The Art of Practicing Courage

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Sunset on the Grand Tetons, June 2012

*Friends-if you don’t have the time to read my entire post-I have news to share: please skip to the end!

This is the photo.  The photo that popped up in my feed with Facebook’s new Timehop “On this Day” feature.  Oh the irony.

Three years ago today I was on vacation.  We took the family to Montana and Wyoming. We visited Bear Tooth Pass, Yellowstone Park and the Grand Tetons.  I’ll never forget that trip for two reasons.

1-The entire trip was perfect: great weather, great scenery, great time with the family.

2-I was a bit of a mess.

You see on the outside, my life was wonderful.  My oldest girl would be headed to college in the fall, my high school girl was happy, my nine-year-old thriving.  My marriage was in a good place and I had a growing travel agency business.  How could I be a mess? How could everything be so right, but feel so wrong?  Was I just hard to please?

I couldn’t get a handle on why I felt the way I felt, but I was grateful to go on vacation and clear my head.  So on the very first morning, I got up early and had a chat with God.

Tiptoeing through our tiny rented cabin so as not to wake my family, I made a cup of tea, took a seat by the window, and stared out at the expansive Montana sky.  And I started to pray. But what began as prayer soon turned into gushing: me spilling out all my fears and frustrations. It was only after I got it all out that I could humble myself and ask God what to do.   Here is what he said:

Rest in me.

Huh?  Okay fine, I’ve read or heard these words so many times: in my devotionals, bible study, church sermons.  It sounds easy, but what does it really mean? What was I supposed to do with that?

I pondered.  It could mean to just take a breath and enjoy my vacation.  It could mean stick close to God, be patient and all will work out.  It could mean to take a break from all my troubles.

That’s nice and all, but it didn’t feel like enough. Come on God, I need more, I am not following here.  Again, I asked Him to show me what to do.

Rest in me. 

Argh, the same answer!  Though I was frustrated, I’ve learned that when God gives me an answer, it typically is going to take a bit of decoding on my part.  He’s not one to just tell me what to do, but He does lead me. So I decided I had no choice but to trust.  Trust what He told me, trust that if I tried, I’d eventually figure out what he meant.  Turns out eventually is three years.

In three years, I…

Closed my travel agency.

Dropped many of my social and volunteer activities.

Spent time by the side of my terminally ill mother (she passed in March of 2014).

Made space in my life to think. Sleep. Pray.

Rest in me.  It can mean so many things.  But looking back, for me in this instance, I think it meant to trust.  Trust God.  Trust my heart.  Trust in what I cannot see or imagine.  I don’t need to know the details. I don’t need to know the how’s or why’s.  I just need to listen: to both God, and my heart (are they one in the same? I think they could be).

By taking tiny steps in trust, I was able to pair down the chaotic life I had created for myself.  I examined the things I was doing and let go of those things that weren’t making me happy. I made room for and proactively sought out those things that did make me happy.  I trusted God with the details, focusing only on the day-no looking forward or backward. No analyzing or trying to control the outcome.

Friends-this takes courage, great courage. Letting go is HARD.   But when I finally did, when I finally followed my heart instead of my brain: I found my way. And trust me, I’ve been lost in the forest for quite some time.

Rest in me.

When I finally rested in God, I found myself, the me He created.   I found the girl who loves to write. I quit worrying about money or how good I was or time wasted on creative pursuits instead freelance work.  I simply wrote. Day in and day out, I put words to paper having no idea what would happen.

What happened was this: I wrote a book.

A book that was picked up by Hawthorne Publishing.

A book that is being released 7/1/15.

The dream I’d once buried, was resurrected and brought to fruition, all because I let go and let God.

Thanks Facebook and Timehop for reminding me that when I pause to think, take steps in faith, and listen to God, my dreams can come true. And by the way, so can yours.

Details On My Exciting News

For information about my new book, Chasing God, Finding Faith from the Outside In, click here.

To see the book, click here.

To order an early release copy at a 20%  discount, (+ $3 shipping if I cannot hand deliver to you), please email me by 6/30/15 here:

thewritertracyATgmailDOTcom.

To share in my joy, feel free to visit me at one of my book events, listed here.

 

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  -George Eliot

 

 

 

About thewritertracy

Writer, Mom, Lover of books, travel, family, friends and fun.
This entry was posted in Faith, Goals, God, gratitude, inspiration, life lessons, Risk, trials, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The Art of Practicing Courage

  1. Wow….just wow…will order on my kindle!

  2. virgobeauty says:

    This is truly what I needed to read today. I’m inspired, as well as happy for you. This post is also a confirmation, as I am in the state of solitude, prayer, and reception. Thanks for sharing and I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  3. Beautiful,we do best when we follow God’s plan and his timing.congratulations on the book.

  4. lisanne3015 says:

    Thank you for this post. My journal this week is filled with notes over my current dismay. I am in a “funk” over comparing myself with others and lack of confidence in my writing. Wondering if I should just stop because I’m nothing more than one thousands of bloggers. Praying, Jesus help me out of this rough patch.

    • Oh Lisanne, please don’t stop writing. I’ve read your blog and you are a good writer. I like your thoughtful, honest voice! I do understand how you feel though and have been in many a funk myself from time to time. Prayers for clarity and the ability to hear His voice over your own doubt-filled one! 🙂

  5. Thanks for the inspiring post, Tracy. I am in exactly the place you were in three years ago. I don’t know what to do. I’ve sat in prayer and meditation, journaled, started a blog! Maybe I need to go back to that quiet space and ask again. A big thank you and bigger congratulations!!

    • Thanks Geralyn for sharing in my excitement. All I can say is yes, go to the quiet place. You don’t have to figure it out, God will handle that, you (all of us) just have to listen and be open to his leading. You are a great writer and I know you’ll get there!

  6. Vrinda Nair says:

    Nice Post. Thank you so much for keeping my spirit. Even i am writing my first book but somewhere i thought it might not be possible . But your article is inspiring . Thank You.

  7. Pingback: The brave and beautiful 3, Praises | Quiet Confidence

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