Bravery doesn’t always show up in ostentatious, dramatic, or loud ways; rather, it builds in our lives through incremental steps. It’s the daily acts of faithfulness that lead us right into courage. Bravery looks like the young mother of little ones who puts one step in front of the other, or the father who wonders if he’s doing enough and being enough, but still doesn’t quit.
Let’s not discount the little things in life and dismiss them as inconsequential. Those little things lead us to bigger things like peace, comfort, and courage. We look at the results of courage and think that’s what being brave means.
But brave doesn’t necessarily mean victorious like Joshua and the Israelites in taking Canaan as their Promised Land. It’s about wholehearted, devoted trust and obedience to the One who called them there.
Sometimes, bravery isn’t triumph, but triumph is the result of bravery in the small things.
Here are 10 small ways you can be brave every day.
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Did you know the face uses 28 muscles to frown and only 14 to smile? But smiling sometimes seems impossible, leaving our countenance blank.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” In a single day we can cry in frustration, mourn disappointments, laugh at a joke, and throw an impromptu dance party.
Today, practice a smile. Go ahead. Let those cheeks rise and a sparkle dance in your eyes. Grow accustomed to how smiling feels. Stretch into a smile every day as you step into bravery.
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2. Speak kindly to yourself.
It’s difficult to be brave if our thoughts are negative. Proverbs 16:24 reads, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Capturing our thoughts can be the most challenging thing we do every day. The next time your mind runs to the negative, capture it. Turn it into a positive. God loves you, has a mighty plan for you, and thinks you’re pretty wonderful. Repeat this to yourself and let the positive words pave the way to brave.
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3. Remember all that God has done.
Gratitude is a way to remember God’s faithfulness in our lives. In order to take a small step toward bravery, take a moment to remember God as the psalmist does in Psalm 77:11: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”
When we live in remembrance, the circumstances that cause us to tremble fade as we remember that God is for us and with us. And in the remembering, we realize that bravery doesn’t come from other people or from ourselves, but from God. Remember how he loves us and never fails.
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4. Do the next thing.
Plans and goals are right and necessary to guide our everyday choices, but sometimes the big picture can paralyze us because it seems overwhelming.
In that moment, it’s important to remember to do the next thing. Take the next step, make the call, switch the laundry, be still, rest, move—whatever your next thing is, do it.
As we grow faithfulness in doing the next thing, we develop bravery in our lives because we train ourselves to take the next step, even when we don’t think we can.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” (Luke 16:10)
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5. Rely on God’s strength.
God wills to move within you, and he is your everything. So often, we want to do this life on our own because we discount God’s presence in our mundane moments. But when we do that, we experience frustration and failure.
When we function in our own strength, we miss the whisper of the Holy Spirit guiding and directing us; we freeze in panic or bolt headlong down the wrong path.
One small step toward bravery is found in Ephesians 6:10: “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
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6. Rest in his love.
God loves you with an everlasting love. Sometimes we forget that, because we’re disappointed with unanswered prayers or discouraged by negative circumstances. But relying on God’s love takes us to a point of dependence on him (1 John 4:16).
It’s when we’re wholly dependent on him because of his love for us that we learn to trust his heart. And trusting God’s heart is a small step toward bravery.
Each day, take a moment to say to yourself, “God’s heart toward me is good. He loves me and is for me.”
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7. Let God fight for you.
Sometimes, bravery is more of a mindset than an action. Rather than seeing yourself on the losing end of your battle, view yourself through the eyes of Christ as a victor—because that is what you are.
Jehoshaphat, in 2 Chronicles 20, recognized that they were facing an enemy bigger, stronger, and scarier than they had ever imagined. And they didn’t know what to do.
We won’t always know what to do. In those moments, stand before the Lord and let him fight the battle. Your victory doesn’t rest on your shoulders, but God’s. Today, let God fight for you.
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8. Do it scared.
An absence of fear is not the presence of courage. We cannot wait for brave feelings to appear to take the next step.
There’s a trust factor in each step of faith. I’m reminded of Benaiah in 2 Samuel 23:20 when he climbed into a pit on a cold, snowy day to take down a lion.
What lion are you facing? Take the leap (or baby step) toward what scares you, and watch God show up for you. He’s pretty amazing at it.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:5)
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9. Be willing to fail.
The possibility of failure is present whenever we step out in faith. However, God is not looking for perfectly brave people—he’s looking for people who will say yes to his ways, even if they risk failing.
Sometimes, our desire for success and avoidance of failure prevent us from stepping into bravery. But there is much to be learned in our failures, including teachability and perseverance. Failure also reveals the bravery that already lives within your heart.
“Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:24)
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10. Get up again.
As I watch bull riders tie themselves to untamable animals and burst out of the chute hoping for an eight-second ride, I think of us.
Life sometimes feels like we draw the bull that’s never been ridden for the full eight seconds. We twist and turn, legs flailing, desperate to keep our seat; and then we fly through the air, land with a thump, and maybe receive a stomp from that 1,800-pound bull.
Those cowboys get on that bull again and again. Tenacity has more to do with bravery than being fearless.
Be tenacious. Whatever God has called you to do, do it with tenacity. Don’t give up. Get back on again. Take the re-ride. Challenge the clock.
Bravery isn’t defined by what you feel or don’t feel, but by Christ at work in you to do the work that he’s placed before you. These 10 ways are small shifts in your thinking and attitude that can make a difference in living a brave life.
Smile because Christ holds your future in his hands. Capture your thoughts and make them obedient to Christ. Be grateful that God never leaves you nor forsakes you. Do the next thing because God desires us to be faithful in the small.
Rely on God’s strength, because his strength is stronger than your greatest ability. Find security in the depths of the father’s love for you. Know that your victory is assured, either this side of heaven or beyond.
Don’t wait for the feeling of courage, but take it and own it because you can. Stop fearing failure and embrace obedience. Let go of perfection and get back up again when you fail. Be brave, my friend.
Jessica Van Roekel is a woman on the journey to wholeness through brokenness. She believes that through Christ, your personal histories don’t have to define your present or determine your future. Her greatest desire is to see you live this “God-life” with all the power and grace that God provides. Jessica lives in a rural community with her husband and four children. She leads worship on Sundays but seeks to be a worshiper every day. You can connect with her at www.welcomegrace.com and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/
Photo Credit: GettyImages/RobertCrum
Photo Credit: GettyImages/RobertCrum
Originally published Wednesday, 17 April 2019.