching out and telling someone that you are almost at the end of your rope…that you need them to hold you on theirs. 

next brave thing
Brave can be big things…but small things can be big things which makes them the next brave thing.

I think that’s why God gave us that verse in Matthew 6…if we worry about tomorrow, we are no different than Whimsy trying to go through life carrying all of those heavy things. 

It dragged her down and tripped her up.  It was only when she broke them down into small, manageable things that she was able to handle them. 

And for me, looking ahead a week, a month or a year is too heavy.  Tomorrow is too heavy.  But today…today is manageable, especially if I break that down too. 

So my next brave thing is to go have breakfast and play a card game with Summer. That’s it. And when I’ve completed that task, I will look to God as I move onto the next brave thing.

What does your day look like?  How can you break it down into little brave things?  Do you see yourself as brave? Do you see your little things as brave things?  

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