Woman reading a book

WTML: Braving the Wilderness

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A few years ago, while I was writing a children’s curriculum for my church, I went on the hunt for a video about empathy. I wanted to be able to communicate to the kids what empathy was and encourage them to cultivate this habit at a young age. While scrolling through endless Youtube videos about empathy, I stumbled upon a video by Dr. Brené Brown that I’ve shared multiple times on this blog and will likely continue to share (you can watch it here).

Since that time, I’ve been a huge Brené Brown fan but Braving the Wilderness is the first of her books I’ve read. So, if you have any suggestions for which one I should read next, I am all ears. And, full disclosure, I’m still not finished with this one. It’s a book that requires me to sit and think and meditate. I need to chew on the ideas and concepts and assess my life in the light of the truths contained in the book. It’s going to take me a while to finish and I’m so excited to continue this deep dive.

“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” 

What a powerful statement! I see this as a beautiful depiction of the Gospel. The church is often seen from the outside and sometimes felt from the inside as an institution responsible for the enforcement of a behavior modification plan. The overwhelming message that outsiders imagine comes from the church is “you’re not good enough, you need to change who you are to belong here”. And, if the church is saying that, God must be saying that as well.

In high school, a fellow student who was rather opinioned remarked something to the effect of “I hate religion because it turns people into mindless followers; they become like sheep or robots. Why would anyone want that?”

At the time, I wasn’t even sure what I believed so I wasn’t able to dialogue with her about this topic in a meaningful way, but I think Brené‘s quote speaks to the heart of this student’s problem with religion.

When we meet Jesus, when we’re reunited with God, we’re able to become who we were created to be: image-bearers of God. We’re made new (2 Cor 5:17), we’re made alive (Eph 2:1-6), and we’re made complete (Col 2:9-12). We don’t change so we can become someone worthy, we change because we know we are worthy.

Are you striving to be someone you’re not? Do you think that God will accept you or love you more if you just do this one thing better? Are you trying to change your way into belonging?

I tend to fall into this category because I like being control and I enjoy earning what I have. This idea of freely receiving makes me extremely uncomfortable. The idea of “being” instead of “achieving” is hard for me. But that’s part of the journey I’m on right now. I’m immensely thankful that this book is one of my companions as I’m learning to rest in God instead of relying on my own strength.

Check out Braving the Wilderness today and learn about true belonging.

Have you read any of Brené Brown’s books? Any recommendations on which I should read next?

What do you think about this idea of “being who you are” instead of “changing who you are”?

Don’t forget! Pick up your copy of His Story: A Devotional on the Character of God today!

Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 


    1. Brene Brown always brings it, her writing is so deep and on point, it’s well worth the read. She will hopefully be an excellent resource as you continue unlearning the unhealthy patterns you may have picked up over time. Enjoy!


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