My younger daughter processes everything out loud. She needs lots of encouragement and is smart enough to surround herself with people who are willing to do that for her. When she was little and had about worn me out one day with her worries, complaints, aches, pains and fears, I told her that I didn’t know what else I could do for her. Whatever it was, I couldn’t fix it. She said to me these words that have continued to be our mantra to one another “Mom, I just need you to tell me that I’m a brave soldier.” As she grew up and faced down some pretty scary demons of her own, I have said those words over and over and over until she claimed them for herself. She is one of the bravest people I know.
When I looked up the definition of brave just now, I found these words: “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage. As in ‘a brave soldier'” I smiled when I saw the example they had used. When I think about the times I am called to be brave, I find that often the danger is more perception that reality. The scariest things for me are often the risk of being vulnerable and allowing myself to be seen as lacking in some way.
Brave is a relative term. We would all agree that a person serving on a battlefield or fighting cancer would require a large degree of bravery. However, the need for bravery is not always that black and white. For one person, for example, standing up in front of a crowd to deliver a presentation would be easy and for another, would require all the bravery they could muster. Spending the night in a tent sounds like recreation to some, others would find that an occasion to dig deep for courage. I, for instance, would be in the latter category. 🙂 What is easy for you, may be scary for me.
So, here is my brave thing for today. I am going to tell you my dream.
In this next season of my life, I want to lead groups, workshops and retreats for people who are stuck being all things to all people and feel like they have lost themselves in the process. A place to recharge and connect with others in a way that confirms that we are all in this together; we are not alone in our struggles. I want to make a space for us to dig deep and ask ourselves questions like these: What is working in our life and what just feels too hard? What are the negative voices in our head telling us about who we are? What lights us up and makes us feel alive? What drains us and makes us feel incompetent? How does comparison with others get in the way of connection with others? Why is it so hard to be real with other people? How do we give ourselves a break? From where do we gain strength? Where does our faith in God fit into all this or does it? What kind of legacy do we want to leave for our kids? What is our story and how do we find ways to make our story better?
I’m not sure yet about all the details, but that is my vision.
As some of you might know, in my former life I was a clinical social worker. I worked in a variety of settings and saw people in individual, group and family settings. I love working with groups and I am good at it. When I think about the things I have done in the volunteer world, the things that light me up are the opportunities I have had to work with groups of people who are trying to find a way to encourage and lift each other up in our common struggles. We all want to feel heard and I want to give people a space to have that experience.
So, there it is. I said it out loud, my one brave thing for today.
If you think you might be interested in attending a workshop or retreat like this, let me know. I am going to start a list of interested people and plan a one day workshop for the first of the year. Email me at KellyJohnson1@verizon.net if you want to be on the list for that or for a weekend retreat later in 2015. I am excited about the possibilities!
Now, tell me in the comments: what is the one brave thing that YOU are going to do today?