I'm excited to invite my friend Danielle to the blog! Danielle's a lovely girl with a passionate heart for Jesus. We've bonded over copious amounts of coffee, a road trip to Florida, and a whole summer spent running different areas of camp. She ran Day Camp this past summer -- which means all of the little kids! (I'm still not sure how she survived. There's a reason I ran camp for sixteen year olds.) So glad to welcome Danielle here today...
If you were to ask me what it means to "be brave" a few short months ago, my response would be nothing short of unsure, insecure, and uncomfortable.
The idea of being brave had always been foreign to me, not something I could ever relate to myself, not something I could ever think myself capable of being. In my previous opinion, bravery is something that is somewhat fictional to my life. Superheroes are brave. People in movies are brave. Soldiers are brave. Survivors are brave. You are brave when you're not afraid. You are brave when you do something dangerous. I am not brave, and brave is not something I can be. I have never had to face a situation where I had to be brave.
Over the last few months -- in fact, over the entirety of this past summer -- I was taught what it truly means to be brave. To choose brave. I have learned that everyone can choose to be brave. And there are countless ways bravery can look: sometimes being brave looks like doing something hard. Sometimes it looks like doing something that hurts. Sometimes it looks like admitting you're wrong. Sometimes it looks like loving those who feel unlovable.
I ran a Day Camp this summer and I realized that sometimes being brave means crying out to Jesus for strength because you actually cannot complete the task at hand without him.
Sometimes it means loving kids who scream in your face and disrespect you to no end.
Sometimes being brave means sitting down with a child who has driven you crazy, and asking them about their favourite superheroes and what makes them so awesome.
Sometimes you have to sit there with a child who has pushed every single one of your buttons that day, and listen as they tell you all about how they don't think they're special or loved. And tell them the opposite. And mean it.
Being brave means being kind to the parents who are angry with you about something that is out of your control.
And sometimes being brave means realizing that Jesus loves every single person you come in contact with, and how your feelings and opinions toward that person will never change that.
These are some of the ways I was brave this summer. A few months ago, if you told me that these were moments of choosing brave, I would probably tell you that you’re taking the word “brave” too seriously and that you’re being dramatic. But over the course of the summer, God has really softened my heart to the concept and idea of bravery. And I can only pray that because of my small, simple moments of bravery, somebody saw the heart of God -- the best Father.
Eventually, my heart linked bravery to vulnerability, and I began to see a trend in my life. I felt most brave when I was being vulnerable -- when I was letting others know how I feel, being authentic, and being real with Jesus -- clinging to him when I felt like my spirit was being crushed and weighed down.
I could never be brave on my own. Never. I need Jesus -- every single day.
Once I began to understand what bravery is, I saw it in so many people.
Bravery is everywhere. It is the homeless person who never stops smiling, the parent that never stops giving, the friend who never stops listening, and the love that never runs out. God’s love is furiously brave. He is brave for loving those who don’t deserve it, and forgiving those who can never repay their sins. For looking at those who deny his existence, want nothing to do with him, and still saying I love you endlessly. He is brave because bravery is who He is.
Almost every lesson I’ve learned can come back to the realization that God’s love is brave, and that he calls our love to be the same.