Essay on “Brené Brown: the Call to Courage”
My mom visited recently and we were watching a new show on Netflix. It’s called Brené Brown: The Call to Courage. With humor and empathy, she challenges her audience to choose courage over comfort. Not only does she give real-life examples of how she chooses courage over comfort in her own life, but equips and encourages her audience to do the same. As a self-proclaimed introvert, Brown is a living example of how Christ desires our lives to look. When we take the things He has taught us, or is teaching us, and share it with others, we are ultimately glorifying Him – no matter how uncomfortable it may be for us. I was so inspired by Brown’s message that I couldn’t help but wonder what the Bible says about courage. Along with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, and faithfulness, courage must be a Godly thing, right? But what is it?
Brown defines courage as “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She believes courage is not attainable without vulnerability – the two are a package deal. You cannot become courageous without being vulnerable, and you cannot be vulnerable without being courageous.
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So, what do we do with this? I think it’s easy and so very popular to dive head first into the latest self-improvement book and validate our lives based on what the author says is true. We tend to claim the latest inspirational speaker or celebrity-of-the-hour’s theory on life, but why don’t we go back to what God says is true about Christian courage? Sorry to burst your bubble, but spreading the Gospel will not be a cake walk. True teaching and speaking the truth in love will take courage. When we choose to do the easy thing rather than the hard thing, we are disobeying Christ. We are consciously choosing our place of comfort over the places God is calling us. We are saying, No God, I trust my own comfort over Your faithfulness and goodness. That might sound harsh, but friends, we need to get real about this. We need to wake up to the urgent calling the Lord has put on our lives. We must start to recognize our disobedience for what it is. We don’t want to have the difficult conversations about the messy stuff with the ones we love because it’s uncomfortable. We don’t want to gently correct our friends and speak the truth in love because it’s uncomfortable. We don’t want to be honest about the things we desire out of a fear of how we would be perceived or the fear of rejection, because it’s uncomfortable.
Read this quote by Martin Luther – Can you say, mic drop? If we are not willing to say the uncomfortable things and do the uncomfortable deeds and go to the uncomfortable places in the name of Jesus, we are not confessing the whole truth of who God is. We can write all the blog posts about His goodness and raise our hands during worship at church and say we fully trust God when things are going great, but if we are not willing to boldly confess the messy parts of our lives that God has redeemed, or is in the process of redeeming, we are not being truly courageous. This is true vulnerability. True courage is being willing to share the ways we’ve messed up (and the ways we’re still messing up). To shout from the rooftops that your life was redeemed by Christ. To not being afraid of what people will think or how they will try to refute your story, but confidently declaring the forgiveness and freedom you’ve found in Christ – that is true courage. True courage comes from knowing a God that will never hurt me like the world does. True courage comes from knowing a God that sees me, knows me, and has an inheritance for me that is so much greater than anything this world can give me. He makes me brave.
The Lord is gently teaching me so well that my comfort can quite possibly be the thing that hinders my relationship with the Lord and others. There is no time in this earthly life to choose comfort over courage. There are people that need to hear what you have to say and good things that God wants to teach you in all of the uncomfortable places. If we never choose to go there (and yes, it’s a choice) we will never experience all the goodness He has for us. When we choose comfort over courage in our relationships, we will never allow people to truly know us and love in our most vulnerable state, for who and what we are. We will always choose the hard exterior, the strong exterior because that’s what society has told us is honorable.
Friends, I pray with authority over you right now, that God would break the strongholds of your fear and pride. I pray that you would come to know and discover in the Word for yourself, what courage from the Lord looks like. I encourage you to pray about what being courageous might look like in your life today. Ask God to call you to the uncomfortable places to practice the courage and vulnerability that draws us closer to Christ and each other. It will be messy and uncomfortable, but the Lord promises to protect us in the messiness and uncertainty of vulnerability. If you are shaking in your boots at this point, I am too.
God has put these words on my convicted heart because it’s what He’s teaching me today and if I’m honest, I’m just as scared as you. Like most, vulnerability is not easy for me. We have been taught from a young age to suppress our feelings, don’t show emotion, be tough. But I’m here to challenge you (and me!) to step into the uncomfortable places of vulnerability expecting the Lord to meet us there – confidently expecting Him to do good work in these places. Let’s be people that choose courage over comfort for the sake of the Kingdom.