On Being Created and Not Being Brave
By Nicole Bennett, Guest Contributor
My own collection of magazines is stacked about 20 high, abandoned in favor of more pressing matters like child-rearing and cooking, and also less important endeavors like Instagram and Pinterest.
And yet my mom is often offering to pass on her already-perused volumes to me. I flip through a few with her on a lazy summer afternoon at her house when all three kids are resting, when she suddenly rips a page out to hand to me.
It’s the annual essay competition from a popular magazine, and the thrill of a writing for a contest piques my interest—until I read the prompt:
“What is the bravest thing you have ever done?”
Ideas flicker through my mind as I contemplate the topic. I don’t feel like I’ve really have any particularly brave moments.
Sure there is the open adoption we entered into, not completely prepared but willing to take the leap, the harrowing switchbacks endured in a chartered bus across the Andes Mountains, the paddle-out when the waves felt a bit too big for me, the first college class taught, the back-handspring on the high beam.
In retrospect, those events appear to have required courage. But the reality is that in all those moments I felt fearful when I should have felt brave.
Fear has been a weakness I remember always fighting against. Scores of inspiring verses have encouraged me over the years, and truly the Lord has carried me through those moments when I know I couldn’t have carried on by my own strength by some contrived amount of bravery.
But what has spoken to my heart in recent years, as I’ve grown to understand the power of the gospel more and more, is simply his grace and his sovereignty.
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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV
When I think of anything I have done that remotely resembles bravery, it is clear to me: all the glory goes to him, because in my own weakness—in my state of paralyzing fear—it is the Anchor of my soul, the very One who created me who has given me the grace to get through it.
Not only has he created me, knitted my very being together, he has defeated death by way of the cross. Through that, any weakness I have through my sinful nature—the fear that can creep back in so stubbornly—has been utterly overcome by his grace. I claim my victory in his strength alone.
I’m not ashamed of being a weak vessel, if it means I can bring him more glory. Like Paul, I will boast, I will testify that when I was at my weakest, crippled by fear, unsure of my own skills, that he was strong. He has carried me through with grace upon grace.
As we acknowledge our weaknesses, we are able to more fully embrace his strength.
“Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.” Psalm 74:16-17
I encourage you, take a few minutes today to soak in a bit of his creation: the breadth, the expanse, the power—of his ocean, his forests, his sky and starry host. The power that was able to create such majesty, indeed is strong enough to fill to overflowing the gaps left by our weaknesses.
Nicole Bennett writes at Gidget Goes Home, a lifestyle blog exploring the search for contentment, community and creativity… and lots of homemade ice cream. She studied languages & literature at Cal Poly and CSU Long Beach and now spends her days homeschooling and enjoying the San Diego sunshine. Nicole and her husband love serving in church leadership, and enjoy the outdoors and watching baseball with their two daughters and one son.