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I feel like a hypocrite sometimes. People often tell me how brave I am. My Uncle Jesse calls me, “Gutsy Chick.” But to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever felt brave or gutsy in my life. I’ve never felt safe – physically or emotionally. And I have to admit that more times than not, I’m not trusting God in my life for the things that I can easily trust God for in other people’s lives.

Francis Chan says this:

“The truth is that the Spirit of the living God is guaranteed to ask you to go somewhere or do something you wouldn’t normally want or choose to do. The Spirit will lead you to the way of the cross, as He led Jesus to the cross, and that is definitely not a safe or pretty or comfortable place to be. The Holy Spirit of God will mold you into the person you were made to be. This often incredibly painful process strips you of selfishness, pride, and fear.” – Francis Chan, “Forgotten God”

I look back over the years and laugh at all of the things that I’ve done that were so much braver than I actually am.

  • I was looking for a man to make me feel safe. I found one, but after a while, I could see that the relationship was all wrong for me. So, even though I was wearing his diamond and planning our wedding, I gave him the ring back, broke up with him, and walked away.
  • I was twenty-five years old, barely out of college, and so broke I couldn’t pay attention. But when I was offered the chance to go to Honduras as a translator with a medical team, I couldn’t say no (even though I had no idea where the money was going to come from since I was only making $14,000 a year and could barely afford groceries). But I said yes, the money came, and I went. And I went. And I went. Honduras. Argentina. Dominican Republic. Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kenya. South Sudan.
  • I was twenty-nine years old, on a meager income, and living in an apartment, barely making ends meet. A realtor friend offered to help me buy a house. I just knew I couldn’t afford it, but my friend helped me through the process, and a few months later, I was paying the mortgage (less than my rent had been!) on a brand new house on an acre out in the country.
  • I was thirty-four years old and I knew I had stayed at my job past the time I should have left it. When the situation deteriorated and I realized that I had no choice but to leave my job, as I was praying one day, I felt a very strong urging that I was supposed to quit my job, sell my house, and move to the Pacific Northwest (where God had allowed me to develop a strong core group of close friends). I thought that I’d lost my mind, but in spite of my fear, I decided to put a fleece out for God. I would put my house on the (nearly dead) market and see if I got any offers on it. The weekend before I was going to put my house on the market, my brother and sister-in-law offered to buy it. Four months later, I drove 3000 miles to start a new life.

I look back and I shake my head and laugh because honestly, I was terrified most of the time I was going through these processes. People were saying, “You’re so brave!” And I was shaking in my boots! But because I strongly felt that I was doing what I was supposed to do, I kept walking in those shaky shoes.

When I handed Owen back his ring and walked away to a future that had just been completely torn apart and was completely unknown, I didn’t feel victorious. I felt scared and empty. But I believed God might have something better for me.

When I stood in medical clinics in third-world countries trying to give medical treatment to patients whose language I could barely understand, I didn’t feel brave. I felt completely inadequate. But I was willing to simply try.

When I signed the papers on a house, never having believed I’d ever own one of my own after growing up in parsonages, I had no idea what the future held for me. But I was curious enough to sign the papers anyway.

When I walked to my car in my parents’ driveway in Burlington, North Carolina, and Grandma Ruby had to walk away so I couldn’t see her tears. And my Mama choked up. And I got in the car and drove across Western North Carolina, forcing myself not to turn back and run back to my Dad’s house, I didn’t feel like a gutsy chick. The pain and fear almost took my breath away, and the tears ran down my face like I’d never cried before. But I believed I had something to offer to the world outside of the one I’d always known. And I hoped that God would give me what I needed to make it happen.

I only had to have faith for one step at a time.

One patient at a time.

One mortgage payment at a time.

One mile at a time.

And I promise you that I was not the one with the courage or the strength. Because if I’d been trusting my own courage and strength, I would have kept Owen’s ring. I would never have traveled with the medical teams. Or bought a house. And I wouldn’t be living in the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived, with the most amazing people that I can’t imagine not having met.

My friend Rick T. says, “Do it scared.” And that’s what I’m doing. But I’m praying that every day I do it scared, I’m less scared than the day before. More filled with faith. And as Chan says, more like the person I was made to be.

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV

This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Francis Chan’s book, Forgotten God. You do not have to read the book to throw in your ten cents about the topic du jour. Go ahead! Share your thoughts! And if you have written a response to this week’s chapter, go visit my friend and co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen, at Connecting to Impact, to link up at the widget.

About Sarah Salter


  1. Rick T. is correct (it must be a Rick thing 🙂 ) – do it; scared or not, feeling brave or not.

    I’m loving the book, but I have to admit that the only reason I chose not to participate actively in the book club study is that I prefer to read in big chunks at at time – I’ll be returning to this one.

  2. You Uncle called you a “Gutsy Chick” and the Rangers called you……. well never mind.. But you and GOD do a good job.. I have seen it in you.. but as John Wayne put it “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway”.. That’s sort of what we do everyday..and with God and the Holy Spirits help it makes it a lot easier.. Keep up the good work and remember the scripture you quoted.. Philippians 1:6.

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Rick, I included his initial because I didn’t want you to get confused and think, “When did I say that?!” 🙂

    And as long as you show up occasionally to comment, we’ll forgive your lack of posting on this one. 😉

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Barbara, SHHHHHH! Don’t tell everything you know! 🙂

  5. I definitely know what you mean. I’m not the “take charge” kind of person with endless courage. I’m the quiet, reflective, contemplative person, but God has led me to do some incredible things I never would have dreamed of. That courage certainly didn’t originate with me and I’m glad you’re filled with the same courage–His courage. Good stuff, Sarah. Thanks.

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, you make me smile. 🙂

  7. It was great to get some insight into your past and present journey. Wow, I would certainly consider you a “gutsy chick.” Certainly more gutsy than I’ve ever was or is or hope to be. I’m glad you found the “place” where you were meant to be.

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