In February 2010, at the beginning of what would turn out to be a completely life-altering year for me, I started this blog. I didn’t start writing because I had a deep well of answers to share with the world. I started because I didn’t have the answers. I started because I wasn’t afraid to grapple with the questions. I started not because I believed people needed to hear my story, but because I needed to tell it. I started because I was broken.
A lot has changed in the close to 5 years since I started this blog. There were seasons when I had a lot to say, and long stretches when I didn’t say much at all. The original name of my blog, An Idol Heart, represented what I had learned about myself, my faith and how that shaped my worldview. Sharing the stories and experiences from that season has been an incredible journey. However, as with all good stories, it is time for a new chapter; one that reflects where I am now, where I’m going and what I’m learning in the space between.
The new name for my blog is Fits Of Bravery.
If I’m honest, I’ve lived a lot of my life in fear. Fear of failing. Fear of trying. Fear of losing. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of rejection. Fear of inadequacy. Fear of _____ (fill in the blank). It might not have always looked like it, but it has been there. I know I’m not alone and if you’re still reading this, I’m sure you can identify and fill in the blank with your own respective fear that you struggle with.
A few months ago I got a new tattoo. Based on Joshua 1:9, it is a symbol of my desire to take courageous steps. The months since have challenged that notion. Fiercely. However, I realize now more than ever that it is not enough for my body to be marked with courage if my life is not. Which leads us to today and, yes, Fits Of Bravery.
The inspiration for the name and Fits Of Bravery concept is drawn from 2 very different and unlikely sources with similar stories. One is fictional, the other not, but their stories shape a powerful narrative of not just where, but who I’ve been, who I am and who I want to be.
First is our fictional friend Walter Mitty. The 2013 film adaptation of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is one of my favorites and has had a profound impact on me. In it, we meet Walter Mitty, an ordinary man with an ordinary job, living an otherwise ordinary life… or so it seems. In his head, however, Walter has a second life. A brave one. One where he dreams of being something more. One where he is a hero, regularly exercising great skill and performing feats of courage… essentially the antithesis of everything about real-life Walter. One day, while going through the motions of his everyday life, despite all his greatest fears, Walter finds himself thrust into the thrill of an adventure where he can finally be everything he has felt inside and dreamed of being. We watch Walter experience dramatic fits of bravery, encountering and overcoming a series of obstacles, one after the other until suddenly he finds himself to be the person who previously had only existed in the wildest of his imaginations.
And then there is my boy Gideon. In Judges 6-8 we find the account of Gideon, a descendent of the house of Joseph, threshing wheat in the bottom of a winepress. About as common as it gets. God comes to him, calling him a “mighty man of valor”, telling him he would be used to overthrow the Mideonites who were keeping the Israelites in oppression. What an oxymoronic moment that had to have been. Its understandable, then, why Gideon would object, calling into question the Lord’s commitment to His people and countering with his excuses. Surely the Lord was mistaken. Not only are his people living in oppression, but his family is the weakest of the tribe and he himself is the least of his family. God’s response to Gideon’s protests? “Go in this might of yours, do I not send you?” I love how that despite Gideon’s objections, insecurities and fears, God consistently spoke to him as HE saw him, not as Gideon saw himself. It’s a truly incredible story that I will expound on another time, but ultimately we watch Gideon cycle through fear, surrender and courage several times. We see him start only to stutter and stumble, then finally stand. Gideon wrestles with the “what if’s” only to land on the “why not’s”. He fights his way through several fits of bravery, accomplishing a big thing in a series of small but significant steps. Through it all, God’s promise of “but I will be with you” was fuel for the fits. Fears, insecurities and excuses on the table, God’s purpose made provision for them all, and Gideon… the lowly wheat thresher… overthrew the enemy and freed his people.
I find a lot of inspiration in the thread of courage that runs in both these examples. Both had subscribed to a common existence, while an uncommon fire burned inside. Both traversed a road wrought with plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t… yet they did. Knowing there was something ahead greater than what they left behind, they took a step, then another. One foot in front of the other… fists clenched… eyes forward… pausing only long enough to let their heart recover before the next climb… they steadily (though not always apparently) said “yes” and moved closer toward who they were created to be.
As he did with Gideon, God promised Joshua that though what he faced was great, he would never be alone.
And this is where I am.
I want my story to be marked by the progressive fits of bravery that steadily move me closer to who I really am but have yet to become. Standing on the edge of where I’ve been… the dust of the struggle still coating my hands… the wind of promise at my back.