“We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are, to see through plastic sham to living, breathing reality, and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give love.” Madeleine L’Engle
I am by nature, a creature of habit. I hang my keys in the same place each time I return home. I keep my socks folded and tucked away in their proper drawer. I think that’s why I resort to drastic measures when it comes to food selections. When shopping for cereal I make it my goal to never purchase the same product twice in a row. I could go eight months in between boxes of Cheerios, one of my favorites. If I don’t live on the edge in the morning, I probably won’t during the rest of my day. I used to be so predictable that you could tell me what I was about to order at any given restaurant. In recent years I have made it my goal to live life on the edge when dining, to incur some sort of a risk. If I don’t like lunch, I can always eat dinner, right? (Sometimes it’s the small victories that make your day.)
I’m not suggesting that food is a major fear for me. It’s not. (Quite the opposite, my friends.) I am telling you that my natural tendency is to play it safe. Sometimes it takes practicing courage in the simpler tasks to remind me that living without fear is possible.
“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” -Ronald E. Osborn
Dictionary.com defines courage as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. I love that! Doesn’t it just make you want to run through a field screaming and waving a banner? Nope? Just me? Look, the only problem with this definition is that I do not think courage is one of my defining characteristics. The sad truth is that I line my bookshelves with inspiration, purchase maps of the world, and make life mission statements that would rival the greatest explorer. I take notes on anything that has to do with adventure… and yet sometimes I’m too afraid to actually explore.
Check out this definition of courage that came up in a Bible study: “taking action (despite fear) for a purpose.” I recognize that there isn’t a great moral or philosophical purpose in choosing Special K. I don’t expect to wake up tomorrow ready to take on the world, but I am taking steps daily toward reckless abandonment in every aspect of my life. I am asking that the Lord would show me where a fear of failure rips the courage out from under me. My fear isn’t heights, speaking in front of a crowd, or even being alone. My fear is missing out on the adventurous life God has for me because of my own self-doubts. Thankfully He is and will always be there to push and guide every step of the way.
“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow on those who take refuge in you.” Psalm 31:19
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
What are you afraid of? How can you push yourself to be brave today?