Brave in the small things

My word for the year is brave

I once had someone say to me that I was a brave person when it came to the big things – as in, I would pack up my life and move to South America for a year when I was 22 (which I did). But, I was overly cautious in the small things – as in, I would never have an outdoor wedding because of the risk of rain (which I didn’t, and good thing too because it did pour on our wedding day. I rest my case.) 

Anyways, I thought that was an interesting, and accurate, description of me: that I was brave and bold in the big things and overly cautious and controlling of the small things. 

But now, in a season when my life is about the small things, where does that leave me? When I can’t pack up my life to move to South America or backpack across Europe with my best friend, what does bravery look like? How can I actively be courageous in the monotony of life? 

That’s what I want to find out.

I think most of my life I’ve confused bravery with doing exciting things – taking risks, going on adventures, trying new things, going new places. And it can be about that. But I think what my life has been lacking is the acknowledgement that bravery might be even more necessary in the small things. Those things that we don’t typically characterize as being scary but have more of a grip on us than we’d like to admit. 

For me, bravery in the small things looks like setting strong boundaries and sticking to them. It looks like saying no. Slowing down. Surrendering. Releasing my worries about the future. Changing and being okay with that change. Worrying less about what others think. Admitting when I need help. Not comparing myself to others. Choosing joy on the hard days. 

It looks a lot like freedom.

For much of my life, my external boldness has been a cover-up for my internal fear. My grandiose gestures of bravery have been excuses to not live bravely in the small moments that control me.

So this year, I want to learn what it means to be truly brave – not just in the external showing of it but the internal conviction of it. Or, as Isaiah 30:15 says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”

Repentance. Rest. Quietness. Trust. Words that haven’t been synonymous with bravery for me – until now.

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