I used to believe bravery included a well-worn passport — one stamped with adventure from cover to cover. I thought courage consisted of daring risks, life changing experiences, and escapades sure to grace the gritty insides of a novel.
And this, perhaps, is still true. I do believe these things are brave — but surely there’s more to bravery than just this. Bravery is biblical. It’s an idea I believe Jesus is rooting for, and it’s one I want to root for too. The more I long to know courage, the more I have realized it is a choice and not a feeling. I’d like to choose brave more often. I’d like to choose it every day.
When I look at the bravest people in my life, I see a pattern. They choose bravery, over and over and back over again. I’m certain they don’t feel brave all the time — in fact, they’ve told me quite the opposite. But they choose brave, not because they feel it, but because they know — deep within their quivering bones — that bravery is strongly connected with freedom.
If you feel as though your bravery cup is close to empty, let me tell you some practical ways you can choose brave today:
1. Wake up. Get up. Show up.
This might be the hardest part of your day — the brave act of slamming your feet on the floor and deciding to show up where you’re needed today.
2. Write a letter to your body.
I’ve done this twice now. I can’t tell you it’s gotten much easier, but I can tell you it’s worth it. Be honest when you write your letter, but more than that, be kind. Try and view yourself through the lens as someone wildly worth loving.
3. Tell yourself you are beautiful.
Tell yourself you are worthy. Tell yourself you are enough. Maybe you aren’t convinced of those things yet, but sometimes if we practice something for long enough we’ll eventually start to believe it.
4. Be vulnerable.
Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.” Being vulnerable with someone — though most of the time incredibly terrifying — is one of the bravest things we can do. It’s brave for us, and it’s brave for the person sitting there listening.
5. Ask someone their story.
Who are you? Where have you come from? What are your dreams? Each time I’ve reached out my hand and asked someone their story, I consistently feel as though I have been given a precious gift.
6. Say no.
I find saying no hard. I like to do everything, and often times it scares me that if I say no I’ll miss out. But when I need more margin in my life, or when the circumstance feels stressful or anxious or not right for me, saying no offers me freedom and gives someone else an opportunity that might be exactly what they need.
7. Say yes.
Just like saying no can be brave, so can saying yes. Say yes to that wild adventure. Say yes to that risk. Say yes to that brave, terrifying dream.
8. Admit you’re wrong, and say sorry.
I’m not so great at this one. I’m working on it.
9. Affirm someone’s significance.
I focused on practicing doing this during the summer. I was working at a camp, and I made sure to relentlessly affirm the seventeen-year-old girls who were there. The first few times I told them I believe they’re significant and important and worthy, I felt ridiculous. But then I saw the tears in their eyes, and I recognized it wasn’t about my feelings of insecurity, but about theirs.
10. Write down your dream(s).
Take a pen and write down your dreams. Physically scrawl them down — in a notebook, on a sticky note, on the back of a receipt. Be brave. Write them down. There are no boundaries — just dream.
11. Pass your brave on.
Find someone who’s scared and pass on your brave. Whisper that they’re brave too.
I often go back to what our friend Annie says: God made you on purpose and He made you to be brave. I’ll try and choose brave today. I hope you will too.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I love the quote by Brene Brown. I have found that being vulnerable is perhaps one of the most terrifying things to be, but at the same time, also the most rewarding because of what it opens up…the chance for others to feel okay about being real…often than might mean being a real mess. Love how you share with the 17 year old girls that they are beautiful and significant. If only we knew how much other souls are dying to hear those words. Love your ideas here, Aliza. You are wise beyond your years!!
I love it too. And once we’re vulnerable we see the positive ripple effect it has — it’s the initial few steps that are agonizing! Thanks for your constant encouragement, Bev!
Love this, Aliza! Excellent advice.
Thank you, Kristin!
Ms. Witi says
I am going to pass this on to my teen girls and have BOTH of them read it. Just as I need to be brave more often ~ they do too! 😉
That’s so true. I’m twenty-one and need to hear brave over & over & over again.
These are wonderful steps. I find three to be hard though.
Thank-you for your wisdom,
Me too. In my heart, I know it’s true. Jesus says it time and time again, and if he believes it, shouldn’t I? It’s harder to convince my head though. Praying for you now, Penny!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Penny, I don’t know what you look like,but you are always so kind and encouraging in your remarks…you ARE beautiful!! 🙂
Lisa Appelo @True and Faithful says
Love these practical steps! That made me click through! So often, when I have to make that phone call or push the publish button, I have to tell myself to do the hard thing.I look forward to you fleshing out this topic this month!
Thank you, Lisa!!
Sarah Koontz says
Beautifully written. The first sentence drew me in, which is the sign of an amazingly talented writer. Keep up the BRAVE, it is well worth the SACRIFICE!
Wow, thank you very much, Sarah. That’s so kind of you.
Christina McFarland Hubbard says
Great post! Thank you for sharing!!!
Madeline Osigian says
My favorite is, “Ask someone their story.” It’s a brave thing I’ve been working on. And of course, saying no, something else I’m learning.
Jenni DeWitt @ Genuflected.com says
Sometimes I think the bravest thing we can do is make our bed in the morning. First of all, it means we’ve accomplished #1 on your list. And also, it gives such an immediate jolt of accomplishment. This school year, the kids and I have started making our bed every day. I am amazed how that simple act can frame a day. My kids have felt it too!
Brittany @ GraceLoveLife.com says
This is a wonderful list. Thank you for sharing!
Beth Williams says
Thank you for the inspiring list! Such wise words from someone so young! I love it when people are vulnerable. I’m the kind of person who wants to get to know you deep down. At church I affirm people’s significance. I let them know I’m praying for them, how good it is to see them, etc. Let them know that I care.
Gail Noe says
I love these statements and have already put some into action.
Amy Krance-Wendt says
Breaking down “brave” into these 11 things makes it so much easier to know I/we can do this! Thank you!
This fact that “bravery is Biblical” resonated within my spirit. To be brave is just to “show up.” and I do so every day with the intent to accomplish all that I write on my to-do list. But it is more than just the daily chores I need accomplish. I want to be offer affirmation to others, especially with my husband. Since we’ve been retired, I need to give him words that will encourage and make him feel better about himself. It’s a tall order and I plan to give him the words that will make his day seem brighter. Thanks for all the other tips as well. I’m still dreaming though out of the workforce and continue to write my novel with hopes of a good outcome.
I love this! So much truth here. We’ve been deceived into thinking we only need to be brave in the BIG things, but every day life, done well, requires our brave. Thanks for sharing this!