You know what I’m realizing about adulthood?
We all think everyone else is brave. That mom that has three kids and cooks her meals from scratch. The missionary going somewhere Christians are persecuted. The single girl going to law school. The guy who has decided to start his own business. The creative who decides to go for it.
Everyone is so much braver than I am. I don’t feel brave at all. I feel scared most of the time. I feel like a faker – like if people really knew me, the real me, they wouldn’t think I was capable of anything. And yet everywhere I talk to young women, the question arises: “How are you so confident?” “How are you so brave?”
Here is what I’m learning – no one is brave. None of us is brave. We all think that in order to do brave things, we won’t feel scared. We think that once that feeling of fear goes away, then it will be time to do the thing.
But what living abroad has taught me is that people who do cool or great things – they are scared too. No one is brave. It’s just that some people do it scared.
You think everyone is braver than you, and maybe someday if you grow some courage you can do the things you want to do. But the secret is that the courage doesn’t come from waiting – the courage comes from doing it scared. When you start to move forward through an open door with no idea what is on the other side of it – that’s when the brave comes. It doesn’t come when you’re standing still holding your breath. The brave comes once you jump off the diving board.
The secret is, we are all scared. We are scared we will be alone. We are terrified we will fail. We’re afraid of what people will think of us. But ALL of us feel that way. No one is brave. No one is any braver than you are.
Remember that scene where the Cowardly Lion finally meets the Wizard and asks for some courage? The Wizard responds, “You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger, you have no courage. You confusing courage with wisdom. Back where I come from, we have men who are called heroes. Once a year, they take their fortitude out of mothballs and parade it down the Main Street of the city. And they have no more courage than you have. But! They have one thing you haven’t got! A medal!”
The medal doesn’t come because you decided to feel brave. The medal – the story – the results – come because you said yes before you knew how the story would end.
Yeah you might fail. You might get hurt. You might get your heart broken. Bravery doesn’t keep any of those things from happening. Risk and obedience doesn’t guarantee you your story will end in epic victory. And the truth is, you won’t feel brave until you’ve walked for miles and you turn around and see what you’ve done. You won’t see it on the way up. But you’ll see it at the top.
So, my friend – I know you’re scared. But don’t let fear stop you. Because the truth is – none of us are brave. Some of us just do it scared.