Go Bravely: Have the Courage to Live Out Your Faith
When I was in high school, I remember sitting in our stuffy, hot auditorium for weekly Mass, shifting back in forth as the old wooden seats dug into my legs. When it was time to sing, I recall glancing to my right and to my left to see everyone staring down, their bodies and mouths set hard as stone. No one dared to sing out loud or show that they cared (if they did) about the holy Sacrament playing out before us. I’d awkwardly keep my head down and mumble the words loud enough so Jesus could hear I was singing and low enough so no one around could hear me “giving a crap.” Eventually I stopped singing at all. I knew I should be participating in the Mass to respect Our Savior, but my insecurity and the need to fit in often slithered up my back, around my neck, and shoved the words right back down my throat, silencing me. To fix this problem, I simply joined the choir to escape any judgement; however, there wasn’t as easy of a solution for the other areas of my life in which I was too insecure to show that I cared about my faith.
I remember actually participating in class prayer once and writing out my worries and fears to the Lord as the teacher requested. As soon as I saw the boy to my side staring at me as if I was a bright orange fish in an aquarium, I quickly snapped my binder closed, dropped my pen, and looked down at my plaid navy skirt, avoiding eye contact with him for the rest of class.
These memories came flooding back when I read the first chapter of Emily Wilson Hussem’s book Go Bravely: Becoming the Woman You Were Created to Be.” In chapter one, Emily speaks about the bravery it required to chose to live out her faith in college and the judgment she often suffered.
In chapter one Emily says: “Sometimes even the smallest acts of living out our faith require bravery. Bravery is not the absence of fear but the ability to conquer our fears and choose to do the right thing. To be a brave woman of God is to make decisions that bring us closer to God, even though those decisions can often be difficult or uncomfortable.”
When I read this chapter, I pictured my insecure and awkward high school self, too afraid to breathe too loudly or bring any negative attention to herself. Too afraid to show that she cared about her eternity in heaven because she was so desperate to blend in.
I wish she had read this book or had someone older and wiser to encourage her to go bravely and give her life to Christ to truly become the woman she was created to be. It was only when I finally abandoned my life to Jesus through Mary and began proudly living and proclaiming my faith that I found the deep inner joy and peace I so desperately craved.
Even now, I still have times I’m hesitant to share too much about my faith on Instagram or on my blog in fears of standing out or looking like a “Franny” (people who have gone to Franciscan University of Steubenville will understand). But I know that the Lord has put a desire on my heart and is calling me to use my writing to spread the words He speaks to my soul. Every time I feel that insecurity and need to fit in slithering up my back, I pray that simply prayer Emily prayed: “Jesus, help me to be brave.”
No, it will not be the coolest thing to do. You will be looked at strangely when you tell men you are practicing chastity. Your friends in college may think you are crazy when you don’t want to get drunk every weekend. You might seem weird when you don't join in on the daily gossip. But I can guarantee you, it will be the most fulfilling life you can choose. To give yourself wholeheartedly to the Lord, the one who crafted the seas and the mountains and the very heart that beats in your chest, will lead you on a more beautiful and extraordinary journey than you could ever imagine. You may be mocked; you may be teased; you may be ignored; you may be rejected. But at your final judgment, after you die, you will not stand before your peers or your coworkers, but you will stand before Our Lord Jesus Christ. And he will not judge you by how well you fit in, but by how well you spread his Kingdom and witnessed his sacrificial love and and divine mercy to those around you.
My friends, I pray you have the strength to push against the tide. I pray you have the tenacity to endure any judgment. Most importantly, I pray you have the courage to Go Bravely and become the person you were created to be. Let go of the fear, spread your wings, and fly!
Go bravely; all will be well, have no fear. —St. Joan of Arc
Let’s be friends!
My Instagram: @jacque.anderson
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