Do you find fear paralyzes you from speaking truth, living boldly, and encouraging others? If so, you are not alone! Please join me in welcoming Kelly Johnson to the blog today!
Kelly Johnson is a counselor, coach, writer, speaker, retreat leader, and human rights advocate. She has a Masters degree in Social Work and worked for years as a counselor in the mental health and addictions field. She is passionate about social justice issues and believe Jesus calls us to take care of the vulnerable and fight for the oppressed. Johnson leads a weekly bible study and serves on the Board of Directors at The Lamb Center, a day shelter for homeless individuals in her community.
A blogger since 2005, Kelly maintains a following of readers on her monthly contributions to The Glorious Table and her church blog, Today I Saw God. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Today Parenting. Being Brave: A 40-Day Journey to the Life God Dreams for You is her first book.
She has been married for more than 30 years to her high school sweetheart, Steve, and is the proud mom of two daughters in their twenties, Alexandra and Brooke. In her free time, she likes to sing, garden, read and spend time with friends and family. She also loves to travel and is always up for an adventure to a new place!
Her debut book, Being Brave, released in December 2017 from Abingdon.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
God has made us brave, not fearful beings. In a forty-day devotional format, author and blogger Kelly Johnson invites you to consider a new way of thinking about what it means to be brave and challenges you to seek a greater intimacy with God and the people God has placed in your life.
Through Scripture, stories, prayers, and thought-provoking questions, you will recognize the seeds of divinely inspired bravery and learn the strength found in community. Using letters of the word brave as a guide, Being Brave highlights what God’s Word has to say about the characteristics of bravery: Bold, Resilient, Authentic, Vulnerable, and Engaged and Empowered by the Spirit.
Banish the fear that holds you back. You are a brave soldier!
Hi Kelly! Welcome to the blog!
Kelly: Apples, except for the occasional bag of Clementines. Peeling oranges is too much work!
Kelly: Winter! Fireplaces, reading a good book under a blanket, Christmas, snow, gorgeous boots, coziness… I think the Danish call it hygge.
Carrie: Yes! I fully embrace this!
Kelly: Dogs, for their unconditional love and never ending positive attitude. Cats can be surly sometimes, and I don’t need rejection from my pet.
Carrie: haha!! This is so true.
Kelly: Coffee; the smell, flavored creamers, and the emotional connection I have with coffee and my morning rituals.
Carrie: If only coffee tasted as good as it smells…
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Kelly: I guess I would want my superpower to be access to exactly the right words in the moment: words to comfort a friend, words to heal a place of tension and conflict, words to paint a picture of a feeling, or words to write a perfect description of something indescribable. Clearly, I love words. 🙂
Carrie: I love this answer!
Q: Tell me some good books you’ve read recently.
- Tell Me More: The 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. It’s the kind of book that makes me want to buy a copy for every single person I know. It is also the kind of book that both inspires me and makes me a little envious as a writer—the kind of honest, funny, vulnerable, truth-telling, spiritual-but-not-smug words that make me want to keep writing.
- I am loving everything by Fredrik Backman right now. I just finished Britt-Marie was Here and it was simply lovely. I think all of his books are good for the heart.
- I also recently re-read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, which I do every few years. I love C.S. Lewis. Chronicles of Narnia and the recurring character Aslan draw me closer to the heart of God in ways that are hard for me to explain.
Carrie: ‘Tell Me More’ is going into my Amazon cart. Also, Narnia was one of the first series I read that taught me how powerfully story can reflect The Story. Also also, I just found out that Tom Hanks is going to be starring in the movie adaptation of another Backman book ‘A Man Called Ove’!
Q: If I sneaked a peek in your purse right now (which I would never do, I promise!), what would it tell me about you?
