The women drift tentatively through the door of the (in)courage meet-up. They scan the room and look for a seat. A place to belong. Isn’t that what we all want? Each spot at every table has a little plate with a miniature cupcake on it. Chocolate and vanilla and sprinkles set out like welcome mats.
We begin the evening, talk and laugh, and then it’s time for discussion questions.
What makes you feel brave?
The women at my table have inspiring answers. One talks about worship music and how the words move her soul. Another speaks of friends who encourage. A woman with a bright smile says simply obeying is what does it in her life.
I can barely remember my answer. I think I copied someone else’s. And I said something about thinking back on what God has already done in my life. I also give a shout-out to my red cowboy boots, the ones I wear whenever my knees start knocking and I need to tap into my inner wonder woman.
But all of my replies feel uncertain to me, as if I’ve left out something important and true. Back in my hotel room later that evening, I realize it’s this: I never feel brave. When this thought first pops into my mind, I try to deny it. Surely I do sometimes. Yet I can’t think of a single time “brave” showed up as an emotion in my world.
I know what it is to be brave. But in those times what I still feel is fear.
The pounding of my heart and the quickening of my breath. The spinning of the earth beneath my feet and the sense that I may be full out crazy to go through with what I’m about to do.
And as I think about this, I realize maybe I’ve misunderstood what brave feels like: I thought it was a roar and a lunge. But maybe it is a whisper and a trembling step. I thought it was loud and bold. Perhaps it is quiet and almost invisible. I imagined it would mean the absence of all insecurity. Yet I’m wondering now if it’s faith dancing the two-step with doubt.
If this is so, then what makes me act brave is also what scares me silly.
This lets me breathe a sigh of relief. Because it means I don’t have to wait to be filled with confidence and courage before I can do anything, I can just show up anyway. If that’s so, then I have more courage than I thought. And more answers than I realized. So do you.