There is a special prayer that, without fail, my five-year-old son holds me accountable to every night before bed. Once he is tucked snug into his top bunk, holding tight to a toy of choice, we say a prayer together about bad dreams.
“Dear God,” I pray. “Please help Jake to have beautiful dreams tonight. But if he does have a bad dream, I ask that you make him brave and help him to remember that you are always here.”
At first, Jake didn’t like this prayer. He had been struggling with nightmares for a few weeks. Normally they involved fierce meat-eating dinosaurs of some sort, but all ended with him cuddled up beside me by midnight.
“Why can’t you just tell God not to give me bad dreams at all,” he cried one night. “Why are you praying for me to be brave? I don’t want to be brave! I just want to not have bad dreams.”
Now maybe you don’t struggle with nightmares about dinosaurs, but if you are anything like me, you can relate to my son’s frustration. Sometimes I’ll take a hard pass on bravery. I just want God to protect me from the struggle all together. After all, asking for bravery takes courage. Courage, I admit, I don’t always have.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m a coward. Really, I am scared of everything! I can go from reality to worst-case scenario in seconds. Bravery isn’t naturally built into my bones. Yet, I have always wanted to live a brave life. This is why I am so thankful to serve a God who shines where I am weak. A God who can turn my fears into courage. A God who promises to make me brave whenever I call on him.
Looking back on my life, I have done a lot of brave things. Moving to Haiti. Giving birth in a third-world country. Adopting my two oldest children against all odds. But that bravery did not inherently come from me. Rather, I had to be strong, remember that God always goes before me, and have the courage to ask him for bravery over fear.
How do you call on God for bravery in your daily life?