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Brave Avenue Unscripted: Who Are You: Identity

 

Episode 3: IDENTITY: Secure in my identity: Who am I?

Identity and security go hand in hand. Our security is linked to knowing who we are, but do we really like what we discover?  Join us as we dive into this complex topic on our journey to discover true freedom. Don’t let others’ negative opinion of you become your reality.

Identity: how do others describe us? 

How do we describe ourselves?

What are the significant roles that we play, and which ones do we get our identity from?

How does God define us?

“Not my mirror, nor my filter.” Others words and opinions are not, but God‘s word is.

Ephesians 6: We get dressed each day, and put on the belt of truth. Throughout the day, we need to filter every thought through the truth of God’s word.

Identity and security go hand in hand. Our security is linked to knowing our identity.

“Identity is the foundation on which individual uniqueness rests. It secures that which satisfies the deepest longing of an individual‘s life.”

-Terry Wardle

True freedom is having an identity grounded in Christ, and not being a target for others hurtful words or actions. True freedom is having nothing to prove. True freedom is knowing who you are and not being able to have that taken from you.

We can speak the truth with compassion, from a place of vulnerability. We can speak the truth out of a desire for the best for others, reminding people of their true identity.

Beliefs > Identity > Behavior

Our behavior flows out of our identity, but it’s not the same thing. Sometimes we act out of character, we forget our identity and act in a way that does not reflect who we truly are. We have to remember that that behavior is not our identity, it does not define us. We have to remember our true identity.

What do your behaviors say about your identity? About your beliefs?

What have been your most significant identity shifts? How have these identity shifts changed your behaviors? Relationships with others?

Do you identify with any of these statements?

  • I am a victim. 
  • I am not worthy. 
  • I am not enough. 
  • Other examples.

What does God say is true about you?

[Verses about identity]

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 John 3:1-3 (TPT) Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that he has lavished on us! He has called us and made us his very own beloved children.  The reason the world doesn’t recognize who we are is that they didn’t recognize him. Beloved, we are God’s children right now; however, it is not yet apparent what we will become. But we do know that when it is finally made visible, we will be just like him, for we will see him as he truly is. And all who focus their hope on him will always be purifying themselves, just as Jesus is pure.

Resources:

 

Featured post

Brave Avenue Unscripted: The Intro

Welcome to Brave Avenue Unscripted! Two years ago, I felt the push to start a podcast as an extension to our blog so our audience could hear our conversations on life and what we experience on our brave journeys.  This episode is an intro into who we are, what is Brave Avenue and what it means to be brave? 

Highlights from this episode:

 “Not the absence of fear, but pushing beyond fear. 

 Little brave decisions – “Bravery is a bunch of small decisions you make every single day, not just the huge life-changing ones.”

-“Living in your comfort zone is not a safe place, it can actually work against you…it can keep you from growing… you’re not going to get far.”

“Bravery is the audacity to be unhindered by failures, and to walk with freedom, strength and hope in the face of things unknown.”

“Courage is the ability to do something that frightens someone.“

“Do it afraid.“

Reflection Questions: 

  1. What does it mean to be brave?
  2. The power of no: What do you need to be brave to say no to?
  3. What is your motivation for being brave?
  4. Values-based decisions: Thinking about the values-based decisions, what is the next brave decision you need to make?

Scriptures: 

Psalm 27:14 Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you

Additional Resources:

Guest Post: Tamara McMillan 

Scars are such interesting things, and oftentimes the scars that we have tell a story…

I remember when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter…

I was using the restroom at my mom’s house when I suddenly began to feel dizzy. In hindsight, I see that I should have just sat there and waited until the dizziness passed. I could have even yelled my mom’s name to let her know that I was feeling dizzy. But instead, I decided that it was a better idea to get up by myself try and go lay down on the couch. On the way to the living room, I passed out and hit my head on my little sister’s doorframe. The scar that was left behind reminds of that day…

Sometimes, however, the scars that we carry are not as visible as the scar that I have on my forehead. Yet despite their inability to be seen by the naked eye, these scars can still tell a tale, or shift our minds back to a previous moment in time…

October is domestic violence awareness month….

As I’ve been reflecting on the emotions that are connected to that period in my life, I realize that, though I have physical scars on my body that serve as a reminder of the night that I was stabbed multiple times, it’s not my physical scars that remind me of the hell that I went through…

They say that hindsight is 20/20….

And I can clearly see that we were simply two unhealthy people, with unhealthy boundaries who were tied together by this by this unhealthy version of what we called…love….

Love…

What started off as something so exciting and new….

Became a compromise here and a compromise there….

