Pursue your story with courage
When words elude me, still I show up and seek them. Like a childhood game of hide and seek, I pursue them into the shadows, wanting to find them lest they avoid me too long. That is how writing can feel sometimes.
Even so, I trust in the Source of the words. I trust in the gift of words. I trust in the creative process and the showing up. I refuse to quit even when the path is unclear and the story is not obvious.
Like the story I’m writing, the story I’m living is not always obvious either. Not all the time any way. Sometimes, the path is dark, unclear, and gives me great pause. Do I have the courage to pursue this path?
I believe I do. And I believe you do, too. Because I believe we can all do hard things (I tell my 13 & 11 year old girls this every day). I believe we can tap into the brave deep within us even if only in small doses. A friend recently reminded me of this, telling me about a scene in the movie, We Bought a Zoo (a movie I haven’t seen, but I did read the book).
In the movie, Matt Damon’s character tells his son:
“Sometimes, all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just, literally, 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo
Now, while this scene is about how to talk to a girl, I believe it holds true for all parts of our life – being creative, writing, health goals, creating boundaries, pursuing a dream, asking for a raise.
Twenty seconds of insane courage.
Because sometimes our stories are more murky than clear, aren’t they? These stories we live out become lost beneath the tangled overgrowth that covers the path we were following. We yearn for clarity. We seek direction and discernment. We need courage.
For me, that’s where living a creative life comes in. Creativity allows me a means to explore the world not only around me, but within me as well. The creative process invites me to wind my way through the unknowns, the doubts and the fears with courage.
With 20 seconds of bravery, I seek the truth and discover paths both well-worn and not yet trodden upon.
With 20 seconds of courage, I find some of the answers.
Living a creative life – which I believe we are all doing because we are all designed to create in our own unique ways – requires a willingness sometimes to do hard things. It requires us to move along the hidden, dark paths. The ones that bid us come along the wild and, yes, scary path leading into the deepest parts of ourselves, our heart, our soul.
The creative life invites us to uncover who we are and who we are designed to be.
Sometimes we may find ourselves lost, even though we thought ourselves moving along just fine in the right direction. We find ourselves seeking answers to our inner questions. Answers that, like my words, can at times feel elusive.
And, yet, we must seek them. We must find 20 seconds of insane courage.
We must seek that first step the way writers seek words when writing. Because even the wrong words, or the not-so-good words, help eventually uncover the better words. In the same way, moving forward with a single step creates progress, even if it is imperfect progress. There may be twisting turns ahead and uncertainty may lurk along the way, in shadows and tangles. Still, we must pursue our story.
Because ultimately, it’s our choice, isn’t it? I can choose to move forward or to stay here, stuck in a place not meant for me. To stay in a place that is not suited to my gifts or to the good works for which I was designed is a lie.
Therefore, I take each next step, one deep breath and whispered prayer at a time.
I tap into those 20 seconds of bravery.
I hold fast to the truth I was created for such a time as this.
I hold fast to the truth I was designed to create, as are we all.
I hold fast to the truth I was designed to write, to play with words, to tell stories and create images upon the page of my readers’ imaginations that will encourage others to search and seek their purpose and the truth of who they are designed to be.
I was designed to show up and to seek words, to seek answers, to seek my story’s direction.
Sometimes I find them easily. Sometimes I have to work harder to find my way. Always, I sense the Truth calling me forth. Always, there is Light in the darkness. Always, when I seek the One who created me, my creative journey moves me beyond words and writing; it moves me toward the story I’m meant to live out and tell with my life.
Today, I listen to the whispers of the words and when they appear from their hiding places, I invite them here, where, together, we push back the darkness and invite others to take one step forward, toward their unique purpose.
Because every purpose starts with courage enough for step one – seeking that for which we yearn: the truth of our story. The truth of who we are.