This is a post my friend Madelynn wrote. I can very much relate to it. Her words were just what I needed to hear.
2013 was a bittersweet year for me. One thing I found as I walked through the valleys and the peaks of this past year was that more and more people kept calling me brave. Some even the bravest person they had ever met. And this struck me as odd because I had always viewed myself as a little cowardly. I'm often very soft spoken and timid in nature, and I'm definitely not known as a risk taker. I'm the epitome of indecisive, the queen of over thinking. I worry. A lot. And sometimes I let fear hold me back from moving forward. I can string pretty words into sweet truths and stories, but when it comes to acting on those words? I freeze. I'm quick to avoid discomfort and awkward situations, staying in my cozy little bubble of complacency.
So to say I was confused when people called me brave is an understatement. I was dumbstruck. How could someone like me ever be considered brave? As I thought on it, I remembered a quote I had stumbled upon a while ago:
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." -Nelson Mandela
If there's anything I learned looking back on 2013, it's what it is to be brave.
Being brave is looking fear in the face and saying, "You don't own me. You have no power over me."
Being brave is trusting without borders. Even when those borders are a little outside your comfort zone.
Being brave is surrendering your heart to the one who is Freedom.
Being brave isn't being strong. It's letting. God's power be perfected in your weakness. It's letting His strength be at work in you.
Being brave is listening, really listening to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit and acting on it. Even when it hurts. Even when everything in you tells you to go another way. It is better. And it is worth it.
And being brave is being Love. Purely and simply Love. When we pursue the one who is Love and reflect His heart, that is when we are our bravest. Because love is not easy. It is difficult and messy at times. But when we step into loving each other and immerse ourselves in Love Himself, we find ourselves face to face with the creator of courage, the one who holds bravery in His hands. For when He was pierced for our sins and showed the greatest display of love by laying down His life for the least of these, that was the peak of all bravery. And it is from those same scarred hands we receive our courage.
So was I really that brave in 2013? Probably not as much as I could have been. But in those moments when I shied away from being brave and stepping out of my comfort zone, God stepped into my insecurity and uncertainty and showed me what true bravery is. He is my source of courage when I feel cowardly to the core.
My only resolution going into the new year is this:
To be brave.