Inspiration

Courage vs Bravery

In writing my character of the latest book, “Provocative Confessions,” I realized that I was trying really hard to explain why my heroine’s confidence was so badly shaken.  She has to learn that she’s always had the courage to live the life she wants. Something that oddly my readers have remarked, “she keeps doing over and over.”

One of the things that is apparent to me, is that change of ourselves is the hardest thing to do.  We hold these lies to be our truth, and those lies come from the people who have promised to adore us, but hurt us the most.  It’s no wonder the fear takes root and sometimes getting to the courage is harder than it may seem. Further most of us don’t really show our vulnerability and so we fight that battle alone.  The sense of unsureness, or that ever looming self doubt that sometimes stops us from having what we want the most.  In fact it seems that the very thing we fear, is exactly what we cause to happen.

A friend of mine, declares.  She has a wicked sense of justice and a strong understanding of biblical principals. I’ve learned that it is her opinion that people declare what they want in their lives, and in doing so get what they spend the most energy on.  Thoughts become our actions, our actions become our character, and so on.  Thank you CK, your steadfast maturity has really brought me to greater understanding, and I am profoundly grateful, you don’t hold me in contempt for my humanness. Your non-judgmental approach is epically refreshing.

In truth the word, “Brave,” shows up in the Old Testament of the NIV, 19 times.  It only shows up a few more times in other translations.  In the context of battling or fights of some sort you can see the word, “Brave,” only in the NIV and NOT in the New Testaments of the NIV, ESV, NRSV or the NASB.  Why do you suppose that is?

Websters Dictionary says that “Brave” means “adjective, brav·er, brav·est. 1. possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance. 2. making a fine appearance. 3. Archaic. excellent; fine; admirable.”  While I believe that is true, I think that to me Bravery is an action without thought, based solely on instinct and action.  It’s in the moment action, not well thought out or even bias.  It’s pure adrenaline induced.

My character is not brave. She’s thoughtful, and she’s complicated. She has a lot fears because she’s been hurt a LOT.  She’s been moved from the only place she felt she truly belonged into a world she thought she’d left behind. The north and the cold and the contemptuous people who live in it.  When she found herself back the midst of the friends who promise loyalty but deliver only betrayal, well, it’s more than shaken her confidence in her natural instincts. It brought her back to an brokenness she thought she’d left far behind.  She must learn that the courage is in her, she just has to choose it over the fear to perceive her life in the way she needs to find ultimate joy.  Only then can she live the life she wants on her own terms.

The dictionary says the word, “Courage,” is  a noun: “1. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. 2. Obsolete. the heart as the source of emotion.”  Yes, it’s a noun verses an actionable reaction.  To me, that means that the 35 verses of courage that I know of in the bible (all of them) mean that overcoming fear is what we need to do.  Yes, “Bravery” to act on that choice is the last action, but courageousness comes from making a conscious choice to overcome that which as spent a long time torturing your mind and robbing you of your joy.

When I write my characters, I am constantly and acutely aware that each of us has all the good we could possibly see in each other.  I am also equally aware that just as we see what each other want us to see, something deep inside is lurking.  Some lie we’ve told ourselves. Some comparison we’ve just made.  Some shortcoming that we’ve indulged in. We all do it.  We all have that in us, even those who boast they do not, trust me they do.

Today as I close the chapter in this book and thereby get to the ending, hopefully helping my readers understand that the perfect season doesn’t last forever.  Life takes it’s ugly hand and events happen beyond or understanding or control.  I hope that in this new book, you can see the growth of Beverly through her self doubt, and fall in love with her again as the courage bubbles up.  She gets justified results from the women who have treated her in the worst of ways, and ultimately she falls back in the arms of her husband who miraculously ends up saving the day. Of course, we all have to believe in fairytales, miracles, and happily ever after… Well, at least I do!

Take care,

Reba Nietert

Inspiration

Making a choice to put myself last!

