When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be brave. And I never really was. In fact, I was a bit of a scaredy-cat.
I loved adventure, but not too far from home… and never alone. I wanted to try new things, but only if they posed very little risk.
Don't get me wrong, I was a busy, playful, happy kid. I was talkative and super active. But I was not fearless.
And if I'm completely honest with myself, I still prefer the comforts of the known to the challenges of what I cannot see. Why am I sharing this with you? Well, what I learned over time is that I am actually braver than I think. And so are you.
Bravery, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty: the quality or state of being brave | COURAGE”
OK, so according to this definition, even though I'm all grown up, I'm still not very brave. Exhibit A… Just the other day I went outside to see what the dogs were barking at and a snake was curled up in my garage!
NO. Just NO.
What I wanted to do was run back into the house, but my fear that the horrible creature would find its way inside with me caused me to snap a photo of it and send it (without any commentary) to my husband. He informed me that it was a “good snake” and I shouldn't kill it… as if…
Anyway, I eventually shooed it away from my back door with a shovel but every time it struck out at the metal, I jumped and screeched like a little girl. (P.S. It did NOT look cute like the one above). It was embarrassing, even if only witnessed by my dogs. And my fear was irrational since the thing was not even poisonous. But there it was. No bravery.
Now, if I stop there in my estimations of my courage, I would be feeling pretty inadequate right now. But praise God, I don't have to. Here are three things that I know about this topic… and that you need to remember as well.
I have no bravery within myself.
I believe we've adequately established that already. Some of you have more dare-devil personalities than I do, but when the really hard things in life hit, we all get scared.
When the diagnosis we've dreaded comes. When the job has been lost and we don't know how we will provide for our family. When our freedoms become tenuous. When our loved ones are living in rebellion against God. Yes, I dare say that even the most fearless soul has known what it's like to have courage flee.
I am called by God to be brave
Wait, what? Is that true?
“Be strong and courageous”. You can find this phrase several times in the Bible. Most notably in Joshua…
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
But let's look at a few verses above this famous and well-commercialized verse to give us a little more context.
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:6-9
This passage speaks directly to one man… Joshua. And gives him specific instructions. However, I believe that this command, and the instructions outlines, are applicable to us as well.
What are these instructions?
- Be strong and courageous… remember my promises (v. 6)
- Be strong and courageous… follow my precepts and meditate on my words (v. 7-8)
- Be strong and courageous… know that I am with you (v. 9)
So yes, we are called to bravery, and I truly believe that our calling to be brave, just like Joshua's, can only be accomplished when we heed these words well.
My bravery can only truly come from Christ in me
Joshua is not told to be courageous in himself. He is not given the command with no practical steps to take to succeed. He is given the steps outlined above… and so are we.
Don't stop at the quote “Be strong and courageous”. Dig a little deeper.
1. Remember what God has done for His people through history, know His Word, recall what He has done for you, and keep his promises forefront in your mind.
2. Read His Word, know His precepts and meditate on them day and night.
3. And finally, never forget that if you are trusting in Christ, He is living in you and He is your source of strength. You don't have to do it alone, and in fact, you cannot. But you can utterly trust him.
And you can be brave.
To help you celebrate this truth, I have a free Bible Journaling mini-kit for you to download.
Enjoy and have a blessed day.