My son was on one of those whirling amusement park rides that circled the clouds like a frenzied dog chasing its tail. Somewhere vertical in the sky he spun so fast that the metal contraption that contained him angled sideways – much like my stomach felt down below. I could barely stand to watch him, and I fervently prayed he wouldn’t end up with whiplash or vertigo or otherwise be thrust into outer space. I’ve always been the girl at the park who held the drinks, the jackets, and whatever else the “fun” people couldn’t take on the thrill rides. I am okay being this girl. I don’t feel even the slightest pang of regret for my union with solid ground. I hang out with squirmy toddlers in their strollers and watch pigeons as their heads bobble in search of food.
So, I don’t typically think of myself as brave. That’s a word I associate with the kind of courage it takes to ride a rollercoaster or kill a roach without screaming and spastically throwing shoes. I am not that girl either. I yell for my husband, sons, and even the cats (who look at me in disdain as if I’ve just equated them with some kind of animal). If no one is nearby, I resort to evacuating. I figure shelter is overrated and the roach can have my residence.
This year, I aim to be brave. This doesn’t have anything to do with rollercoasters or roaches, but instead, my relationship with God. For the last several years, I have focused on surrender. Surrender is one of those words that is easily confused with defeat. Yet in the battleground for our souls, surrender allows access to the great victory of unity with God. When I began the journey of surrender, I thought it would be kind of fun — like having someone else do the laundry. “Here God, make this clean.” Or I naively thought that it would mean that my concerns would be magically absolved. The more I practiced surrender, the more I realized it wasn’t that easy. I clung to self-reliance. It felt scary to trust God and all the mysterious ways of his works. I realized that genuine surrender requires a brave heart. In the book, The Hidden Life Awakened, Betty Skinner writes, “It takes enormous courage and discipline to make the choice to trust God.”
I intend to be courageous and make that choice. “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control,” (2 Timothy 1:7). I know it will be a choice that I will have to make over and over again. I know it will require discipline and deep breaths. I know there will be times that I won’t feel brave. Still, I realize that acting with courage during such times of fear and doubt makes us the bravest of all.
I may never be the girl waving her hands in the air as she wooshes around a roller coaster, but I can be brave as I maneuver the hairpin turns and steep ascents of my faith journey. The same still can’t be said about killing a roach.
Sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning and facing what we know will be a hard day requires great courage. This year will be a year of change for me with my son graduating from high school and my first book being published. Both feel full of uncertainty. What or who are you being brave for right now?
Read last week’s post here: Resolution: Every Moment Anew