The other night I was watching one of those made for tv holiday movies that causes my husband’s eyes to roll and the words “chick flick” hangs in the air. I’ll admit, they are a weakness for me. Occasionally though, they surprise you.
In the movie, The Christmas Gift there was this awesome line. The heroine, a reporter for a weekly magazine was getting some wise advice from her boss. He told her to think differently. “Don’t just think outside the box. Destroy the box.” (Or something close to that.)
Those words smacked me between the eyes. What does it mean to destroy the box? What does that even look like? I can’t stop thinking about it.
I also can’t believe that it’s December and my year of BRAVE is coming to a close. It wasn’t what I expected.
What I presumed God had in mind for me when He gave me that word was really only the tip of the iceberg. That’s what you get for thinking you understand how God thinks or works! I thought He wanted me to tackle community and my aversion to it. Being a pastor’s wife and my aversion to it. What I’ve discovered: they are just symptoms of something else that really needed to be dealt with. It’s been a bit of a smackdown, I have to admit. Not necessarily in a bad way and me resisting at every step hasn’t helped.
I thought being brave and facing my fears would be all chest puffing and feeling good about myself. Sometimes being brave is that but for the most part, being willing to be brave and courageous is painful. Staring down fear, hate, unforgiveness, pride, lies and evil to name a few, is not even remotely fun. Or glamorous. It’s messy, dirty and exhausting. So no, Brave has not turned out quite like I thought.
It’s still good. Why? Because although I sometimes think I am alone in this, I am not. With the Almighty beside me, I can be brave. Why do we doubt that?
As I think about being Brave, my thoughts turn back to that line from the movie. “Destroy the box.” I’m thinking being brave destroys the box. God is a destroyer of boxes. With His help, we can attack the box, break it down and then begin to live and grow out from there. His abundance overflows once the walls are down.
Here’s a little review of what I’ve learned about being brave this year and tearing down those boxes. Each act is step towards freedom and healing, moments to be celebrated.
Being BRAVE is not a one time journey. It’s a daily one, like a commute. Each day we have to make that decision to be brave. To be bold. That takes a whole lot of courage!
Being BRAVE is getting out of bed each morning when we’d rather hide under the covers. For some, this is a major victory each day.
Being BRAVE is making the choice to love even when it hurts so much we think it’s going to kill us.
Being BRAVE is opening ourselves to the scary. To go to that place we don’t want to even acknowledge exists. The place where doubts reside. Questions claw to be heard. Memories hurt. Instead of burying them deep, we courageously face them down.
Being BRAVE is owning our mistakes. Saying you’re sorry. And then moving on.
Being BRAVE is choosing to go with truth rather than feelings. The truth never changes but our feelings do.
Being BRAVE is getting up after losing a fight. Choosing to stay in the ring and fight for all it’s worth.
Being BRAVE is following God wherever it takes you, even when it doesn’t make sense. Even when you’re scared out of your wits. It’s leaning into the adventure rather than the fear.
Being BRAVE is being humble. Letting go of pride. Of being right. Of having the last word. Being okay with that.
Being BRAVE is being able to ask for help and receive it when it’s offered. Read that somewhere this week. So true.
These are just a few examples of what being brave is to me. There are so many more. There are many people who live brave everyday. I’m more aware of them now. I’m inspired by them.
We think being brave is a solitary thing. We see it in movies. The lone soldier who saves the world. It’s not. Being brave is made up of many people. We may be the ones fighting but like Moses, there are people who are holding our arms up. Moses prayed, Joshua fought and Aaron and Hur held Moses arms up. (Exodus 17:12) It takes a village to be courageous.
It takes an open heart that accepts not just the love of those around us but the love of our heavenly Dad. Who loves us so much we are written on the palms of his hands. See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins. Isaiah 49:16 NLT
So often we are suspicious of it. We think we don’t deserve it. We don’t know what to do with it. We can’t fathom it. But really all we have to do is accept it. In that one courageous act, the box is stomped on. Not just destroyed but decimated. The enemy is driven back and his power has no hold on us. Because we are His Beloved. So we can be BRAVE.
My friend Carrie Guse, who also happens to be our Worship Director at Bethany, wrote a song called Brave. With her permission I have included it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do singing it at church! Be Brave friends!