“What would I do today if I were brave? If I refuse to listen to the voice of fear, would the voice of courage whisper in my ear?” – Jana Stanfield
Some years back, I was on a women’s retreat with my aunt. I was going through some challenges. She gave me a gift to lift my spirits. It was a CD single of artist, Jana Stanfield singing, “If I Were Brave.” It is amazing the power of music. That song gave me the strength, faith and courage for not only what lay ahead for me, but the power to see was already within me at that very moment.
The song asks a simple question, and digs down to the deepest corner of our dreams and pulls them into the light of possibility, shoving aside the doubts and insecurities that keep us down. What would you do, if you didn’t fear the thoughts of others? What if you could not fail? What if there was no voice of doubt running through your head?
Sometimes, it seems as if we are more afraid of succeeding, of light, than of failing and darkness. The book on failing has been written a million times. Even my kids know it. What if we mess up? We try again. First, we may wallow a bit in a little self-allowed pity, but we continually try again, fighting with all of our might to win, to succeed, to find peace – searching for this elusive light that is promised. We are so busy and all consumed with the struggle, it seems we wouldn’t know what to do if we didn’t need to fight.
It Is All Too Familiar
The fight, the fear, it is a familiar feeling. It is known, therefore it runs around the darkness with the mask of safety, because we recognize it. And yet, these knowns often hide behind the false security of fear, convincing us they keep us safe, promising us they will shine the light and protect us from all that is dangerous. We will fail, we will lose, we will enter chaos if not for the security these fears promise.
Our world has become so fearful, and understandably so. Everywhere we turn, people are losing their lives and loved ones in the most frightening ways. The temptation is to turn inward, to shut our doors, to defend, to turn off our lights to the unknown and grip as tightly as possible to all that is known and what feels safe. This is the power of fear.
However, What If We Were Brave?
What if we side-stepped our fear, knowing we are taking a risk? What if we smiled at the person who encompasses all that is different than us. What if we gave, despite fearing we have nothing to give? What if we stopped holding our breath for the ball to drop, and simply exhaled with our eyes closed, trusting that everything will still be OK when we opened them again?
Not everything turns out as we want, or even as what we feel is fair, and yet it is courage that allows us to move forward anyway. We realize we don’t need to hold on so tightly, but instead to go a little more out on the ledge, into the realm of all that is uncomfortable and dark, not always looking to outside sources to light our way.
This is where true bravery comes in – bridging us into the realm that is new, that is not known, and is all together utterly terrifying. The ‘what-ifs’ are flying around like bats in a darkly lit cave, squawking threats to get out. However, this cave of discomfort, this is the dark space where our fears lurk – our fears that keep us from reaching true happiness and peace for which we so desperately fight. It is scary, it is unknown, and it is absolutely petrifying.
We are in between the dark cave of what is unknown and the fear-lit space of our own security. And yet, it is in these darkest moments that we come to a turning point and ask ourselves, what if we were brave…what if we were the light all along?