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  • Writer's pictureLaura Greer

Courage, Curiosity and (Dis)Comfort

Updated: May 22


woman standing in front of Duke University Collegiate Gothic Building
Hello from Duke Divinity!

Friends, the encouragement you receive here to be brave and bold, to have courage and embrace a growth mindset comes in part from my own journey of wrestling with the chaos, uncertainty and fear of change.


There comes a time when the comfort of the status quo no longer serves us. A time when we come to realize life has more in store for us, but we've got to do some of the leg work to find out what that is.


A time to nurture our curiosity and start working out those courage muscles.


A time when things feel off in some way and the comfort turns into discomfort.


A time comes when we get fed up with the restrictions placed upon our lives, whether they be from others or self-imposed.


But those restrictions feel safe and the leg work seems daunting.


That's where we make our first mistake, and that, my friend, is the moment we can turn things around!


Too often we try to figure out this grandiose picture of what's next, and fail to see the small step that may be placed right in front of us. We look around at everyone else's journeys and see what we perceive to be their great strides, without knowing the smaller steps over time that it took for them to get there. And in so doing, we lose focus and miss opportunities.


Opportunities that may not look the way we expect them to look.


Ah, the back road detours we sometimes take. But there's always a Divine GPS redirecting us to the destination of our most authentic self. The cool thing is, those back roads can supply us with some pretty interesting experiences and tools along the way.


Nothing is lost my friends.


If we can keep our focus on that next step, and be open-minded enough to realize it may not look exactly as we expect, the journey will continue. We'll grow, we'll get closer to our goals, and we'll learn to embrace change rather than fear it.


Our courage and curiosity will grow.


I wrote this a week ago as I was about to take a courageous next step. What began years ago when I felt a (dis)comfort and an urge to simply buy a used book on life coaching (my first baby step) eventually led me to the campus of Duke University last week for their Summer Institute for Reconciliation.


 

What's the Big Deal?


If you had told me when I bought that book years ago that it would lead me to this place, I probably would have tucked tail. I didn't have the courage. It would have been too overwhelming for me at the time.


Some of you may wonder why would that be such a big deal. Allow me to explain.

My only encounter with Duke until adulthood was a program I experienced in elementary school for what they deemed "Gifted and Talented" students. I've only been able to find snippets of what that meant over the years. Interestingly, I've learned that many women with ADHD were in programs like this. Honestly, it's probably one of the things that gave us the skills we needed to get through school with undiagnosed ADHD.


I was also slated to be a first generation college student. That qualified me in high school for the Upward Bound program, where I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I actually wanted to go to Duke!


And then the burnout hit. I suspect a large part of it was not having the supports I needed as a neurodiverse person, but ADHD wasn't widely understood or diagnosed at that time, especially in girls. I had never heard of it. ADHD wasn't even divided into the subtypes until the year after I graduated high school. It was another seven years before the American Academy of Pediatrics published its first treatment guidelines.


We didn't know what we didn't know, but what I did know was that I was at my wit's end from the pressure I felt to perform in school. I experienced burnout and chose a less rigorous career path.


Twenty-nine years after my high school graduation, I received the diagnosis. It was awesome, like finding a bag full of puzzle pieces you've been missing all along. It made so much of my life make sense!


My second encounter with Duke was when my mom was sent to their Department of Neurology. Mom was experiencing symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, but they would come and go.


We arrived with the hope of treatable answers. We left with a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia and the defeat and grief of a family knowing we had limited time left with mom.

It's still a lot of baggage for me to work through.


 

Comparison is a Trap


I'm sharing this to emphasize how different our experiences can be and why we shouldn't try to compare our journeys as we grow. What looks like a simple week on a college campus as a normal experience for probably thousands of people, is anything but for me.


Stepping foot onto the campus was both exciting and utterly terrifying. Exciting in that I never imagined buying that one book on coaching would lead me to such an experience at the very school that tried to help kids like me navigate the world. Terrifying in not knowing whether I'd be triggered like I am in moments I think back to a day that devastated our family.


But I CHOSE to take this next step in faith that there's purpose in me being here and now. I CHOSE to do the hard thing because I know there's a reason I picked up that book. There's a reason I just happened to find out about this program when they visited our area a little over a year ago, and thought, "Sure, why not?"


It was an opportunity that looked nothing like I expected. I wasn't searching for this. It's one of those steps that was literally placed before me and I had the choice of which way to go.

And you know what? I've come to find that my curiosity combined with a little courage now outweighs my desire for comfort.


Take that, status quo!


 

Courage and Curiosity are Your Friends


Courage and curiosity can lead us to those unexpected opportunities. Maybe it's a simple web search to look up something up you've wanted to check out for a while now. Maybe it's buying a book to gain some in-depth knowledge on a topic that keeps coming to mind. Maybe it's trying a new healthy recipe or a new appliance to help you cook healthier. Maybe it's an exercise app or video. Maybe it's journaling, prayer or meditation to dig deeper into your spiritual journey.


Have courage and just start somewhere!


Where will your curiosity lead you today?🧐❤️

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Guest
May 27
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I really like how you talk about courage and curiosity and how these can move us forward!

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Laura Greer
Laura Greer
May 28
Replying to

Thanks friend! I think we too often get it in our heads that to be courageous is this super big step that seems so daunting, when it can be simply the courage to take one teensy baby step in a positive direction. Even if we have no idea what bigger picture we may be heading toward, the smallest movement is better than stagnancy!

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