What if I don’t want to be brave?

I have to admit, it was unusual. The decision to quit a “stable” job in return for healing, rest, and a re-ignition of purpose. I’ve been called brave but honestly, brave is the last thing I feel. I had this idea in my head of feeling valiant and re-energized but after a month, I still feel anxious, I still worry, and I still have no idea what I am doing. Perhaps it is because bravery isn’t an emotion, bravery is surrender. And today, my “brave” decisions feel like painful, little deaths lived over and over.

In the Bible we find the words brave, strong, courageous mentioned many times. One Greek translation for the word brave is “hupomeno” (hypoménō) meaning to remain, not recede or flee (Note: Greek translations are a benefit of having a husband in seminary but I am no biblical scholar, so be gracious and know that I’d love to learn from you!). Remain; a word I loathe and for good reason – I like to move it, move it! (insert Madagascar reference here). I have “ants in my pants” my parents would say. Though while I am to remain, I am also not to recede. To be brave is to move forward or stay right where you are and those two things are scary and brave and exciting all at once.

In the Old Testament, I’ve found that words for brave are commonly linked to warriors and seasons of battle. Usually, the battles were times where the underdog was on our side and the other side looked pretty well stacked- yet somehow the underdog would end up victorious. It was always through the warrior’s surrender to God that allowed him to be brave and victorious.

In the New Testament, bravery is associated with words like strong and courageous. I like that. I like the idea of being strong and courageous. Though those characteristics are not my DNA so I can only assume that my strong and courageousness must comes from Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit working in me. My bravery comes only from the surrendering of my life to God’s will. Because of what Jesus has done for my life, I have a decision to make to move forward or to remain, and not flee- even when it scares me.

I will say, it is a surprising road and some days I wish I knew where my feet were going to land. Lately, when people ask I tell them that I feel as though I am standing on the edge of a cliff looking out over a great land (I have been reading a lot of Old Testament passages about the promised land so that may be why). As I look ahead, I can choose to recede, to hide under my warm, safe, and comfy blanket allowing my introvert self to indulge in another Netflix binge, or I can surrender and move forward when He calls and remain for now. I can wake up every day with this truth in mind, “Don’t lose your courage or be afraid. Don’t panic or be frightened, because the Lord your God goes with you, to fight for you… and to save you”. ( Deuteronomy 20:3-4, ASV)

I may not feel brave every day but every day I choose to be a little more brave, to listen for God’s voice , and die a little death to myself- my desires, and my own assumptions of how this life is going to look.

As I was looking more into this word, brave, I found that the very definition means “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage”. This is how I would define this season. There will be pain, uncertainty, and emotions I really don’t want to deal with, though my bravery will never be true bravery if it comes from me. Bravery will only work when I choose to surrender myself to the One who has already won the battle. He’s also the one who knows my heart better than I. So today, I may seem brave but today is just another day in surrender.

So how about you?
What are some of the ways you are being “brave”? Are you moving forward or are you remaining? Are you scared? (It’s okay to be – you are welcome to join me in the scaredy-cat corner). Here’s to victories in the little deaths and enough Jesus, coffee, and pie to conquer it all.

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