Growing Courage in the Unexpecteds
Embracing a new adventure can require us to take a deep breath and step forward…even while the step feels scary.
Several months ago, I set out on a new life adventure and have been balancing deadlines, pandemic precautions, and trying to step out and start growing roots in my new community.
One way I find deep relationship and community is through church, and I’ve avoided taking that first step in this way because I’ve been able to participate in my home church community (somewhat) by watching online. Then I took another step a few weeks ago to begin watching a local church online to get a feel for their community.
This week, I decided it was time to gain some more solid footing and attend in person. As I drove to the church, I felt anxiety building up. “Strange,” I thought, “Why in the world do I feel so anxious about going to church?”
Then it hit me. This particular step was really scary because I had never (as in ever!) visited a church by myself.
I’ve spent several years involved in a church where I have a variety of connections and before that I spent almost two decades in another church, and before that several years in another church community. In the early days of visiting each one, I either knew someone already there or visited with a friend.
This time, it was just me. Maybe it sounds strange, but I was terrified.
I learned (again!) the importance of taking a deep breath and then step forward in spite of the fear and found that:
- Taking a step toward the thing that is so scary will build courage and help me see that it is not as scary as it seems.
- Including others along the way helps build confidence. This particular church had greeters in the parking lot, at the building doors, inside, and at the doors into the service. At each, I introduced myself as a first time visitor and asked for advice about where to go next. These warm, friendly people wanted to help and knew how to help because I shared a little bit of info with them.
- As I took more steps, I allowed myself the space and time to share, consider, and then make the next small decision. I ended up sitting next to friendly people and immediately felt the joy and warm spirit of the congregation.
I learned a valuable lesson in a new way. I grabbed onto courage in spite of the fear, and took what felt like a scary step toward the possibility of something that could be amazing. I grew another small bit of confidence and experienced great joy being in the presence of people, music, song, praise, and incredible teaching, and walked away knowing that the next step I take toward that church or another, I will feel a new layer of confidence.
May I encourage you today to remember that the unexpecteds in life can feel overwhelming and scary, but they can also be times of incredible growth & joy! If you’re in the middle of an unexpected season, grow your courage a little more this week by taking a small, positive step forward!
(I turned in my finished, edited manuscript to my book publisher last week…another scary step! :). I can’t wait to share the book with you when it comes out – how to navigate storms and unexpecteds in life. Subscribe to my newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming book news! Subscribe to drjulieshannon.com)