I know this sounds weird but this is a word I have rarely used because I feel as though I haven’t always known what it really meant.
So instead of digging deeper, I avoided it. Don’t do that- bad life lesson right there.
But anywho, I was reading a little bit tonight and the words “brave” and “bravery” kept coming up.
I started thinking about how I would describe bravery and I think in my head, I see this big macho person who is strong and vigorous and can crush a coke can by slightly moving his wrist.
Then I woke up and realized I was thinking about a body-builder.
Ha, no, but seriously, why did I see that word that way?
It’s like the way that I envisioned someone whom was brave was actually someone who did not even have to be brave.
I think I associated being brave with physical strength in my head and even though I knew it was not just about that, it has taken me time to fully understand what “bravery” means.
Let me tell you a few examples I have witnessed in my life lately that I believe are incredible acts of bravery:
- A single mother who lives paycheck to paycheck, literally down to the dimes and pennies, and she is buying her children Christmas presents.
She is brave. Not because she has plenty but because she knows God is faithful.
- A woman who comes home to her husband every single night, prays for him, encourages him and loves on him, even though he calls her crazy for believing in Jesus.
She is brave. Her heart is not afraid because she knows God will sustain her.
- A young girl who stands up for her one friend at the lunch table rather than agreeing with the other eleven girls who are gossiping about her.
She is brave. Despite what is easy, she does what is right.
- A woman, just recently diagnosed with cancer, is already researching ways she can proactively handle treatment and is thanking Jesus for the doctors catching it early.
She is brave. She knows that the Ultimate Physician is in control and because of that, she can rest.
- A teenage girl, who despite being constantly discouraged by her mother, continues to be herself.
She is brave. Being yourself, in a world that is constantly trying to make you someone else, is awesome and rare.
Bravery is not always winning.
Despite our initial descriptions, bravery is not always synonymous with victory in our worldly terms.
Bravery just means that you went up to the plate and you tried to swing.
Like sometimes, it just means you SHOWED UP.
It means you continued.
You went forward.
You put one foot in front of the other.
You. Were. Vulnerable.
So, there’s my word, vulnerable.
Instead of associating bravery with victory, I now associate it with vulnerability.
Putting yourself out there because it will grow you even if it hurts you or is hard along the way.
Bravery is allowing yourself to be vulnerable, in whatever type of way, so that you can be a better version of yourself.
Because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
And fire sharpens you.
And victory encourages you.
So, no matter the result, you are a better you because you were a braver you.
And a braver you is a you that is more like Jesus because He performed the biggest act of bravery of all- the cross.
Let’s be real, if being considered brave required climbing Mount Everest or facing our biggest fear, it would be a big feat and a lot of us wouldn’t qualify.
But I don’t think it’s just that.
I think it’s just more so about following Jesus in the everyday things that aren’t easy or preferable.
It’s just continuing on, taking what life throws at you and flippin’ swinging the bat anyway.
Know what I mean?
So, today, I am not praying that you are necessarily “successful” in the terms that you win by worldly terms.
But rather, I am praying that you are braver, because In Jesus’ terms, I believe that is success in its very best form.
Let yourself feel the scary emotions, enter the uncertain circumstances, take the first step of the staircase, jump over the hurdles of your past, step in uncharted waters….do it.
In the words of the very incredible and brave Nelson Mandela, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Being vulnerable, being brave, that is continuing forward in the face of fear.
If we never enter situations that scare us or make ourselves vulnerable, then bravery is not required.
Be a braver you.
Be a more vulnerable you.
I am proud of you already
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” -2 Timothy 1:7