when being brave is scary

Fiona Lynne Kitchen

This conversation happened last night, as I was standing in the kitchen, stirring the vegetables in the hot frying pan and leaning my forehead against the too-low extractor fan.

Rasmus sat on the other side of the counter, on one of our red bar stools, a Leffe in one hand.

We do this, in the evenings. We sit and stand opposite each other in the kitchen, with a drink, and dinner cooking in between us, and we talk through the steam rising up to the too-low extractor fan about our days and the little moments and what he said and what she said and how we felt.

This is one of my very favourite parts of being married.

Last night, Rasmus looked at me as I was telling the story of my day, with my head leant against the too-low extractor fan and my eyes screwed shut for a moment in an effort to get over just how big everything feels right now, and said,

You’re wishing right now that you’d chosen home as your one word this year. He grinned.

Or hide, I said.

Because this is the thing about being brave. You know when people have told you to be careful about praying for more patience because God will just allow you to walk into many situations that demand you to practise patience?

It’s the same with asking him to make me more brave. He’s smiled back at me with so much kindness in his eyes, and said, I am so glad you asked for that. I can make you fearless. You’re just going to have to walk into a lot of situations that require you to be brave.

What were your resolutions for the year? What did you pray that He would change about you this year?

Because here is my secret, the one that I’ve not hidden so well: I have never felt less like being brave. I would love to stay home and hide from all the big opportunities and challenges knocking at the door. But this is what I asked for. This is what I wanted. This is what I still want. To be brave. To not let fear lead to regret when I look back on this year, this life.

Becoming brave requires walking through scary situations. Becoming patient requires dealing with slow and infuriating people and contexts. Becoming generous requires giving beyond your comfort level. Becoming less angry requires facing frustrating and maddening issues. Learning to forgive requires looking into the face (literally or figuratively) of people who wronged you. Learning to love your neighbour will introduce you to people you don’t think you could ever open your front door to…

Being brave is not easy. But I continue to walk into these scary situations because there is no other way I can learn to have courage.

I hear a voice in my ear even now, whether I turn to the right or to the left, saying, this is the way, walk in it.