editor’s note :: i’m taking a break this month to work on a new manuscript. some of my closest friends have agreed to fill this space in my absence with their thoughts on bravery and what it means for our faith. you can read the rest of the posts here. today, andi shares her words. I don’t think it’s the decision that the people who know me would say was my most brave. They might consider shaving my head for people with cancer, or taking a camping trip to Canada by myself, or buying a farm as my most courageous act. I don’t see those acts as courageous; I see them as true.
But my first act of trueness, the first time I really did something big that was entirely because it was the right thing to do for me, the first thing that wasn’t wrapped up in the excuses of love and duty and sacrifice that we women are so often laden with, particularly in the church. The first thing I did entirely because it was about me living into who I was created to be – that was my bravest act.
In June 2009, I quit my job.
I worked for ten years to get this position – teaching English full-time – and just three years after I began, I quit. I used all kinds of reasons for why I was quitting – the administration didn’t respect its teachers, the workload was sucking the life out of me, the students didn’t value education as I wished they would. All of these reasons were true, but they weren’t THE reason.
THE reason was that it was time for me to do what I was made to do – write.
For years, I had pushed aside who I was as a writer to live into what I thought other people expected me to be – wife, teacher, earner. Of course, it is possible to be a writer and be these other things as well, but for years, I lived with the idea that in order to be a “good” person I had to give up what I most wanted.
I have learned better.
So quitting my job was the first step in a long journey that I am still taking. Some days, I feel that familiar twist in my chest that comes when I start to take a side path into someone else’s dreams. But more and more, I hear the whisper that says, “Andi, be who I made you to be.” More and more, I see that when I do this I am better able to love and serve and sacrifice because I am centered in who I am, who my Creator knit together.
Each day that I live more fully into myself, each day that I honor the person I am, I find that faithful Whisper guiding me to the peace and affirmation I always sought in those other things – relationships, teaching, earning. Now, my identity comes from my place as this particular beloved child of God. I - all of me – is beloved.
I breathe the grace of that gift every day.
So my most courageous act ? Being me. It was worth every sacrifice.
BIO :: Andi Cumbo is a writer, editor, and writing teacher who is currently working on a book about the people who were enslaved on the plantation where she was raised. She blogs (almost) daily at andilit.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @andilit.