How I Learned That Love Can Make You Brave

Melissa Camara Wilkins

I love fresh starts. New days, new weeks, new pages on the calendar: you never know what they might bring.

The year ahead is an open road, and it could be going just about anywhere. New directions, new habits, and new ideas could all be on the map.

Photo Credit: Harsha K R, Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Harsha K R, Creative Commons

The only thing is, it can feel kind of scary out here on the road to something new.

What if I try a new thing and end up back in the same old places? What if my new habits don’t stick? What if nobody’s interested in my new project? Stranger things have happened.

But this week, my friend Jess gave me an idea that is helping me to be brave.

She reminded me that God is love. (I knew that.)

Then she reminded me that God, who is love, is always with me. (I knew that too, even if I sometimes act like I’ve forgotten.)

So, she pointed out, if God, who is love, is always with you, then no matter what else is going on, you always have all the love you need.

And love will make you brave, if you let it.

Think about coming home to a family of people who love you.

Think about sitting around the table with friends who care about you, and not only because you brought the breadsticks. Doesn’t it feel easier to go out into the world every day, when you know that love has got your back? Doesn’t that love lend you just a little bit more confidence?

Even if we don’t feel a whole lot of love coming from people around us, even if the things in our lives don’t look especially lovely, even then: we still have love and we still are loved.

When I remember that I’m loved, I feel safe to try things—and to fail. When I know I am loved, my identity and worth aren’t tied to what I do.

Love reminds you that you matter, just as you are.

If I can mess things up and still be loved, well, then I’m free to mess things up, aren’t I? I’m free to take that first step, to launch that new project, to pursue that new idea.

I might make mistakes. I might look foolish. I might be off. I might head in entirely the wrong direction without realizing it! Who knows! But if I have all the love I need even then, well, what’s the worst that happens?

If I succeed, I’m loved the same as I was before.

If I fail, I’m loved the same as I was before.

I can walk into a brick wall, have doors closed in my face, fall on my rear end—and I do, more often than I would really like to talk about—and I will still have all the love I need to carry on. Maybe I will shake my head and laugh at myself first. Or more realistically, I might sit and cry first, but I will be okay. And so will you.

You don’t have to worry and you don’t have to be afraid.

You don’t have to pretend that every new thing will work, or that everything you try will set the world on fire. (Spoiler alert: sometimes things don’t.) You can just take the first step, knowing that whatever happens, at the end of the day, you are loved.

You are loved. And knowing that will set you free.

Melissa Camara Wilkins

Melissa Camara Wilkins

Melissa Camara Wilkins writes about looking for the bigger picture, being a work in progress, and giving yourself grace at Melissa lives in Southern California with her husband and six kids. For regular updates, follow her on Twitter and Instagram

  • Thanks Melissa for the insightful reminder of the goodness of God. I remember when we were kids singing, “God’s love is like a circle, a circle big and round.” The song taught us geometry, but above all it reminded us God’s love surrounded us in every way.

    We sat inside the circle, danced inside the circle and sang inside the circle. Yesterday morning, God went all 3D on me. He used a balloon instead of the 2D circle. Today I can sing, “God’s love is like a sphere, a sphere big and round.” I am inside the sphere with all my fears and worries. I wrote what I learned in this post:

  • Great post on why we should always be willing to start something new. I feel like we get stuck in a rut in life a lot. I know I have. There’s always a way out but it usually requires taking a leap of faith.
    I’m always afraid of attempting something I’ve never done before. I’m afaid I’ll fail and everyone will see me as a failure. But remembering that God and my family love me gives me the courage to go for it anyways.

  • Melissa, I enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for tying it together: God is Love so you have all the love you need. Perfect takeaway for me! Love to you! x

  • Jeff

    Good reminder, Melissa. Thank you for writing this!