Your Kind of Brave
by Mandy Limon
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The Brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
When you think of the word brave, what comes to mind? Do you think of Xena the Warrior Princess defending a people; conquering lands? Maybe you think of individuals like Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa or even Jesus who led movements and shifted atmosphere for great causes of which they believed so deeply. Or maybe, a dear family member who exemplifies this very word by how they have navigated through the demands of their narrative. All of us have an idea of what being brave looks like in our lives, communities and world. I believe, because of this, we often ask ourselves this life defining question, “Am I Brave?”
Do you recall the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? We are inspired by those Chicken Soup for the Soul stories, especially those on Courage and Bravery, because it moves us to action. We think, “could I do that” or “would I speak up and stand for a cause like that?” And yet, fear somehow has a way of creeping in through a window. As it settles into the corners of our minds we begin telling ourselves lies that sabotage our inner warrior. None of us want to sit around clothed in fear feeling chained and weighed down by our anxieties. We want to live free! As well as bold, fearless, strong and BRAVE. We want to be able to conquer whatever is before us, however, fear has a way of making us stagnant. We find that we can easily fall into the comparison trap. We may compare our journey and story to another person’s and feel inadequate and want to give up.
Right now, I want you to pause in this moment and I want you to ask yourself one question (out loud), “What is my kind of brave?”
Every season will have its own demands but praise God that he is the same yesterday, today and forever. Great is the faithfulness of our God to see you through whatever is before you. His Spirit in you desires to empower you, to make you brave. God is calling you, sharpening, and refining YOU. Your story is yours and it is all working together for the purpose in which God has designed for the one and only you.
My point is that being brave for one person might be as simple as looking in the mirror and speaking life over yourself, saying that you are able, worthy, and not forgotten. For someone else it might be mustering up the courage to call someone who has been on your heart and praying with them as you feel the Holy Spirit leading you to do so. Another might be finally signing up for a class you have been sitting on for a while to pursue a new career path.
It doesn't benefit us to see “Bravery” in a cookie cutter form. Life is messy and beautiful and surprises us all at the same time. We see what we are made of in the fire, we jump hurdles for our passions and we press forward with tenacity in adversity… THAT is Bravery. We fight for what we believe in, our faith, our loved ones, when we see injustice, even if just for one; that is BRAVERY. Moving forward with our dreams and desires at full force and even getting up and trying again when we fail for the first or hundredth time, that is bravery.
What is your kind of brave?
For me, in this current season of life many would say I am brave because I have a lot on my plate. I am a new mom, I work full time, I’m a student part time, I mentor, serve at my church, I blog and among other things. Although I am blessed to have and be doing all of the above, it can feel like pure insanity at times and I often want to begin controlling everything in my path that God has placed in my care. My kind of brave in this season has been to pause daily and release control.
I often cling to Philippians 4:6-7 that says,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
My kind of brave has been to CHOOSE to be brave, to walk with courage, and tell myself not to fear the unknowns but to trust the process and that God is in control. So daily I wear a crown of peace, mercy, grace, courage or strength; whatever is necessary for the day to be my kind of brave. To conquer what is set before me like a mighty warrior because I know who my Father is.
Every season will pose a new “brave.” Embrace it. Know that you can triumph whatever it is and that your journey may look different than someone else's but it doesn't make your story any less than another.
Now, let me ask you again, WHAT IS YOUR KIND OF BRAVE?
What is it in this season that demands your attention and calls out to you to conquer? God’s plans for you are good. He has supplied within you all you need to pursue and conquer your fears. Remember diamonds are created under pressure; you have nothing to fear! Be Bold and Live Brave. Your Kind of Brave.