Every once in a while I run across a line that halts me in my tracks (or sometimes my ruts) with a sense of “I’m speaking to you, Gary”. This was one of those thoughts:
You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.” Brene Brown
It’s very easy and usual for us to be sloppy and shielded with our life because it’s our life and it really doesn’t matter outside of it. It seems like the world is not really looking at us as an example of how to live as a Christian, even though speakers, teachers and authors tell us this all the time. After all, who really notices or takes any inspiration from our life anyway.
You’d be surprised.
We can say to ourself, I don’t want to be brave with my life, I don’t want to risk loss at this time – not relationally, financially, vocationally, physically or emotionally. I’m too tired, too overwhelmed and too disappointed.
It’s easy to be brave with other people’s lives, isn’t it? Suggesting the steps of faith they ought to take and God’s promise to be with them. It’s always easier to risk someone else’s stuff.
I have two thoughts about this:
First, how about the fact that you and I don’t actually own our life – so we can be brave with it.
You do not belong to yourselves, because you were bought by God for a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 NCV)
We can step back from our life and ask, what would it look like to live bravely with that life, letting the world around it encounter the splendor of God in it?
God encourage us to be brave with His possessions. In a very familiar story (Matt. 25:14-30), Jesus tells of a man who was going to be away for a long time, entrusting his property to those who worked for him. When he returned he was very happy with those who lived bravely with his property.
Jesus is inviting us to take a risk with His prized possession – you and me.
Secondly, our life, our actions transcend or radiate out beyond our tiny space call “myself”. We often don’t take seriously our actions, good or bad, until we realize that they affects others. That it’s not just me and my inconsequential life. Believe it or not, our life does affect others.
You’re life is noticed, felt and experienced by others.
There are many times that I lived bravely because I saw someone else living bravely.
- Someone initiated a risky but necessary conversation, so I did.
- Someone invested time and money into the development of their artistry, so I did.
- Someone created or launched something that had been on their heart, so I did.
- Someone stopped doing something that had been expected of them for years, but was not who they truly were, so I did.
- Someone stepped forward to offer what they saw without assurance of receptivity, so I did.
- Someone offered kindness, consideration and forgiveness when anger and retaliation were justifiable, so I did.
- Someone made a big realignment in their life according to what God had shown them, so I did.
You see, I need YOU to be brave with your life, so that I can be brave with mine…and I will try to do the same for you.
Ann Voskamp wrote,
You’re only living faith when you taste a bit of fear in your mouth…taste the fear and leap anyways.”
What would it look like for you to live bravely right now that would inspire another to bravery?
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Thank-you for asking me to live bravely. Your voice ( and others who encourage me to walk into the unknown) are so needed because there is such a draw in me to conform and play it safe. My highest thought for my life is that I would encourage others to live bravely, not by just my words, but rather how I lived.
And you are doing this, Jeff. I’m guessing there is another act of bravery in your heart waiting for its time.
If our lives are a “fragrant aroma” to God as we walk in love, then our bravery shown is that to Him and to others.
Eph 5:2 (NASB) and walk in love, just as Christ also loved [a]you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God [b]as a fragrant aroma.
Love and bravery – a great and powerful combination.
I love this. So right. I can be brave when things are easy but when the arrows hit, I sort of sink and am sure everyone is betraying me. So, let me be brave no matter the circumstance. Thank you, Gary.
Jill, it’s always good to hear from you. You are a brave soul!
Thank you Gary,
This is confronting but very inspiring!
Any great movement starts with the actions of one courageous individual taking a small step of faith and making a stand.
I believe Rosa Parks and her actions are an excellent example of this!
Yes, great example.
Great insights here. It’s not so much that we should try to inspire others. Thats not the main goal. But to know that living our own path bravely will have positive effect on those around us. It also means we need to tell our stories of stepping out if they are not obvious to others.
Answer to prayer, Gary. Literally. Spent time the morning this came out pouring out my doubts and fears to the Lord. Prayed for encouragement. Then received your email. And I love that it started with Brene’s quote!
I had to go back and read my journal and then re-read this. Amazed by the God’s mystical nature…always revealing himself to me in surprising ways.
Daring to believe is always my first step. And finding encouragement in others who summon momentary courage to act in faith. I’m reminded of a line from We Bought a Zoo:
“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
Oops – “by God’s mystical nature”…not by “the God’s…” LOL.
“Beyond the final “no”, there is a “yes” upon which the world turns.”
Gary, thank you for the courage to write this and inspire others to courage in Christ! It’s always great to read your blog. What you wrote here makes me feel compelled to write back.
In the recent book “Manfield’s Book of Manly Men,” the author highlights King David’s dying words to his son, Solomon. “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man”
(1 Kings 2:2 ESV)
I’ve been told by more than a few people that I’ve got a lot of courage. As you know, in the not-too-distant past, I blew the whistle against my employer and got fired for for it. It was very difficult watching my peers back away from confronting wrong for fear of losing their jobs. That wrong resulted in four people dying in a tragic aircraft accident.
Getting fired resulted in me finding follow-on employment flying troops, cargo, and mail around Afghanistan in an unarmed and un-armored civilian helicopter for nearly three years. I can now look back in relative clarity on and know that God brought me to and through both trials for a purpose that is still unfolding.
I offer this story to anyone who may read it as encouragement to go forward. Was I scared and confused at times? You bet! However, if God brought you to it, rest assured that He’ll get you through
it. Or, as John Wayne famously said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”
Press on and remain faithful that Jesus goes on before you.
One afterthought: I wrote, “I’ve been told by more than a few people that I’ve got a lot of courage.” That phrase sounds very prideful and is not what I really meant. What I should have written in addition to that was, “…although it doesn’t feel that way to me.” In both of the trials that I wrote about, I struggled with fear of many things, but “saddled up anyway.” It was simply faith that helped me to persevere. God wanted to teach me many things… about myself and about life that I would not have learned any other way. They very were hard lessons and I’m thankful that He brought me to those places. Again, I wrote a lengthy reply, Gary, because I wanted to offer my story to provide hope and encouragement to anyone experiencing similar circumstances.
Pete, thank you for communicating this part of your story and heart. I keep re-learning, re-understanding that there is more good on the other side of a trail. That was a great example. You’ve given me hope and encouragement, and I know for many other readers.
Gary, I was revisiting some of your videos and ran across this one! I most definitely needed to hear this right now! Thank you for all you do and have done through the Noble Heart! -Kim