I wake up early most morning to pray. It's something my parents do in the morning, and perhaps, I learned from example, because it's a habit I've picked up. Sometimes, my prayers are spoken into the quiet of the empty room. I feel silly talking out loud, but I know God hears me. Sometimes, my prayers are written in a journal, where I can look back and reflect on how those prayers have been answered.
I'm not sure if this prayer was out loud or written but I was crying out. I was pleading with God to take away the anxiety I felt in the beginning of this year. I was getting married in four months and for some reason that freaked me the heck out.
I felt too young. Not ready. Unsure. Not confident. Could I do this?
I had been dating Brandon for two years and I knew I was going to marry him before I even knew if I liked him (it's funny how love works). I had prayed since he asked me out on that first date that God would show me if I was supposed to be with Brandon.
There was nothing wrong with Brandon, but I didn't want a relationship at the time. I didn't think I had time for someone else. What I meant by that was that I wasn't ready to make it about someone else too. I wasn't ready to give up my self-centered ways to make room for somebody. My walls were up. High.
The signs were pointing to starting a dating relationship with him. I was sure that God was wrong-- dating Brandon wasn't the plan. Brandon was wonderful, but at the time, to be blunt-- a hot mess. His free-spirit, out-going personality and inability to slow-down irked this Type A, perfectionist introvert. God had the wrong guy for me.
Our entire relationship I asked God to show me the red flags. Show me why I should break up with him. Show me how we were failing. I didn't trust this was the path I was supposed to be on.
As time went on, I fell in love with this goofy, edgy, spontaneous guy of mine. But still I was unsure when he asked me to be his wife. My heart said yes, but everything in my mind said no.
I felt like I was being called to take this step into marriage. Despites others' doubts. Despites others' criticisms. Despites others' discouragement. I felt a calling to become a wife. But I was scared.
So here I sat, on a cold January morning in my childhood bedroom, four months away from marriage. My hands folded, a shiny ring on my finger, I prayed for help. Help me.
And I felt a whisper. You can be a skeptic about whether God is real or not but I knew in this moment, it was Him talking to me, like a gentle father comforting a daughter. He told me "Brave" Be brave? That's God's nice way of saying "Buck up, little one."
And 2015 became my very brave year.
The year I took leaps of faith and stepped outside my comfort zone. The year I moved out of my childhood home. The year I acted on my values and went vegan. The year I took a deep breath and taught in front of a classroom for the first time. The year I allowed my introverted self to be the center of attention and showered with love at a bridal shower. The year I faced anxiety head on by taking risks despite the panic attacks. The year I expanded my hobbies. The year I chopped off my long hair. The year I changed my life by getting married.
The year I said "Yes" more and "No" less. The year I took risks, said hello to new friends and let my life change.
This year was a very brave year.