Choosing To Be Brave

When was the last time you chose to be brave?  When was the last time you chose to sacrifice, to be uncomfortable?  Do you remember when your dream was bigger than your fear or your own sense of safety?  

I'm knee deep in preparing to preach this Sunday at Clarity Church.  My pastor gives me the honor and privilege to teach once every couple months or so.   This week's topic: stepping out of your comfort zone.  Choosing to grow on purpose.  Choosing courage over comfort. 

If you've been reading here for any length of time, you know that this topic is my jam.  Funny enough, it was harder to put together than I thought.  I know we should step out of our comfort zone.  I know that you and I need to step out of the boat more.  But tying that all together...a little bit tougher. 

For some inspiration, I've been processing the events of last week.  Last week, I went on what I affectionately call the Family Reunion Road Trip.  My aunts and uncles came to Minnesota with two cousins to meet other cousins I had never met to research our family history.  You see, my great grandfather, Carlo Coduti, came to Minnesota to be an iron miner in the 1900s.  My grandfather was born in Virginia, MN.   It was a fun trip to imagine northern Minnesota circa 1915ish.

I'm not gonna lie.  My aunts challenged me to write a blog about our experience those few days.  And quite honestly, I'm up for the challenge. 

Great grandpa, or Carlo, as I call him, came from Italy.  He was a farmer or a share cropper in this tiny little town called Montefalcone.  He left my great grandmother and I think a great aunt or two to go to America and earn the money he needed to own a farm and provide for his family. His plan was to return to Italy and buy that farm.  In short, he had a dream. 

As I reflected on his life, I realized that my great grandfather knew a thing or two about stepping out of his comfort zone and walk in faith.   What does it take to choose to be brave when it comes to pursuing our dreams?  How do step into one foot faith with what we're stepping into is unknown? 

It Starts With A Dream

For my great grandfather and for each of us, it starts with a dream.  A passion.  A knowing that we were made for something more.  And you and I, we were made for more than sharecropping.  We were made for more than living a passive life.  We were made to step out of our comfort zone and grow personally, emotionally, and spiritually. 

People who choose to be brave know that their God is bigger than what's ahead.  People who choose to be brave know that the risk of the unknown is worth rearranging their life for.  People who choose to be brave know that it won't be easy, but it will be worth it. 

Making Friends With Fear

In doing my research for my sermon, the number one thing that keeps us from our dreams is FEAR.  That's right.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of failing.  Fear of being out of control. 

The reality about fear is that it's always with us.  Fear doesn't naturally disappear.  Fear is somewhat of a traveling companion.  You can't get rid of fear.  As you step out of your comfort zone and try something new, you will be scared.  But you'll also be courageous.  You'll also be bold.  

You know what?  We get to tell fear that it's free to come along for the ride, but it's not allowed to be in the drivers seat. 

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

I have a feeling my great grandfather was afraid.  He was leaving his country.  He was leaving his love.  He was leaving everything familiar and heading to a place he had only heard of.  To mine iron.  (Just between you and me...not so glamorous)

He went anyway.  He went while being fearful.  He went and worked because he knew that the other side of being brave included a reward.  A dream realized.  Provision for his family.  And today, numerous Coduti offspring who benefited from his bravery. 

Failure Is A Gift

Every brave stepper knows that failure is a gift.  The odds are that sometimes the stepping out will be messy.  It won't go as planned.  We'll get tired.  We'll soon see that what we hoped to experience is not exactly what we actually experience.  Life happens. 

For great grandpa, he mined a lot.  And while he returned to Italy to visit, he never returned to live.  Eventually, he brought my great grandmother over to Minnesota to live.  They lived a good life for a few years.  And then, she became ill with the flu and died in 1918.  He remarried her sister and together they built a family together, having children from his first and 2nd wives.  A family today that continues to grow and thrive.  A family today that is marked by courage and pursuing dream. 

I bet you're wondering what Carlo looked like.  Here you go....

I don't know about you,  But when I grow up, I hope I resemble Carlo.  A man who left what was comfortable to pursue his dreams with courage.  A man who loved his family and provided for them in a profession that was hard and dangerous.  A man who was willing to step out of his comfort zone and left a legacy to all those who came behind.  

You and I, we get to choose to be brave.  Being brave with our steps.  Being brave in our relationships.  Being brave in our pursuits.  Being brave with leaving a legacy.  

What is one step you can take this week to choose to be brave?  I'd love to hear from you!