100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs
Some mornings require more than a cup of coffee. Some mornings require a quick, extra strong jolt of comfort and courage.
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41:13 NIV
Because my job begins especially early and I need to be a fully-functional, energetic, coherent speaker by 7:45 A.M., my morning routine is crucial for my daily success. As an highly sensitive INFJ, I have learned over the years to pre-load myself with personal reflection and down time first thing in the morning. Without this preemptive action, due to the all the swirling energy around me at school, I'm an overwhelmed, reactive mess by time my kids are in bed at 8:30 (or later). For me, nothing feels better in the morning than snuggling into my reading chair with my coffee, journal, and some guiding thoughts to "get my mind" on straight for the day.
This fall, as I have begun a new season of my career filled with change and new opportunities, I have found the 100 Days to Brave devotional to be a helpful framework for reflection and daily intentions. I've always embraced the idea of baby-steps for pretty much everything in life. I planned my wedding with a 2-task-a-day planning schedule, and every musical theatre production I directed relied on me systematically breaking down the show into bite-size rehearsals. Baby-steps are empowering and do-able. The 100 day journey of daily essays is broken down into twelve sections of bravery, ranging from brave enough to start, to being yourself, loving others, facing change, persevering, serving, and being present. I loved how this book taps into the natural circle of influence. It helps us spiral out our energy as we first look at ourselves and then look out to the world to our relationships and communities.
"What a person plants, he will harvest." Galatians 6:7 MSG
Now I know that not all my readers may be Christian or even spiritual; however, I do find 100 Days to Brave #100daystobrave a very accessible and welcoming devotional. The tone of Annie Down's writing is supportive and encouraging. She weaves together personal stories and reflective questions, prompting her readers to reflect on their own lives. The spiritual ties are based in gratitude, love, trust, and service. I particularly liked that each day ends with a call to action that is totally simple and do-able. Just like planting a garden, each of those daily moments of bravery grow together to create an abundant harvest.