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Learning to be Brave: A Devotional on Everyday Courage

There are times in life that call us to greater courage than we can muster in our own strength. Too often I don’t want to be brave–I am tired, uncertain, and overwhelmed. I’d prefer to take a nap, eat some Oreos and binge watch Netflix. I’d rather ruminate on my fears and over-explain why I CAN’T.

Photo of rocky coastline and pretty sky. Text overlay says: learning to be brave a devotional on everyday courage

And, on one hand it’s okay to feel our feelings about our lives. During the Covid-19 Pandemic I remember just feeling frozen. Then I got sad, angry, frustrated and frightened. I didn’t want to stuff down those feelings and just ignore them, but I also couldn’t wallow in them forever.

I needed to be brave, even when I felt afraid.

mom and daughter wearing cloth masks look at camera outside a store

During that season I though a lot about the greatest generation.  (The ones who survived the great depression only to fight in world war 2 and propel us into the space age.) When I think of their resilience and courage in every obstacle and evil, I wondered how they did it. Were they just made of “sterner stuff” than I was? Or did they feel the same waves of anxiety and fear and sadness and press on anyway? Did they have much choice?

Worldwide wars and tragedies aside, I want to be brave in my ordinary moments.

woman with brown curled hair and pink floral headband reads her Bible with pen in hand and pink coffee cup beside her.

Maybe in some ways its easier to be brave when there is more at stake. Complacency is easier with the small stuff, but that’s precisely when I need to be bravest.

As Brene Brown said,

“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our butts* kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.”

When given the choice will I choose comfort or courage in my everyday, ordinary life?  

What Does the Bible Say About Courage?

One of the most famous calls to courage in the Bible is in Joshua, right as the people of Israel are on the verge of entering the promised land.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  

-Joshua 1:9
Joshua 1:9 Bible verse for men and courage on background of dock overlooking a lake

Joshua is a general, a wartime leader and he’s about to enter the biggest battlefield of his life. And God specifically encourages Him with this reminder to be strong and courageous.

Notice God’s definition of courage and what fuels true spiritual courage. It’s not conjured by Joshua’s own might or ability, nor by his experience or effort. But by the very presence of God WITH him.

RELATED: WHO’S GOING TO RESCUE ME? – A PSALM 18 DEVOTIONAL

God is still speaking this truth over us today. There’s never a moment when we walk alone; we are the favorite child of the God of Heaven’s Armies. Fear and discouragement don’t have to rule our days. God is alongside us, strengthening and reminding us who He is and how much He loves us every step of every day.

  • When you go into work this week ….God is with you. 
  • When you are at stay at home mom with a toddler and baby who doesn’t sleep… God is with you. 
  • When you get laid off from your job…God is with you. 
  • When a disease steals your energy and strength…God is with you, even as you fight to hold onto hope.
  • When you move and have to start over somewhere new, again…God is with you.

These are the truths I want to continually speak over my life, louder than my fears.

10 Bible Verses About Courage to Hold Close When You’re Afraid

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished. -1 Chronicles 28:20

My heart and my flesh may fail but God is the portion of my heart and my strength forever.  -Psalm 73:26

Bible verse Psalm 73:26 text overlaid on a photo of a lighthouse in the light pink sky at sunset

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  -Isaiah 40:29-31

text "those who wait on the lord will renew their strength they will rise up" Isaiah 40:31 on sunset overlay

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:34-35

Because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” -Mark 6:50

Mark 6:50 Bible verses text overlaid on an image of storm clouds and ocean at sunset.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:9

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 God's power is made perfect in weakness Bible verse with snow in background

 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12:10

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. -Hebrews 4:16

Hebrews 4:16 Let us come boldly to the throne of grace

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and are saved.” Hebrews 10:39

Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. -Hebrews 13:5

Hebrews 13:5 Bible verse about courage and overcoming fear overlaid on image of a lighthouse, dune grass and rocky shoreline

What does courage in ordinary moments look like?

Courage is always required, but that doesn’t mean it always looks the same. Here’s some of the ordinary ways I’m living bravely with Jesus helping me.

  • With my family. — I choose to be present, patient, and powered by Jesus for my three stir-crazy and big-feelings kids.  They need a mom who plays games even though she’s anxious, takes them out to walk to burn off their energy, and helps them process their emotions and all the changes in these days. 
  • With my friends. — I choose to both connect and encourage, with authenticity. I will bring my true, wholehearted, messy self to my friendships. I don’t have to be the expert on everything or have all the answers. I commit to bravely keeping my friendships free from gossip and put-downs.
  • With my spouse. — I choose to serve with kindness and allow space for weakness. I’ll be courageous enough to be vulnerable with my own feelings. I’ll be quick to forgive, ask for help, admit mistakes, make memories, laugh together, show affection, and enduring love.
  • With my social media presence. — I choose to be a hope spreader in the wild, wild west of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. I’ll share from a place of joy and authenticity not out of pride or FOMO. I’ll take breaks often and for as long as feels good to me.
  • With my job — I’ll be a person of courageous integrity as I work. I’ll show up on time and do what I say I will. I’ll pray for my coworkers and clients. I’ll see all my work as kingdom work.
  • With my church — I’ll be present and contributing to the body of believers. I’ll choose to listen more than I criticize. I’ll be a volunteer my leaders will be thankful for. I’ll be a prayer warrior for my church staff and other members. I’ll be courageously generous with my time, talent, and treasure.

No matter what you’re going through, it’s not too much for God. Acting from courage isn’t easy and often is a learning process. We stumble, fall, and revert to our old fearful actions and habits more times than we’d like to admit.

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Rise up. Be strong and courageous. He is with you.

But God is always with us– ready to strengthen, raise up, and infuse us with courage–regardless of our circumstances and fears. We can be brave when we walk with Jesus.

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