I want to tie these words as symbols on my hands, bind around my neck, tattoo them on my body: Courage, dear heart.
Courage means much more to me than it ever used to. And that's because I've suddenly needed it. It's because I've doubted and lost confidence and felt anxiety and feared. You don't need courage until you're scared. The instinctual parts of myself wish we didn't have to experience weakness to be brave, because being broken is an awful thing to feel. Yet true bravery only exists where there is fear.
Many of my friends are doing hard things this year, overcoming monsters and saying yes to a better-but-still-unclear-future, and they're doing it the only way we can: small acts of bravery each day. They're moving toward a better version of themselves, toward the people God created them to be. Recently my best friend and I talked about that terrifying leap between sensing the Holy Spirit's work in your life and responding in action. I think courage is that essential link between seeing a good work begin in your life and becoming a better version of yourself.
Davis and I asked each other this question last week over pizza. Who are you in five words right now? I am many things but the word that rises above the rest is becoming. I can't see what exactly I'm becoming just yet, but we're promised that the Lord who began a good work in us will carry it to completion. I'm allowing myself to celebrate small acts of bravery - writing this post, signing up for a marathon - because courage does not come easy or cheap. It comes when we feel very scared and small.
Let's also remember that there is freedom in being brave, too. Erwin McManus has said that courage is the absence of self. I agree. There's nothing more freeing than losing our self-protective impulses and recovering the ability to look outward and upward. Absence of self leaves plenty of room for the strong Spirit of God to make us brave.
There is a good work being done in us. We are becoming something new. That's a promise, dear friends. So have courage, dear heart.
And a quote, to finish things off: