On Amazon is a book with the title, Be Bold. Be Brave. Be You. It has 100 blank pages. Yep, blank pages. The description says “Perfect for all ages—kids or adults!” As you would imagine, the point of the book is to record ways you’re bold and brave, ways in which you’re being you.
As a woman of faith, do you think about being bold and brave in being you? Do you ever use the words “bold” and “brave” to describe yourself? As a woman of faith, I’m going to be so bold and so brave as to say the answer needs to be a resounding yes!
I’m a passionate advocate for words of loving kindness. Walk the W.O.L.K, I like to say. “Walk the words of loving kindness” in words and deeds. To encourage and hopefully empower, I post silly inspirational videos on YouTube and my web site. I post a monthly calendar of with small suggestions for “walking the WOLK.” I try to share words that motivate and inspire in my conversations, in my personal interactions throughout the day, in my time on the phone with my internet service provider when I’m desperately seeking customer service. Yikes! Perhaps that’s not the best example.
I’ve talked about my dear friend, Michol. She’s a long-time church friend who follows my author page on Facebook. She likes and comments. I like and comment in reply. One day rather than post something, Michol thought it best to talk to me personally. My heart skipped a beat. My cheeks got warm.
After seeing another comment about words of loving kindness, Michol asked, “Deanna, when are you going to say words of loving kindness about yourself? To yourself?”
Hmmmm…, I didn’t have an answer for her.
Are you able to speak kindly about yourself? Do you worry that to do so might bring out a little too much bravado and not enough humility, not enough appreciation, not enough gratitude, not enough you fill in the blank ________? Are you at a loss on where to even begin?
I’ve lost count of the number of days that have started and ended with a critical assessment at the mirror. And that’s after jumping on the scale with great hope and anticipation and then jumping off with a heavy sigh. I can’t tell you the number of times my internal dialog has been anything but loving, anything but kind. It’s certainly not bold and brave.
What do you say to yourself in the quiet moments? In the crazy ones? When life unfolds beautifully? When it doesn’t? Remembering Michol’s call, do you say words of loving kindness about yourself? To yourself? Are you too quick with the critical assessment, too slow with the personal encouragement?
Last year on Valentine’s Day, my husband, Kurt, gave me a beautiful card that read: “When I say you’re beautiful…” And there I stopped. I could not get past the word beautiful. “But I’ve got another 10 pounds to lose…” “But I’m getting grayer by the day…” “But I messed up this afternoon…” “But…” “But…” “But…” My dear, darling husband of 38 years shared a beautiful card and I got stuck on “but.”
Last week I was taking a walk when I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in perhaps twenty years. Our kids were in preschool together, played soccer together, graduated high school together. We were both bundled up and masked up. After passing each other the second time, we looked at each other and said, “Aren’t you…?” She was. I was. Neither of us could remember names, but she remembered getting my older son Kyle home from preschool.
I remembered her older daughter making my lattes. Before saying goodbye that day, Diane apologized for letting her hair go during the pandemic. Her shoulder length hair was gray with tips of color. The first time I passed her I’d been struck by her beauty, the way her hair blew gently in the wind, the peace and serenity in her eyes. When she apologized, I was taken aback.
Ladies, you are I are beautifully and wonderfully made. No one has your wisdom and experience. No one has your giggle, your laugh, your gray hair, your heart. No one has your story. No one can do what you can do. And that’s a great thing, because my children will be the first to tell you we don’t need another Deanna in this world. We need you!
But I can’t be bold and brave, if I deny how beautifully and wonderfully I’m made. You can’t be brave and bold, if you deny how beautifully and wonderfully you’re made. This week—no, today—I encourage you to step in front of the mirror and give yourself the opportunity to see the God’s awesomeness. Let God’s beautiful and wonderful creation—that is you—take your breath away! And then smile because today’s a blank page in your book.
One of our Fave experts, Kim Peterson, posted a wonderful quote on Facebook: “Today is the first blank page in your 365-page book. You have the pen. You have the power. Write a great book.” Be bold. Be brave. Be you.
I close praying the words of Psalm 139, verse 14:
We give You thanks and praise for the beautiful and wonderful way you created each one of us.
Wonderful are Your works.
How well we know it. Amen.