By Amanda Cleary Eastep
Feeding chemotherapy meds to your three-year-old, knowing it may not make a difference, takes courage.
Honestly talking out that painful subject that sticks like a burr up under your heart takes some courage.
So does running into a burning building, walking into divorce court, preaching the gospel to cannibals. Fill in the ________.
Last March, I determined to live the year courageously. It was a scary declaration, scarier in black and white, in public, open to scrutiny as much as to hurrahs.
Here I am a year later, sitting on the same couch, typing. Bullet pointing in my head what, for me, took courage.
I think the writing style guides recommend NOT using bullets for less than three items…oh, well…
- Quitting my full-time job to make a 10-year-long dream of freelance writing come true
- Helping prepare my youngest child, just 18, to travel to northern Africa and Central Asia for two months
Impressive or just ‘eh’ depending on your perspective, but I could write a book about each of these life events.
Yet, at times, I feel this gnawing disappointment in myself, like I should have done more, like I should have traveled to Africa, like my white face surrounded by lots of brown-faced children would have looked more like acted-out courage.
But that’s “outside” stuff.
Courage has to happen inside first. And it’s never Facebook photo worthy.
Before we act, before we declare, leap, or even drag ourselves out of bed on the crappiest day of our lives, we have to stand–skinny sword arm trembling–and face FEAR:
- of failure
- of instability
- of rejection
- of loss
- of God being all done with us
Nobody sees that battle. It can be ugly. No Instagram filter to soften the jagged edges and color of blood.
Now it’s March again. I’ve been asking God what to do next, like we’re planning another vacation. Sometimes, when I’m totally out of my mind, I hope he’ll say, ‘Let’s do this big! No more safe, all-inclusive resort stays, we’re heading to India to wash the feet of lepers!’
Saying yes to that would take a lot of courage at this point in my life.
But maybe it’s not about courage at all. Saying yes to things, especially God-y things, is about something way harder, like obedience.
When I tell my children to do something, they don’t think, ‘Wow, doing what my mother is asking me to do is gonna take a helluva lot of courage.’ They obey me because they trust and love me.
Even if I love God, how do I know I can trust him? Because he’s proven he’s trustworthy, because I’ve seen it before, his coming through, his getting me through.
I’m not sure what is next, what he has next. Maybe March 2015-March 2016 was or wasn’t lived as courageously as it could have been. But I can declare it to be the beginning of living the rest of my life courageously.
Especially on the inside. Slaying demons of doubt and shame and fear, so that whatever that ends up looking like on the outside is a #nofilter picture of his forgiveness and grace and love.