Courage to Find the You That's Been Hiding


A few weeks ago I spent the evening on my couch watching the ladies final in the World Figure Skating Championships airing live from Boston.

I didn’t even know the competition was on TV until I stumbled across a news story that morning. There was a time when I would have had this date long-circled on my calendar. I might have even traveled to Boston to be there in person. 

But the girl who would have done that was an earlier version of myself and now I’d evolved . . . or transformed or . . . progressed.

{Or had I?}

I’ve loved skating from the time I was five years old and asked my mother to take me to the Ice Capades for my birthday. I’ve taken years of skating lessons and was even brave {or foolish} enough to enter an adult competition.


For three years in a row, I traveled to the US Figure Skating Championships as a spectator, making pilgrimages to Dallas, Atlanta and St. Louis. 

My skating friends and I would buy all-event tickets for the week, arriving at the arena for early morning practice sessions and staying until the competitions wrapped up close to midnight. 

We’d stay at the official hotel, eat breakfast beside skaters and coaches in the dining room, pass them in the lobby, ride with them in elevators, all the while trying not to be dazzled and star-struck.


But a few years ago, I stopped skating. 

My coach moved to another state and I started to think being so devoted to skating was a little frivolous and I should focus on other things. 

Like improving some of my personality quirks and refining some of my rough edges that I thought were getting in the way of the person I should have been becoming.

But that night a few weeks ago when I watched the ladies compete for the gold medal was exciting and beautiful and graceful. 

And I felt a little piece of myself come out of hiding.


Leeana Tankersley has written a striking and profound book called Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That's Been Hiding. 

She writes eloquently and honestly about the journey of becoming who we are in our unique God-created centers with all of our gifts, shortcomings and longings.

This book resonated deeply with my soul. 

Maybe because Leeana renders silent the voices of what she calls the Soul Bullies.

These are the voices out to steal our freedom, question us, instill doubts about what we’re doing and feed our fears. 


She realized that as soon as a creative craving, stirring or a longing wells up, forces are at work to keep her paralyzed, confined and silent.
“Do I believe God put something good inside me on the day of creation that I am to investigate, nurture, return to? Or do I believe the Soul Bullies — that I am a fraud and a fake and a fool for thinking I am entitled to the eternity God set in my heart?”
Leeana noticed that she talked about her desires and longings as if they were dreamy and romantic. 

But instead she discovered that these pursuits needed blood and guts and courage to fight what keeps us from exploring what God plants in our hearts.


Maybe that's why I love skating. It's the part of God-in-me that longs for truth and beauty and love.

I also love art and ballet and writing and history and books and a hundred other things. 

But somewhere along the way I started listening to the voices that told me maybe I shouldn’t like those things so much. 

Maybe if I liked different things, then I’d become somebody new and all the things that weren’t working in my life would fall into place. 

But what didn’t work was trying to hide who I really am.


Four years ago I carved out a little space on the internet and started writing a blog. Although I like stringing together words and creating photos to go with my posts, it's here when I write that I get to know God. 

He reaches down deep into my soul and pulls up words I didn’t even know I had in me. And he shows me who he is.
“Maybe the treasure is knowing who we are and where home is and who is waiting for us there. God looks for us in the quiet of the morning. He sends his love on the wind. 
He calls out to us, ‘Where are you?’ Our whole life is to be the answer, “I’m coming.” - Leanna Tankersley, Brazen


My nephew’s been asking me to watch him play hockey since he started lessons a few months ago. Last weekend I pulled my skate bag out of my closet for the first time in two years and threw it in the car to go to the rink, even though I wasn’t sure I really wanted to skate.

After watching my almost-teenager nephew wield a hockey stick and speed around the ice {for which I’ll take the credit since I introduced him to the skating rink when he was five}, my sister came back to the boards where I was standing. 

“Nate wants to know if his auntie is going to come skate with him,” she asked me.

I rummaged through my skate bag, stuffed my feet in my skates and started lacing them up. Yes, I told her.

“Tell him I’m coming.” 



I'm part of Revell publisher's blogger review tour for Brazen by Leeana Tankersley. I was provided a complimentary copy of the book, but the opinions are completely my own.



