Be Courageous

This is an oldie from my old website archives, but a goodie…

"Real courage is displayed by those who are afraid to go but go anyway." - Anonymous

Does one of my favorite quotes comes from the inside of an eye shadow box? Yup. Do I believe that God can speak through anything He chooses? Oh yeah. 

At 3 years old, I remember discovering the sheer delight of playing with my mom's makeup.  It was like art time in the bathroom, except on my face. So there I am, 20 years later, once again rummaging through all of the exciting eye palettes and lip colors in her naturally-lit Tuscan bathroom when I stumble upon a tiny silver cardboard box. When I open this clever little magnetic contraption, it reveals two beautifully dramatic eye shadows and these words under its lid: "Real courage is displayed by those who are afraid to go but go anyway."

Huh. Simple. Profound. And more importantly -  it was perfectly timed. I was convinced the Lord had just revealed Himself divinely through a small cosmetics box. Why? Well, I stumbled across this providential quote in the middle of a prime early-20-something decision crisis. We're talking the kind of thing that gives folks like Donald Miller and Relevant Magazine employees jobs because they're pouring sage advice into an age group of kids with endless potential and seemingly little direction, like me. 

The year of 22 into 23 was spent working jobs that felt more like rites of passage into adulthood than anything I actually cared about. At 23, I decided I need to get out. And by get out, I mean really get out - like... to another country. So, I started researching.

Though there were a few good options on the decision plate, none of them were particularly enticing to me.  I wanted to do something that actually excited me. So, I asked God for what I really wanted: to go to Peru and work with the street boys mission that I passionately cared about. Then, He opened that exact door without me even having to lift a finger (other than the ones that I was praying with). Now, a healthy or normal reaction by anyone else might be, "Oh, yay! Great! Guess I'll just do that then." But not me. I was afraid of going after what I really wanted.

Why is that so scary? Do you ever feel afraid of doing exactly what you want to do? Of believing that God could be so good to put something on your heart and then actually lead you to it? Well, I did. It felt like a terrifying leap of faith, and I wanted the answer to be obvious. I wanted to be 100% I was making the right decision and that everything would be OK. Enter the eye shadow box:

"Real courage is displayed by those who are afraid to go but go anyway." 

That's when it occurred to me that, though doing what I wanted to do was scary, having courage to do it was going to be awesome. I heard this quote saying, "Get up. Don't be afraid. Go after that door you want to walk through." So, I did. I let those other options fall to the wayside and walked right through that Peru door. To this day, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Was it the absolutely 100% right decision? I don't know. Could I have decided to do something else? Yeah, sure. When I look back at this decision and this time, I don't regret making that decision in faith.

Here I am at another crossroads, a little older, wiser, and more learned. The plan? Vaguely, it's to pursue the two things I'm most passionate about work-wise - living in Peru and serving on this mission and pursuing photography. It's terrifying. I am personally terrified of the criticism that can accompany art forms like photography. Making myself susceptible to others' judgment and criticism? No, thank you. Yet, I've developed this philosophy: if there is something that simultaneously excites you, scares you, and that you feel called to - you should absolutely do it. I believe that we will more readily invite the Lord into the things we feel incapable of doing.

So, here I am - terrified of even having this website up in public space for praise, ridicule, or even lukewarmness. Afraid, but going anyway.

What excites you? Terrifies you? What is holding you back from your passions and dreams? I encourage you, friend: dream big and do not be afraid (Isaiah 41:10). Have faith.

Leap and the net will appear. (my other favorite quote)

For the chronicles of Nar... ahem, I mean Peru, check out my Peru blog!:)

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Lauren Odderstol