It’s Time to Be Brave and Bold

Caitlyn ScaggsBy Caitlyn Scaggs9 Minutes

Excerpt taken from Worth It & Wonderful: Inspiration for Christian Women to Live Bravely and Boldly by Caitlyn Scaggs

It’s Time to Be Brave and Bold

How did you get here? How would you describe your journey to this exact place and time?

One of my favorite aspects of getting to know people is learning about how their story has evolved in both expected and unexpected ways. I’m so curious about the twists and turns that have informed who you have become over the course of your life. Think about them and consider what some of your major milestone moments have been.

As I reflect on my own path, I realize that my commitment to embracing self-ownership and personal complexities is largely due to the variety of distinct roles I have taken on over my lifetime. Brace yourself, there have been many!

I’m a wife, a mother, a friend, but I’ve also been a police officer, an entrepreneur, and a business leader across different industries. I regularly appear on the news and work for a non-profit that helps fight human trafficking. There has been so much change running through the narrative of my life that I have periodically wondered—am I really the same person who went to the police academy all those years ago?

I wonder if you ever feel the same way—like life has gone in such unexpected directions that you have to squint and stare really hard in the mirror to even recognize yourself anymore? Finding myself in that position (more than once) has made me think hard—really hard—about what has been consistent across all of those seasons and roles. Reflecting on the twists and turns, ups and downs, and joys and hardships of my journey has resulted in clarity about what exactly has led me to a place of authentic living.

Would you like to know what my big “Ah-ha” has been?

It’s the wonderful truth that I get to be who God made me to be, not who the world says I am! That may sound overly simple, but let me invite you into the light bulb moment that made it all so clear!

I’m a bookworm so it’s no surprise to me that reading helped flip the switch! In the iconic business book, “Built to Last” by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras,¹ the authors share their extensive study of companies that have been wildly successful across time. Those winning companies were then contrasted with others from the same industry that were good but not great. The core differentiating factors were shared, discussed, and explored.

One of the factors they uncovered, that helped the great rise above the good, was rejecting the “tyranny of the or” and embracing the “genius of the and.” An example of this is a business that embraces both low-price and high-quality products; they don’t choose one or the other. At the time, I read these words I was an entrepreneur who was nurturing my startup marketing agency. The concept felt important as I dreamed about what the future of our company would look like. But I also realized Collins and Porras were on to something that applies not just to successful corporations but also to each of us as individuals.

There is genius in your personal “ands”—when you can embrace realities that others might argue are opposite and exclusive qualities. For example, there is power in your ability to be both lovely and fierce at the same time. You don’t need to feel compelled to be one or the other, which would be the “tyranny of the or.” It’s possible for you to lean into both.

It isn’t just these iconic business leaders who are suggesting you should reject limiting exclusivities. The Bible itself is full of paradox and contrast that are used to illustrate the transformative power of a life deeply rooted in God’s truth.

The first shall be last and the last shall be first.
—Matthew 20:16

In our weakness we are made strong.
—2 Corinthians 12:10

The light shines in the darkness.
—John 1:5

Live in the world but not of the world.
—John 17:14–18

The old is made new.
—2 Corinthians 5:17

Beauty for ashes.
—Isaiah 61:3

Having nothing, yet possessing everything.
—2 Corinthians 6:10b

It’s clear that contrast and complexities are woven throughout scripture as a means of affirming our innate value, underscoring God’s deep love for us, and helping us, and helping us better understand who we were made to be. The powerful paradoxes found throughout scripture affirm that we were created for a life of purpose.

And yet, it seems that women largely live feeling pressure to simplify themselves. We experience too many choices that are stark in contrast, one or the other, either/or. In response to this forced decision-making, we inevitably wrestle with wanting to have it all. Then we can feel guilt and shame for wanting to have it all. We pursue all the things the world tells us we should, then we enter a place of feeling burnt out, overworked, and underutilized. Our days may feel devoid of joy and in our hearts we remain hungry.

I wonder if instead of choosing what feels true to who you are, you instead choose what the world tells you that you should choose. Or do you feel guilty because deep within yourself you sense that God has more for you and you know you aren’t pursuing it?

It could be that you are choosing between what you perceive to be mutually exclusive options. Could it be that you are settling? Are you allowing your decisions to be made by pressure instead of your purpose? You can’t forget that God promises He has more in mind for you than you could ever imagine.²

With that realization in mind, I suggest you ask yourself why you would spend your time on Earth settling for a mediocre and “going through the motions” type of living when you could instead choose vibrant and purpose-driven living.

A key to pursuing an outstanding life marked by lasting impact is rooting your identity in God’s definition of who you are, rather than a worldly definition of who you are. This will propel you forward with purpose and joy. Living authentically with faith as your compass enables you to leave the maximum impact.

Footnotes

¹ Collins, J. C., & Porras, J. I. (1997). Built to last: Successful habits of visionary companies. New York: HarperBusiness.
² Ephesians 3:20

Order your copy of Worth It & Wonderful: Inspiration for Christian Women to Live Bravely and Boldly by Caitlyn Scaggs