Sometimes my family sits around the TV with a big bowl of popcorn and we watch movies.
Home movies. The kind we made years ago with a video recorder when my now teens were toddlers.
This stroll down memory lane makes my kids laugh. They point at our big hair and wild clothes and their childish antics. It makes me realize how fast time has flown, how old I’ve gotten and how many times I used to say “be careful” to my adventurous children.
No, seriously. In every video, I say it over and over. Don’t get too close to the edge. Watch the waves. Don’t get in over your head.
I am not brave.
I like safety. I like control. I like comfort.
When I said yes to God, I didn’t know where it would take me, but I knew I couldn’t live another day for myself, in my safe “be careful” world. I didn’t know leaving behind my known comfortable life and the American Dream would take me on a journey of wild obedience.
But it has.
There has never been a wild thing about me — not my hair, my clothes, my lifestyle, my past. Nothing. I have always lived a calculated, well-planned, safe life.
But now, with a God-sized yes tucked under my belt, people assume I am courageous.
That’s what happens when we see people do something scary. But more often then not, they are terrified — I am terrified. We don’t need more courage to live out our faith. We don’t need more bravery, we simply need peace to look fear in the face and discover that love is the cure for what scares us.
Whether it’s losing our life for the sake of the gospel or dying to our wayward flesh, we can let our fear strengthen us. Fear is a present weakness; it is also a catalyst to keep saying yes.
In a couple of weeks I’m taking my 15-year-old daughter back to Africa, and you must know, I’m still scared to death. But I have peace in my fear.
“Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Fear isn’t just uncertainty wrapped up in the unknown. When we peel pack the layers, we discover a lack of trust and a loss of control. That’s the root of fear.
Our yes to God should scare us.
Not to keep us immobile, but to keep us dependent on the One who asks us to say it in the first place.
Fear keeps us moving towards God.
The times I have been most afraid in my life — quitting secure jobs, saying yes to a God-sized dream, entering my teenager’s bedroom — these are the moments I have felt most alive. We think playing it safe and living within our comfort zone is the way to feel alive. But when we get dirt under our nails and follow Jesus into risky places, this is where we realize our comfort was actually slowly killing our joy.
Yes, there is fear in obedience. But peace keeps us on the journey.
And the joy that follows our yes to God is wild.
I don’t know what scares you today, what keeps you up at night, clinging to comfort. But can I encourage you to be brave today? Make that phone call. Ask or receive forgiveness. Send that email.
Do something that scares you just a little. Go a little deeper.
Be brave today.