Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:1-2
I have an alter ego—like Batman or Superman—she’s brave-hearted. She is like a whole other person—full of courage and big ideas. The brave-hearted side of me is a visionary—she loves new projects, making original connections between concepts, and researching/ learning/ sharing. But, sometimes, my brave heart overcommits me.
The more subdued and careful part of me doesn’t want to take risks, preferring to get along with everybody, hoping to fit in, and hating to stand out. This quieter me is most satisfied with being small and safe—she likes to observe life and record her thoughts. And. Not. Make. A. Peep. And. Not. Rock. The. Boat.
Looking back, brave-hearted me has always been there, but lately, instead of coaching from the sidelines, she wants to play quarterback and call one audible after another. She wants to speak and be heard, instead of shrinking back and hiding.
I think we’re all at least a little dysfunctional. As for me, I’m so used to my coping mechanisms/ idols/ strongholds/ besetting sins that sometimes I can’t imagine life without them. They’ve always been my solution for avoiding conflict, heartbreak, and disappointment. But, somehow these coping mechanisms just bring more of those things I’m trying to avoid!
- Anxiety leaps to answer every question before it’s asked but increases worry
- Defeat promises to keep me humble, but grieving over shortcomings keeps my focus on ME
- Bitterness offers protection from rejection but leads to isolation
- Gluttony promises to spackle the battered places in my heart but makes the food lose its taste
- Fear coaches me at every turn to take an easier path, leaving me timid and unprepared for the next challenge
Oh, my word. I’m a truth-teller. How did I ever get so comfortable with these lies? Creating “solutions” like this gives away my joy and my Shalom.
Hearing life through the megaphone of these besetting sins makes me weary and sad. So, I’ve been looking for another way. The Lord has comforted me with this knowledge: anything I don’t know—because I haven’t seen it or experienced it—He will teach me. He will show me how, if I ask Him. Plus, we know the Way because His Word instructs us:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:1-3, ESV
Hebrews! What great truth to cling to—taking our eyes off ourselves and turning our eyes toward Jesus enables us to put aside the sins that constantly tear us down. This what I am trying to put into practice lately: meditating on Jesus as the Way to take off the old and put on the new (Ephesians 4:22-24; Romans 12:1-2).
I got confirmation of this by asking my husband how to embrace the braver side of me. I knew it was the truth as soon as he said, “Repent and ask forgiveness for your fear. You are not believing that God is leading you, and you are not trusting His plans for you.” Wow. This was probably the best thing he could have told me. “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6).
I asked the Lord to show me how to go another way because I’m too comfortable with my sin. And He answered my prayer very precisely.
So, embracing my brave self is really about walking in repentance and focusing on Jesus. I think I knew that. And yet I didn’t. I’m still learning, all the time. How about you?