I’m learning to embrace my awkwardness. I recently met a woman who is a local counselor trained by Brene Brown and was just darling (really, she came in a fedora with a blue band and orange tee—surely I had spit-up on me somewhere). She had been to all sorts of exotic places helping others. As she started speaking, I started to feel small — like who am I to have written a book about bravery? I am a mom who happens to work at a pregnancy center — I know my heart is big, but I don’t have any life with extensive training nor exotic stories and I really probably do have spit-up on me somewhere.
Have you ever, have you ever felt small?
This girl was lovely and her stories were not intentionally said to make me feel small, but hello, I am human and some days I feel small and not worthy. Anyway, she and I had a long-standing coffee date and we finally had an hour to get to know one another and discuss what being “brave” meant to us. So I sat and listened to this beautiful believer who has dipped her hands in extensive research and handed it out to people across the world.
Sigh, I felt small.
(Despite my smallness, if you need a counselor and you live in Liberty, I have an excellent recommendation — and maybe we all need counseling — just a thought).
As she began to ask me the imperfectly brave story, I felt this rising need in me to give her all the details. The who’s who on the team and the strategic points we are all hitting, the marketing plan we are rolling out — the dream of it all. The dream of women everywhere meeting in prayer groups and listening and obeying God so that once again His glory would fill our every places.
You see, as all of those words were coming out of my mouth they tasted like sandpaper. They still taste rough. The ONE thing — I mean the ONE thing God has taught me through Imperfectly Brave is that being dependent on Him changes everything. Now those words were quite easy to type, but to live them — oh, that is the adventure.
You see, if you knew me, if you really knew the essence of Whitney, I would build my own thing. I would wake up in the morning and I would work, work, work to get Imperfectly Brave into all the hands, all the right places, all the right people. I am not afraid of asking people for things (hello, I am a fundraiser — talk about awkward). God has made me extremely relational, so meeting people, dreaming with people, listening to them — this is my jam, my groove, my thang. And even as I write out all these words, I basically want to get on my rooftop and yell, “IMPERFECTLY BRAVE. HELLO WOMEN OF THE WORLD, IT IS TIME TO BE IMPERFECTLY BRAVE.”
But this is not the way.
So back to my meeting, after I tried to feel big and say all the right things, I just shook my head. I started shaking my head real big and instead said with real authority, “That all my plans are good, but they aren’t the best. Plans are good, but human plans should be made to be changed by and Almighty God — lest we are holding to our plans too tightly.” I told my new friend that I am declaring my dependence on God and that I want Him to continually change everything. I want to actually know what the parting of the Red Sea feels like or what manna falling from heaven looked like. I want the God stories, not my stories. I want to see Him declare His glory.
And He does. He does this. He is doing it even today, if we let ourselves go there.
King Hezekiah took a letter from messengers, a letter mocking His God, and laid it before the Holy One. He got on his knees. He said, “Save us…that all kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are God.”
And would you know what?
God did. The zeal of the Lord did.
God said, “For I will defend this city to save it…and the angel of the Lord went out and struck down a hundred and 85 thousand in the camp of the Assyrians.” With all the best laid plans, Hezekiah could not have done such a great work. He was fully dependent on God.
The hard part is living dependent on God to change our plans. It is so easy to say. I sat at The Global Leadership Summit this past weekend and listened to world-renowned speakers spill their guts on how to best lead. I was a sponge. Pastor Albert Tate spoke boldly about giving up our five loaves of bread and two fish. He spoke about handing them to God and GETTING OUT OF THE WAY. I could have gotten up and cheered. I was most definitely the loudest hand-clapper in that room. I was nodding my head so violently the person behind me surely most have thought WEIRD.
But this is the thing. We give our plans to God and then GET OUT OF THE WAY for Him to work.
After Albert Tate spoke, everyone just filed out of the room, like, “No biggie, I do that every day. I make plans and then give them to God.”
What? Am I the only one who struggles with this? How can I drink coffee after I ache to see the miracle? (And I LOVE coffee). I thought of how a message can sound so good, so lovely, so spot-on and unless we devote ourselves to practicing it, we just miss it.
I don’t want to miss the zeal of the Lord working. I just don’t. So when people start asking me about Imperfectly Brave, I might just smile real big and wink, knowing God has something greater, bigger, more beautiful than I could ever dream up — I simply need to give Him what I can and then move out of the way. I simply need to stay small, so He can be big.
So, together, brave girls around the world, let’s give our plans to God and move out of the way. Let’s stay small. And ultimately, let’s keep our eyes open for the miracle stories because in the staying small, He is bound to be bigger.