I was compromising my peace of mind while clinging on to the unfulfilled promise of “it won’t happen again”

The wounds would heal and the physical pain would fade away…

But for a while the remnant of things spoken rode around on my train of thought…

And if I could have just done “this” and “that” differently, none of this would have happened…

Somehow I had triggered you and oftentimes I felt “trigger happy” because it seemed as if my mere existence triggered your anger and, at the very least, your hateful words…

What started off as something so exciting and new….

Became a compromise here and a compromise there…

Onlookers are generally quick to say “why don’t you just leave?” Yet they fail to realize that what started off as the whispering of “sweet nothings”…slowly shifted to screams that I “meant nothing” and you wanted “nothing” to do with me…

Yet like a dangling worm I had already been hooked and was tied to you by this unhealthy version of what he called love…

And I was clinging on to the unfulfilled promise of “it won’t happen again”…

I didn’t leave until I had reached my breaking point; once I had reached the point where I had broken free from the idea that things would be any different from the way that they were.

Once removed from the situation, I went to a domestic violence shelter and one of the residents told me something that really stuck with me. She told me “the way that he treated you was not okay”.

I eventually went to counseling and am very intentional about maintaining healthy boundaries in all of my relationships; but those nine words that she spoke to me, changed my entire perspective and ensured that I would never again enter into another abusive relationship…


Meet Tamara

I’m a pretty deep thinker and also very random. I am a storyteller and I love to draw you in so that you feel like you actually experienced it. Sometimes I rehash things from a comedic point of view, but I also like to give you a deep truth to meditate on. I am very passionate about making sure that people understand that they are loved and know their worth; I really dislike seeing people being mistreated or treated unfairly. I also strongly dislike when people are viewed solely through the lens of a label or stereotype. I am a lover of Jesus, people, random adventures, and laughter.

You can find more of Tamara’s work on her blog LadyTButterfly!

The Hard Way after 9 Months

I have now decided that I am a firm believer that boundaries can unlock freedom and creativity of the mind and spirit. If we were just handed everything, there would be no innovation, no struggle to find a better way, and no victory! Because people are unsatisfied with the way things were, we have so many great inventions, tools, businesses, technology, websites, and services. They learned the Hard way, and decided that they wanted to create a future that didn’t have to deal with the same hard realities, but would learn and discover new ways to improve and build. Those individuals wanted their ceiling to be our floor, and for countless people, it has been just that. However, while the general population seems to be quick to learn technology tricks and standards from the previous generations, we tend to forget the spiritual, emotional and relational battles that the generations before us have already fought. We find ourselves in the same positions as many who came before us, and often end up worse. Why is this?! 

We don’t let someone’s hard way become our easy way. We have to do it the hard way ourselves. Now some of this is human nature, I get it. We have to try and fail sometimes and eventually we learn what it takes to succeed and are better and stronger because of it. However, what if I actually listened to my mom or observed the way she grew and progressed emotionally and spiritually and set my floor at her ceiling? What if I stood on her shoulders instead of trying to look her in the eye? What if I used the wisdom she gained and applied it to my own life?

We do too much talking, instead of asking questions of our elders and listening! 

I’ve tried to do this more in the past week. Asking and listening. Learning and making wise, but necessary changes. It’s hard! 

While I have had my losses and victories of living the hard way the past 9 months, the question within me is this: how can I live a “hard way” lifestyle and still stay sane? 

I am reminded of the quote that we heard at the global leadership summit, “learn from everyone, live like no one.”

We can all learn from each other in some way, but none of us should try to copy the way another lives! For a while, I tried to live the hard way how someone else knew and described it. Now, I think I am finding my own hard way. What is yours? 

It’s our Anniversary! 

Brave Avenue was officially established on this day last year!!

I started this blog as a way to start living my Brave adventure inspite of obstacles and deep rooted fear. I wanted my daughter to have an example of a brave woman to learn from and hopefully be proud of one day. This year has been marked by incredible moments as well as challenging (growth) moments. We’ve read and shared stories from beautiful women. We’ve laughed and cried together. Someone once said it is powerful when women get together and I wholeheartedly agree.  New things are coming to close out 2016; thanks for staying with us.

In honor of our anniversary we are hosting a giveaway. Share your bravest moment of 2016 for a chance to win a Brave Avenue gift box!

1. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

2. Share your story and tag #braveavenue in your post. 

3. A winner will be chosen next week!

Be BRAVE with your life,

Candy 

Guest Blog Story: Where’s Home?

Where’s home?

For two weeks I’ve been home in Nebraska visiting family and friends for the holidays. Since August of 2015 I’ve been living in Costa Rica as a missionary studying Spanish. I’ll be studying Spanish and living there until August of 2016, potentially longer.

