Welcome to the latest episode of the Heart of the Matter Radio/ Podcast! In this episode, Cynthia is joined by the inspiring author, Dawn Damon, to discuss her book “Brave-Hearted Woman.” Dawn shares her insights on empowering women to rediscover their vision, embrace bravery, and cultivate a strong sense of identity. They delve into the importance of maintaining a positive mindset, practicing virtuous talk, and committing to excellent action. Join Cynthia and Dawn as they provide practical tips and encouragement to help women step into a bold and purposeful future in the year ahead.

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Cynthia:

We are today on the cusp of a new year, and today I have with me Dawn Damon. She has just written a book for women because she is on a quest to inspire women. And what she has written is called Brave-hearted Woman. Welcome, Dawn.

 

Dawn:

Thank you.

 

Cynthia:

So I would like to know, what would you say to the woman who may perhaps have lost her vision?

 

Dawn:

Oh, boy. Helen Keller is the one who said, somebody asked her, what could be worse than being blind? And she said, having sight but no vision. Vision is incredibly imperative for a full life. Jesus in the word of God. The Bible says without a vision, people perish.

 

Dawn:

And so I believe that God wants us to be able to see what amazing things he has in store for us, or at least to have a sense of it, to have an idea of it. For the woman who has lost vision doesn’t feel like she knows what her purpose is or how she contributes to the world.

What were you created to do on this earth?

 

Cynthia:

So you say that it’s grit and glitter. So give us some idea what a brave woman looks like.

 

Dawn:

Brave is fortitude, inner courage. It is when the heart begins to rise up and say, I think there’s more. And it takes bravery. It takes courage to reinvent yourself or to at least believe. We say it takes faith. It takes courage. It takes bravery to believe that God has something extra special in store. Anybody can say, oh, there’s nothing for me.

 

Dawn:

I’m just living one day at a time. But it takes courage to believe God knows you by name and has something amazing for you. It’s not how we go through life, it’s how we’re accessorized. When we do go through it, life is full of bumps and turns and u-turns. But that’s where I get the glitter from. Like, I need grit. So do you.

 

Dawn:

To keep on going, that we don’t quit, we don’t back up, we don’t stop. But also, I want to shine when I do it. I want to be accessorized with the smile of God. I want to have not just grit and courage, but I want to have joy while I’m doing it.

 

Cynthia:

And, you know, I know Dawn, and she is always dressed to the nines. She has that glitter, too, so you can depend on that.

 

Dawn:

Okay.

 

Cynthia:

You talked about how we camouflage ourselves sometimes to protect ourselves. Can you discuss that a little bit? And how we can kind of get past that?

 

Dawn:

Well, by the time we’re seven years old, we kind of have a worldview. Now, we don’t know that we have a worldview, but we have learned the language of our culture. We know what’s acceptable. We know whether our world is safe. We know what’s scary. We know what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. And so we begin to hide parts of ourselves that we have learned are not acceptable. If you laugh too loud or you smile too big or you’re antsy or if you’re.

 

Dawn:

Maybe you’re a bookworm. There are parts of us that we’ve learned, this gets two thumbs up. No. People don’t like that. So, we start to hide parts of ourselves. We start to camouflage, if you will, those unique, wonderful, quirky, even parts of us that God created so that we start to look like everybody else.

 

Dawn:

And so we do a lot of dumping and stuffing on the inside. Instead of bravely facing that wounded me, that hurt. I’ve got to release the offense. I’ve got to walk in victory and forgiveness, but I must face those things.

 

Cynthia:

You’re saying that we camouflage because we’re afraid of being criticized for who we are and criticized for what we are. So how do we get past that fear?

 

Dawn:

Right? That criticism is really a part of something that nobody wants to experience. It’s painful. You and I are both authors. We put our books out there. We put our art out there, and then we kind of hold our breath and hope to know people like us. We do this on Facebook all the time.

 

Dawn:

But how we get past that is, first of all, to know that we are accepted in God. And I don’t want this to sound cliche. We really have to grasp a vision of how God sees us, that we are fully and completely loved by God, and that part of us that would cause us to feel shame or embarrassment because we feel different. Those are the very things that God created about us. So we have to grasp that, and we have to be willing to love ourselves as well. It’s God loving us. Of course. Jesus, our savior, our redeemer, he loves us.

 

Dawn:

You’re too tall. You’re too short. You’re too skinny. You’re too large. You’re too something. You’re not something enough. You’re not smart enough, bright enough, whatever it is.

 

Dawn:

So what’s the answer to it? We’ve got to get a grip and a vision of who we are in Jesus.

