First Thoughts on Bravery

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In my 2016 preview post, I wrote that my defining word for the year is bravery. In this post I want to talk a little about what this theme means and means for my 2016. The definition of brave is simply to be ready to face and endure danger or pain. In other words, bravery requires a dangerous or painful force that must be overcome.

As I reflect on that definition within my life, I have to admit that often the dangerous or painful force that I have to overcome is me. Sometimes it’s an attitude of cynicism. Sometimes it’s fear. Sometimes it’s a quick tempter. Sometimes it’s saying too much. Sometimes it’s not taking an opportunity and saying too little. And sometimes it’s mistakes of the past or the unknowns of the future. If you are like me, then you have these (and other) dangerous and painful forces within you too that must be overcome. Many times the one place we need to be bravest is with ourselves.

The funny thing about bravery is that being brave doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to win. On one hand it means that whether one is considered brave or not doesn’t depend on the outcome. On the other hand it means that bravery doesn’t equal success. What’s important is simply that one is brave; the outcome is secondary. To say it another way, if the input is bravery, then the output is secondary- no matter what the output may be.

Our culture tells us and teaches us to only be concerned with the output- the outcome. As long as the outcome is success, so our culture says, it doesn’t matter how you achieve it. We may not be able to control the outcome but we can control how we face the problem, issue, adversity or pain.

What does this mean for my 2016? What could it mean for you?

First, if there is no adversity then there is no opportunity to be brave. Most of the time we want a care free and adversity free life but when we think about being brave and living a brave life, we simply cannot do that without some kind of adversity.

Second, I can choose the attitude with which I face adversity. I choose bravery. I don’t want this to sound like an egocentric idea of positive thinking or a self-help trick. On the contrary, if it were up to me to be brave, I would almost always fail. However, by walking with Jesus and believing that the Spirit of God lives in me- it gives me confidence to know that God is interested in my life and my journey to make me more like Jesus. And if God is interested in my life and is trying to make me more like Jesus then I can face adversity in my life with bravery.

Third, if I choose my attitude then, even if I can’t influence the outcome, I can accept the outcome. Again, if left up to me this would be impossible. However, if God is in control and if God’s plan is to make me look more like Jesus then I can be confident in the outcome.

A lot of things might happen this year, let’s face our adversity with bravery.


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