Who Me Brave?
Guest Post by Janet Thompson
What do you think of when you hear the word brave? We might all define bravery in different terms, but I think we can agree it takes courage to be brave. I heard Bill Carter, a former Secret Service Agent on a talk show where he gave this definition of courage: “It requires courage to take advantage of opportunities.” I like this definition because every day we encounter “opportunities,” and acting on them and forging ahead into unknown territory requires courage and bravery.
Defining the true nature of bravery can be difficult and confusing at best. Maybe when you think about bravery, you imagine people being valiant, resolute, unafraid, adventuresome, bold, fearless, spunky, gritty, spirited, undaunted—the list goes on and on. As intimidating as these descriptions may seem, every woman (yes, even you) has embodied at least one of those descriptions of bravery at some point in her life. Which of those terms best describes you?
Friends and family often describe me as being bold, resolute, adventuresome, undaunted—and yes, even gritty and spunky. But I’m also described as brave for being willing to speak out against ungodly cultural issues of our times, something I think every Christian should naturally do.
When we get right down to it, we’re all braver than we think we are or give ourselves credit for, even though others might see us as brave. Yet I find this is often an uncomfortable admission for many women to make about themselves. Is it for you?
When I was writing Everyday Brave, I prayed that the Lord would provide me with guidance on how to encourage women to share their thoughts on bravery. I was so grateful when He gave me an idea for a new approach. On Facebook, I selected a brightly colored background and typed in the question, “What is the bravest thing God has ever asked you to do?” The comments started flowing. Here are a few. Can you relate to any?
- Forgive abusers
- Teenage unwed pregnancy
- Trust God
- Obey the Holy Spirt
- Let go and let God
- Bury children
- Watch loved ones pass away
- Love unconditionally
- Be a caregiver
- Endure illness/cancer/pain
- Have children/Raise a family
You probably thought of more things to add. Did you notice no one said “Running into a burning house to save a dog”? Or “Stopping a carjacker”? Or “Helping the police subdue a thief”? Of course, those are incredibly brave actions, but the women answering my Facebook question listed mostly everyday life circumstances they felt required such bravery that only God could help them, even though some listed “Trust God.”
Sometimes, being brave means not taking any action at all—staying silent when everything in you screams to bolt or revolt.
We tend to categorize “brave women” as those who go into the international mission field or into the military. Police officers, firefighters, first responders. Any woman who goes into a dangerous career, willing to lay down her life for a job, cause, or belief, is superhero brave in our eyes. And so she should be. These women display other-centered, not self-centered, courage—the difference between desperate and real bravery.
Typically, we don’t consider that “ordinary” women like you and me display real other-centered bravery and courage every single day, often in the routines of life. But we routinely get our brave on during situations that involve something or someone valuable to us. Risking danger or overcoming our fears reveals what is immensely important to us to protect or accomplish. We may not realize it, but a courageous heart makes us “superheroes” to those who know us and especially to God.
The antidote to fear, worry, and anxiety is to trust God. Faith is the opposite of fear. So we call on God to help us and then we don’t doubt Him. We believe that God’s got this and He’s way ahead of us.
God is looking for obedient, courageous hearts. Often that doesn’t require doing something dramatic, but simply submitting to him in the everyday situations of our life. As we do, He will probably ask us to do more and more and more, but it won’t seem as scary because we’ve become used to having Him by our side.
Wherever God has given you the strength to face adversity and trials of life—or maybe just normal everyday occurrences—with courage and bravery, praise him. Then, share your victory with others. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).
When the world sees God’s people acting courageously, all we have to say is, “He gave me the courage I needed to persevere. I couldn’t have done this without the Lord’s help. To God be the glory for the things He has done in and through my life. Yes, God has made me brave!”
Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books. Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. Her latest book Everyday Brave: Living Courageously as a Woman of Faith releases September 10, 2019 and is available for pre-order now!
She is also the author of Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness; Forsaken God? Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.
Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.
Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com.
About Everyday Brave: In Everyday Brave, Janet explores the extraordinary bravery of fifty ordinary
women in the Bible. Twenty-eight women of today also give testimonies of realizing their strength and courage through God’s love. As Janet shares the stories of these women, she reminds us that the real heart and substance of bravery comes from unconditionally placing our hope in the only One who can give us the courage to stay the course.
“If you long to be a bold, resilient, and faith-filled woman of God, Everyday Brave is for you