As an extension of living blessedly, we start to see that God is not asking us to stay on the safety of the shore. When we start to recognize our need for God, opportunities for us to sacrifice for and connect to others, and how incredibly fortunate we are, we follow - unabashedly - His voice.
"Come and see."
The disciples, upon hearing this call, jump out of their boat and swim toward him. Peter walks on water. Saul converts and fights for Christ instead of against him.
You chose to teach in a Catholic school. You got married. Had kids. Ended an abusive relationship. Fought for justice and equality. Went away to college. Took care of a sick parent. Forgave.
Being blessed leads to being bold. In fact, you aren't truly living blessedly by playing it safe. God wants all of us. He wants us to stake it all on Him, to hold nothing back, to put all that we have on the line for the fulfillment of His promises.
He wants us to make a permanent commitment, like getting an irremovable tattoo that marks us as His own. Making such a leap requires a strong faith life; it also necessitates extreme courage.
Being bold asks us to be playful. It also nudges us, despite our human frailty, to love.
Kids are bold. They dance like no one is watching. They love like they've never been hurt. They sing as if no one is listening. They try things that are way beyond themselves and they endure countless bumps, bruises, scrapes and failures before finally accomplishing a task. They ask for what they want. They cry. They laugh. They show unrestrained excitement - to see someone, to watch a movie, to get a treat, anything.
They are bold.
Think of the last time you danced a good honest dance. Think of the last time you loved unconditionally and selflessly. When was the last time you sang, even if you didn't know the words? Tried something new or beyond your abilities? When did you last asked for what you wanted...or needed? True tears? True laughter? Can you remember the last time you couldn't contain your joy over seeing someone, receiving something or getting rewarded?
When was the last time you lived boldly?
Adopting a playful spirit can help to cultivate these child-like attributes. Embracing moments to do the things that our adult minds tell us not to do can help embolden our spirits to live more boldly and to accept the challenges being presented to us by God to follow His call. The next chance you have to sing, do it with passion. An opportunity to dance? Cut that rug like you did at your wedding. Read in a silly voice. Sit on the floor. Mix your cereals. Have a root beer float. Be playful. Go out into the deep.
Put aside your inhibitions in safe ways and you'll start to have the courage to put aside the boo birds that start to swoop in any time you try to tackle something new.
Love boldly. Be more patient than is fair. Be more forgiving than others deserve. Show compassion. Be empathetic. As you move from being blessed to being bold, you start to recognize that our efforts at loving others fall so pathetically short of what others need and of what we are capable. Before meeting Emily, I didn't think I was capable of loving someone else more than myself. I also didn't think my love for her could increase. It increases every day and I do all that I can to put her needs and wants above my own. Then, I never thought before having kids that I could love someone else the same amount that I love Emily - but I've doubled that amount of love twice and I feel the infinitude of that love I possess. It doesn't mean I always love with this type of immense love, but I recognize my potential for loving boldly.
Being blessed leads us to start living more boldly. Living more boldly allows us to love in the way we were created to do so - completely.
Be blessed: Pray. Serve. Connect. Conserve.
Be bold: Play. Love.
Fight for JOY!