I sat behind her and watched her shake and sob. I knew who she was dating and wondered if that had anything to do with what I was seeing. We had just a few minutes before class would start so I asked her what happened. She was tired of being treated poorly. She was tired of being yelled at. She was tired of being “handled”. The problem was she did not have the strength to be brave. Because he was such a popular person she felt trapped. I told her that she was worth being treated better. I told her to be brave and break it off with him.
Guess what she did?
She did not try to break out of some mold and kiss a girl or swing on a ball. She did not quit eating. She did not cut herself. She did not do any of those things. She went to the bathroom and washed her face. She took a deep breath and ended the relationship.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 1 Tim 1:7
Being brave is important for self-esteem and social confidence. Here are a few thoughts:
1. Talk it out. Living in silence is a result of fear. Expressing what we are feeling in healthy ways to God and others reduces what can shift into shame and guilt. How many have experiences that demand our silence? Find someone and talk. Tell your story. Share your pain. Express your shame. If you never get it out, you can never deal with it properly. The result could be deadly. David was among the soldiers and he began asking questions about why they were so frightened. He talked to them. He talked to the leadership. He talked to the King. He opened a conversation that was not pleasant for him, but needful for Israel to have. What conversations do you need to have?
2. Call it out. In the case above the boyfriend was to blame. Maybe you have that problem. Maybe you were abused. Maybe you were bullied. Whatever the problem may be it is time to call it out. Israel was shaking in her boots as they were lined up against the Philistines. God and His covenant were being questioned as Goliath stood and spouted vulgarities. David called him out. The problem was addressed. Until you decide to address the problem you will live in fear rather than courage. David could not believe what he was seeing with Israel’s army. They were cowering in fear rather than storming the enemy with force. What do you need to call out today?
3. Surrender it all. This is not throwing in the towel or raising the white flag to the enemy. Often, when we have no hope or live in fear, we just give up. We stay with the abuser. We keep losing jobs because of drugs. Our homes are repossessed because of gambling habits. We surrender to the wrong entity. When Jesus went to the cross he did so after surrendering to God. “Whatever You want Father” was His final word. He surrendered to God and then acted in the most brave way possible. Surrender your life to God’s will and watch what happens next! David did and the giant fell. The hope in God and the covenant was restored. All was well again. Have you surrendered to God’s plan yet?
4. Win it all. The joy of victory is incredible! The girl came the next day to school with a new outlook and a smile I had not seen in a while. I have seen those who have dealt with cutting and/or eating disorders come to the other side bright, happy, and stronger. The abused spouse finds new value and strength. The victimized child finds new hope. You may be facing one of these problems. You may know someone else who is. Are you in it to win it?