Our messy, complicated lives are no challenge for our Creator.
He won’t turn you away if you have fallen into a sticky situation or done something that has caused damage to your life. His heart is to restore you to your rightful place.
God’s plan from the very beginning has been to cover your weaknesses and to showcase your confidence and courage.
When the first woman found herself cloaked in nothing but shame, God sewed together a garment and placed it on her shoulders. He is still in the garment-making business; He just no longer uses animal skins. Instead He cloaks us with courage.
The thing about courage is, the longer you wear it, the more comfortably it fits. Like an oft-worn Italian shoe, it begins to gently take shape around our lives. Suddenly, you’re not afraid anymore. You’re willing to step out in faith and try new things. You’re excited to take on new tasks that you may have been too intimidated to try before. You’re ready to pursue your dreams and fulfill your callings. You’re ready to make brave the new normal.
I’m discovering that more and more of God’s daughters are finding the courage to make brave the new normal. They’re making waves and they’re making a statement. As a result, their voices — our voices — are finally being heard.
For decades, even centuries, we have kept silent while our sisters have suffered. I’m not only referring to civil rights issues but matters of the heart. We have tribes of women around the world waiting on us to share words we’ve received from Heaven, words that will launch them in a new direction. God’s Word isn’t the only thing He uses to convey His message.
He uses women to better the lives of other women.
I can tell you from experience that while men may influence our lives, it is women who will shape our destinies. Men don’t birth women. Women birth women. And women help women. If you are lacking in courage today, God, in His goodness, will link you with a woman who can help you put on the garment of courage and wear it well.
Now let’s talk some more about how to wear the garment of courage.
Yesterday, I stumbled upon a blog post about the top ten fashion mistakes women over thirty make. Number seven nailed it for women close to my age: “Wearing too many accessories at one time will make you look cheap and outdated.” The world’s most elegant woman, Coco Chanel, was said to have offered this advice: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”1
Maybe that is good advice when it comes to wearing our courage. We are on a journey to becoming brave. We all want brave to be our new normal. But in pursuing a life lived with courage, we want to look bold but not brash. Some “accessories” are unbefitting for even the bravest of us. Mouthiness. Profanity. Bossiness. I’ve watched women leaders do more to damage in a boardroom than men. Confidence is one thing, but coming across as overly confident and even arrogant can push everything we’ve tried to bring to the table right off the table.
Courage should carry with it a certain elegance and dignity.
There are few things less appealing than a bossy woman with a dirty mouth. If we want our words to carry weight, we need to frame them carefully.
In a world where our gender is encouraged to settle back and take second place, it is comforting to know there are women, like you, who are bravely rising up and taking charge of their futures. Today I set aside time to pray for your courage. I realize the journey to stepping out of the shadows of fear and heartache is no easy feat. It takes great effort and energy to push beyond a safe zone to pursue life with passion.
Living an enjoyable and fulfilling life begins with the determination to think big, walking in faith rather than fear. With worry and apprehension coursing through society, we must be intentional about guarding our hearts against anxiety and focusing instead on God’s promises. Staying securely hidden in the words of our Father will keep us from becoming paralyzed, too nervous to take the next big step. The enemy’s goal is to minimize our confidence, to drown out our desire to think big and dream wild. But this is not the time to drown in a pool of hesitation or to be swept away by the current of cares. This is your season to swim into deeper waters and make brave your new normal.
[As I] get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all Heaven and earth[,] I ask Him to strengthen you by His Spirit — not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength — that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite Him in. And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. — Ephesians 3:16-19 The Message
Now go. Be brave. And yes, live free in the fullness of God.
- “The Most Inspiring Coco Chanel Quotes to Live By,” Vogue, August 20, 2015, https://www.vogue.com.au/fashion/news/the-most-inspiring-coco-chanel -quotes-to-live-by/image-gallery/b1cb17be7e20734d0b255f bd5a478ed4?pos=1.
Excerpted with permission from Becoming Brave by Tracey Mitchell, copyright Tracey Mitchell.
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Have you been clothed in courage? Have you put your arms through the sleeves and felt it settle onto your shoulders and fit just right? Even if fear is your nemesis and heartache has been your long companion, courage is your birthright in Jesus. How awesome is that? Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full