Kelly: It would reveal to you that I am messy and unorganized, but surprisingly well-prepared for a Zombie apocalypse or an unexpected drop in blood sugar. It would also tell you that I am forever in search of the perfect lipstick and that I have a tendency to sign up for every frequent shopper card, but can never find them when I need them. That last revelation is dripping with spiritual metaphors and is probably fodder for a future blog post.
Carrie: Hahaha I and my 5000 partially-punched now-defunct Family Christian Store shopper cards can relate.
Q: Why write about being brave? Why was that important to you?
Kelly: Many of us are feeling the tug on our heart to be braver, but feel we are missing something essential to realize those dreams. I believe God already named us brave and I want to help other women embrace that truth. The Being Brave journey is for women who feel stuck and want to get un-stuck. This book is for the woman who dreams of a life of deeper purpose and passion, even though she isn’t sure she has anything significant to contribute. This book is for the woman who feels lonely, even though she has 750 friends on Facebook, and for the woman who loves Jesus, even though she doesn’t always feel like she fits in at church. This book is for the woman longing for deeper connection to God and to other women like her. This book is for the woman who needs someone to tell her she is brave, her story matters, and the party won’t be complete without her.
Carrie: Amen & Amen. I love that so much.
Q: What is something that surprised you the most while researching Being Brave?
Kelly: I was delighted and somewhat surprised by how much I loved the process and the ways in which God met me during the moments I was struggling to choose just the right word, find the perfect scripture or re-arrange the content in a way that made more sense. Although it was hard work, I felt that God was guiding the process every step of the way. Although God’s faithfulness in equipping shouldn’t surprise me at this point in my life, it certainly delighted and comforted me to see Him show up so powerfully. I am forever grateful.
Carrie: He is so faithful, and you’re right – even though we really shouldn’t be surprised by that faithfulness, we still are and I think that speaks to our hearts just simply delighting in His Presence.
Q: How might being brave look different for different people?
Kelly: Being brave or having courage means something different to all of us. We would all agree that a person on a battlefield requires a large degree of bravery. Facing a diagnosis of cancer or sitting with the pain of losing someone you love requires great courage as well. However, the need for bravery is not always black and white. What might be terrifying or hard for some might be easy for others.
For many of us, risking vulnerability and allowing ourselves to be seen as inadequate can be scary. For some of us, we are fearful of the unknown, of loss, of change, of that which we can’t control, of appearing foolish, and of not being able to protect those we love. Is being brave in those circumstances even related to the kind of bravery required to lay down your life in a combat zone? What does this other kind of everyday courage look like?
Being brave might include any or all of the following:
- Being willing to move forward, even when I’m scared.
- Living creatively, chasing my dreams, and not settling for safe.
- Being driven more by my curiosity than by my fears.
- Being vulnerable and authentic in my relationships, even though I can’t control the outcome.
- Trusting other people, even though I have been hurt.
- Being honest about who I am and what I want.
- Admitting when I am wrong and taking responsibility for my mistakes.
- Taking risks and being willing to fail.
- Asking for help.
- Believing my story is an important part of the larger story God is telling.
- Embracing progress, not perfection.
Carrie: I love that being brave doesn’t mean not being scared … but doing something in spite of fear.
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Being Brave?
Kelly: God has named you brave. Being brave is your birthright as a child of God. You already have everything you need to live a life of passion, sacrifice, meaning, and purpose. You don’t need anything else to be ready. Many of us have been playing it safe when God wants us to be bold and hiding from one another when God wants us to live in community. Courage is more often experienced in community, and naming one another brave is the path back to God and to the bigger, braver life we desire.
Carrie: Yes! You are speaking my heart’s language, Kelly!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Kelly: In addition to my life coaching business, I will be leading an online study of Being Brave during Lent beginning on Ash Wednesday. Along with the opportunity to walk through the 40 days of content in the book together, I will post weekly teaching videos with some new content I have been developing. I will also be leading Being Brave retreats locally and around the country in the coming year.
Thank you, Kelly! What a powerful and timely topic for all of us!
What about you? What would being brave look like for you?