Bravery isn’t something we’re born with—it’s acquired over time as we gain life experience, and ironically, practice being brave.
How do we practice being brave? By acting on what we know is the right thing to do and challenging ourselves with new experiences, even when we’re afraid.
Being brave doesn’t mean we are never afraid or never nervous. Life gives us plenty of opportunity to practice being brave. Te’a, hands down, is getting a lot of practice. Middle school is hard enough when everyone is speaking a language you understand. And hats off, she’s acquiring bravery like a boss. She’s a fighter. A trooper. A winsome soldier in His army. My heart is conflicted between the tears that flow, the hormones that rage and the courage she inspires. There is great joy when fears have been conquered and through it faith grows and is strengthened and made more personal. We’ve all had opportunities to practice bravery. Each opportunity to be brave becomes a stepping stone of strength and assurance. We know we can do it because He has gone before us and He is with us.
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8.
Here are a few points to keep in mind as we practice being brave:
1. Admit that you’re scared. Bravery doesn’t mean that you’re never afraid or nervous—it means that you’re afraid, but you move forward anyway. Verbalize what you’re afraid of—naming it can dispel it’s power and illusion.
2. Examine your expectations. If you are afraid, you probably have some negative expectations. Often when we are anxious, it’s about things that haven’t happened and probably won’t happen. What we are thinking affects how we interpret things that ARE happening.
3. Accept that everything is a risk. All the things you do in a day—from getting out of bed to eating dinner—carry some level of risk. If you’re facing a situation that might mean making a brave but difficult decision, ask yourself:
Is this the right thing to do? The right thing isn’t always the easiest, nor the most popular. Is this the only way to resolve the situation? Consider whether there’s another way around your problem that’s less dramatic. Are you prepared to face the consequences? If the worst-case scenario happened, would you be able to handle it? Sometimes courage is having enough strength to get up and try again.
4. Decide what actions you are going to take and then take them! After a certain point, it’s better if you stop dwelling on what you’re about to do and just do it. Take a deep breath and go forward with what you’ve already decided on.
5. Find a role model. If you’re having a hard time seeing your way out of a situation, try modeling your behavior after someone else who’s faced adversity. Not only can this give you a good dose of perspective, it might inspire you to be more courageous…now,
It’s time to be brave.