Redefining Bravery

“It takes guts to be gentle and kind” — The Smiths

“It takes bravery to show humility, vulnerability, compassion, heart, kindness, and self-respect.” — Mandy Hale

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” — e.e. cummings

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” — 2 Timothy 1:7

We often hear that if something scares us, it’s probably something we should try. Be bold and take a chance, even if it’s risky. We encourage adventures. And we admire those who are brave enough to take them.

When confronted with a choice of whether or not to take on something that’s “risky,” as Christians we pray. Then we seek out the advice of others. The bible even encourages us to listen to counsel, so this isn’t inherently a negative act.

However we all take that one step further and we base our decisions off the approval of others. Not only the approval of our wise counsel, but the approval of the broader world. We look at our choice from the eyes of society and we question which image of ourselves we want to show the world.

God does not simplify challenges down to a means of gaining respect from others. Bravery is not about appeasing the world. It is much more than that.

It goes deeper. It takes guts to be kind in this hateful world, to be patient when we want to make moves, to trust God in our choices, to be genuinely ourselves, to be gentle when we’re angry, to show forgiveness when we’re resentful, to give up our own desires for the sake of others.

Next time I’m confronted with a decision of whether or not to do something “risky” I pray God removes the distractions of the world’s definition of bravery and gives me clear vision for as to what He has in mind. I pray I listen to wisdom and am honest with what bravery might actually look like.

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