Changing the Words We Call Ourselves

I’m not sure I ever saw myself as brave. As a child, they called me “peureuse” which is the French version of “scaredy-cat”-without the cat. I have a lot of memories of being afraid and very few (if any) of being what I would qualify as brave.  Then one day my daughter gave me the gift of words, boldly adding to the glossary of terms I call myself. I stared at the letter penned by her hand and it etched itself onto my heart.

“Thank you for being so strong and kind and brave and committed.” Whoa.

I was on my way out the door-running late-when she handed me this card. That girl can see things I can’t see. Like sunsets. She was always snapping pictures (and showing me), excited at beauty that can barely be contained within the limits of a photograph. I was limited in what I could see so I would smile in agreement thinking, meh, it’s nice. And, when I read this card? I couldn’t say meh, that’s nice because I knew deep down that her seeing was un-blinding me.


I think we walk around with a blindness to our remarkableness. We see ourselves through the cloudy lens of self-doubt. We’re myopic and so our glossary of terms is sorely lacking and tunnel visioned. I’m realizing more and more how much we need the warmth of a friend (or a daughter) and the bright light of love to dissipate the shadows. We need others and we need the Spirit to open our eyes and expand our glossary.

I’ve been pretty blind to a lot of things.

I know that God opens our eyes. There are stories about Jesus restoring sight to the blind, usually involving spit and mud. I think we all need spit-and-mud opening of our soul-eyes.

So we can see that we are already brave, already kind, already strong.

Words open eyes and seeing unlocks new words. It’s a beautiful cycle that wakes us up to the beauty of our lives. And, I think that’s the best gift we can give our families, God, ourselves. To see the beauty of our lives.

What are you missing because you can’t see that beauty?

This summer I had a spit and mud moment. My youngest child fell into a campfire and her wounds, her pain, her reaction opened me (cracked me open, really) to see everything in a new way. I went from shrugging off sunsets to chasing sunsets, tears streaming down my face. I had a very tidy, safe route mapped out for my evening walks. Now my path is erratic as I follow after a glimpse of this wonder I had never really noticed before. I see people around me, my neighbours, my children, my husband in new ways. It’s still not 20/20 vision, but I can see things I was blind to and I’m running all the way back to my family to tell them the news, praising God all the way there.


You are already beautiful. The world around us is already beautiful. Yes, that beauty is interspersed between crappy challenges, and hurt, and injustice and pain but it is there.

And, I want to see it, to change the words in my glossary of terms I call myself. I think that’s a good place to start. That, and sunset chasing. I know there will be days when the clouds will prevent me from seeing all that beauty. We will have those days right? I will try, on cloudy days, to remember what lies just behind the clouds.


Yesterday was overcast so I couldn’t see the sunset. But, a friend in the next town over posted a gorgeous photo of the sunset that the clouds near my home covered up. It was breathtaking and it reminded me that it was there all along. Behind the clouds, hiding, but still there.

So, thanks for being brave and thanks for being all the amazing things you might not see.

Here’s to seeing the beauty of our lives and discovering new words to call ourselves.


What words do you call yourself? How do you see the world around you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


  • James Prescott

    Wow. Just wow. Love this so much.

    • Julie-Anne Mauno

      Thanks James! Exciting that it is resonating with others :)