Day Thirty: What Makes You Brave?


If you renamed The Thin Places as the "Really Insecure Places" you wouldn't be wrong. I actually just sat down, chin wobbly and confidence shaky, and made a list of all the things I felt insecure about. There was a long list. And when I talked to my friends about their "thin places" the list grew longer. 

It seemed like, no matter where we were, what we were going through, how old, married, single or otherwise, we all struggled with deep-seated insecurities. Fears that defeated us before we'd even started. 

For awhile I rested in the comfort and words of others, encouragement, exaltation, praise from the outside. Their words would soothe my white-hot fears for a moment, and then slowly they'd wear away. 

I remember sitting down and praying with my pastor back in Northern Ireland, and through tears saying "I feel like a blackhole, it doesn't matter how good people or life treats me, I need more. I hate that I need more!" As she prayed for me, I realized this thing, this season of insecurity, these fears were something that would need super-natural healing. 

I prayed, I cried, and I decided that if anything was going to change, it wasn't going to change by hiding from how I really felt. 

So I started writing The Thin Places. I went down the list of insecurities and wrote about each one. As I started to share them, it turned out that my friends and I weren't the only ones dealing with crippling insecurities (big surprise, right?) 

We live in a thin world, with fragile and thin people, that's what I discovered. 

Last month while we were in Florida, I found a jellyfish washed up on shore. Inching as close as I dared, I studied it's thin membrane-- a soft, translucent shell revealed everything within. I wanted to help, but it had clearly been beached for too long. Unable to fight the current, it found itself on the rapidly drying sand. And as I stared down at this pathetic wave-tossed creature, I realized that's me. Without divine intervention, I'm just a jellyfish. I'm fragile, weak, and rarely in control of my own destiny.

Jesus compares us to the mammal version of the jellyfish, he compares us to sheep. Sheep who go with the herd, who are in danger when they wander off, who often find themselves headed the wrong direction without the voice of the Shepherd. 

We live in a thin world, with fragile and thin people, that's what I discovered.

"Make me different! Make me braver!" I'm not sure how many times I prayed those words through tears. And every day I'd wake up, the same me, with the same fears, with the same faults and none of the strengths I wanted to emulate. 

Or so I thought. 

But God was working things beneath my translucent skin. He is working things despite my pathetic weaknesses. And he started to work these things when I confessed my insecurities to him. When I started writing down all the ways I failed to trust him, I suddenly could see the path he wanted to me to take. 

So I ask myself, and I ask you, what makes you brave? Is it the words and approval of the world around you? Are you fighting to be heard? Do you wake up to an imaginary audience? Or are you resting in the love and power of God? 

I'm not saying I don't get scared anymore. I'm not saying that suddenly all my insecurities are wiped away. In many ways they're still present, but for the first time in a long time, I'm resting in the current God has me. 

I'm resting in the belief that if God has things in control, then it will be good. Because he says it will be good. And I don't say this lightly. I know the death grip of depression and anxiety. I know what it feels like to not believe there's a way out. But today, I hope you can find strength in the knowledge that there is a way out. And his name is Jesus. 

He's the one who has gone before. He's conquered sin, death, shame, defeat, embarrassment, temptation, distance, imperfections, legalism, weakness and everything you find yourself trying to fight every day. He doesn't just make us brave, but he is our bravery. He's the thin place you find yourself in. He's the sky that touches heaven and yet presses down unto earth. He's that bridge of brightness between us and all the glory we wish we could touch. 

And he is faithful. Just you wait and see.