When is the last time you did something you later called brave?
Last year I went zip lining through the rainforest in Costa Rica. That felt brave.
Last month I spoke candidly with a friend, though it might have ruined our friendship. That felt brave.
Bravery to me is all about rising to the challenge, loving when it hurts, and acknowledging our fears but carrying on anyway. And, it doesn’t hurt when people agree to go with you!
Stories of bravery, when we tell them, evoke feelings of pride and success. What’s better than that?
But, in my experience, it’s easy to place the “I” at the center of these moments. Saying things like:
I reached the top of the climb
I jumped out of a plane
I turned the other cheek
But, is bravery really a game of I?
Can any of us accomplish big feats alone?
The Christian story tells us no. We encourage one another as we go. No accomplishment comes without support staff. Together we can do more than we could ever dream of alone.
Lately, I’ve gravitated toward a playlist on my phone that includes the song called “Brave” as recorded by Nichole Nordeman. Brave is not a new but the lead track on her 3rd album recorded in 2005 by the same name.
These are some of my favorite lyrics.
The gate is wide, the road is paved in moderation
The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in
Welcome to the middle ground
You’re safe and sound and
Until now it’s where I’ve been
‘Cause it’s been fear
That ties me down to everything
But it’s been love, your love
That cuts the strings
So long status quo, I think I just let go
You make me wanna be brave
The way it always was is no longer good enough
You make me wanna be brave
Though she doesn’t explicitly say who the “you” is (or are) in these lyrics is, when I hear this song, I get my own visual. I think about the great community that I have come to know throughout my life.
I think about the foundation on which I stand called home.
And I think of all the strings of “safe middle ground” that I’ve cut through the years thanks to their help.
Specifically, I think about the family on earth that God has given me– both biological and otherwise– people who support me so beautifully.
I think about those dear friends and colleagues in my life that cheer me on, who champion my authenticity, and who see great things for my future that I can not yet see for myself.
And most of all, I treasure those times when they expressed their love in concrete ways.
- Listening to the same story for the 5th time.
- Texting me to check up on me.
- Saying they are praying for me and really meaning it.
- Crying tears in front of me, moved when I’m sad.
- Peeling me off the floor when I don’t think I could move.
And telling me the truth even when I didn’t want to hear it.
I love how Issac Newton, one of the greatest physicist and mathematicians of all times described his own success: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
You and I stand on the witness of giants.
For each of us, giants come in different shapes, sizes, relations and nationalities. I truly believe, God sends us all some. We just must accept their presence in our lives when they arrive!
So today: for the giants, for their love, and the gift of bravery I want to declare my thankfulness.
And, I’ll get back to doing the work, now. I want to be brave. Won’t you join me?