I am so excited to finally let you all in on the INCREDIBLE people who contributed to this “BRAVE” series!
The next is my dear friend Sean. I have found such a kindred spirit in this man – it’s so refreshing to hear someone else say things that seem to have come straight out of my head. He’s hilarious, always full of puns, and oh-so-talented musically. Sean is well-known for his warmth and dedication to joy and encouragement in the lives of all those around him, and I am continuously thankful to have him as a friend. (Also, please check out his Browder Sister page – my very favorite musicians!)
So thankful for him and how very BRAVE he is.
When someone asks, “What does it mean to be brave?” I have often reduced the status of being a brave person to a strong adrenaline rush you get every so often when you have to do something scary. It’s that feeling that pumps through your veins when you’re pumped up about something and it doesn’t matter what people think, or the consequences that may ensue. All you care about is DOING what is REQUIRED of you. It’s like the “fight or flight” syndrome. I love that feeling, it’s a rush. However, to be quite honest, I don’t think I feel that way a lot of the time. I actually can’t really remember the last time I felt that way. Yet, I have this conviction, that bravery is not just about having that feeling.
While I don’t want to discount the importance of the feeling I just described, I believe that being brave is more than that. I think that we often succomb to the illusion that we are not brave unless we feel that emotion every single time we have to do something scary.
brave, brāv/. adjective
Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
I like that the word “courage” is in the very definition of “brave”.
cour·age, ˈkərij/. noun
the ability to do something that frightens one.
And I love that the very definition of “courage” contains an element of fear. The ability to stand up and do something that also scares you.
I have an example of this from my own life. In my sophomore year of college, I applied (with some hesitation) and got accepted to be a worship leader for my college campus’ weekly chapel gatherings. I was very nervous because college students (especially on my campus at my time) could be quite critical of any authority or person that stepped on stage; sometimes, it was as if the person in the front was wearing a sign that said, “Critique and analyze everything I say, and if anything is out of line, make me look like a fool.” So, needless to say, I was a little nervous about this opportunity. I also felt this immense pressure to be an influential spiritual leader that exuberated a Divine presence everywhere I went. Then I remember, pretty specifically, the Lord teaching me a lesson in the summer preceding the next academic year. I felt as if the Lord had said to me, “It’s not your job to prove your abilities to anyone, nor is it your job to change anyone’s life; I do that. You just do what I’ve called you to do.” The Lord was calling me to be faithful with the little things; I didn’t have to be a grand worship leader, cause a revival, or even worry about what others think of me. All I had to do, in short, was prepare a few songs, and lead them in the chapel services, the Lord would take care of the rest.
It was this focus and conviction to be faithful with my little leadership position that caused me to have the strength each week to get up in front of thousands of my peers and lead them in worship. I was nervous, most of the time, but I was no longer focusing on my fears, or the pressure, I was focusing on being faithful. That’s why I think being brave is not about emotion, nor is it going out of our way to do the things that scare us. I think it’s about being faithful or prepared in the mundane, everyday life. That way, when the big moment comes and the defining moment is at hand, we will be ready to take on the challenge, and we’ll find that we have become that brave person we’ve wanted to be.