t is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” (From Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech)

These words are key to Brené Brown’s amazing work.  Daring Way™ challenged me to get into the arena of life—to live vulnerably and with courage, courage to live “with my whole heart.”  She is absolutely right, there is no connection without vulnerability, and it takes incredible courage to “show up…be seen…live brave.”  But what happens when it’s not the “triumph of high achievement” we experience, but gut wrenching failure?  It’s one thing to talk about daring greatly and failing, it’s something very different to find ourselves face down in the dirt floor of the arena, having failed miserably.  Whether it’s our personal, family, community, or work lives, failure is inevitable, and it hurts so bad some of us never dare to really live again.  Failure and breakdowns don’t have to end that way.  God can use them to do the best work in us.

Brené Brown’s latest book and the video-course she created is all about the process of getting knocked down by life and circumstances, yet rising stronger than we were before.  Brown discovered it is a spiritual process with three identifiable stages she calls:  The reckoning…the rumble…the revolution.  If you found her Daring Way™ workshop helpful, I can guarantee this not only builds on where we left off there but takes it to a whole new level of learning to live our lives as God created us to live.

I’m hoping you will join me for two days that will make a real difference in your life.  I’m grateful The Presentation School is opening their doors for us Friday night, from 6-9pm, then Saturday from 8:30am-about 3:30pm.  The cost is $50, and includes a light dinner, continental breakfast, and lunch, as well as the materials.  Tickets are available in the church office, the next two Sunday mornings between worship services, or by calling the St. Andrew office at 707-996-6024.

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