brave: adjective \ˈbrāv\
feeling or showing no fear : not afraid
I have recently moved in to an apartment of my own, and one of my favourite decorations is the one that hangs in my bedroom that simply states be brave.
I see it everyday.
I see it when I wake up.
I see it when I walk in to my apartment.
I see it when I walk in to my bedroom.
But, when I see it, I also see my reflection in the glass.
I see myself, trying to figure out what it means to be brave.
I see myself, trying to figure out how I’m being brave. If I’m being brave. Or if I’m just living my life comfortably not taking any risks.
Bravery, has not always come easy to me. I think too much. I worry too much.
I know, and have had the pleasure of knowing many brave people in my 24 years of life. I know people who have braved moving to other countries and states and just trusted that God would provide.In each instance, he did.
While I’ve been thinking about what it means to be brave, and all the ways I think I’ve been brave, I realized that my definition of what it means to be brave has changed. I have frequently thought that to be brave means a person just does what they want to do. No planning. No thinking it through. Just doing what they want and going where they want. But I’m realizing that the bravest thing I’ve done in my adult life is stay.
After graduating college I had two options: stay or go. I was hoping I would be asked to go. Anywhere really. I didn’t have a specific destination in mind-though I preferred a couple of places over others-I was just hoping that God would ask me to go anywhere. Instead I got a job and he asked me to stay. So I did.
Sometimes I thought it was a cowardly choice. Staying. I thought that I stayed because I was too scared to go. That I felt far too inadequate. Though those things may have been true at some point, but I’m realizing that staying was my act of bravery.
In some ways I was more prepared to be asked to go than I was to be asked to stay. If I went, I was already prepared for how difficult it would be. How hard it would be to adjust to a different time zone and way of life. But staying was harder because I thought if I stayed I would become too comfortable. I wouldn’t be stretched and I wouldn’t grow.
I hoped, and I prayed that God would take me somewhere else. Which is funny, because I always remember that as I waited to go in to my first job interview I remember telling God that if I got the job, if by some miracle I actually got a stable job right out of college, I would stay and I would do Chi Alpha here at the U of A for a year and a half. I got the job, and I stayed. And I was stretched. And I grew.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline” – 1 Timothy 2:7
God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of love and of self-discipline. I like to think he gave us a spirit of bravery. He calls us beloved and tells us we are brave. Even when we don’t think it, he does.
So friend, maybe the world has the idea of bravery all wrong. That bravery can only look one way. That to be brave one must roar like a lion. Maybe the bravery of a roaring lion isn’t your kind of brave. Perhaps you are as brave as a tree that stands its ground despite the chaos surrounding it.
No matter how you define bravery. Whether you are a lion/lioness, or you are a tree-standing silent but tall-bravery is a spirit we all were given. God made us brave.
So. Friend. Lets be brave.
Whether you roar like a lion or you stand as tall as tree, be brave.