I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart and with Bonnie Gray at the Faith Barista.





Comments

  1. This was such a beautiful post, Valerie. Can I just cheer you on for putting on the skates and wearing brave out loud here. And thank you for carving space here, in word and thought. As a blogger, I can understand how lonely it can be, but you are touching hearts as you share Him with others.

    Blessings!
    Dawn

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    1. Dawn,
      Thank you so much for your kind words! Skating does take some courage (especially the older I get!!) and fear takes over, but practicing being brave is a good thing for me! :)

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  2. Your post gives me such warm and inspiring feelings-- just like the book did! How in awe I am of you and your skating capabilities-- I tried once and it was not pretty...! I was reading this morning in Matthew 25 about the servant who hid his 'talents' and how all that worked out for him... (not good!) And I'm even more encouraged by this book and those verses that we should grab hold of every longing that God put in us and not be afraid to play and try and TRUST-- because it all leads back to God. ♥ (And how lovely to see that skating program again..xo)So glad the book spoke to you too!

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    1. Heather,
      My skating abilities are really basic but my love for skating always far exceeded what I could do! :) The book Brazen had so many good thoughts -- it was hard to choose just a few to share, wasn't it? And I LOVE the skating program -- thought you'd like to see it again! xo

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  3. Dear Valerie ... as I read through your post, I kept hoping that you'd tie those skates on again.

    To see you in that last picture made my day! You're a courageous adventurer. So I wasn't the least big surprised ...

    You inspiration, you ...

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    1. Linda,
      Well I was awfully wobbly out there on the ice but thank you for your encouragement! Always grateful that you're here! xo

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  4. Such an inspiring post, Valerie. I'm so glad I saw you at Holley's place. My daughter used to skate for a synchronized team, so you brought back some memories. Never thought about the concept of soul bullies. What an apt term. Blessings to you!

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    1. Hi Betsy,
      How great that your daughter was on a synchro team -- I've always admired those skills since it's harder to skate with a team sometimes than on your own! Thanks for visiting and sharing your kind words!

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  5. For a post about a chilly activity, your words of love for ice-skating are so warm and you can tell it is something you really care about. More ice skating posts! Love the photos!

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  6. Wow Valerie! This brings tears to my eyes and tugs at a deep place of longing in me. Those soul bullies badger me relentlessly sometimes. This sounds like such a helpful book, and your view adds so much depth to it. I love watching the gracefulness in figure skaters, and a part of me longs to glide so freely like that. I'm so glad you got back on the ice! You go, girl! I'm sure your nephew and niece love it, too. :) Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      Isn't the term soul bullies so descriptive?! The book really made me think and consider the gifts God created in each of us and how it must please him when we put them to use in the best way we can. And you are so right -- my niece and nephew love it when we go skating! xo

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  7. Hi Valerie! I wonder what it felt like for you to step back onto that ice...did it feel like coming home?
    Thank you for this wonderful story. I was hanging on every word. The book sounds really great too, judging from what it brought out in you. What a blessing! I'm sure it's going to make all it's readers think about what's hiding in them.
    Blessings!
    Ceil

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    1. Hi Ceil,
      It always feels as if I've never skated before when I'm not on the ice for a while but eventually the rust wears away after I get going! Thanks so much for your kind words and the book was truly inspiring!

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  8. Hi Valerie, I'm with Trudy--your words brought tears to my eyes also! I love your ending with your words to your nephew, "Tell him I'm coming." How precious that God would use that childlike heart of your nephew to draw out your own childlike heart's response to the Lord! God's Love is so amazing! Thank you for this beautiful post. --Blessings!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      Oh your words are so sweet! I'm so grateful you're here so we connect with each other through our blog posts each week! xo

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  9. Yes!! Skating is a part of who you are...who God made you to be. For me when I dream about what I want to do and then move to the next step, action, ALL the fears and doubts flood over me. Unfortunately they win out a lot of the time.The mountains seem too big to overcome, my dreams seem too big to achieve. Yes indeed, dreams take blood and guts.

    Have you considered writing a post for God-sized Dreams? You should!

