Courage

I’m gonna confess something.

 

I did not want to write the blog post this week.

 

It has been a hard week. Aside from my general struggle with depression and anxiety, this week I have struggled not to lose. my. mind. navigating the very confusing and (at times) baffling murky waters of emotionally-charged children. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and when my children are struggling, I feel (and firmly believe with every fiber of my being) that I have permanently and irrevocably broken them. That their emotionalism is a direct result of me.

 

This wouldn’t be a big deal for a lot of people who are more rational, but being the way I am - expecting perfection in a life I can’t control - I tend to ‘fail’ (in my mind) on a regular basis. These ‘failures’ lead to more anxiety which spirals downward into dark thoughts and feelings.

 

So, I didn’t want to write. Because I feel like a failure.  I feel like a failure because I’m not perfect.  I’m not perfect because I’m broken.  Broken and in need of Jesus.

 

Jesus and maybe some therapy.

 

As I was processing all of this externally to my husband (God, bless that man), he listened quietly (again, bless). When I was finished, he waited half a second before recounting to me a conversation he had with one of our friends over lunch this past week:

 

“...the lost don’t need perfection, what the lost need is a person to walk through life with them and be honest in their own brokenness.”

 

Preach.

 

This brought me back to Matt’s teaching this past Sunday {Acts 4:23-37}.

 

I won’t recount the whole of the sermon; you can listen to it here. But the take-away for me is that God calls us to live courageous lives that take risks. Matt defined courage as, “facing your heart’s deepest nightmare’s and doing the right thing anyway.”

 

Most of us fall into the trap of hearing “courage” and immediately having visions of serving the peoples of an impoverished foreign land or founding an international organization that fights for justice or entering into a country’s violent story in order to protect the innocent….and then we all immediately feel defeated. Because you are a student at UGA or because you are a stay at home mom or because you work a 9-5 and it pays the bills and student loans - but those things don’t allow you to do the BIG THINGS. We simply can’t commit to that level of ‘’bold and courageous.’’

 

But big things aren’t the only ‘’courageous and BOLD’’ acts God calls us to.

 

Matt brought it back to what might be every man and every woman’s deepest fear.

 

Being honest. Being vulnerable. Admitting “I’m not enough.” “I need to be better.” “I need to be more.” “I need to do more.”  (If you are a woman and have a Pinterest account, you know this feeling well).

 

We are reminded that one very real form of courage is taking the risk of showing up and BEING OURSELVES. No mask. Nothing to hide behind.

 

As Matt put it, “Masks are not courage. Show up. Be yourself. Love the world. Make it better. Even in the hard. The difficult. And the scary.”

 

No “homemade bread from grain you hand-milled on the farmhouse table you built from oak harvested off your great grandfather’s barn” type of courage here...this is a “frozen pizza eaten picnic style on top of a sheet because your carpet is so disgusting you can’t bring yourself to put the pizza box on it” type courage.

 

This is letting others know that you struggle ...with depression ...with anxiety... with an eating disorder ...pornography ...relationships ...loneliness ...anger ... chronic pain ...doubt ...fear.  Letting them know that sometimes you aren’t sure if God is out there, that sometimes you have questions about your faith you feel like you can’t answer.

 

Allowing yourself to be a place of safety for others who are struggling.

 

This is struggling with and being honest about the fact that sometimes in the midst of this life you’d rather not talk to God, but you can’t help but see Him in it.

 

This is taking the Instagram filter off of your life and letting others see that life can be UGLY. Circumstances can be UGLY. We are UGLY. And that in the midst of that ugliness God has sought us out. He loves us in spite of it. And he slowly changes us. He heals the broken. He makes us whole.

 

As we begin this new season. Let’s be a courageous people. Let’s take the masks off. Show up. Be ourselves...no, the real us. Let’s love the world. Let’s make it better...even in the hard, the difficult, and the scary.

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