Being brave isn’t about having a ton of confidence and knowing how things will work out. It’s not about making sure your desired outcome happens. It’s about something more – something riskier.
We often make up stories about ourselves. The stories run through our head like a pre-recorded script. We tell ourselves, “I’m not good enough.”, “I’m not strong enough.”, “I’m not _______ enough.” Fill in the blank. Bravery is about hearing those things, and then acting anyway. Being brave is essential in the process of discovering our identity.
Whether we succeed or fail is not the point. Our successes or failures don’t validate who we are. I remember thinking when I was younger and still trying to figure life out that if I failed at something then it must mean that I wasn’t who I was I hoping I was. I wasn’t sure of my identity, and I thought succeeding at something would clarify who I thought I wanted to be. If I failed, then it would mean I wasn’t that person, and I really wanted to be that person, even if it was a made-up identity.
We need to actually discover who we are. It’s not an easy process. The person that we really are is hidden somewhere beneath the rubble of the person we keep trying to become. Why we want to become this person is based on a lot of things, but two of the biggest that come to mind are: the expectations put on us by others (whether it’s those close to us or society as a whole), and the expectations put on us by ourselves.
Where do these expectations come from? Why do we think they’re important? Could it have something to do with that quote above from Brené Brown? Maybe we just want to feel loved and have a sense of belonging. Somewhere in our growing up we decided that conforming to a certain standard would put us in those categories. We want to be known and seen, but why did we feel like we had to control what was known or seen? Maybe somewhere along the path of life we got an idea deep in our mind that we couldn’t measure up. So we stick to what we know, what we are good at (what others have recognized as good). We stay within the means of predictability and avoid change, avoid growth because it means a season of being bad for a little while. Maybe we’re afraid of shame.
But growth is necessary. It’s not easy. We resist it, but we need it.
I think being brave is treading out into the unknown, not knowing the outcome and being okay with the part of your identity that is revealed through the process. Facing uncertainty and taking risks will reveal more about who you really are than trying to measure up to a perceived standard. I think God put in us an antennae of sorts for recognizing areas where we need to be brave. What if we learned to act bravely out of habit? What would our life look like?
Being brave is stepping out from behind the curtain and seeing the world in a new way. It makes you see yourself in a new way. It opens the door to receive grace. Being brave allows you to be okay with recognizing areas of growth, and instead of feeling shame and letting it take control, you remain vulnerable and let love in. God’s love is huge toward you, but you have to open up to receive it.
Scott Gore was our guest on the podcast this week. His organization, In-Fusion, stands by a belief in just that. Their philosophy is to become B.R.A.V.E. That is to: Believe the truth, Reject all lies, Act in spite of fear, Visualize God’s plan, and Expect It to happen. It’s a powerful axiom and it’s the foundation of an organization that is helping people discover their identity and act on it powerfully. There’s a lot to be earned from his story. It’s an attribute to being brave and learning the truth about your life.
Being brave is hard. We naturally seem to wander where it is safe and predictable. But if we truly want to grow, if we truly want to discover who we really are, then we have to be brave.