by Catriona Futter
What does it mean to you to be brave? There has been much talk (in the UK certainly) over these last difficult pandemic months of bravery shown by health care workers who have put their own lives at risk (and some of them have lost their lives) to care for those acutely ill with Covid19.
But being brave does not necessarily mean doing something extraordinary or fearless.
Sometimes being brave simply means choosing to stay in a difficult situation.
Perhaps you are in a job that is really difficult, but the difference you are making is worth the cost. For you, being brave means staying and committing and bringing your best. Being brave is fixing your eyes on Jesus each day, trusting Him and His timing for your life despite how difficult this might be.
Perhaps you are in a relationship that is stagnant, fraught with a history of hurts and resentments. Both trapped behind walls of mistrust, fear, lack of hope of change. Leaving might seem like the easier option, but perhaps for you, choosing to be brave means choosing to stay. Choosing to gradually take down the walls, seek help, persevere with making changes that are hard and costly but ultimately will restore connection and hope.
Perhaps being brave simply means choosing to have that conversation with your partner when you would prefer to avoid the issue altogether. After all, you are both coming from entrenched positions built up over years of misunderstandings and hurts, and why would you choose to step across into no-man’s land and risk being vulnerable when all you fear is more conflict?
Because you are choosing to be BRAVE
Brave sometimes means speaking up. When I opened the lid via my own blog a few years back about our experience of living with my husband’s depression, a common reaction to our story was of being brave to talk about it. But mental health needs to be talked about, and the more people choose to be brave, the more people are likely to find the courage they need to seek help and support.
Brave doesn’t mean foolhardy or foolish, nor does it mean the absence of fear.
Have you ever faced a situation where you needed the support of others to be brave? A while back I completed a tree top high ropes course with friends. I am not keen on heights, but I do like a challenge, so this seemed a good opportunity to overcome some inner anxieties. All the way round the course, on tiny platforms and ropes and planks up in the trees, we cheered each other on and provided the verbal energy each required. My wobbliest moment – quite literally – was trying to jump off a platform 70 feet off the ground into fresh air, trusting that the swing would hold.
“I can’t do this, you’re going to have to help me” I shouted to my dear friend and partner round the course.
Without her loud, encouraging, and unstinting affirmation of her belief in my abilities, chances are I would still be in that tree even now. That day, none of us were brave in isolation – one person’s fear was countered by another’s bravery and encouragement to complete the challenge.
Choosing to be brave sometimes involves seeking endorsement from a cheer-leading friend.
That is where the community of Christian coaches at CCNI is such a powerful thing. Having people who share your views and values cheer you on and encourage you, especially when starting out in business as a Christian coach, is crucial for our success.
Sometimes being brave means being willing to listen without an agenda, rather than jumping in to give your view. That is the essence of what we do as coaches – look through the new ICF core competencies and there are multiple occasions when we choose to be brave. Trusting the Holy Spirit to ask that question of our client. Leaving space for reflection rather than jumping in. Allowing the client to come up with the action point and not being directive. Reflecting on a difficult client session and being honest about where we got it wrong so we can learn and grow.
Sometimes, being brave means committing day in day out to the mundane, repetitive and distinctly unglamorous aspects of raising a family with acceptance and choosing to bring the best of you each day to the task. Because what can be more important than investing in the people most dear to you?
Being brave can be as simple as responding to a friend’s inquiry with “You know what, I’m not OK – can we talk?”.
Mostly, choosing to be brave is choosing to live today as if it is the most important day, and to bring your absolute best.
What does it mean for you to be brave this week?