 

Cynthia:

I agree with that. And I just recently had an editor tell me that I have a unique voice. And she said, and that is a very good thing because she says a lot of people end up writing and they write like somebody else or they don’t know where they belong. She says, you have a unique voice, and I can pick up something, and I know immediately that you wrote it. And she said, that’s good. And I said, thank you, because I didn’t know it. I just write, and I go back and edit and so on. But it’s good to know who you are so that you can be that authentic person.

 

 

Dawn:

And be okay with that. I remember when I was taking vocal lessons. I would try to change my voice. Every now and then I would hear a singer that was just so good. I’d think, oh, I want to be more like that. That’s not who God gave me.  Every time I would try to change, it would just fall flat. And I can remember my vocal teacher saying, what are you doing? Who are you trying to be? Be you. You want them to turn on the radio and go, oh, that’s dawn.

 

Dawn:

So quit trying to be a copy. We’re born a masterpiece. Let’s stay that way.

 

Cynthia:

That’s right. I wanted to be a coloratura, soprano so badly that my voice is mezzo. And I couldn’t change that. So, yeah, I’m with you there because I wanted to be something else. Okay, so you talk about fortitude, and you have five different characteristics of fortitude that we need to have. And one of those is that you need to claim a bold vision. So how do we find our vision? How do we claim that?

 

Dawn:

The bold vision. And what a beautiful, amazing thing when you get a hold of it. I first believe that there’s a little flicker inside of each one of us about what we think that might be. I don’t think it just comes out of the blue. I think there’s something that’s very intrinsic within us that God put inside of us. I really encourage women to do the work, to get alone with God, to get a journal, to go deep answering some of these questions. What do I love? What am I good at? What would I be sad if I never got an opportunity to experience?

 

Dawn:

And I’ve led women through this adventure, if you will, but to find out and also pray, because God wants to reveal to you, about what he’s called you to do.

Cynthia:

So do you have any tips on how to do that? Because some women are mired up in that.

 

Dawn:

Again, how to do the whole discovery thing, to get alone with God, to get that journal and to pay attention to. So maybe we’ll start with, first, let’s just start igniting the dream life. So I want you to write 50 things down. Just dream. What are 50 things that you’d like to do?  Maybe they’ll get to 25, but you must go deep to get to about 50 things that you’d like to do. And then I would say, okay, so of those things, pull out for me the top 15 of what you really think.

 

Dawn:

And then we just start working our way through the process of saying what is inside of you. And also, Cynthia, I’ve done what we call a life map. We look back at childhood, and we start to thread through up until the current age of adult, and we start to see clues and we see threads there that you’re happiest when you’re doing this.

 

Cynthia:

I love that because it’s there in your past, because God makes you who you are, and you can discover that, and it’s not disconnected from the rest of your life.

 

Dawn:

I totally agree. It’s not. It might be dormant, and it probably is, but it’s not disconnected. That’s why Paul told Timothy, in the word of God, to fan into flame the gift that was inside of him. Sometimes we just need to have that gift inside of us. Fanned into a burning fire. Ignited.

 

Cynthia:

Right? And then you say, to cultivate a real identity. Now, obviously, we’re real. I mean, this is who we are. So how can we do this?

 

Dawn:

I giving them the acronym of Brave to make it easy, but a real identity. Again, talking about that word authentic, not what somebody wants you to be, not what you think the world wants you to be or expects you to be, not living up to everyone else’s estimation.

 

Cynthia:

Of who you should be.

 

Dawn:

Tapping in again who you genuinely feel and believe that you are, and that comes through personal development and growth. Go ahead and explore those things that light you up. I love reading. I love reading books. I mean, that’s why we’re on here together, because we both love that. But I love makeup. I love shiny things. I love glitter things.

 

Dawn:

I love clothing. So there’s a piece of that that is involved in who I am and how God wants to use me. Little did I know that I was going to be doing makeovers on so many women in my past that were in the process of growing in God and developing and becoming, and maybe their self-esteem was low. And I’d say, well, how about if we just play with makeup a little bit?  So a real identity is connecting with those parts that are authentically you. That is not someone else’s dream, but that is you. That is based on who God created you to be and who Jesus redeemed you to be.

 

Dawn:

And if you feel like you’re a failure, if you feel like you’re unlovely, if you feel like you’re not worthy, you’re going to stay stuck there. So we really want to help women grab this identity of who God says they are and make it there.

 

Cynthia:

Right, and you really know who you are. And I have allergies during COVID That was so hard because I’d be sneezing and I’d go, I don’t have anything to give you. I promise. I just have allergies, so that’s why I sneeze. Okay, so you’re cultivating your real identity, and then you cultivate an able mindset. So what does that mean?

Dawn:

I love the mindset, the mindset that says, I can do it. I can do all things. It was Henry Ford who said, those that think they can and those that think they can’t are both right. And that means that our mindset we receive according to our belief. If you believe that life is hard and you’re a victim and nobody loves you and there’s nothing great in your future and that your best days are behind you, then guess what? They probably are. But if you believe that there is yet another chapter to your life that your most significant season is still ahead of you.