Not that I believe in horoscopes. I just happened to be perusing the yahoo page when I came across mine. Gemini. The ad said, “The role that money plays in your life is going through a transition, and it is beginning to seem like there are a few things in the world that are more important than account balances and shiny new things. Material goods are losing their luster and your eye will be drawn to humbler objects. Other people in your life might be confused by your new focus. This change in your attitude could cause a wrinkle in your social life for a little while, but only until everyone adjusts.” I thought to myself, there has been a change. It was my conscious thought to change recently. A friend reminded me that my actions although crucial in point, were without the best of intensions. I acquiesced and here we are. Modified and humbled by the woman who epitomizes grace and love. Thank you, Mary. Sometimes my actions need to be called into check, because people ruffle my feathers. I cannot for the life of me understand why it doesn’t happen that way for everyone, but that’s my burden.

Last week according to my sister I was in my own little private pity party. It’s something which I do from time to time and usually when something seems a tad unjust. However, given the fact that she lied about her concern fueled a fire I haven’t had in quite some time. Being the extra-introspection guru that I am; I quickly began a dialog with my inner conscious. Was it me? Did I do something again that wasn’t justified? Was I thinking only of myself again? (Admittedly something else I do as well from time to time.) I beat myself about it for about a day and a half when it hit me after receiving the following email from another of my most eloquent of confidants.

Leanna wrote: “You are a deeply introspective soul. Probably the most thought-provocative person I know. In every human interaction, you come away with a deep lake of introspection and probably most everyone else walks away with a puddle. You are rare, Rebecca… and wonderful. Society needs people like you to help keep us from degrading into a culture like “Lord Of The Flies”. Tell yourself often that “this conversation will be a puddle to the other person” … but yours will be something complex and thoughtful. You see human interactions much like a symphony composed by Mozart and thank you, God, for you. I need your introspections to know how others think, and feel, and regard others. But, never forget… most people really don’t care about the subtleties; they just want the “Like” button tapped.”

I thought all weekend about what she said because she gets me. She really truly gets me. I began to read the words, “Don’t define yourself by your family’s opinions.” I know this to be my truth and so I decided to make a list of all the things I’ve done, without hesitation or question or thought to show my family I love them. So from the weddings I went to, and the Christening, and the birthday parties for a father who never acknowledged me, to throwing a surprise 40th that was 1,200 miles away to trips to see children, and sick relatives, and the list goes on and on and on. Then it hit me. In the times when I was either on the phone with them or at their doorstep were the worst or most celebrated moments in their lives. I was there. My actions are pure. My sentiments revealed, and my time was given freely without the benefit of my whole immediate family because of costs. If I needed to go, I showed up.

I looked back on the last 15 years of my life. I’ve been married, had two kids (of who know very little of the extended family). Both of my kids were christened. My son was in critical condition at age 5. I was devastated when I had to have my hysterectomy because I wanted more children, and then I got gravely ill about a year ago. None of which did I get one phone call, or did anyone show up. It hit me. It’s not me. I have engaged, supported, encouraged and dreamt of a union a whole lot stronger than my siblings and I have. What need to accept is that this fantasy of mine is mine and mine alone? They just want to hit the “like” button. They don’t want to create puddles. Okay. Got it.

I think for me and all the waters of my soul, what I have to come to terms with is the unconditional love that I have for my siblings regardless of their actions. Is that being a doormat for their actions or can I freely and wholly accept that they will be someone I speak with or potentially see every decade until I am dead? We won’t really have any more than that. I’ve accepted reluctantly. It’s never what I wanted.

To the gal pals who keep me sure footed in the reality that I am no better or worse than any other girl on this planet thank you. For those who share my daily life, create joy, lift me up, say silly things and have cocktails; you are my support, my life and my love. To those who let me know I’m being self-centered, and focused on the wrong things thank you too, because without you my pity party (unjust or not) would probably continue. I need you too.

Today, I’m going to let all this should I or shouldn’t I feel about what did or didn’t happen affect me. Today my goal is to seek out a better more amiable attitude and force a perspective change to include those who might need me to make their day a little more kooky or crazy or fun. It’s my turn to lift, to elevate, to be there, and to listen. Thank God I get that chance.