A month before coming back to Nebraska I could hardly wait to get back home to see family, friends, eat old foods, and do things that I couldn’t do in Costa Rica. Yet, after seeing my friends and family, and doing those odd and end things, I found myself missing my friends, food, public transportation, and daily habits in Costa Rica. While in Costa Rica I would try and explain my life in Nebraska, but people couldn’t really understand the stories and experiences I tried to share about my “home”. Now in Nebraska my friends and family don’t quite understand my stories and experiences from my life in Costa Rica. I feel like an outsider in both places.

Where is home for me? I thought that when I came back to Nebraska things would just pick up where they left off, but I realized that life has moved forward while I was away. At the same time, when I’m in Costa Rica I don’t fully fit in either because I’m not fluent in their language and culture yet. So…where do I fit in now? Where is home for me?

Honestly, right now I don’t know the answers to those questions, but there’s one thing I know to always be true:

I can choose to trust the Lord and His plans for my life.

It’s hard feeling like I don’t have a “home” or a place where I “fit in”, but I am choosing to be BRAVE and trust the Lord through this season. You’ve heard the saying, “home is where the heart is”.

I give the Lord my heart so he is my “home”.

I know that no matter where I am or who I’m with I can always have a sense of home, as long as I place my trust in the Lord and keep him at the center of my life. Being BRAVE is a choice. I choose to be BRAVE!

Will you choose to be BRAVE and trust the Lord with your life? He wants to take you down the most amazing, life fulfilling journey. I dare you to be BRAVE.

Find out more about Myhiah’s BRAVE life in Costa Rica on her blog!

Twitter: @mdotzler

Facebook: Myhiah Dotzler

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog Story: Bravery Starts with our Yes

Three letter word, yes.

Bravery starts with our yes. We have a choice. I have a choice, a daily choice. I can be busy and get soaked in the weight of life or I can be still and commune with God. I can hear and experience the sweet voice and gifts that we are given daily or bypass them. As the new year comes under way, lets remember that we have a choice to be brave and create new friendships, a choice to say yes and embrace Gods great gifts, to dwell in the beauty or sorrow that moments in life may bring. Because being brave will not always look like rainbows and colorful bouquets of flowers , it will not feel like biting into that piece of decadent chocolate cake; it may hurt a bit, it may sting like a bee, but

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

that’s where the beauty of life comes in. We have a choice to experience REAL hope, grace, compassion and mercy. Although a yes may mean we get to see and take apart ugly parts of ourselves- there is grace. Although a yes may mean we have to talk about uncomfortable subjects with individuals we hold dear to our hearts or those we are creating new friendships with- there is love. Although a yes may mean stepping into the unknown, there is hope that whatever and wherever the Lord has called you to will be greater and bigger than what you can imagine because He stands, before, after, and next to you. God is near and God sees your bravery. God acknowledges your bravery. I can say that I have seen the Lord in all of these and so many other facets on my move to Seattle last summer. These last 5 months have been tough- like REALLY tough, but because of faith, because of the immense love He bestows in each and every place I go to, I will continue to say yes where He leads. I will continue to trust and continue to find the many gifts that are present daily. I am learning to say yes.

Much love,

Anahi

Take some time to ponder on:

Where and in what ways can you take a moment and commune with God?

What are some of the gifts God is giving you?

How can you say yes to something new- daily/weekly/monthly/yearly?

2016: Review and the New

Review:

As the Founder of Brave Avenue I (Candy) am truly thankful for the opportunity to curate Brave Stories from women who can speak into our natural ability to rise up and live passionately. “What’s your story?” has been my go-to question when I’m in a room full of strangers or simply just getting my oil changed. I have always loved hearing people’s journeys, but I never thought a platform would open up for me to actually share with others. Brave Avenue seemed to happen by accident. I was at work listening to Pandora when a group called Boyce Avenue came on. I was digging the song and went to find out more. I mistook the name as Brave Avenue and only found a street name located in a few cities I had never visited. After Google failed to give me a complete answer I went to the source. God let me know he was challenging me to be brave in 2015. To say “yes” when I wanted to say no to discomfort. When I was pregnant with my daughter I had asked God to help me raise a confident and brave girl who would grow up secure and fearless of any challenge. Of course, it’s only natural that he would present me with uncomfortable opportunities for me to tap into bravery. My daughter has an example that she can look up to everyday. We’re only 6 months in and I must say I am proud of the impact Brave Avenue has made. We’ve grown to four regular Contributors, the Brave Stories have been shared in multiple countries, and our Guest Bloggers and Contributors have been impacted by the amazing feedback they receive, even inspiring some to move forward in their passions. Although we are the foundation, we still get motivated to take the next step after reading your comments!

