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I am Eric’s Wife. I am also mother to two teenagers on the very cusp of adulthood, the founding director of Scripture from the Heart, an avid world watcher, bold and insecure at once. I serve a merciful God and I love a guy who makes my knees weak. This is where I write about it all.  Thank you for reading!

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Advice: How to be Brave

May 22, 2020

I am rarely very brave. I guess I could give myself some credit and say that I sometimes become brave, but if there is a ledger on me, it will be heavily marked in the coward side. Any episode I could report to you of great bravery was a moment that came after tens of thousands of major failures and minor wins in bravery.

I am not a chronically anxious person, but I find I tic that way sometimes. Years ago I received a phone call from an authority figure in one of my kids’ lives. My heart froze. I looked up to confirm that the child in question was with me, so, safe, and then I let the call go to voicemail. I was certain that I had been found out. It was the call to let me know that my illusions of parenting success were void and I had failed my child. I had no reason to believe that is what the call was for, but it is just where my head went.

The person left a message and I let that message sit on my phone for two days. Every time I saw the notification on my phone, I felt a little sick. After two days of this, I finally put “listen to voicemail” on my to do list. This meant that it had to be done. There was no getting around it.

I did everything I could do from my generously padded to do list. I cleaned the bathroom, graded homework, straighten books on the shelf, cleaned out the fridge, dusted blinds… Finally, the list was finished except for that HUGE ZIT of a notification on my phone. It was time.

I asked God to guard my heart and make me brave, then I put the phone to my ear to receive the awful news I had been dreading.

“Hello, parents! Welcome to another school year at <local> high school! We are happy to have your son/daughter…”

I heard no more after that. I felt just as ridiculous as I felt relieved. I knew it was not bad news. I knew it, but it played on my fear. I am afraid of difficult things, hard talks, criticism, looking dumb, and not being recognized. When I get a whiff of it, even if I am dead wrong, it sets off all my alarms.

For me, bravery is when I tackle difficult things, have hard talks that I didn’t instigate, receive critisicm with grace, risk looking dumb, actually look dumb, and labor with no recognition. In a word, for me, bravery happens when I am humble.

I only learned this because of how often I have been humbled. Being humbled is a different animal than being humble. I know this, because I get humbled more often than I’d care to admit. So, I can’t really tell you how to be brave, but I can tell you how to fail at brave. I fail at brave when I get in the way like a toddler with a set of car keys. I need to stop pretending that I’m in charge. When I run the show, the end is cowardice of some kind. Every time.

This concludes my advice on how to be brave. I hope you find it helpful next time your phone rings or you hear, “Can we talk?”

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