Be Brave

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Be Brave

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If you do, leave a comment below – I’d love to hear about it! If you don’t…you’re not alone! I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but one thing I want to do this year, and every year, is be brave.

Step by Step: Ordinary Courage

I don’t think of myself as a brave person…Like the turtle, my steps are small and unseen by most of the world (Aren’t his little footprints cute?!) But recently a friend of mine challenged me to reframe my perception of courage: you don’t have to be big to be brave. Every step counts – no matter how small. For that tiny turtle, just walking across the sand instead of hiding in his shell is brave. What does bravery look like for you? Sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning is brave. Or speaking out when it’s easier to keep quiet. Saying ‘no’ to busyness and ‘wasting’ time in stillness. There are so many brave choices we make every day that will never be seen or acknowledged…so don’t forget to celebrate the little steps you take.

Soaring: Crazy Courage

Then there are the bigger steps of bravery we take, the ones that stand out. Just before Christmas I did something that took crazy courage, at least for me. It was so far out of my comfort zone, I had to trick myself into it 😆!

Every year our little church puts on a special service right before Christmas. Instead of a regular church service, people sign up to share a song, a skit, a poem, or anything Christmas related. And every year, I talk myself out of doing anything. Even though I regularly lead worship, I’m still terrified when it comes to singing a solo – especially one of my own songs.

So as usual, I did not sign up. And in the weeks leading up to the service, I got busy and forgot about it. Until the day arrived. That morning I thought: “Maybe I should go downstairs and see if I can find the lyrics and chords for my Christmas song – just in case.”

Hiding in the Coats

When I got to church, the place was unusually packed. There were lots of guests and people I didn’t know. My husband and I had to sit at the very back wall, under the coat rack. When I saw how many people were there, I glad to be tucked in among the coats. I felt like Saul, hiding in the baggage when his name was called (1 Samuel 10)! I was relieved I hadn’t signed up.

After many great performances, the service came to a close. By then, I had accepted that I missed another year’s opportunity. But then the service leader said these heart-stopping words:

“Is there anyone who didn’t get a chance to sign up who would like to bless us with something?” 😬 In the pregnant pause that followed, it felt like the earth stopped moving (or maybe it was just my heart!). I hesitated, stretching the moment to a breaking point. A thought ran through my head: “Well now you’ve waited too long…he’s going to close the service.” But… he waited a fraction longer. Then, before I could think further, I slowly raised my trembling hand. What are the chances he would see it emerging from the coats? 😆

Tremble and Trust

Well he did. Now I was committed. All I could do was tremble and trust as I walked all the way from the back of the church to the front, my music shaking in my hand. As I made my way to the piano, I told the story behind the song. Normally, I wouldn’t have even admitted the song was my own. But this time I held nothing back.

I knew there was no way this performance would be perfect. I hadn’t practiced, and it turns out I needed my reading glasses to be able to read the chords! 😆 But somehow, knowing that I couldn’t be perfect freed me. And in spite of my mistakes, it was powerful. Afterward, as I walked shakily all the way back to my seat, people reached out told me how amazing it was. So many people told me after how moved and inspired they were.

What an amazing feeling! That experience was worth all the fear and mistakes. It made me think about how often I avoid feeling fear and taking risks. How many opportunities have I missed out on?

Please don’t think this is a typical situation for me. Like I said, I had to trick myself into it! But doing something so crazy made me want to be braver, and I hope it inspires you too.

Standing in the Storm: Deep Courage

The third kind of courage is the courage to stand in the storm. There are times in all of our lives when a storm comes. A situation that is way too big for us. We’re not sure we will make it to the other side, and if we do, we will not be the same. We may feel weak – we may not be able to take even the ordinary steps of courage that we usually do. But when you’re in the middle of a storm, it takes deep courage to stand and face the wind. You are brave when you refuse to turn your back on the storm, curl up into the fetal position, and hide. It may seem like you aren’t getting anywhere…but you’re still standing. And that takes the deepest kind of courage.

Which picture resonates with you most right now? Whether you are walking one step at a time in ordinary life, taking a big leap of faith, or finding the courage to stand in the midst of a storm…keep being brave.

 

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