When Brave Takes a Detour

It was my word for 2015: Brave.

Packed with a punch, it came loaded with opportunity. Brave is a verb. God asked me to do braveto step out in faith, to stretch my wings in brand new ways, and to face the fear that accompanied it all by trusting that His purpose would far exceed my imagination.

I embraced brave, but it wasn’t always pretty and it didn’t always look, well … brave. Every millimeter of growth, of new-found identity—of change—was felt bone deep. I pressed, pushed, and bore down through some decidedly gotta-be-brave moments. And yes, there were tears and more wet, soppy, face-planted prayer than I can even recount.

And just when I believed I had brave figured out, God turned it on its head.

Over Thanksgiving, my family and I went on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera. It was meant to be a vacation, but it rocked my world—literally. Two days after returning home, I found myself back on rough seas. My head grew foggy, and I struggled to string words or thoughts together. A leaning sensation gripped my body and pitched me left or right with such strength that I could barely stand. I took to bed, and stayed there—angry.

I’d toyed with the idea of taking December “off.” But, that plan was on my terms. In one swoop (or should I say sway?) my calendar was wiped clean. “About 1 in 18,000,” the neurologist shrugged, end up with this “rare disembarkment syndrome, a form of vertigo mingled with a neurological deficit, and there’s no telling when it will go away.” Yup, I’m that girl.

Over the fog-filled days, anger faded and slipped into a quiet, although somewhat resentful acceptance. So, I surmised, “off” would look different than I planned. My version would have been hurried with shopping, decorating, and as much work as I could squeeze in. I would have tested every boundary of “off.” God knew exactly what I needed and to what lengths He should go to get me there.

On day ten, when my patience was thin, my head foggy, and I was asking for the umpteenth time if this too shall pass, God whispered these words to me: there is bravery in pause as well as pursuit. (← Tweet that)

And that just changes everything, doesn’t it?

When Brave Takes A Detour {simplyforone.net} http://wp.me/p2v8DX-pS

In that moment, I knew that this momentary affliction was so much bigger than me. And while I wasn’t exactly thrilled and the choice wasn’t exactly mine, I understood my prescription.

Christmas was going to be slow and sweet. This season of rest was going to be savored with silence and stillness in spaces of time I hadn’t planned for, but began to experience with overwhelming gratitude.

Brave is still an action, and it’s still a word I love, but it doesn’t always come with forward momentum. Sometimes brave means you stop. You seek health over ambition, you hold onto family instead of expectations, you choose peace over pressing forward, and you lean in and listen to the One who proves time and time again, that His way is higher—even if you’re not crazy about His methods.

I shared on the cusp of the new year, that through this season of healing (which is ongoing) God brought me my #oneword for 2016: Wonder. Join me next week and I’ll share a little of the wonders He’s revealed. 

You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots:  Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory)Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).

33 thoughts on “When Brave Takes a Detour

  1. Tiffany, I so agree that there is bravery in pause as well as pursuit. Such a true encouragement. I am taking this to heart as I am setback with a bad cold and have to let so much of my plans go. Happy new year, friend!

    1. Hi Kim…great to hear from you. I’ve thought of you several times, so I’m so glad you stopped by. Sorry to hear that you are fighting a bad cold. I pray you are on the mend and resting easy in spite of the unexpected adjustments. Those are never fun to face. Happy new year to you and yours. Blessings, friend. xo

  2. Mmmm, good fruit out of your God-directed pause. Praying you are on the mend and all of your faculties restored, friend.

  3. I actually read this post the other day (yesterday, maybe?), but I was on my phone and it’s hard to comment. So I’m back to comment today. :) I love thinking about brave being a verb. Sometimes it requires action and sometimes it requires rest, which, really, is an active choice too. God gets our attention in the most unexpected ways sometimes, but it sounds like you’ve seized the moments with Him. Hoping you feel better and stronger soon. Thanks for faithfully linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday. xoxo

    1. You’re so right, Kristin – rest really is an active choice, especially if it’s a choice that is hard to make. I’m getting better at seizing the moments, I hope. Blessings to you friend – thanks for faithfully hosting us. Hugs.

  4. Tiffany,
    What a difficult season, but what a lovely perspective emerged! How frustrating when your plans for a vacation take a turn you hadn’t anticipated. I admire your stamina and your bravery and I’m hoping you experience healthier days for the year ahead!

    1. Thank you, Valerie. I’m getting stronger every day – praise God. And we learned that I shall never cruise again! ;) Wishing you a beautiful new year. Thanks for visiting me today.

  5. Hi Tiffany, I’m your neighbor at Three Word Wednesday. It’s amazing how God turns things upside down! I have CFS and there have been seasons that I can do very little, but they are not wasted seasons. I used to think they were, but God uses everything to accomplish His purpose. Great perspective on brave!

    1. Hi there, neighbor. Sounds like you know well the good that comes out of those slow seasons. It’s an incredible thing to lay hold of a faith that brings us to the end of trial with gratitude and perspective. Thank you for taking the time to visit me. Blessings.

