I am not typically a brave person. I’m just not. You are not going to catch me swimming with sharks or jumping out of planes. I grew up in Georgia, went to college in Georgia, and moved back to my hometown after college. I mean, I didn’t move back in with my parents, so I guess you can give me some courage points for that, right? There are a lot of words people use to describe me, but “brave” and “courageous” are not often used. At least, they didn’t used to be.
Then one day, I decided to move to Nashville, Tennessee. [That simplifies the experience in a major way, but let’s go with it.] Last August, at the leading of the Lord, I packed up my whole life and shoved it into my Toyota Camry. I said my goodbyes, pointed the car north and cried. For the entire three and a half hour drive. Not exactly bravery personified. I knew it was the right decision; it just came with a fair portion of fear and doubt. But I kept driving. No one from home believed I had done it. In all honestly, I couldn’t believe I had done it. Moved away. Left safety for the unknown. No friends, no family, no familiarity. Just me. And God.
And that just had to be enough.
I realized right then that having courage isn’t simply riding the tallest roller coaster or going to live in a hut in Africa (though both of those things, in my humble opinion, do require a large portion of bravery). Sometimes having courage is just taking that next step. Starting that hard conversation. Driving that next mile. Waking up and choosing to get out of bed even when you are in a new city and don’t have any friends. [Not that I know what that feels like or anything. Ahem.]
I thought that having courage was a one shot thing. “Phew. I moved to Nashville. I’m so brave.” Like once the roller coaster ends, so does your need to be brave enough to survive it. But what I’m growing to see is that God keeps giving me opportunities, over and over again, to show Him that I want to be brave. It’s like the rollercoaster never ends. Getting on it requires immense bravery, but staying on it, every hill and valley, requires just as much courage.
I’ve lived in Nashville for one year. And still, every time I load up and make that same drive north after a visit in Atlanta, I have to be brave. I choose to trust that God is going to take care of me. Trust that He knows better than I do. Trust that each mile I drive is somehow putting in me the strength to keep driving and the courage to keep living the life that has been given to me by God.
Find out why this little posy pin meant a whole lot to Annie by reading her post about it (and come see more Pleated Poppy posy pins here!).Leave a Comment
Love it, love you and all you mean to my kids! Just happened by through an early morning blog stroll. So surprised and blessed that I found you and your lovely words sitting here on (in)courage. You’re a true blessing Annie Downs!
V (better known as Jules’, Brook’s and Cait’s mom!)
Annie Downs … one of the bravest (and funniest) women around!
Now, how brave is it for a 40+ married male to post a comment out here on (In)Courage? How ’bout that, huh?
Man, I need to update my blog. So much has gone on. Keep Nash in order!
it is those little steps that seem to stop me in my tracks… until i can dig deep down and take the next step. thank you for sharing your story and your bravery!
Sarah Mae says
Oh Annie, so true. Continuing the journey is the brave part…’cause it is just stinkin’ hard. Kudos to you…for trusting.
Susan Norris says
Loved your message, friend, but always do. You are walking out your destiny so keep riding, girl, keep riding that roller coaster. You make it look easy and like it is so much fun!!
That is very encouraging! Even in my everyday life I find that I have to do things that make me stretch out of my comfort zone. And it’s hard, but I find the more times I do it, the easier it becomes.
Mary @ Passionate Perseverance says
Annie what a wonderful tribute to your trust in God and His plan for your life. Keep walking in faith and He will guide each step you take. Thank you for encouraging me in my walk today!
I enjoy reading this story over and over. Much courage Annie D. You may get something in the mail as a reward for such bravery in the line of duty! Looking forward to hearing about the next courageous steps you take.
“God keeps giving me opportunities, over and over again, to show Him that I want to be brave.”
WOW, that just knocked me over. Thanks for sharing your heart and speaking truth, Annie.
melissa @ the inspired room says
A few months ago I agreed to a big move with my husband. Like you, I thought wow, I’m pretty adventurous and brave to pick up and move like this! At the time, it didn’t really cross my mind that I was going to have to walk in courage every day thereafter, not just the day we moved! Life sure is a series of opportunities to walk with God in courage and faith. I need to continually remind myself that God is in control!!
Love it, Annie…love it.
Courage comes in all shapes and sizes, thats for sure! Great thoughts…
Hillary @ The Other Mama says
Love this, Annie! So important to remember that we have to KEEP being brave…danggit…um, well. You know. Love the story! Beautiful!
I really relate to your thoughts on courage sometimes being just taking that next step! Beautifully said!
What you and Melissa said! Annie, it’s cool, too, to see the humility in this kind of courage. Thanks for this post, Annie.
Annie, I’m so glad you took that step of faith and hopped in the Camry because it led you into my life and onto these pages! (Selfish perspective, perhaps, but hey–God’s plan sure worked out well for me because you’re AWESOME!).
Those next steps are always scariest to me because they lead to the unknown. And the unknown and me, well, we’re not exactly BFF’s!
Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae says
Gorgeous, my brave, beautiful friend.
Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says
Annie, what you have done is incredible. And since I’ve met you since you moved to Nashville, I’m so thankful you did. And not just because I love you and love reading your words and laughing with your humor. But I’m thankful for the times you point me back to God and show me just how amazing He is.
We are THAT family says
This was so encouraging. The next step is always the hardest-because you’ve had the first. Thank you.
Sarah Markley says
Annie, you are beautiful.
I’m so glad I am your friend. What an amazing woman you are! I am truly honored to know you. =)
brave girl…may God bless you with more courage for His kingdom..! He needs more girls like you…
Thank you for posting this, I am going through a simular situation and feel that God is with me but going with just my husband and leaving my daughter and family. I have grown up in the same town and raised my daughter here but now it is time for us to move on. I hope to have the same courage that you do when I leave.
I realize I’m like, way late to the party, but I just read this and I know exactly what you mean. I did the exact same thing except I moved from Mississippi to Dallas stayed out there for two years gaining courage the entire way and then finally God knew I couldn’t take being away from my family any longer and allowed me to move back to Mississippi. Those two years though…every trip back to Dallas after visiting my family was ROUGH and yet God gave me the courage to do it. He gave me the courage to live alone and eat alone and go to the movies alone all those times in Dallas and I learned so many valuable lessons in the process.
The most important of which is that when you eat alone, you generally get your food WAY faster. 🙂
Thanks for sharing Annie! And I’m so glad you took those steps of courage! 🙂