I love simplicity.
But I’ve found, to my dismay, that courage seems to be a series of counter-intuitive paradoxes.
Hold on. Let go.
Lay something down. Fight till the end.
Each one, depending on the circumstance, the most courageous choice we could make.
Which, to someone attempting to figure out how to live courageously, definitely doesn’t make things easier…
But in the end, I guess that’s actually okay. Because if bravery really is a journey rather than a destination, then the fact that it doesn’t come with a handbook (or a system, or a prescribed order of decisions) makes a lot more sense.
If there is a time for every matter under heaven, then there is a time for each of these courageous responses. And there is definitely a time to fight – or all-out brawl, as the case may be. Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about how sometimes, the very bravest thing we can do is lay something down and acknowledge that we do not need it to be whole.
It doesn’t sound like a difficult confession to make. But wow, if you’re anything like me, start laying things down left and right and you’ll realize pretty quick where the rub is. Where we’re hanging on with both hands.
Where we don’t want to let go.
We say that all we need is Christ.
But living that statement? So much harder.
And in a world of self-actualization and dream-chasing – neither of which are necessarily bad things at all – the idea of laying something down can seem rather unnatural. And yes, sometimes it IS time to hang on for all we’re worth, or finish the fight, or run till the race is over.
But other times, usually before we hang on or finish the fight or run the race, we have to lay down the things we are holding to so tightly.
Maybe it is a dream that we desperately want to become reality.
Maybe it is something we’ve tied our worth to, like an ability or gift.
Maybe it is someone we’ve clung to so tightly that we don’t want to be asked to take a road without them.
And ugh, those things hurt to lay down. I’m not pretending otherwise. I’ve grappled with God over them (some pretty recently) with about as much fervor as Jacob in Genesis 32.
But the thing is, until we lay them down, I don’t think we can run well the race set before us.
I actually don’t think we can run at all, to be honest.
Because until they’re laid down – until they’re not the end, the goal, or the finish line – we’re not only crippled from our full potential, we’re also in the wrong race.
Spending energy like a hamster on its wheel and pouring our hearts out like water on cracked desert ground.
The end of our race should be Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. But if I am unwilling to lay something down at His feet, then it has become my end.
So lately…I’ve been realizing that I need to lay some stuff down.
Realizing that I do not need a particular outcome to live a fulfilled life in Christ.
I do not need to accomplish a certain ministry to live a fulfilled life in Christ.
I do not need a particular job to live a fulfilled life in Christ.
I do not need the realization of a dream to live a fulfilled life in Christ.
Dreams are so often gifts from God, and in all likelihood, they will be part of a fulfilled life in Christ. But they are not the end, and we don’t need them.
We need Christ.
And if He is our all, then we can bravely whisper – or shout to the heavens — “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”