So my great idea wasn't very original... I did some research. There are so many people searching for their version of everyday bravery. So, so many. Google it. It made me wonder, why is it so hard? It's tough for all of us to be brave- and yet, it isn't as hard as we make it.
I kept going. I asked a few teenagers what it meant to them to be brave. What things require bravery? Here are a few from that list:
- Sharing my story (testimony)
- Talking to a boy
- Auditioning for something
- Try-outs (sports)
- Telling a friend you're mad
See the theme here? I always say my teenagers, especially in middle school, feel like the world is black and there's a spotlight shining ONLY on them. It's tough. Sometimes just leaving the house feels brave when all eyes are on you (or so it seems). Many adults never lose that. When did brave go from swimming with sharks to simply speaking their minds? When did it stop being easy and get so hard?
I often go back to John 16:33, which is truly a life verse of mine. The world, even if it's just the middle school world, is crushing sometimes. We struggle, but our God is bigger than any struggle. He overcame the world. It's easy to fall into patterns where we forget this truth and try to fit into the world that we call ours. Maybe our world is the sidelines, or it's the playing field. It's the classroom, or the hallways. Worse yet, it's Instagram or Snapchat. The world of our teens is a scary place. To say that they are easily snared is an understatement. They must be brave to be different, but being different is often the very last thing they want for themselves. To be honest, sometimes it's the last thing we want as adults.
I don't have the answers, but I do have the Word. We aren't meant to be the same. We aren't meant to conform to the world. We are meant for greater things. Jesus said in John, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Rest assured, He is faithful. And while it is not easy- it's downright courageous- our daughters and sons deserve greatness. Encourage them to be brave in the everyday. Step out into the world and show each and every person that you are a child of God, meant for greater than anyone can imagine, which is already written and planned for you. Then act upon those brave instincts with love. There's no time better.
We praise you for the work you are doing in the lives of our sons and daughters. We ask you to bless them with the courage it takes to be different. Give them strength to do what is right, to grow in Your love, and to understand that this world is fleeting. They are created in Your likeness and able to do immeasurably more than they can fathom. In a world full of average, same, and weak, help my child (and me, Lord) to be brave. In Jesus's great name- Amen