In my days of Residence Life, Bob Goff came to campus. My husband and I had read Love Does aloud to each other during my pregnancy that summer and were quickly tremendous fans of this boisterous, kind, impulsive, wholehearted man. Although we didn’t get our dream of making him a salmon dinner during his brief campus visit, my baby daughter and I did get a hug on his way up to the stage, and the pleasure of hearing him speak.
One of the things Bob said really stuck with me. He talked about medals and giving them to people. He said he had gotten a whole bunch of cheap ones and liked to pin them on people’s chests when they were doing brave things. He talked about the power in telling people who they are becoming, not who they were. That week in particular was really hard for me, as our girl was still pretty little and I felt like I was failing everywhere I turned (although I know now that it was all in my head.)
The next day, I was in tears (as was a coping norm of those Hard days.) My sweet husband couldn’t find a medal in our apartment but he did find a silly ornamental butterfly with a clip on the back. He pinned it to my chest and declared me brave. And to prove it, here was my butterfly of bravery.
In the midst of being brave, we rarely FEEL brave. It actually often feels scary and teary and awful.
Don’t let that fool you though, because how it feels doesn’t change what is true.
If you keep showing up, you are brave.
If you are asking for help, you are brave.
If you are praying and inviting Jesus into the mess of today, you are brave.
If you are loving even when it costs you much, you are brave.
If you are letting yourself FEEL instead of shutting down, you are brave.
If you are choosing to be grateful, you are brave.
If you are giving and receiving grace, you are brave.
If you are giving yourself permission to be human, you are brave.
If you are allowing yourself to be seen in your weakness, you are brave.
If you are holding onto hope, you are brave.
How I wish I had a medal or a butterfly to pin to your chest because YOU ARE BRAVE.
In this current season, in the moments Jesus is asking you to do hard, brave things, I hope you can imagine that butterfly of bravery pinned on your chest.
You are brave.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ― Maya Angelou
“Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God is with you every step you take.” Joshua 1:9, MSG