Are you a confident person?
Real talk: I‘m not. Very rarely will you find me venturing into new situations alone. I am usually a season or two behind on fashion trends because I am too scared to try the daring new ones. I love new places and ideas, but they scare me at the same time. I’m not the kind of person who takes risks and hopes for the best; I would just rather sit on the sidelines and watch. And I am okay with that.
I am perfectly happy sitting just behind the curtain and helping run the show from backstage. I kind of like not having to be front and center. I will gladly contribute, but I will just do so from behind the scenes.
Christ, however, completely ignores that little fact about me. He looks around the nervousness and hesitation, stares me in the eyes, and says, “Go.” That little action used to scare me. I wouldn’t act on His plans until I was completely sure of what God was telling me. And by completely sure, I mean I waited until a billboard filled the sky and told me where to go next. Not because I didn’t trust God, but because I was scared. Scared I would fail, be embarrassed, or let Him down.
A few years ago, I was asked to play the violin with my church worship team. I practiced the two songs for weeks, making sure I knew every chord by heart and how many verses we would play. The morning came and it was a particularly crowded Sunday. As I looked at the crowd filing in the auditorium, my hands started to shake and I got nervous. “I’m going to have to sit this one out.” I could hear the panic in my voice as I warned the bass player I was about to make a run for it. Looking back, I am glad I let him talk me into staying, but I sure did not feel that way at the time.
Long story short, I used the whole “fake it ‘till you make it” thought process through that worship service. I moved my bow but didn’t play a single note the entire time. Now, five years later, I regularly help lead and even play a solo every now and then. Through the support of the band, I learned to become confident in my own abilities as a musician and even grew to enjoy playing.
There have been multiple instances in life like this, where I have been scared to follow God’s lead. But then one day I realized what was making me scared. I was afraid to jump because I was placing all my trust in my own abilities. I couldn’t jump because I wasn’t sure I would catch myself.
Here is the good news: I serve a God who does not leave me to my own abilities. He helps me through the scary parts; I am not alone when I am afraid of what is next. But most importantly, He makes me brave. Christ gives me the courage to take the next step despite the obstacles I cannot see.
Since that day of pretending to play the violin, I have been on two mission trips to Honduras. These trips are not something I would try alone. It is scary to be submerged in a different culture where I can barely speak the language. The first time I went, I only knew one person on the team and it took a lot to convince myself the trip would be worth much more than the uncomfortable situations. I am glad I argued with myself, and I was right.
When I learned to trust God and let Him lead my steps, my eyes were opened to an entirely different world. Yes, He showed me the world of Honduras; but the beautiful world He open to me was not something I could see and touch. I saw a different side of myself and God’s relation to me. I realized, for the first time, that I was not made to sit back and pray for the best. I am not supposed to pray for God to use me and then stay still and hope God will call me to action one day. No, I was made to follow His will, wherever that may be.
Bravery looks different for each person. Now that I am older, it looks like trusting God to lead me to Honduras to spread His love to kids who have not seen it personified yet. For you, bravery could look like speaking up instead of being quiet. Bravery could mean trying new things, going to new places, or simply trusting God to lead you.
Maybe you don’t know what you need courage for. Maybe life feels fine just how it is, but don’t let the calm lull you into complacency. Take a leap and let Him make you brave.