Who doesn’t love Brene Brown, her insight and engaging communication style?
A month ago, I came across a social media post of hers regarding her daughter’s high school graduation and upcoming departure to college. In her post, she writes about the paradoxes in parenting saying, “I’ve tried to model our family belief that it’s okay to be brave and afraid at the same time… We have a sign by our back door that reads ‘We can do hard things.’ We hung it there to remind our kids that hard work, tough conversation, and emotional pain are normal and important parts of life.”
Isn’t this rich with wisdom?
Since then I’ve often thought about this paradox of living both with an awareness of fear yet bravely in the face of that fear.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
We can be both brave and afraid. What an important concept to teach our children. It’s okay to be afraid and uncertain, but we don’t have to be bound or held back by those feelings. We can acknowledge them and still step out with courage and bravery. (Don’t you think this is a value our world could benefit from?)
My daughter was given a book about Esther the Queen recently. As I was reading it to her, my thoughts again turned to Brene Brown’s words.
“Adilyn, do you think Esther was afraid when she went to the King?”
“But she chose to be brave and do the right thing, huh?”
“And God saved His people because she did the right thing.”
“Sometimes we are afraid but we can be brave, huh?”
When I think of the many characters in the Bible, from Abraham to Peter, I don’t see a lack of fear in them, but I do see them acting, though afraid, to do as God asked of them. Through their obedience, God accomplished great things… in spite of their fear and weakness.
My mind turns to David as he approached Goliath saying,
“You come carrying a sword and spear and javelin as your weapons, but I come armed with the name of the Eternal One, the Commander of heavenly armies, the True God of the armies of Israel, the One you have insulted” 1 Samuel 17:45
Our children may never face a giant, but they will face moments when they feel overcome by fear as on the first day of a new school year, the first day of a new job, speaking up for a friend who is in trouble, taking an important exam, going off to college, and much more.
And we face these moments ourselves. How powerful it must be to recognize these moments in our own lives and openly share them with our children. Our vulnerability to let them see these moments in our lives enables them to recognize that we can be afraid, but we can still step out in courage and bravery… because Mom and Dad do too.
Our comfort in this is – we and our children don’t step out in bravery alone – but with an ever-present God who never leaves or abandons us.
“Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
How can we live into the way of Jesus regardless of our fear? What fear is holding us back? What ways can we teach our children to be courageous in spite of their fear?
Father God, let us not be bound by our fear, but to instead, live bravely regardless of our feelings of uncertainty. Let the knowledge that you are with us bring us comfort and courage that we may follow You faithfully. Let our children see the moments in our lives that require bravery knowing that it is You who makes us strong and brave giving them confidence to know that they can step out bravely too. Amen.