Be brave. Be bold. Become.

Happy June everyone! A lot has transpired since the last time you’ve heard from me! Perhaps one of the most transformative experiences since starting my new job, even. I recently moved into my first place since I completed my graduate degree. After living at home while I interviewed and job-searched, it was time to branch out and start a new journey of independence and self-discovery once I took my job at Bridgewater State. After a brief stint searching for somewhere that would allow me a doable commute to work and family, scouting out some gems and steering very clear of the less shiny options, I came upon the apartment that I now call my own. Now in my second month, I can say I’ve learned some lessons that I’d like to share. 

First, be brave. For me, being brave is being OK with silence. It’s learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. It’s understanding that being alone is not synonymous with being lonely. Before I moved, my biggest apprehension was that I would be just that, lonely. For those who know me, I’m a self-proclaimed extravert. I get my energy from being around other people and thrive on human interaction. The idea of living alone was liberating and terrifying. I am responsible for me, my decisions, my comings and goings. No one else depends on me, nor am I accountable to another person in my space. There is a certain amount of relief that comes with that. A profound freedom. 

However, images of getting home from work and sadly turning the key into an apartment that was silent, still and dark plagued me. Except here’s what really happens. Every day I come home and open my door and my apartment is exactly how I described it. It is silent and still and sometimes dark. And yet, instead of feeling plagued by this, more days than not, I am comforted. When I think about the times that silence and the idea of being still is referenced in the Bible, immediately Psalm 46:10-11 comes to mind, “Be still, and know that I am God!” Just that simple phrase is so easily transformed into a mantra for those who need support in welcoming the still. 

The more I looked into other passages that could provide comfort, I was struck by Isaiah 41:10-13, in which we read, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand, it is I Who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the One Who helps you.’” Instead of provoking our anxieties, our faith is with us to abate them. Knowing we are not truly alone reminds us that when we are still, we are at rest with something greater than we can even imagine.

Second, be bold. I am spending a lot of time being selective about how to make this place my own. I know what I like, what I don’t like, what I’m willing to purchase, and what will remain on the list of “things to buy in the hopefully near future.” I envision certain colors, certain patterns, and I sat on entirely too many couches before settling on just the right one. In a nutshell, I’m putting a lot of effort into saying yes to what I want — down to the groceries I buy each week to the art that goes up on my walls. 

In a similar way, I’m also choosing right now, this moment in time, to be bold with my faith. How do I come to recapture something that in a different phase of my life felt very different? At the heart of the matter, it’s time to make choices. It’s time to boldly ask the questions that are difficult, that are challenging, that are uncomfortable and be just as selective about owning what I choose for my faith life as I am with the adornments of my apartment. 

Finally, it is in being brave and being bold, that we become. We become all that we are meant to be, perhaps all that we already are but has simply gone unrealized, that is until something awakens it within us. By spending time with myself, by sitting in the quiet, I’ve learned that being brave means knowing that even when something is difficult or frightening, that I have the will to persist. Being bold is asking for what you need. It is believing what Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Now, becoming. Well, becoming is the process of recognizing that in the silence, the still, and the darkness I am not alone. 

Anchor columnist Renee Bernier is the coordinator for Academic Coaching at Bridgewater State University.

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