If I asked you today, if you are brave, what would you say?
People call our 4 year old brave, as he bombs down hills and over jumps on his little two wheeler pedal bike. I like to call our 6 year old brave for attempting front flips at gymnastics.
We often recognize acts of bravery that are loud and extroverted. Or maybe we just elevate heros as though at the very time they were doing something heroic,they knew they were being heroic (cue the music). We cheer for the underdogs, we applaud the saints of social justice, the cape-wearers, the political leaders, the bravehearts and Luke Skywalkers....the list goes on. Fighting the bad guys! Taking down institutions! (p.s. these things are brave, but are they they only things that are?)
But what if the music doesn't start?
What if there is no audience?
What if bravery looks a lot more like giving up, letting go, or surrendering, instead of fighting?
What if no one applauds? What if no one even sees?
Is it still brave?
Cause maybe, just maybe, bravery might actually be less popular than we think. Bravery, to me, looks like the person who forgives, even though the offence is beyond forgiveable. Bravery looks like loving that person who doesn't deserve love, and certainly is doing nothing to earn it. Bravery looks like facing the realities of your life instead of running away. It looks like admitting your weaknesses and asking for help, instead of trying to go another step, alone.
I see you there, fighting to face another day with the set of circumstances that life has presented you with. The story you wish wasn't yours but you are walking out. The struggle you want to defeat once and for all but you continue to journey through. The relationship you would abandon but you are choosing to not let go of.
And what I see is bravery.
What I see is true courage.
Bravery is the face of a husband who comes home again, even though he was planning to leave his unsatisfying marriage. It looks like the woman who stops trying to prove something and go it alone, but asks for help and admits to her post-partum depression. It looks like the patient in pain, not letting despair take root. It looks like the victim deciding that she is not going to believe the lie anymore that she is worthless.
The way of the cross requires bravery.
I am facing a particularly difficult decision which will probably be decided by a history I cannot change. I dream of something different, I long for a reality that I might never get to grasp. And the grief and loss that I must process is tremendous. But, it occurred to me, though my emotions raged, that what might look like the 'weak' choice, the one not applauded by the culture around me, might just be the brave choice.
Brave because surrendering to Someone stronger, is not weak.
Brave because giving God the chance to write my story, is not popular.
Brave because dying to myself and what the world thinks of me, is the hardest thing I might ever do.
Brave because letting go of control is not comfortable.
How are you needing to be brave today?
Maybe it looks more like falling on your face in surrendor, than trying harder.
Maybe it looks more like giving your life up to a God who loves you, and has better plans for your life instead of trying to control every outcome.
You see, because we have a Savior who was brave. The world didn't call it bravery. We killed his kind of bravery. Coming down to us, who are sinful, and dying for us? Mending our brokenness with the breaking of His own body? He forgives us, loves us, doesn't abandon us....His way is the brave way:
The hard way, the simple way, the only way, the brave way.