On being brave
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” (Ambrose Redmoon)
Being brave (courage is a synonym of bravery) is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently.
One reason behind this is that my kids have been getting a few more vaccinations lately to catch up on several specific vaccines series as we prepare to leave the country. Each time before we head to the doctor, we talk to the kids about being brave and that the shot will only hurt for a moment before it’s all over.
After one such appointment, Elijah sadly told me that he hadn’t been brave because he had cried while the shot was being administered. My heart sank. Had I somehow communicated that to cry was not synonymous with having courage? This was not what I had intended at all. As a result, both Shun-Luoi and I now often talk with the kids more in-depth about what it means to be brave. It doesn’t mean that you were not scared or didn’t cry in certain circumstances. It does means that, even if you were scared or uncertain, you did what you needed to do in those situations. Contrary to what my son thought, he had been brave.
Another reason behind my recent musings on courage is our upcoming move to Thailand, which we embark on in 2 weeks. More than one person has told me they think I am brave or that they could never be so brave as to do what we’re doing. Let me tell you, I don’t feel all that brave. While I have experienced great peace about this move and feel incredibly confident that this is the next thing God has for our family, there are definitely times where I experience fear, uncertainty, confusion, sadness, and tears. But, in the midst of those feelings and the unknowns of such a transition, I am still moving ahead and doing what needs to be done in order to move to Asia(!) By God’s grace, I am being brave. By God’s grace, I will continue to be brave.
Many of us tend to think that, if fear, sadness, or some of the other “negatively-viewed emotions” (I would argue they aren’t something we should get so freaked out about, but that’s for another post) are present, we somehow are failing at what we are supposed to be doing. There is a time and place to reflect on why we’re feeling such things and if there is something at the root of the emotion that needs to be addressed. However, when did we begin thinking we should be super-human and not have emotions? Such expectations are ridiculous and unbiblical in my opinion. This clearly relates to the topic of courage because experiencing uncertainty, fear, sadness, etc. in the midst of doing what you are supposed to do does not mean you aren’t brave. I would argue you aren’t brave only if you don’t do what you are supposed to do in a specific situation.
I love the above quote by Ambrose Redmoon. Although we might face some fear or other emotions that threaten to paralyze us, my son and I still do the things being asked of us. Why? Because we’ve decided that something else is more important than anything we might be feeling.
We might not feel brave, but we are.
I’m guessing most of you also have areas of your life in which you’re having to be brave right now. Care to share about them or about your thoughts on courage in general?