Book Review: 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs

I just finished the 100 Days to Brave Summer challenge that Annie F. Downs started at the end of May. I’ve never been a part of a challenge like this because I know myself well enough to know that I typically don’t finish things like this, so I usually don’t bother starting them. However, I love Annie and follow her religiously on Instagram as well as on her That Sounds Fun podcast, so I thought if I was every going to finish one of these challenges it would more than likely be with one of her books.  Within the first few days, though, I had no worries that I would finish.

100 Days to Brave  is a devotional book that lasts, you guessed it, 100 days. The goal is to encourage to be brave in all areas of our life. However, Annie is not just promoting bravery to bravery’s sake. She encourages us to be courageous for the sake of Christ. The devotionals are short and easily read within five minutes at most, so they will easily fit into your current time with God or be a great start to spending time with God if that is not something you currently do.

In her author biography on the inside back cover it says, “Flawed but funny, she uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God”. While, I did not read that description, that is exactly what I thought as I was reading through this devotional. Annie uses everyday examples, real-life stories, and humor to encourage us to draw closer to God. Every page of this devotional is relatable. You never have to doubt if Annie is a real person just like us, and that is one of the reasons I like her so much.

The book is divided into 12 sections, each one dealing with a different area of our life in which we need to be brave. These categories cover everything from believing God, to working hard, to facing change. Each devotional within the categories is about somewhere between a page and a half and two and half pages (however the book is smaller than your typical book, so it’s not your average page length). It begins with scripture, then Annie shares her thoughts, analogies and experiences related to the topic, and it ends with a “Be Brave” challenge. The “Be Brave” challenge is one of my favorite parts of this because it adds an action step, a practical way to apply what you’ve been reading about.

There wasn’t necessarily one category that spoke to me more than the other, so I thought I would just briefly share some of the quotes that stood out to me.

You know what’s brave? Giving yourself permission to do the thing you want to do, to like whatever you want to like.

This was in the section “Brave Enough to Be You”, and man, do I struggle with that. I second guess almost everything I do, every conversation I have because I’m worried I’ve done or said something wrong. It’s not that I actually think I’ve done something wrong, it’s just this anxiety that I might. I get super excited about something and jump head first into it, but then I panic that someone might not like something I’ve done or said within that thing. So, this whole section on loving who God created us to be was very powerful to me. Annie ends the challenge on this specific day by saying, “give yourself permission to really like what you like”. I think that is a challenge I will be living into for a while, but I am so grateful that Annie encouraged me along the path to being brave enough to accept myself as much as God accepts me.

You are deeply loved and called to be courageous by a God who is perfect and perfectly trustworthy.

This was in the section “Brave Enough to Believe God”. More often than not when we are not brave enough to follow through on something we feel God calling us to do, our main hesitation has to do with a lack of trust. We’re not sure how it will work out. We have a million “what ifs”. However, if God has called us to it, then we have to trust that it will work out and that since He is good and the Giver of good things, those “what ifs” are irrelevant.

Brave people are willing to let go of everything as they old tight to God, even when things start to change.

Change is something that I struggle with, probably the thing I struggle with the most. I don’t like it…at all. So I knew the section on “Brave Enough to Face Change” would hit me hard, and this quote was in the first devotional of that section. I think that for most of us that oppose change it is because we’re holding a little too tightly to the things of this world and not tightly enough to God.  However, Annie points out that not all change is bad and that God can use change to shape us.

I do feel like I am braver after reading this book. I think it is a book that I will go back to often. Some devotionals are good to read every few years, and this is one of them. While the cover might allude to it being a devotional for girls since it is pink and glittery, I think that is just a reflection of Annie’s personality and not a reflection of what type of reader it is for. I think this devotional would be good for men or women.

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