Updated: Jan 7
By Ashely Chow
God's Brave Women - Ashely's Story
It was the age-old question: should I pursue my calling or should I stay in my lane? Do I run after passion or do I seek stability?
This time last year, I was on the cusp of graduating law school with absolutely no desire to spend the rest of my life sitting behind a desk, reading convoluted documents, and sending vague emails. Instead, a gentle nudge on my heart turned into full-blown knocking as I realised that I wanted to start embracing my love for words and my desire to sit with others in the thick of their mess and tell them they’re ok.
Deciphering God’s call on my life was only half the battle.
The other half was accepting it.
"Deciphering God’s call on my life was only half the battle. The other half was accepting it."
Even when I knew that telling stories and serving others with my words was what I wanted to do, I still wrestled with whether it was the ‘right’ thing to do.
What will people think of me?
How am I going to make money?
I’m barely qualified in this area.
What if people hate my words?
What if people read my words and go ‘who do you think you are?’
Who do I think I am to be doing something like this?
These thoughts continued to plague me anytime I tried to act on my desires. I would only speak about my writing in hushed whispers to close friends. I would press ‘publish’ on my blog without telling a soul. When people asked what I was going to do after graduation, I would offer up a flimsy response like ‘Oh, I’m still figuring things out.’
It was only when I began confiding these thoughts to a mentor that I was finally set straight.
She described it to me like this:
“When you’re about to do something bold and audacious, you’ll get two opposing feelings - a part of you wonders ‘who do you think you are?’ The other calmly reminds you that if it’s God’s will for you, then so be it. It’s up to you to decide which part you’re going to listen to”
I’m willing to bet that you too, wrestle with ‘who do you think you are’ thoughts; even when God’s word tells you otherwise.
When everything in life is going smoothly, it’s easy to champion the truth that we are children of God and that’s why we’re victorious. But when we’re asked to do something hard like step into a higher position or embrace our calling, we quickly retreat into our shell and whimper ‘who am I to do this?’
It was incredibly tempting for me to continue playing small and not tell anyone about my words. It was easy to stay in my shell where I wouldn’t be exposed to other people’s sympathetic smiles and comments like, ‘But, how will you make money?’
But then, I remember that if this God’s will then so be it. If this is what God wants me to do, then I have faith that it will happen. I had to be brave enough to trust that even when my feelings tell me to stay small, God is making a way for the desires he has placed on my heart.
"I had to be brave enough to trust that even when my feelings tell me to stay small, God is making a way for the desires he has placed on my heart."
Once I started trusting that this was God’s will, I was able to start boldly putting me and my writing out there. I started openly sharing my words and was blessed to meet a whole community of writers. I was asked to publish my words in multiple digital publications and newsletters. The first blog post I shared on LinkedIn landed me a full-time job.
One year on, I still wrestle daily with thoughts that hiss ‘who do you think you are?’ Sometimes, I let them win. There are still days where I don’t tell anyone how important my writing is to me. Even though I’ve been promoted to Head of Content at my job, I still tell people I’m ‘just’ a writer.
I say all this because I’m not perfect. I wish bravery came in the form of a patch that we could just stick on ourselves and be cured from fear. Instead, it’s a daily battle to remind myself that I am God’s beloved and I am called to be bold.
"I wish bravery came in the form of a patch that we could just stick on ourselves and be cured from fear. Instead, it’s a daily battle to remind myself that I am God’s beloved and I am called to be bold."
So, to the women who are currently wrestling with this tension, I see you and I understand you. My hope and encouragement for all of us is that we can bravely challenge the lie ‘who do you think you are?’ and start trusting that God’s will on our lives will prevail.
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
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Ashley Chow is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. She is a deeply creative soul and an imperfect human who loves weaving stories from her messy moments so others know they’re not alone. In her spare time, you can find her taking up space in cafes, striking up conversations with strangers or hosting solo dance parties in her living room. To read more of her imperfect stories, follow along at www.ashchow.com or Instagram @itsashchow.