Before you go any further...I want to speak to the dudes. If you're a dude reading this, you're going to sense a girly, feminine touch to my writing. DUH. I'm a lady. Keep reading. Just because the words I share have a feminine touch doesn't mean they aren't just as applicable to you. I challenge you to push past the fluff and read the meat of the message. With that, let's continue.
So I don’t know if any of you have ever seen the animated cartoon “Brave,” but for the past 5-6 years of my life (or whenever it came out) I have been stopped on many occasions just to be told “You look like Merida from Brave!” Which first off, thank you so much because I think she’s absolutely adorable, and secondly, because she’s the first BA princess, in my opinion. Yes, Pocahontas was pretty incredible, and Ariel, and Jasmine…well, all of them. But I feel a connection to Merida that I haven’t felt with any other Disney Princess…and it probably is the similar looking faces. If you're a dude reading this, and you've made it this far - trust me, just hold on.
But anyways, though Brave is a cartoon about a young girl wanting to fight for her right to be Queen without having to settle and marry some lame dude, it’s a pretty powerful movie…
A young girl, fighting for freedom - fighting for the life that she knows she is called to live, not settling for the world’s standards, but making her own. And most importantly, creating a legacy - a new culture for those to follow.
Merida truly is brave.
And as I think about what bravery truly is, I realize that all this time, I thought bravery was this external performance - this battle that everyone gets to witness, that ends in glamorous victory…or manly, muscular victory...but bravery, though at times it may be witnessed externally by those around us, is actually more internal than external.
Looking back on the past 6 years of my life, I remember 3 of my bravest moments, and none of them included a tangible sword, booming, external battle cries, or chainmail. But they did include the Sword of the Spirit, prayers that brought me to my knees, and the full Armor of God.
Ephesians 6 says…
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
In Shauna Niequist’s new book, Present Over Perfect, she has a chapter called “When Brave Looks Boring.” Here are a few things she says…As I said, dude's...just keep reading, trust me this is applicable for you.
- “ Brave doesn’t always involve grand gestures. Sometimes brave looks more like staying when you want to leave, telling the truth when all you want to do is change the subject…”
- “We’re addicted to big and sweeping and photo-ready…”
- “…Sometimes the most beautiful things we do are invisible, unsexy.”
- “…But brave is a lot quieter, at least for me [Shauna]. Brave is staying put when I’m addicted to rushing…Brave is listening instead of talking. Brave is articulating my feelings, especially when the feelings are sad or scared or fragile instead of confident or happy or light.”
- “Sometimes being brave is being quiet…”
- “Sometimes, brave looks boring, and that’s totally, absolutely, okay.”
…She got me.
Her definition of bravery, and the Armor we are called to put on in Ephesians 6, go hand in hand. God is preparing us for a battle that is so much more than the action and glamour displayed in the movie 300. Our battles are every day, real life. And sometimes these battles are against ourself…
Merida from Brave, Shauna’s chapter, and the story of Joshua, teach us what it means to be brave every day…and it seems that the common denominator is faith and trust.
In the 3 bravest seasons of my life, faith and trust where my anchors…
- When I chose Ministry over Dancing,
- When I chose Wholeness & Health over Decay,
- and today, as I chose Presence over Perfection.
God is calling me to be Brave in this season…but not brave because I’m about to fight this external war that everyone will get to witness in all it’s awe and fame.
God is calling me to be Brave by relearning what Bravery is, and teaching me how to choose it every single day. Choosing faith and trust amidst the unknown. Choosing faith and trust within the stillness and silence. Choosing faith and trust instead of perfect performance.
God is calling me to be Brave enough to slow down, look at myself in the mirror and say, today, I will accept and believe my title as “beloved, very good, enough.”
So, how is God redefining Bravery for you? What standards of this world are you being called to uproot? What will your standards be? What legacy do you want to leave behind? And what new culture do you want to create?