“Brave” – Sara Bareilles

Week 1: Self-love

My historical references to Advent have a theme word woven into the week’s focus. This week is all about self-love and there is no better place to start than “Brave.” It is rare that I go 2-3 days without this song. It is an anthem – ANTHEM – for the days that I feel not enough.

It’s a pep talk and a hug.

It’s a kick in the ass and a handkerchief for my tears.

And I’ve needed all of it this year. The bravest thing I have ever done is intellectually decide that it was acceptable for me to love myself. Completely. Because if I did that, I knew I pulled the last cord. The final thread that held the scraps of my faith depended on this one belief staying together. And then I pulled it.

I have discovered some important things since I stepped out of my known faith. The first, and perhaps the biggest asterisk on this series, is that most people don’t do faith (especially Christianity) like I did. I BELIEVED IT. With all of my believer. I gave my heart, my career, my soul, my family, my money, my house, my mind, even my body for the cause of Christ. I gave of myself in ways that I genuinely thought were my sacrificial gifts and I now know differently. Some go to church for preaching or music. I was the church because I believed that it was my job by profession of faith to make sure that everyone around me KNEW Jesus. So they would live eternally. And the hardest thing for someone who KNOWS and BELIEVES on such a painfully deep level to do – ever – is question. Because we can’t just question a few things. And all that string pulling landed me in the pit of hardest truth: I couldn’t love myself because I couldn’t believe that I was good. How could I be? Because of all the sin…

It’s at this time that I need to say something important. This series is my experience. It’s not something I need to be saved from. It’s not something I even fully understand. And while I’m totally ok with that, I am not looking for answers outside of myself today. I look forward to listening for more of my own truth. I say these words because had I read this 10 years ago, I would already be penning the DM or comment to let that friend know that they were still included. I promise…I’m good. Better than I’ve been in a while. And the best news of all is that I’m starting to love myself. Me. For no other reason than I like myself. And that’s enough.

So back to “Brave.” There is a line in the bigness of the song that leads my self-love charge.

SHOW ME…HOW BIG YOUR BRAVE IS

Those are my marching orders.

And in 2022, Sara has reminded me regularly that I can. I will. And on the other side of this, there are some crazy beautiful brave rewards. The most important one being that I can undo every belief that I held and still be a whole human. That’s freaking brave.

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