I've never considered myself a brave person. I was the kid who couldn't go near water after seeing Jaws (Okay, I admit it, I still spot imaginary fins once in a while and catch myself wanting to run for dry land.) or sleep without the hall light on. I avoid confrontation as if it were the equivalent of skydiving without a parachute, and I am terrified of air travel. People think I'm gutsy because I am not only willing to speak, sing, or perform in front of an audience but will be the first to raise my hand for solo auditions. But when it comes to the scary life stuff, I would much rather play it safe. At least that is how it has been until lately.
Without delving into all the drama, the last few years have been filled with moments when I had no choice but to face the unavoidable head on and make choices that required huge risks. Cowering and avoiding simply weren't options. At the time, it seemed like I was only doing what I had to do. I was scared out of my mind 99% of the time, so I didn't consider my actions all that courageous. When friends started telling me, "You are one of the strongest women I know," or responding to my stories with, "That took a lot courage," it took a while for me to realize that they were right. That's when I recognized that perhaps I was braver than I gave myself credit for, but that I couldn't take the credit. Maybe I had brave all wrong. Is it possible that God's wants us to be a bit fearful so we will cry out to Him when life crashes down, and give Him the glory when we get to the end of a crisis and realize that we just faced something that should have sent us running in the opposite direction?
Now, I see that being brave is about more than sleeping in the dark, swimming with sharks, and skydiving; it's about standing strong when life seems to be crumbling and making the tough decisions knowing God is with me. I have learned through all this that, like grace and strength, courage is something that God given when we need it, and that the more we see Him take us through, the more we are able to say, "I am scared to death, but I'm going to try this anyway."
How brave are you when you really think about it? What are you afraid of? What have you done lately that required a lot of guts?
Now that I'm feeling so strong, perhaps I'll try swimming in the ocean. On second thought, I'm not quite that brave.