  6. gosh, I’m so glad you rested..how scary those things are..how ever sometimes I think God pulls us by the shirt to say , stop..listen, be with me..sometimes I think He gives us aches and pains and flus etc to make us stop! I’m so glad all is okay..and best that you rested!

  7. Oh friend! I forgot that brave chose us both last year. So much THIS: “Brave is still an action, and it’s still a word I love, but it doesn’t always come with forward momentum. Sometimes brave means you stop. You seek health over ambition, you hold onto family instead of expectations, you choose peace over pressing forward, and you lean in and listen to the One who proves time and time again, that His way is higher—even if you’re not crazy about His methods.” Brave looks different for each and every one of us. Brave is often indeed turned on its head. I know it was for me in ways I never imagined or expected. I love your word for this new year: wonder!

    1. Hi, my brave friend. Yes, “brave” is quite the journey isn’t it?! It’s amazing how it takes us directions we never imagined, but always brings us closer to God. Thanks for visiting me – I’ll be heading your way to see what you’re up to for 2016. xo

  8. Wow! Sounds like quite an exasperating ordeal Tiffany. I absolutely love your last paragraph about brave does not always come with forward momentum I remember the vertigo type issues I dealt with while recovering but I also remember the times of quiet stillness in the hospital where it was just me and God. He had my attention completely. That time almost 6 years ago changed my life for the better. I am beyond thankful for God’s love and grace. I hope you are doing better now and blessings to you and yours in 2016!

    1. Pretty amazing what happens when God commands our attention and we give it!! I’m beyond thankful for God’s love and grace too, Horace – and that even though the changes are hard, they are indeed for the better. I’m on the mend and feeling stronger everyday – still being mindful to listen to my brain and go slow when I have to. Ha! Blessings to you in 2016 as well.

  9. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, Tiffany. I pray you will fully recover. This especially encouraged me to tears – “there is bravery in pause as well as pursuit.” It’s not easy dealing with illness, so thank you for this reminder and that God’s ways are so much higher than ours. I’m looking forward to hearing of the wonders God has revealed to you through this.

    1. Thank you for your prayers, Trudy. I’m hoping that all the symptoms subside soon too. Yup, I shed a few tears over that word from the Lord as well. There’s so much grace in knowing that brave comes in many forms. So glad you visited today. Hugs.

  10. Your word for 2016 is WONDER?! We’re twins then. God spoke that to me so strongly through the wise men’s story all December. I wrote about it last Friday, January 1!

    I’m so sorry for your December, glad to read a little more of what happened here, but I’m glad you’re taking it in stride and looking for lessons from God. Praying now that you’ll recover completely very soon.

    1. Thanks so much, Betsy. So grateful for your continued prayers. And how lucky am I to walk side by side you in watching His wonder! It’s a beautiful thing to meditate on. Blessings to you!

  11. Tiffany, such a beautiful post. And you’re right, BREAVE doesn’t always look the way we think it will. Sometimes there’s even forward progress in stillness. And often, it’s through the stillness that He equips us for the next steps of our journeys with Him. His ways truly are higher than ours.

    Thanks for sharing a bit of how BRAVE looked for you in 2015. I’m praying for you, my friend!

    1. Love that, Jeanne – that stillness is quite equipping and I know that taking the time to slow down has also given me some great perspective on the wonder of God. Thank you so much for your prayers and love. Grateful for you. xoxo

  12. oh Wow Tiffany…! Such a powerful story– hopefully you are on the mend?! I had to read this twice because my word for this year is – you guessed it- brave! I wholeheartedly agree that it takes a lot of bravery to pause as well as pursue– I pressed pause on purpose on some things last year and have felt God press that pause button on me a time or two over the last few years. I pray that your respite has brought you closer into His truth and I can’t wait to hear about your 2016 word – Wonder! We do serve a wonder-full God. Blessings on you girl! ♥

    1. Oh, Heather – you are in for a treat! Brave is such a good word and such a high call from the Lord. Honestly, as much as I pray for a new word each year, I always take the past ones with me. I don’t think I’ll ever let go of brave. God’s power in us, working through us, gives us the right to be bold and brave. Wishing you many brave adventures in 2016 – pausing or pursuing. So glad you stopped by today. Hugs.

  13. I’ve been reminded lately several times of how good God is at bringing beauty from the ashes and that’s what your story reminds me of. You’ve been in a place and at at time that would have left many people bitter (I’m afraid it would have me), and instead you are rising from the ashes and accepting the beauty from them God is offering. Reminding us all that His ways are most definitely higher and most definitely good – even when we can’t see the good in the moment. Praying you recover fully and wholly soon and until then, that you continue to share His goodness as He continues to reveal it to you. Love you, friend. <3

    1. Thank you, dear friend – for your prayers and love. I’ve had a few bitter moments along the way. But, I think the longer I walk with God, the quicker (though it can feel awful slow) I realize that staying bitter ends up wasting a whole lot of energy. More often than not, I can’t change what He won’t let me and He’s typically pressing me someplace I’m better off going quickly than resisting. Ha! Sure, I’d rather be well – but yes, there is beauty in the midst and I’m grateful for the grace that afforded me a season of rest when I needed it, and the strength to keep moving when it was time for that. Love you bunches!!

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