I wanted to be a brave kid. Didn't you?
Maybe you were a brave kid. Maybe you've always been the one to make the tough decisions at work or fall on the blade for your friends.
Our culture expresses a fondness for several different kinds of bravery - some healthy, some not.
This is a picture of the bravest thing I've ever done.
Marrying my husband. Choosing to bind my life and my livelihood to somebody else's forever.
And marriage has demanded bravery every single day since we said our vows.
It takes bravery because when you give your life over into somebody else's hands, and when they give their life to you? . . . it demands daily sacrifice. Sacrifice of self. And that takes bravery. Quiet bravery.
John 15:13 says something that I've always loved, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."
What does it look like for a person to lay down their life for loved ones daily? What's the real life version? Not the TV version. Not the movie version. The real life one.
I can tell you.
It looks like me cleaning the house when Robbie is busy editing even though I hate cleaning - because I know it needs to be done and I know he doesn't need to worry about it. It looks like Robbie showing me repeatedly how to put together and run a sound system because he can't come with me to a show, and me asking the same question ten times . . . and him patiently answering it ten times. It looks like Robbie getting up at 4:30 A.M. to make me breakfast before my first day of graduate school classes. It looks like me waiting up with him until 1:00 A.M. while a video renders for a project with a ridiculous deadline. It looks like both of us agreeing not to spend any money on frivolous things because we know what our common goal is right now. It looks like me going to his ventriloquism gigs and him coming to my songwriting concerts. It looks like talking on the phone when one of us travels instead of "going out with friends." It looks like both of us choosing, at different times, to put aside our own wants to take care of what the other person needs. And both of us have to be willing to do that in order for it to work.
We're not perfect at marriage. We're just trying really hard. And we really like each other :-) When we mess up, we find that apologizing and talking it out works wonders.
You know why I love to give songwriting concerts more than other kids of concerts? Because it requires me to give my whole heart to whoever I'm playing for. Just for a little while, I get to share my entire self with whoever has gathered to hear the music.
That's another kind of brave.
And here's a thought . . . anybody can do this kind of "brave." Anybody can find places in the shape of their own life to lay down heart and soul for other people. It looks one way when I'm wearing it and another way when you are wearing it. Anybody can wear the armor of God.
If you actually read Ephesians 6:10-18, you will notice that even though we're talking about "armor" and the imagery reminds you of battle . . . one of the most important pieces of clothing you're asked to put on is, "The gospel of Peace." That's the thing that causes your feet to be "ready."
Peace moves us to lay ourselves down.
The battle we fight to be brave in the midst of our culture isn't so much about a show of force.
It's about a show of peacefulness and a determination to make the quiet sacrifices. The unglamorous ones.
I wrote this for Robbie and myself not so long ago . . .
Sometimes "brave" is knowing how to put some things away so that you can focus on other things. Important things. Important people.
Sometimes "brave" is giving thanks even when your life doesn't look glossy like a magazine cover.