Not Brave Enough

Its recently become very clear that am not brave. In fact, I am quite the opposite.

It’s funny because people tell me all the time how courageous I am. When I retired to pursue what I believe God’s call is on my life I heard words like fearless, strong, daring, and brave.

My friends seem to think I have some special gifting of valor. Maybe they assume my willingness to step into the unknown path and walk a journey completely based on faith gives me some level-up when it comes to trust in God.

Well here’s the big news friends… I am NOT brave and I am NOT fearless.

Please hear me out in this. I am human just like you. I didn’t get some supernatural gift that enables me to trust God. It is not in my nature to blindly follow when I have no idea where we’re going.

Maybe it’s because of my upbringing. Crazy as it was, I learned to look around the corner as a way of avoiding the turmoil and abuse that so commonly filled out home. It was a survival mechanism, that helped me get through a difficult and painful experience. Growing up, my need to be aware of my surroundings was an asset, and many times kept me safe.

Later in life, the need to see ahead became valuable at my job. Project work definitely requires a keen ability to see ahead and to anticipate next steps well in advance of the need. So, the survival instinct I’d grown up with became a valued strength at my job, too.

Oh my… You may be wondering what in the world I’m thinking. Why would this anxious hero step out for a journey that requires warrior level trust? Well here’s the thing… it doesn’t matter what I “feel.” Over the years I’ve learned that our feelings have nothing to do with God’s faithfulness.

God’s promises are true and trustworthy despite my emotions. And scriptures like 2 Timothy 2:13 say even If we are faithless, he is faithful

And to that, I say “Praise God!”

What I know – and settled long ago, is that God’s promises are true and reliable despite what my feelings say. Scriptures like Deuteronomy 7:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 1:9 and many others all declare that HE is faithful.

My journey has taught me that I can’t rely on my feelings, and scripture backs that up too. Jeremiah 17:9 says as humans our hearts are deceitful. And Proverbs 12:15 and 14:12-13 both warn us that our minds can convince us to believe things that are not true.

The truth is we can convince ourselves of many things. Remember… people once believed wholeheartedly that the world was flat. Our human brain is flawed, friends.

Being Christian does not mean perfection. Every one of us is messy and that is why we need a savior.

We are not exempt from fear just because we call ourselves believers. And what’s clear is that lacking bravery does not disqualify us from being used by God. Even those listed in the Hebrews chapter 11 Hall of Faith struggled with doubt despite being recognized as pillars of faith.

Abraham and Sarah decided to have a child with a maidservant rather than trust in the promise that they would have a child in their old age (Genesis 16). Army commander Barak refused to go into battle without Deborah who was not a warrior. And he did that despite her prophecy that Israel would triumph (Judges 4). And Gideon, facing an impossible battle doubted God would give him victory (Judges 6).

So where does that leave me as I step out of the comfort of my corporate boat and choose to walk on water (Matthew 14:22-33)? It leaves me choosing to trust and willingly following a path I cannot see in its entirety. In short friends, it is the journey of faith.

And what I know with all my heart is that the God who brought me on this journey will not leave me. We are promised in Romans 10:17 that faith comes through hearing (and reading!) God’s word.

Here are just a few of those words:

•    Isaiah 41:10 says God will hold me up.

•    Proverbs 3:5-6 says God will guide me.

•    Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through God.

So, what is a flawed, broken, messy traveler supposed to do? I will walk despite my fear. I will move although I don’t know the entire journey. And I will walk by faith – not based on what I see or don’t. And I will have faith – not because of what I do or don’t feel (2 Corinthians 5:7)

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