A little while back I asked my sweet friend Tiffany to share what living brave looked like for her. We’ve shared time together in a third world country, and I assumed she may write something about that. She didn’t share what I thought she would, yet I believe her words are vitally important. Just her speaking and writing these words here is an act of bravery. I pray you would be blessed by the truth she writes and that you would please be so very gracious with her. Read through to the bottom for ways to connect with Tiffany.
It has been so long… so long that I believed fear and courage cannot exist together, that they must be mutually exclusive. My reasoning, as short sighted as ever, was as follows: How can one be afraid due to their past, present, or future circumstances, while simultaneously exhibiting true courage?
In my mind, a person always had to choose one or the other.
I believed this… until my fear was so harshly confronted by the need to be brave, I grasped that in the midst of fear; courage must be a part of my response.Bravery does not deny the existence of fear; it moves forward in spite of fear.
For me, even this post is another step in my journey towards understanding courage, forgiveness, redemption, and growth. I wish I could explain just how fearful I am about telling this piece of my heart to the world… but again, I’m hearing the Lord say “Swallow your fear, walk humbly in this journey, and speak only of my grace. Watch as I pour it out again.” He’s reminding me that each part of my story is valuable, and each faith stride teaches my heart and others hearts, about His character.
Bravery is acknowledging every step of our journey, and letting fear weave its way in and out of the goodand bad of it, because we know that in the end that fear will compliment one’s courage.
So, here it is… my brave story.
Somewhere in my history, there was a moment… a moment where my flesh and my heart failed, and I gave in to the destruction of sin. Rebuilding seemed insurmountable. Insurmountable because; never before had I experienced the need to live bravely when, at every turn, I was drenched in fear.
When you allow yourself to start dwelling in fear, you start believing the lies that fear is speaking into your life…
Lie number one:
My baggage isn’t ugly.
Me, the one who had always held onto her purity so dearly, who had always spoken about redemptive love, who had told friends time and time again to avoid the heartache and clench your purity with all of your strength… is the least pure of all.
New Years will always be a clouded holiday for me, it has a mark in my memory that will likely never be wiped clean.
A little too late, and a few bad decisions later; I lay there… as someone completely different than the woman I always knew myself to be. Next to a man I didn’t know, who had no idea who I was, and who told me afterwards “You’ll regret this by noon tomorrow.”
“Thank you, stranger, for your comforting words.”
Skip ahead a year and there I was standing in my gym… staring across the room at that same face who was supposed to have moved states away.
Heart stopped, curse words escaped, I went down to the floor. I crawled out of view.
I thought I’d never have to see him again. I sat there, grasping to keep that wound closed as it was so unexpectedly ripped open. I thought this part of the battle was won, that I was over it, and that I wouldn’t have to come face to face with this dark piece of my past again.
Yet, that day… I battled again.
I battled through doing my hair, I battled through getting my coffee, putting gas in my car, and I battled seeing each person I know- ever on the verge of collapse.
I didn’t feel deserving any more.
Because at the end of the day, I hear what my good, godly, captivating, male friends want in their wives.
And I’m a little less than that.
Is this it? The figurative end to my fairytale?
No prince wants a harlot.
Lie number two:
Neither God nor man will ever pursue this person I now am.
But we believe it, don’t we? As women we see all that we are, the good, bad, and ugly… and we deduce our deservedness. We live life on a scale of how we measure up, in relationships, in our body image, in our achievements, in our rights and wrongs, in sex.
And we consider that this could be how the Lover of our soul still sees us; as that broken, damaged, lacking girl… who didn’t have the good sense to turn a man away from her bed, and that this… is our definition.
Surely He does not want a harlot.
It’s a broken way of viewing ourselves. And the repercussions are damaging to our spiritual, emotional, and at times, our physical health.
Yet we continue on, believing the lies.
Someone told us we were not enough.
Someone told us we are damaged.
Someone told us we were not whole.
Enemies tell lies, to make us feel bare and vulnerable… as if the whole world sees and judges, as if their opinions of our post sin standing is the only way we’ll ever exist. This is how our enemy victimized us, over and over again.
And yet His pursuit… His redemption overflows.
He tramples over sin and death, and one-night-stands.
“You are not lacking, you are not beyond repair, and watch my redemption plunge you into the depth of my forgiveness.”
This is the truth that is seeping its way into my core.
This is where I recognize courage.
This is where I live bravely.
This is where I acknowledge every piece of myself, the good and the bad, the pieces that are beautifully redeemed.
That He has already redeemed me. Colossians 1:20-22
That He has a plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11
That He will bring good from this. Romans 8:28
That He has already forgotten. Psalms 130:3
That He rejoices over the woman I am. Zephaniah 3:17
That my sin is not my definition. Isaiah 43:7
This is the truth that is burning up my bones.
And bravely, we trample on.
He and I.
// by contributing writer, Tiffany Eriksen //
A twenty-something ragamuffin, the constant victim of unadulterated grace, with a natural bent towards well-intentioned rebellion, Tiffany Eriksen’s heart beats for the broken of the world. Her conversation, her perspectives, her writing, and the career the Lord has placed her in demonstrate how Tiffany has immersed herself in opportunities that attempt to restore the broken. Tiffany blogs at Wild and Free and tweets at @tiffanyeriksen. You can email Tiffany at tiffanyeriksen AT worldhelp DOT net