Awhile back, a friend of mine told me she thought I was brave. Although I love the idea of being brave, I certainly wouldn’t label myself that way…there are plenty of things that send me scurrying. In thinking about it, though, my friend may have been referring to a time a few years ago when I was trudging through some very difficult days–personally, medically, and professionally–and the fact that I kept pushing through may have led her to conclude that I was brave.
Now that I’m (thankfully) no longer in that desperate place of barely making it through each day, I have a fresh perspective on “bravery”. I’d say there’s definitely a difference between being brave out of necessity and being brave by choice. Being brave out of necessity may not feel brave at all–it’s just survival. It’s moving forward because there’s nothing else to do. And even though it tends to be extremely stressful, it might be easier, because there’s no decision to be made–you just keep going.
But choosing to be brave is a whole different game. Choosing to be brave means there’s something that doesn’t really need to happen but that might make things better if it did…and it might even lead to something amazing.
Not surprisingly, Doubt and Fear love to mess with these choices. They team up and fill us with second thoughts and “what if”s:
-What if I ask…and the answer is No?
-What if I try…and fall on my face?
-What if I go…and can’t find my way back?
-What if I hope…and end up disappointed?
In January, I was reading through the book of John and I came to this:
” ‘In the world you will have trouble. But courage! The victory is mine; I have conquered the world’.” – John 16:33
I love that!
It’s the perfect response.
-If I ask, the answer might be No…But courage!
-If I try, I may fall…But courage!
-If I go, I might get lost…But courage!
-If I hope…
…if I hope…
…well, hope is courage, isn’t it?
Courage to ask and to try and to go.
Courage to love and to heal and to trust.
Courage to do it differently.
So I have adopted that as my mantra for the year.
To any doubt, to any fear, to all those second guesses…But COURAGE!
That doesn’t mean I’m suddenly fearless. Sometimes I still have to take a deep breath and gird my loins, so to speak. But when I find myself getting stuck in the waffling stage, I go to John 16:33…I go to Jesus’ own words: ” ‘But courage! The victory is mine; I have conquered the world’.”
And how can I argue with that?