What does it mean to “be bold and just be you”?
What is #beboldandjustbeyou anyway?
I have gotten this question many times since I adopted it as my mantra over five and a half years ago.
I’ve always struggled with an inner dialogue that goes something like this:
You’re too much.
People have better things to do than help you.
You’re hard to love.
You’re stupid. (It’s especially embarrassing to admit that one.)
Can you relate?
Those lies (yes, that’s what they are) have affected my self-esteem, my relationships, my success, my faith—seemingly, everything.
Ironically, while dancing with those demons, I also began to have a deep internal sense that I was different for a reason. That maybe God had a purpose for me that was tied to some of those lies I battled. That my difficult childhood riddled with abandonment, fear, feeling unloved and approval-seeking behavior was not for nothing.
It’s not coincidental that I began hearing this incredibly quiet whisper in my latter high school days. It was after I came to faith, trusting Jesus with my heart and life, putting faith in a good God who I now realize had always been with me, protecting and caring for me despite the hardships I had experienced. As I graduated high school and started college I was introduced to other Christians who seemed to center their whole lives around their faith. This was new to me.
I was drawn to it. Until then, I identified as a Christian, but that really just meant I loved my church and faithfully attended all the activities there (potlucks and puppets being my favs). Now living on my own, I desired what I saw in this new group of believers: a desire to read the Bible (and actually get something from it) and a very personal relationship with God.
God is so faithful. When we seek Him, He meets us. He loves answering prayers like, “Are you real, God? Do you love me even though I do (or don’t do) you-fill-in-the-blank? Do you care about the little things in my life or just that I avoid the big sins?” Oh sis, He’s so personal. I’ve seen it time and time again in my life. I can’t wait to tell you more of what He’s done for me. That’s part of why I created this space!
I say all of this, in this blog post, because I know you’re wondering…what does God say about this idea of “be bold and just be you?” I’ve been asked by many well-meaning mentors and friends if my mantra is biblical. And honestly, I respect and appreciate the question.
So, I asked God. I believed that the idea came from Him, as a personal message to my unsure heart battling insecurity but also sensing a calling. I had worked in ministry for a decade, so I certainly didn’t want to do or say anything that did not honor Him, or worse, to encourage another person not to!
I read this:
Philippians 1:12-14 ESV
The Advance of the Gospel
12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Philippians 1:12 MSG
12-14 I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.
*Another translation appears at the end of this piece. I love reading multiple translations to gain greater understanding when I study the Bible!
Now, remember when I said God was personal? As I pulled these verses from the archives of my Evernote app to put them here, I found tears streaking my face. Imprisonment is beyond personal imagery for me. I felt “imprisoned” during a lot of my childhood and at times in my first marriage. The term has even greater weight to me now because of the things my now-husband faced in his youth. His grace story, the 360 turn he’s made after following Jesus, is much like the apostle Paul writing the passage. Only God can work all things for good and He does that for His people. And that gives us boldness to be our true selves.
If you need more proof, I love this verse because it hits me right in the feels:
Psalm 138:3 NLT
On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.
God made me love the word “bold.” He made me the way I am in every nook and cranny. He gave me the story and personality I have for His purpose. I honor Him when I confidently walk in that belief, pointing back to His goodness and faithfulness whenever I can.
And, dear friend, He wants that for you too.
Your passions, your quirks, your sense of humor, your pet peeves, your hobbies, your victories—lean into them and #beboldandjustbeyou.
God writes your story but you can choose to embrace it or deny it. To be embarrassed by it or grow through it. Will you shrink back in fear or press in with fortitude?
I hope you’ll choose the first ones, and join me to go all in on your story. Boldly.
*Philippians 1:12-14 TPT
12 I want you to know, dear ones, what has happened to me has not hindered, but helped my ministry of preaching the gospel, causing it to expand and spread to many people. 13 For now the elite Roman guards and government officials overseeing my imprisonment have plainly recognized that I am here because of my love for the Anointed One. 14 And what I’m going through has actually caused many believers to become even more courageous in the Lord and to be bold and passionate to preach the Word of God, all because of my chains.
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