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    1. Alecia,
      I'm with you! I know that mountains seem too big to overcome {I'm actually looking at one in front of me right now!} and I thought Leeana's words about needing guts and courage were so insightful. I am also very humbled that you think I could submit for God-sized Dreams! :)

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  10. Beautiful, Valerie. What incredible encouragement to chase after our dreams - to not believe that they are too big to come true. I love that you pulled out those skates and and chased after who God made you to be!!

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    1. Hi Tiffany,
      I feel as if instead of trying so hard to change some things in my life maybe I ought to just make peace with who God made me to be! xo

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  11. Valerie- I love this post!! I would love to see you skate!! My girls are very into skating lately-(just got back from a lesson tonight) They have been taking lessons the last few months and are loving it- I remember loving the Ice Capades and went for my birthday too- I only took lessons for a few years though then got into ballet instead.--Anyway love these thoughts and this book sounds really wonderful- It takes courage to revisit these things we love and are buried in our hearts- courage to believe God put them there and even more courage to "go there"! but i think it is true that when we do parts of us come alive that we did even know were there- or that we forgot about- Anyway love this post Valerie and wish we could go skating together! ( though you would be spinning circles around me I know!!) with love :)!

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    1. Susie,
      How great that your girls are taking skating lessons! I knew we were kindreds and now that you went to the Ice Capades too, I think we were really separated at birth! :) The book was truly inspirational -- I loved it! And I wish we could skate together too, but you are mistaken that I would be skating circles around you -- my skills are quite rusty these days -- and I never could get the knack of a one-foot spin, despite my years of lessons! :0 xo

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  12. You make me want to go out and get back on the ice too! Loved this and it was a true honor getting to share 2 of those 3 Nationals experiences with you! :D

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    1. Amy,
      You deserved a place in the post since without you I wouldn't have competed in Atlanta and I wouldn't have accompanied you to Dallas as your guest for Nationals! :) Miss you!

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  13. You look so cute! I do not have the ability to skate, but go for it since you do. Feel the rush as you glide effortlessly. Show God that you love how He made you! :)

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      I'm not sure I have much talent or ability for skating but I sure do love it and I loved always trying to attempt the elements! :)

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  14. What a wonderful story Valerie! I'm so glad you put the skates back on again! Oh, and soul bullies - goodness, I will learn to recognize them! Thank you for this post - I will have to check out the book, too!

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    1. Hi Ellen,
      Good to hear from you! Soul bullies is such an apt term to describe the voices of discouragement, isn't it? I really did love the book!

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  15. Oh my goodness. I have memories of skating with our youth group!!! I was never great at it but I could go forward without falling haha.
    I love what you share here! This is the second time I have run across the book "Brazen" - it really sounds like something I need to read. Thanks for sharing, Valerie!

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    1. Hi Meg,
      I'm glad you have fond memories of skating! I thought the book was really honest and enlightening and written with such a poetic heart by Leeana!

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  16. Valerie,
    Such a wonderful post that really resonates. I always loved ice skating, but was never able to take lessons until I was a adult. I still love it but I'm very rusty and my skates dont fit any more. Anyways, there is so much good here, and yes, I do feel the soul bullies. Thanks for the timely reminder to keep fighting them, and have the courage to do what God puts in my heart.
    Blessings!

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    1. Hi Debbie,
      Nice to hear from you! And I'm very rusty too on the these days too -- I think it would take a while to get back in the groove! But even the smell of the ice rink revives me -- there's something about it. :) I hope you'll check out the book Brazen, it had a lot to say about the soul bullies -- and was really encouraging! Always love it when you visit here! :)

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  17. I resonate with so many of your words here, Valerie! I have lived a lot in this place of 'should' to try to fit in, and hidden. I was even given a song at a personal development conference with the lines 'You done gone split your personality a hundred ways now. Who you gonna be when you get to be you?' And yes, it is a country song! How inspiring that you learned figure skating as an adult too. I am the skating grandma, and have brought my granddaughter skating, and next year her little brother will join us. Creating these memories, I know, will be so important to our relationship in the future just like yours with nieces and nephews I am sure!

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  18. Lynn,
    Making skating memories are treasures! I remember the first time my aunt took me skating as little girl and I'm sure your grandkids will have wonderful memories too. So nice to connect with a fellow skater! :)

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