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As a young Christian woman, do you struggle with insecurities and feel bogged down by the pressures and expectations of society? Do you find it challenging to take care of yourself and be a faithful daughter of God?
Emily Wilson Hussem used to feel the same way. In Go Bravely, the Catholic musician and speaker offers twenty bits of advice that will equip you to tackle your deepest concerns about relationships, self-esteem, and dating while strengthening your faith at the same time. Here we are excited to share with you an excerpt from her latest hit, Go Bravely.
Throughout the first few years of high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to “do” with my life. There were endless possibilities of careers to choose from, and I didn’t know which one I was most passionate about. I signed up for an elective video-production class on a whim my senior year, thinking it would be fun. I had no idea that class would change the course of my life forever. Through this class and the passion of my wonderful teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Gillen, I became very drawn to the field of journalism, video, and media. I began to have lofty dreams of becoming a sports reporter for ESPN after spending many memorable Sundays and Monday nights watching football with my dad while growing up.
I began to research colleges with prestigious journalism schools, and one school that kept coming up in my research was Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. ASU boasted the best journalism school on the West Coast and was very affordable compared to most of the other schools on my list, so I went on a fun visit in the spring with my dad and felt it was a great fit for me. I applied, was accepted, and after having attended small private schools my entire life, I set out for ASU, a place where young people of faith were an extreme minority.
It was unconventional, and somewhat confusing to people, that I chose to attend a large public school, well known for its party scene, as a young woman who loved God and wanted to follow him.
Throughout high school, I chose to live my faith and dedicated myself to making good choices and trying to follow Christ in every aspect of my life. Attending Arizona State, however, required a bravery that I had not anticipated in continuing on this path. Stepping onto my college campus was a massive shift from everything that I was accustomed to in the small, intimate communities I had grown up in. Faith life was not prevalent at all, but in the beginning of my freshman year, I found a chapel on my campus.
It was an interfaith chapel located in the center of campus, called the Danforth Chapel, and it was conveniently located within a two-minute walk from my dorm. Every day a priest from the Newman Center would come to celebrate a Catholic Mass in this chapel at 11:40 a.m., and this fit in my schedule, so I tried to attend every day, as it was something my mother raised me to love by taking me to church every day with her as a child. The most difficult part of getting to this Mass on campus, however, had nothing to do with scheduling difficulties:
The biggest challenge was mustering up the bravery to walk through the door of the chapel when I knew everyone around could see me going in to pray.
There were days when I felt utterly embarrassed to be living my faith and to be seen walking through those doors to a Mass that was attended by a maximum of twelve people on a crowded day. As a young woman who was active in youth group in high school, I couldn’t believe the difficulty of this one small act on some days. Each time I put my hand on the doorknob and felt self-conscious about going in to pray, I began to say a simple prayer quietly but out loud: “Jesus, help me to be brave.” I did it again and again—every day for months—and it was through the act of opening this door every day that I learned a lesson that I tucked away in my heart for the rest of my life:
Sometimes even the smallest acts of living out faith require great bravery.
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According to a recent study, “Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem,” researchers found that 75% of young women between the ages of 8-17 feel as if they do not “measure up” and view sex as a means to increase their value.Read More