“What’s cool about your calling is that there are no dead ends. Even if you weren’t brave enough to pursue your last opportunity, you can be brave this time.”Day 37 of 100 Days to Brave written by Annie F. Downs
100 Days to Brave: A daily devotional by Annie F. Downs.
To be honest, I doubted getting this book at first thinking that a book couldn’t make me more courageous in my daily life. At least not one that looked so small in dimensions and had that overused arrow on the cover. I’m here to admit I judged this book by its cover, which is like Book Lover 101 not to judge a book by it’s cover – but I did (sorry Annie). I still got it though on a leap of faith/bravery and I am so glad I did! I’m only a little more than half way through and it’s been a life-changer for me. I am all about little books that challenge me each day.
I started this book January 1st to kick off a personal goal of mine to become braver, more assertive, and live courageously. Yes, it’s been almost 100 days. No, I’m not on the right day… because well, life happens.
Regardless, I recommend this book to anyone looking for a new challenge each day to take a brave step: whether it’s your calling, career, friendships, relationships, family, whatever it may be. Annie writes from her heart. She writes like she cares, because she does. She shares personal losses and wins in her life. She shares times when saying “no” is needed and the right thing to do and she shares times when she said “no” and it was what God was calling her too. Each day ends with a “Be Brave” challenge for the day. Sometimes it’s to call a friend you haven’t talked to for a while and getting out of your comfort zone, other days it is to confide in someone close to you about your current struggles and trials in life. Each word of her book is beautifully well-written to instill courage and bravery in our every days lives.
We can’t always talk about the good. Sometimes we need to get into the “ugly” stuff and dredge it up to truly feel, make peace with, and understand the lessons we learn and sometimes the lessons we repeat two, three, sometimes four times. The point is to focus on the brave actions we take, big or small. Every decision we make is a chance to be brave, and we make decisions every day!
For me, I love to read this little devotion first thing in the morning either before or after my morning workout with a cup of coffee and my journal. I love to read and reflect on the author’s words, challenge myself with the “Be Brave” end notes then journal about what I read and how it applies to me. At times that journal entry is just a few quick sentences, other times… it’s four pages long.
I’m not the most assertive human and I’m not the bravest human. My biggest criticism I receive is to be more assertive: career and personal life. For me, assertiveness is a bravery thing. The courage that it takes me to muster up having a confrontational discussion is like THREE months worth all wrapped up in a 20minute conversation. It’s grueling to me. Especially if I muster that courage and no action is made on the receiving end. Or I gather the strength to have that conversation and am dismissed completely. Then I have to get myself together again to do the same thing- sometimes over and over and over. It’s horrifying to me. It used to be physically painful where I would complain, cry, or just flat out give up and let people do what they wanted no matter how much it hurt me personally. I had (and have) such a hard time with this. People would walk all over me and honestly some still do. I’ve been working on being brave, more assertive, and standing up for myself for over three years now. I’m happy to report I have made progress, but I’m not perfect by any means. It still takes me a harsh pep talk to myself and some giant prayers to my God to take those brave steps. Here I am though. Continually working on myself, showing up for me and just trying to take that next brave step towards my purpose and calling in life. One of my favorite quotes from this devotion so far is:
“God knows we need dreams in pieces because we would be too scared of the whole puzzle.”Day 25 of 100 Days to Brave written by Annie F. Downs
How true that is. We desperately want to see the big picture and be in the know and 100% informed on the plans for our life, right?
So if I’m overwhelmed with the small daily decisions, and I saw the big picture He truly had in store for me, I can guarantee you I’d be absolutely terrified. I think we all would be. That’s why Annie says later on in her book, “a little yes can be a step in the right direction, even if it isn’t a leap (Day 53, 100 Days To Brave).”
Take your next step, be brave.
…and by that I mean buy her book, duh!
If you want to read more about Annie F. Downs as an author or about this book, 100 Days to Brave, click here.