 

 

And so that’s what I encourage people with the able mindset. I am able. I am capable through Christ, I can do this.

 

Cynthia:

And, you know, we don’t admire a victim. You admire people who overcome the ods. Those are the people that you make your idols and you look up to. And so that’s what we need to do, is to say, whatever has happened to me, that’s not my fault. I’m going to overcome it. That’s the way to go.

 

Dawn:

Absolutely. And even some things that are our fault, we still, you know what? Let’s get aligned with God. Let’s repent of those things. Let’s get free from those things and let’s move on. I think of the apostle Paul, who know I’ve wronged no man. And you sit back and you think, how can you say, know you were martyring Christians? But because he had such a new identity in God, he knew who he was in Christ, he knew that the past was gone. And behold, all things were new. So God gives us those new beginnings all the time.

 

Cynthia:

Yeah. And he wants us to look forward. Now, you can have that stuff in the back that you’re proud that you did, that you’re thankful for, but you can’t park there because you’ll become a person of the past.

 

Dawn:

So you need to move forward.

 

Cynthia:

And one of the things that you talk about is a virtuous talk, which probably helps you get there, right? Yes.

 

Dawn:

And the virtuous talk that I am speaking about, too, is, yes, speaking those things that are life giving. Proverbs 1821 talks about that. Ephesians 4:29, “…let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only that which is useful for building others up.” But you are with you. What does your own soul and spirit hear you saying? Does it hear you saying, oh, what an idiot, or so stupid? Or are you cursing yourself with your words? Or are you saying things that are keeping you held hostage, like you said to the past, or even in this present, but not prophesying a beautiful future. Use your words not to describe what is, but to declare what should be. I am going forward. I am doing great things.

 

Dawn:

I am moving. With God’s divine appointment, doors are opening for me. I’m always in the right place at the right time. So I teach women about speaking those powerful affirmations over your future instead of just what is right now.  We need to train ourselves to begin to speak life out of our mouth.

 

Dawn:

Maybe I don’t want to say that. I want to say, my body is a fat, burning machine, just as I want it.

 

Cynthia:

Yeah. As far as brain chemicals go, one thought, a negative thought, take five positive thoughts to overcome it. Yes, you do have to keep the positive going. And those thoughts will come into your mind, but you squelch them, and you start thinking more positive thoughts, because negative thoughts won’t help you a bit.

 

Dawn:

They will not help you. In fact, they will harm you. They will hinder you from going forward. And then thoughts create feelings, and it’s just one big vicious circle. Feelings produce words. And then there we are, stuck in that vortex. So, yes, choose virtuous words. Speak life.

 

Cynthia:

Yes, absolutely. And that is so important to realize that emotions and thoughts are connected. That’s important for women to realize, because we get hung in these emotions so easily.

 

Dawn:

We totally do. And it’s not very long before we start to ask ourselves then even the wrong questions. Why does this always happen to me? Where are my friends when I need them? Why would God allow this? And you could start to see that downward spiral. And so if you ask a better question, you get a better answer.

 

Cynthia:

Okay? And then we need to commit to excellent action. So how can we do that?

 

Dawn:

Yes. So I like to say, if you show me your habits, I can predict your future. Your habits are the secret to your success,  But if you don’t have goals, and that’s all part of it, too, to know that we have these things that we’re believing for and we’re reaching for, but then you’ve got to do it. We can have the right mindset. We can have the right words. But if we don’t get up and do the action, none of it matters.

 

Cynthia:

And it’s good to be disciplined and go ahead and do them. So, as we’re kind of closing up here, can you kind of give us a little map for maybe 2024, once we get past Christmas? And where can we go so that we have a better year in 24 than we had in 23?

 

Dawn:

Where can we go? Well, the first thing that I would do is I would create a vision board. I would put everything on that vision board that you have, a spark, a belief, a hope of faith that someday you’re going to see it, do it, go there, be there. And I would put that. I would put that vision.. But I would look at it every day and say, this is where I’m going. This is the direction of my life. The next thing I do, I would get a morning routine, and I would start to make it my habit.

 

Dawn:

I would also make sure that I had a journal. And I don’t just journal like a diary, but I journal around questions. How am I feeling today? What is God speaking to me today? Where am I feeling afraid? Where am I feeling frustrated and journaling around some of those questions, just to always make sure you’re staying in touch with. Then, you know, I would have to say, you got to keep moving, Cynthia. You got to keep your body moving, especially if we’re talking to midlife women. If you rest, you rest. You cannot rest. You must keep moving.

 

Dawn:

Move those arms, move those limbs. Get out. In nature, love life. And don’t let yourself end up with a very small existence. God’s got so much great greatness in store for you. Bye.

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