Shortly after my 30th birthday I booked a trip to Paris. With January coming to a close and ticket prices dropping, I was determined to see the sights. There were some advantages to being 30, single, and childless.
My mother lamented and worried (as any good mother would). A single gal traveling alone to a country where she didn’t speak the language – I am sure it sounded less brave and adventurous to her and more foolhardy. I love to travel and wanted to see the world and I saw this as an epic adventure. I was enamored with the thought of Paris and full of confidence.
And so off I went.
Visiting the famous Shakespeare and Company on the left bank I was embraced by the smell of old and new books alike. Walking through Notre-Dame Cathedral I found myself drawn to the stories behind the gargoyles and then later through the tunnels of the Catacombs. I took the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower and clung to the center wall as I battled my fear of heights. And after standing in line for the Mona Lisa – I remember feeling not so impressed and wondering what all the hub-bub was about. The trip was brief but an adventure nonetheless – one more thing to check off my “to-do” list.
Almost 10 years later I am reflecting on life and that trip. As I ponder what it means to be brave and have courage, I can’t help but wonder if we are brave when we pursue the things we want to pursue? It’s quite one thing to pursue what brings us pleasure or satisfies our curiosity but what about a commitment to pursuing the unknown?
If you’re anything like me you have planned and scrapped many different routes for your life over the years and at this halfway mark what I’ve concluded is:
God’s plans are often different from mine.
God’s plans are always better than mine.
The problem for me has always been the march toward the unknown – it’s where I fail miserably. Submitting to God’s plan means I have no control and must surrender my will to His. I don’t get to be the navigator. I don’t even get a glimpse of the itinerary.
Following Jesus wherever He leads is one the bravest things I can do.
But, even if I make up my mind and my heart to follow Jesus, living it out is still difficult. Discerning when Jesus is calling is hard and I find myself like Peter saying “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14:28) I want the audible voice of God. I want confirmation that I have done or chosen the right thing.
And, that’s where I find myself now. Trying to be brave and ready to walk into the unknown. Trying to be still and discerning. Waiting for the God thing and not just the good thing.
So, how are you being brave?