I’ve been meditating on the word bravery often these days. The Oxford dictionary defines bravery as:
- ready to face and endure danger or pain;
- showing courage:
- to endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behaviour) without showing fear.
From the Italian bravo: ‘bold,’ courageous, untamed, savage.
Habakkuk 3:19 (Amplified) says that God is our own personal bravery, our storehouse chock full of all we need.
What if we were a savage people in the face of danger? Never backing down, caving in, giving up, falling into depression, letting fears dictate. What if we pushed aside the odds, the disease, the lack and unleashed the glory?
And what if, even in the face of death, we really truly felt no sting? And if the battle was lost, but we knew we had won the war, how would our hearts expand?
1 Corinthians 15:55 (MSG.)
“Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?”
Looking back at the last year and a half, I can’t say I was brave by my own merits. I can’t say I was brave very often.
I can’t say I was untamed and free. I was broken and fearful, some say rightly so, and I cried often, rivers of salt. Oh, how I wish the locust eaten months could be forgotten, turned back into empty, unblemished days. But…then would they be forgotten? I would have remembered those moments, but would I have grown and changed? This change has been so deep, I am starting to feel a bit whole.
Those months, would they would be unspectacular, and swept under the carpet with the other thousands?
Don’t get me wrong: I so desperately want this chapter to be over, I want the suffering to end for us all. I just desire life to be breathtakingly meaningful and rich. I want wild abandon to the one my soul loves. I want no lack, no fear, and I want to be brave in the darkness. I want each breath to be a fanning flame to my spirit. I want a heart that clings to the truth, instead of sitting in comfort, fattened by the ease of the world, oiled up by my daily partaking in self. I am living the breathtaking, even though it’s often painful. Each moment is something to be savoured, the good and the bad, this is life, this is life. Who said it would be easy?
I am a dreamer, and often living in the moment is very difficult for me. I look to the future, to the next event, the next plane ride. That’s how I have lived for many years.
But now, I’m unable to escape to any moment, and the future could be so much harder than it is now. Suddenly I’m pulling back the reigns and letting the dust settle. This. Is. Life.
I know that He has called me to be brave.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I know that He has replaced my garments of heaviness with a spirit of praise and grace. And I know also that God is showing me the “advantages” of suffering. He’s showing me where to press in for breakthrough, to keep my eyes locked on His, not tempted to look behind or to the side. He is allowing my spirit of bravery to break forth, perhaps a spirit we have forgotten about, especially as women.
Is He showing me that there is beauty and even…reward in this?
The definition of bravery actually makes me recoil a bit. Ready to face danger? Ready to endure pain? Who wants to forge ahead into the storms, who wants to lead with bravery?
You do it! I’ll watch.
Isn’t that why we as a culture are drawn to the heroes? To the Joan of Archs and Corrie ten Booms, the Dietrich Bonhoffers and Sauls turned into Pauls. And yes, even the Frodos and fairy tale heroes created for sheer entertainment–but always teaching us to fight, press on and endure. Is that because the authors had bravery imprinted on their hearts by the King? Is that because their hearts were swayed by truth, and their mission was simple? Teach them to be brave in this dark world.
Be brave, be brave, be brave in Him, I sing over my heart. The heart can be so deceptive. It trembles, it sways, it is not always truthful. I think the world tends to romanticize the heart. We are not born perfect, and our thought life needs to be reigned in. I have so often bowed to my thoughts, because they are there. Because my feelings must be right, the weight of them, crushing me. How do I push through the misery?
Follow the Spirit, something called out, let Him lead you, create a renewed spirit in you. Go against the grain and say: no, I’m not giving into this. I can do this, I can do this. For ages I would speak the opposite, thinking it would somehow make it all go away. I can’t do this. It was my hearts way of telling me it had been pushed past the brink, it was teetering, licking the edge of death. I can’t do it, I know this. Parent a terminally ill child? Be told time and again, there is no cure, it will get worse. Come to understand no one knows what it is, they will not know what to do or say because it’s not cancer, so they will ask if she will grow out of it, and I will make them really sad when I tell them what the textbooks say, so I’d rather just not get into it? No, she is not sleeping, her muscles are sick. No, she’s not a really big newborn baby.
But the Grace in me can do this, the one who has called me to be brave. He’s called you to be brave too.
You can do this.
The Spirit speaks to us through goosebumps and those lovely shivers, surprising tears and convictions, sentence structures and highlighted verses. Let’s bow to that. Let’s let Love reign us in. Let’s let God be bigger.
Slingshots in hand, pebble stones heavy in our palms, giants staring us down. Let’s take back the land that has been promised to us.
Let’s be brave.