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What Bravery Really Looks Like

 Because I didn’t know either . . .

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        When I think of being brave, my husband comes to mind. He saves lives in a trauma bay, climbs mountains of snow and rock, and scuba dives. He always accomplishes so much more than I do and never seems afraid to tackle difficult tasks or people. Instead of being an A personality type, I jokingly call him my AAA husband.

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       I have never considered myself brave, until recently. The word “brave” seems to a theme God keeps bringing up in my life. I’m learning that my definition of brave was incomplete. Yes, it is doing things like those mentioned above, but it is also other things.

        My brave right now is facing being alone because I have become an empty nester. Within one week, one son left for college and one got married. Then my husband went out of town and for the first time, I was TOTALLY ALONE. I have spent a big chunk of my life alone because of my husband’s demanding job, but I have always had kids that were still hanging around a little. Now all that was different. For the first time I felt a little of what my widowed mother must feel. The quiet, the aloneness, the sadness.  I realized that many people are single and alone and struggling to be brave. I became thankful for the many years I did enjoy my boys and that I have a husband who still comes home to me.

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        I’m learning that brave can look a lot of different ways. Facing boredom or quiet is also brave. It can be listening or loving a family member of friend when it is hard. Brave can be staying home with little kids and doing mundane tasks over and over. It can be traveling alone, giving a lecture, taking small risks, not just big ones. Brave can be facing our fears, or sitting the bench and being faithful to practice hard just waiting for your time to play. Brave is putting your words out there not knowing if they will be received or criticized. Brave is taking a first step towards your dream. Brave is being alone because your friends start doing things you feel are wrong. Brave is a lot of things and people are brave every day.

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        Sometimes being brave means you move through a wilderness wondering where God is and why he is so silent. Brave can be believing in spite of unanswered prayers. It is faith that doesn’t see or understand.

        Moses and Elijah both had their brave wilderness to go through. They had to face the quiet, the aloneness, the hurt and the questions. Moses wandered in the desert until he met God in a burning bush. Elijah ran for his life from Queen Jezebel into the desert . It was in these lonely, desperate places that God spoke to both of them. The place they least expected – a desolate, lonely, dry place became a holy place where they met God.  I began to look at the desert differently.

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        Slowly I began to see that I had been brave for years, I just didn’t know it. I had always looked up to my husband’s type of brave and now God was showing me I had been brave too.  Now he was showing me that the lonely wilderness I was afraid to walk into was a holy place where I would meet him. I would never be alone and he would help me be brave. I started to think of the wilderness, the aloneness in a different way.

Loneliness leads to intimacy (with God).

                                                      -Annie Downs

            I started thinking of the wilderness, the aloneness I was facing in a different way. It was there I would discover the love of my Father in a deeper way.

          Last weekend I went to a women’s retreat at my church where I got to hear and meet author, Annie Downs. I had just finished reading her book – “Let’s All Be Brave.” It was so exciting to meet this single lady braving the world alone and tell her how much her words had meant to me. She handed me her other book as a gift – “100 Days to Brave,” which I started immediately.

          This post is for all of you people who don’t think you’re brave either. You are. Keep being brave wherever you are, one step at a time. If you need more encouragement, I highly suggest reading Annie’s books.  When you finish, you’ll feel like she is your best friend and will have courage to face your brave.  Here’s a link to her site –  http://www.anniefdowns.com/        

and her book “Let’s All Be Brave,”  can be found on any major book site.

         Thanks, Annie, for being brave for me. 

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