fifty shades of brave

fifty shades of brave

Are you brave?

Once upon a not-so-long-ago… if you had asked me this question I’m fairly sure I would have answered,

“Ummm….   no.”

I think, it’s because somehow in my mind I’d much rather choose other ways  and words to describe who God has designed me to be, what I do and what makes me tick.

I might agree to saying  I’m “strong” or maybe “creative”. I might allow that I’m wizened or experienced.

But “brave”? Nah…. that title is reserved for someone…well, brave.

People like Queen Esther, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller or Jim and  Elizabeth Elliot- you know, people who’ve earned it. 

Right? Am I the only one?

Because I guess I’ve just sorta reserved that title for “special use” or occasions when someone does something rather extraordinary or noteworthy… something requiring a tremendous amount of courage or emotional strength that goes beyond their natural inclination or current abilities.

In my mind, brave is what happens when someone steps beyond the borders of their accepted and known territory and  into the slightly off-kilter, out-of-the box, unknown places– inside themselves– or out in the big wide-open world… even if it’s  mixed with a little bit of fear. They take a step.

Sometimes because they want to.
Sometimes because they HAVE to.
They just do it.
They just choose it.
They just be it.

Brave.

Yeah. That’s …. brave.
So, I guess….  that’s me.

And I’m pretty sure it’s you too.

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See,  what I’m learning about being brave has a lot to do with recognizing, celebrating and living in the awareness of the level of brave that exists in all of us.

Right now.

It’s about learning to value and embrace our own personal level of blossoming brave while encouraging the brave that may  just be budding in another.

Because, let’s face it what’s brave for me might be a walk in the park for someone else.
And my happy level of brave may cause you to break out in hives and cold sweats.

That’s ok.

And depending on the season of your life or the situation you are facing today, chances are your level of brave has shifted into places and territories you’ve probably never dreamed possible.

I know for myself…there have been some moments in my life when my level of brave was mildly discernible at best… a  little on the lighter pastel side. Those were moments  when it was all I could do to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other,  pick up my cross and carry it one. more. day.

On other days, my brave has burned white-hot with tinges of a crazy-blazy passion to right a wrong, speak a word, lift a hurt or ease a burden. I was on-fire, burnin’ bright with my brave.

braver than we thinkAnd the days when my brave was simply the calming hues of being near,  steady and still,  while another worked to summon up whatever it would take to make their own brave happen.

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There may be days when you stumble across a brave that stops you in your tracks and you think…wow. I wish I could be as brave as THAT.

Or you may believe you’re not really brave at all.    Hold the phone.

Because the worst enemy to your own shade of brave is the belief that yours is less than that of another.

The worst enemy of your shade of brave is not recognizing how it’s changing and developing …and how it’s changing you. Day by day. Moment by moment.

Maybe your brave is simply the ability to speak up for the one who can’t speak for themselves…. even if it’s finally for the one in the mirror.

Maybe it’s to be silent when faced with that bit of gossip or judgement, which may leave you standing outside the circle you thought would bring you so much comfort and community.

Perhaps it’s to go to a foreign land or even the unchartered territories of the shelter or red-light district downtown.

Maybe it’s closer to home and shaped like an open door to the hurting neighbor child, the lonely widow or newlywed next door. Maybe it’s the ride to the grocery store,  or the phone call to the police or  agency that can help.

Brave could mean answering the call of “Mommy!” or “Daddy!” one more time this day no matter how exhausted and ill-equipped you feel for the job.

Brave might mean…

  • Asking for help.
  • Being accountable.
  • Telling the truth.

Your brave could simply look like the steadfast heartbeat of God,standing firm  against the changing tides and seemingly prevailing winds of our culture….anchored and sure in the bedrock of His Word and the rainbowed color of His promises.

The color of brave is  like that you know… and  it’s almost never about you. In fact, it’s almost never only for you. Yet, with each moment and decision it’s there…shading your life til,  before you know it… you’re changed like never before and  you just know it;

you’re brave.

So… what about you…are you brave?

I bet you really are.

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