This experience showed me four things:

1-Women need empowered women to lead the way for our younger generation.

2- Our voices matter and are valuable. 

3- Our thoughts and Brave Stories are important and needed. 

4- Saying “yes” can lead you to incredible opportunities only found in your dreams.

The New:

We are so thankful and blessed for all that has happened in this past year. As we review 2015, we are also excitedly anticipating all that will come in 2016 and how we can bravely face it together. As the co-founders of Brave Avenue, we would like to share our intentions and some themes that we have chosen to focus on for this new year.

Ella: “The Hard Way”

In 2016, I will live the hard way. I will not retreat to a cave of easy comfort but will climb the mountain, no matter the weather, becoming stronger each day along the hard way. Clearly, the hard way will be difficult, but I will choose to deny present comfort for future reward while living a life of focus and purpose. “Happiness is a by-product to enjoy, not a dream to seize,” John Townsend.

Jennifer Diane: “This Is Me”

I am finally at that long-waited point of fully embracing who I am and everything that goes with it. Every day, I will openly and unapologetically express, laugh, create and pursue. When the fear of rejection rears its ugly head, I will punch it in the throat and side step it at every opportunity. I am confident that 2016 is a breakout year for me.

Candy: “I will pursue trust.”

This past year has taught me that I have a quiet strength that has the ability to greatly influence change that is bigger than me. In 2016, I will stop breaking promises to myself and confidently trust in Gods promises. It’s time to stop down-playing who I am. When fear attempts to take hold of me with its excuses or reminders of the past, I will boldly call it out. I will no longer be bound by the fear of actually seeing good outcomes.

Stating your intentions for 2016 is not just writing down your to do list for the year. It is about creating healthy lifestyle habits that develop and reveal the authentic you.

Your perspective on how you do things is everything. Your perspective comes from your ‘why’. Why do you want to do more in 2016? Why are you choosing that specific word or theme? Inwardly focused goals are not strong enough to bring about a powerful game-changing outcome. It is when we can step outside of ourselves and see the bigger picture and purpose of our actions when we realize we can truly make a difference and find happiness.

It’s YOUR TURN!

If you are ready to bravely achieve more this year, we challenge you to answer the questions below. Invite a friend to join you.

  1. What is your intention/theme for the year?
  2. How do you plan to accomplish that?
  3. What obstacles/fears do you foresee standing in your way?

 

Be brave and empowered on your journey!

-The Brave Avenue Bravenistas

Guest Blog Story: A Little Bravery Goes a Long Way

Four years ago, I did something a little crazyokay, maybe not crazy, but a little brave. I got on a plane to go abroad for the first timealone.  I didnt know who would be meeting me on the other side of the Atlantic, but I had a feeling that it would all work out. Seven continents and 20 countries later, Id say that my hunch was on point.

Out of all of my travels, the greatest bravery that I found was in surrendering. Releasing my motives, my agenda, and my plan, and courageously clinging to God’s perfect will was where I found extreme bravery.  Braver than boarding a ship to sail with 90 strangers to the coldest continent on Earth. Braver than jumping beside a waterfall with only strangers at the bottom to see me surface. Braver than sleeping at a stranger’s house in Sydney, Australia and trusting that it would all work out. I mean, this bravery that I speak of is far beyond all of that. It’s deeper. In surrendering, I’ve experienced a freedom that has no boundaries. (Tweet it!) No zip codes. No limits. This bravery takes me to places that fear will never see.

This bravery manifested in this simple prayer to the Lord: I have a “yes” waiting for you. That “yes” has placed me before Buddhist monks. That “yes” has sandwiched me between atheists and agnostics, Christians and Muslims, colleagues and strangers. That “yes” has walked me down beautifully mysterious roads in Malindi, Kenya. It’s nestled me safely in various flats in Hangzhou, China. It’s welcomed me to teach women at two universities in Saudi Arabia. That “yes” took me much further than any “no” would’ve ever taken me. That’s why I have a “yes” waiting for Him. That “yes” places me in the safest place: His will.

Every time I get crazy enoughI mean, brave enough to get on another plane, I connect with some of the most beautiful people on Earth. I connect with people who have their hands out to give. Im stretched and humbled. Im challenged to do more, be more, and give more. I’m challenged to surrender. And with a grateful heart, I say “yes.”

This time last year, I made my final payment for my trip to Antarctica. I had this wild idea three years ago to see all seven continents by my 30th birthday. God had a wilder idea: to connect me to people around the globe who would pour into me, pray for me, challenge me, and strengthen me. As I thaw off from my trip to that frigid continent, I can’t help but smile. Bravery took me to a place that fear will never see. Where will bravery take us next?  

Follow more of Karissa’s adventures at sevenby30.com!

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