In 2016 I will be brave.

I wrote those words four weeks ago. We had just come into a New Year, and for the first time in years I had ushered it in with my family and friends in Australia. Even then, there was a sense that 2016 would be different. The chaos of Los Angeles was replaced by the contentment of sitting with friends, playing games and standing on tiptoes to see the fireworks over suburban houses.

Many of the people I stood with had crawled through the past year, struggling to make ends meet. There was pain and grief, stress and fatigue. But as we counted down to midnight and finally pulled ourselves out of entrapment of 2015, we became free of these things. We had shared them together over the past 365 days, and now we would begin a new chapter. A chapter marked by courage, authenticity and bravery.

In this New Year, I will choose to be brave.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions–mainly because the anxiety of keeping them makes failure all the worse. However, I do tend to mark each year with a word. It normally comes to me in the weeks leading up to January 1, and I hear it echoing in my head.

Last year, my word was BOLD. 2015 was full of bold choices, the decision to believe in myself and who I am. The year brought about some of some of the most beautiful, terrifying and electrifying days of my life. I pushed myself to heal–to grow beyond the pain and resentment I had built up around my heart. I spoke the truth where I once would have shied away. Last year I was on a mission to be bold: to be fearless in the pursuit of telling my own story and the stories of others.

This year my word is BRAVE.

Brave. As a word it feels even more terrifying than bold, because brave is unknown. Bold is what we possess, believing that what we have to offer matters. But brave is new. It is undiscovered lands and unchartered territory. It is strange new paths and the opening and closing of doors. It is the second by second decision to step into something different because you have faith that there is more out there.

In 2016 I will be brave.

There is much I want to leave behind. 2016 does not need baggage. Bravery requires a light load, and it’s time I removed what hindered me last year. I am going to take past hurts and pain out of my backpack; broken hearts and embarrassment, shame and fear, feelings of inadequacy and doubt. I do not want to carry them any more. I am done holding onto things other people have long forgotten. I want to let go of the maybes, should haves and what ifs. 2016 will be a year of bravery.

In the weeks since I began this blog, I have been compelled to walk with bravery. I began a new job, and now work part time as a journalist for The Salvation Army. I have let go of commitments that were fundamental to my growth in the past year, so that I have space be more fruitful in my life. I have begun to open up textbooks, revisiting the basics of journalism. Plus, I’ve decided its time to educate myself more–in pop culture. Therefore, I’m about two-thirds through a biography about punk-rocker Dave Grohl, in an effort to broaden a musical repertoire dominated by 90s Hillsong and Australian Idol winners.

Brave. I was brave when I decided to put down roots in Australia and actually take a job here, when I’ve been planning on moving to the US for 3 years.

I was brave when in faith; I asked God if He could somehow get me to America in April. Three weeks later I had a new job, some amazing professional mentors and a workplace that was happy to release me so I could network in the USA for 20 days.

I was brave when I booked those flights to the US, trusting that God would give me the courage required to approach some amazing writers and creatives.

I am brave when I ask these people if they will give a journalist from Australia an hour of their time so I can learn from them.

And I am brave as I trust God to open up doors to these people I have long admired, and as I learn how to live and work between two countries.

It’s time for a new thing. A new chapter I have been begging God for since I returned to Australia in 2013, and which He has been preparing me for every day since.

I am brave, and in 2016 I will be brave.

About Jessica Morris

Jessica Morris is an internationally published journalist, writer and social media manager.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *