I value bravery. In fact I LOVE brave people. I am inspired by people who do amazingly difficult things. I have almost done a bunch of brave stuff in my life. I was 2 1/2 minutes (not literally) from spending 2 years in West Africa doing mission work. Then September 11, 2001 happened, and I didn’t go. It’s an almost brave story for another time, we’ll just say, I was halfway to being brave.
A few months ago I braved the summer heat at the amusement park and committed myself to spend an entire day riding roller coasters and big spinnig-rides with my 9 year old. We were going to conquer his fear of roller coasters and my distaste for spinning rides. We had a pact, we had snacks, we had 2 over priced tickets and a baby-sitter for the girls for THE WHOLE DAY!! 2 rides into the day of bravery I discovered how almost brave I was. I, honest truth, threw up all over the kid next to me on a ridiculous ride that never ever ever ended. Seriously ever. I spun and spun and spun and cursed and cried, and prayed and willed that thing to stop, and it did… right after I lost it. It wasn’t my most shining moment. In fact it was among the least shining moments of my life.
But my kid, he was a rockstar. He said “Mom, you don’t have to be brave anymore, let’s go swim.” So we set off to buy a bathing suit at the adjacent water park, and we both fell into our comfort zone. We love the water! We rode water slides, we laughed, we ate slushies, we rode the lazy river, we pushed each other off rafts in the wave pool. We had THE BEST day. Sometimes being brave isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, realizing that being who you are and doing what you like, despite the world pushing new, and different, and exciting, is brave.
If that’s the truth and bravery is really more about pushing the limits of yourself, your true self, not yourself that the world calls boring, or a nerd, or a bookworm, or a scardy cat (yup, I said that). Maybe my amazing 9 year old has it right. Maybe he is brave. Maybe he’s most brave when he decides he’s done playing because the other kids are being mean to someone. Maybe he’s being brave when he wants to join the battle of the books team instead of the soccer team, because that’s what he loves. Maybe he’s being brave when he lets his baby sister hug him in front of all his friends. Maybe being brave is finding comfort in your own skin.
Maybe I’m actually the coward when I say yes, when I know I should say no. Maybe I’m the coward when I hide from my loneliness or sadness or discomfort in busy, talking, watching tv, candy crush playing, Facebook stalking. Maybe I hide quite well, so I don’t have to be bravely who I am. Maybe I’m so terrified to spin out of control or to lose who I am, in the fight to be brave, that I hide.
Jesus said “let the children come.” I’ve always thought that that was because they were innocent, they were loving, they were sweet, and Jesus wasn’t bothered by them. I now wonder if it is because they went. Jesus knew they wouldn’t stand on the outside and stare in, but that they would rush in and get as close as they could. Not because they intended to be rude, or selfish, but because they were brave.
If Jesus invited us into the special meeting, to sit at His feet and hear a parable or 2, what would we do? I would probably say thank you, hang out at the back and make sure everyone else had a good seat. Not because I didn’t want to sit with Jesus, but because I would be afraid that my desires would hurt someone else’s. You see I’m not brave. Stay with me a minute…
We tend to call children reckless, or indestructible. But what if they are just doing what they are created to do, what we are all created to do, to bravely accept the invitation to sit with Jesus. For me, bravery would be 20 minutes of silence. I would rather call it torture. It would take insane courage to sit by myself, with only myself for 20 whole minutes. Pushing the thoughts of to do lists, and goals, how much gas is in the car, and how much longer do I have to do this, from my head. If I spent 20 whole minutes with the sole purpose of wholeness with Christ, I guarantee you amazing things would happen. But it would take insane courage.
“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise you something great will come of it.” (We bought a zoo)