It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’ Speech (from Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown)
Her words continue to forge and shape my ideologies, my thinking,
I’m currently enrolled in her Living Brave Semester.
From the minute the first video started playing of her in the classroom,
I found myself holding back tears.
I had to step back from it and ask myself why I was connecting with her words so deeply.
And I figured that it was because she was talking about something that no one really talks about.
Like how if you’re going to live a brave life,
And actually get into the Arena,
You’re going to get your ass kicked. (her words)
Reaches a juncture in their life where they have to make the decision to take the route of comfort or courage.
The road less travelled,
Quoting Frost’s famous poem The Road Not Taken.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There is going to be a point in your life where you have to decide,
Am I going to play it safe,
Or am I going to navigate new territories,
And become a Brave One.
The catch for these Brave Ones,
Is that there is NO guarantee that their risking or their courage is going to pay off.
But that’s the point.
That’s what living a brave life is all about.
It takes guts and fortitude,
It takes not caring about the masses’ opinions,
But only those that are close to you and that know you well and have your back.
There are a multitude of moments where I have to choose between courage or comfort.
I made a decision a number of years ago now,
That if nothing else, I was going to be brave with my life,
For my sake and the sake of those in my care,
Family, friends and beyond.
It was tied in with three values that I hold at my core.
I remember deciding that I was going to suck every bit out of the life that I had been given by God to use.
I have a small window of time on this earth and the urgency to use it to His glory was overwhelming.
At the time, in many ways I felt like I was living a half life.
I was sick of knowing there was stuff in me that needed expression but I didn’t know how to get to it or get it out.
I felt stuck and small and insignificant.
All feelings that I now know are not how I or anyone should ever feel.
So back to my values.
Stewarding my life so that I could become my best self,
For God’s glory,
Was where it was at for me.
I began throwing all I had into the Arena.
My music, my family, my church, my creativity, my fears, my aspirations, my hopes and dreams.
And I continue to live life through the lense of that value.
I’ve been fighting in the Arena of Stewardship for a while now,
And what I’ve loved seeing start to happen in the last few years is that it has begun having a spill off effect and is washing over others around me,
Who are now finding that they have enough courage to step into that same Arena.
It has become one of my greatest joys.
Seeing others reach their full potential.
Hope that what I have gone through can release another into freedom, God’s abundant life and self expression.
Hope that has only come through being very familiar with hopelessness,
But because this has been my foe in the Arena,
I now know how to kick it right back so that I can give others Hope.
Without God, I have nothing and am not empowered to do any of this.
Jesus gives me the strength to get into the Arena in the first place,
And I owe Him my life.
In fact, for years I have sown and ploughed into Arenas that have given nothing back.
And I wasn’t looking for a return,
But now I am.
You see, going into the Arena time and time again,
Gives you THE RIGHT to start expecting that it’s going to pay off.
You’ve earned your stripes.
You’ve got your battle scars.
You’ve done your time.
But without having entered the Arena in the first place,
You don’t get that right.
What Arenas have you battled in and now have the authority to throw your weight around in?
We were born to live brave lives girls.
What’s a brave life?
A brave life is where you give yourself permission to risk and to go where you need to.
A brave life requires immense courage.
It requires an all in mentality.
It means you enter the Arena not knowing if you’re going to succeed or lose,
Not knowing if you’re going to get criticism or if you’re going to receive accolades.
But that you are going in regardless,
Because your values are driving you.
It means you have to be vulnerable.
It means you have nothing to hide behind.
Your Arena could be coming face to face with thoughts that you’re not good enough.
Your Arena could be releasing that book that is in you.
Your Arena could be trying again for a baby when you’ve had a miscarriage.
Asking for forgiveness.
Starting your own business.
Exercising in public,
Wearing that bike helmet and getting on the pushbike when you know you look ridiculous! (Cate self talking…)
Putting yourself out there…
Having courage in something.
There are so many Arenas as diverse as you.
What is yours?
And are you going to get into it this year and fight?
Or are you going to stand back and watch while others do it, wishing you had their courage.
If you want to become an inspiration to others, simply get in your Arena.
When others watch you getting your face and hands dirty,
They can’t help but want to do the same,
Heck, even fight with you.
Cos at least you’ve tried with this life you’ve been given.
At least you gave it everything you’ve got.
Image credit: http://www.fashionoverreason.com/2012/06/warrior-princess.html