Be Brave Series: Bravery is a Choice by Becca

Hi friends! I’m Becca, 26 years old, born and raised in sweet home image3Alabama. I found my way to Atlanta for a few years by way of Auburn, and now I’m currently living in the eternal city of Rome, Italy. It’s a dream for me to be enjoying this current life of travel, culture experience, and adventure. But mostly it’s been a learning experience into deeper parts of myself and even better, of who God is. It’s not perfect as some may perceive it to be — it’s actually been messy and ugly at times, but definitely full of hope. I spend my days meeting new friends, teaching English, and taking care of little kiddos as I’m an au pair. I am involved with a good community of people here, as well as taking pottery classes and immersing myself in other creative ventures. I have been exploring more of my passion for writing and photography while abroad, so feel free to follow my journey on my Blog or Instagram 🙂

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“Be brave, Becca. You are brave. You are brave. You are brave.”

These words were on repeat in my mind as I prepared to leave the country in September for an entire year. I repeated these words as I went to doctor appointments (because those scare me) and bought plane tickets (planes also scare me). As I packed up my belongings and said goodbye to my friends and my family. As I held the hand of my grandmother, not knowing if it would be the last time I would look into her aging eyes. These words were my companion as I boarded a plane to a country where I didn’t know a soul but could only imagine those I would come to know. They stayed in my mind as I walked off the plane after hours of travel and into a new temporary home.

The words continued to repeat themselves as I stepped outside my door on the first morning to explore this eternal city I would soon get to know. I wandered around Rome for two weeks completely alone. And you know what? It was exhilarating, but HARD, really hard.

Bravery is a choice. 

I’ve told myself to be brave in life. I always promised myself I would never pass up an opportunity to live abroad or go after a crazy dream. I learned to also be brave when it comes to relationships- being vulnerable, saying I’m sorry, having a hard conversation, choosing to follow my heart even when it hurts, breaking up or choosing to move on. (If you have done any of these, then you, my friend, are brave).

Life is full of choices but also those ever so often “you have to do this and there is no way out now” moments. The latter are the moments where bravery is more required than suggested.

As I boarded my plane with a one-way ticket to Rome, I felt very much in the “What on earth am I doing? This is happening and there is no way out now” category… that I created in my mind. This was coupled with the “It’s here! Time for adventure!” category as well. Mixed emotions, y’all.

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I think being brave is full of mixed emotions. 

I starred out my plane window as tears streamed down my face, mirroring the rain that was falling outside… because of course it would be raining. Insert dramatic exit here. Earbuds in and listening to a good life song at the time (“You Don’t Miss a Thing” by Bethel Music) I took in one last view of the Atlanta skyline and thought about that city and those people. Wow. It all has changed me and shaped me. Now I sit on this plane with a one way ticket headed towards a city where I don’t know anyone and in that moment I was overcome with the Lord’s love. I knew He was with me, always had been, and would continue to be. Even as I walked into a place I did not know, He was expanding my love beyond Atlanta and my trust beyond what I saw for myself.

For me, being brave is fun. Yeah, I may cry my whole way to doing something I’m terrified of, but it has never not been worth it.

I may hear lies of failure and “this is a waste of your precious au pair salary” as I plan another trip or sign up for my pottery classes. I may hear “this is a waste of time” as some days I’m overcome with being away from family and friends I love so incredibly much. But again, it’s a trust thing. Trusting the Lord with them and with myself. He is worthy to be trusted in our most unsure moments. He does not always lay out the big picture, but he does reveal the next step, and I’m learning that is enough for today.

I may hear “you are not being very street smart” as I walk to the refugee center to visit or to sit in on a language course full of refugees, but I leave with fresh perspective necessary for my mind and heart.

These things are called stepping out of your comfort zone and fully experiencing what your feet are in a place to experience.

Traveling alone is fun. Hopping a train last minute to a different Italian town is one of my favorite things these days. Learning a little bit of Italian and speaking it completely broken, but speaking it anyways, is fun. I like to figure things out- it’s a welcomed challenge for us humans. It shapes us. It grows us. It inspires us. It opens us up into seeing more of God’s dreams for ourselves and our tiny, yet critical role in His world.

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I’m convinced fruit follows our brave decisions. 

I heard God tell me, “You are being sent” one evening at church while I was battling with the decision to move to Italy.

It was hard to hear. With moving, I was being asked to give up things I cherished and was excited about in Atlanta. Community, family, friends, a job with a family and kids that I loved more than I ever knew I could, to be alongside my best friend during her season of wedding planning, to be alongside my family during a difficult time, comfort in general… the list goes on.

I knew a fruitful season was on the other side of this step though. I still do. My season in Atlanta was done. I had been asking the question “Am I thriving here?” and the answer was an honest negative. God told me I would thrive in His best ways for me as I stepped out into this dream. I would not see the full scope until I stepped out for a season. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that it was hard.

We are “brave” when something scares us, but we do it anyway. When we subject ourselves to something unpredictable where the outcome is a blur. The moments when we throw ourselves outside of our comfort zones. When we do the things that stretch us and force us to new discoveries about ourselves, both good and bad.

I know a lot of people in my life who are not told near enough how brave they are. I have friends who have started businesses and grandparents who are aging. I hear stories of those who have battled diseases, I have spent time with children who were in foster care and continually placed in a new home, orphans in Uganda who I have held in my arms and thought of how strong they are at a young age. I am inspired by the people around me in Rome. The artists putting their work out there for the world to see, playing music or doing their craft on the side of the street. Or the refugees up every morning to be in language class so they can learn, find a job, and begin making a life for themselves.

Everyone carries it within them. It is a choice, it is full of mixed emotions at times, but I believe fruit always follows it.

Being brave looks different in our lives. It does not necessarily mean moving across an ocean to a new place for everybody. It does not require you to give up everything and start over. It can be much simpler than that. Day-in, day-out bravery for me is choosing to be present and not allowing the future to steal from the gift of today. It means to say “I’m sorry” and to be forgiving. It is trusting although doubt creeps outside the door. It’s persevering when it would be easier to run away.

Make the choice today. Trust in the goodness of your efforts, don’t be too hard on yourself, and know that you are extremely brave.

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Comments

  1. Frances Carr says:

    Becca, this is awesome writing, expressing your feelings so wonderfully. Continue to be brave and enjoy your adventures!
    Frances Carr(from Frazer)

  2. Awesome, Becca! Thank you – and yes, you are very brave! We are so proud of you!

  3. this so inspired me! my husband, infant son, and i are moving to rural kenya for 6-12 months to volunteer at a hospital there. we leave in less than a week. i am so nervous, but i know the Lord sent me to your blog! i need to be brave and remind myself that i am not thriving here in ohio, even though i love it here with my family and friends. thank you for putting yourself put there! may the Lord continue to bless your time in italy!

    • i just realized this isn’t becca’s blog! lol ? nevertheless, i am grateful to both of you!! may Jesus bless both of y’all!

    • Kailey Birkeland says:

      Francine, thank you so much for writing us! I am praying blessings over your family as you travel and live in Kenya. Thank you again and much love!

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