Desperation and Bravery

Image by Katie Zilcosky on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/katiezil03/11183859963/)

Image by Katie Zilcosky on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/katiezil03/11183859963/)

People have been telling me that I’m brave for writing about the things I do and putting myself out there the way I do, but can I just fess up to the honest-to-God truth that I have a hard time receiving that?

I don’t feel brave.

I feel desperate.

I don’t sit down with my laptop and Bible and ask myself, “Jessie, what courageous and bold things do you wish to declare over yourself and people today?” I don’t crack my knuckles as I set to writing and feel like I’m doing something victorious or brave.

You want to know how it really goes? While crying and praying and reading and thinking, God occasionally hits me with something that I can’t get out of my head, a truth I so desperately have longed to hear. And it’s so prominent, I feel the need to immediately pull out my laptop and write a post. I think to myself that if I can write these things down fast enough and put it out there for the world to see, then maybe I can believe these things for just a little while longer. I’m desperate to grab onto these truths before they escape me and I’m faced with another frustrating, tear-stained day.

You see, there are lies all around me and they are skilled in the art of imposing forgetfulness where truth is concerned.

I’m grateful that my attempt to grab onto truth and peace means something to you, but it doesn’t feel all that brave to me. Despite the messages I receive, the gratitude and compliments that come my way from strangers and friends, I feel like just one girl who pecks away at her keyboard because she simply doesn’t know what else to do.

The idea of me being brave feels farfetched in my mind, like a label I could never earn even as it’s shoved in my face by people who don’t really know me.

Writing doesn’t feel like an act of bravery. It feels like an act of desperation.

I am desperate to push these things out of me and place them onto paper or out into the world because the things God speaks over me are often forgotten when the enemy’s lies come back.

If you were really so brave, you wouldn’t hide behind a computer. You’d say things to people’s faces. You wouldn’t be so shy and force yourself to be alone. If you were really so brave, you wouldn’t be curled up in that chair, unable to move. You’d be out there, doing things. You’d be productive. You wouldn’t need to beg for strength just to face another day.

This morning, I was curled up in my bedroom chair, unable to move. I knew I should get up and do something. I should open my Bible and sip my coffee and believe the things God says. But instead, I was staring at the wall, questioning my existence, wishing for a different and improved version of the Jessie I live with every day.

And then I got a text that said things like how God is going to heal me and He’s going to answer my prayers and bring me out of this sadness. And all I wanted to do was retort with, “but I want to be healed now.” And I meant it. I was desperate.

Get on your knees and pray, I was then commanded. Whether the command came from heaven or from my mind, I was so desperate that I somehow found the strength to leave my cushion of sorrow and do just that in the middle of my bedroom floor.

Praying like this is a rare occurrence for me. Placing my knees on carpet and bowing my head to the ground felt foreign and awkward. Yet humble prayers soon tumbled out of my mouth. I don’t know what to do. God, I need you. I don’t even know what to say. I’m desperate.

Somewhere along the way, my desperation drove me to madness. I was mad enough to spit out the words, Do something! I don’t want to be this way. I want to feel lovely and beautiful and graceful. I don’t want to feel weak like this anymore. 

I want to be brave.

As I was on my knees and these words escaped my lips, a story of a desperate woman came to mind.

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with  him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. (Luke 7:36-38)

She was desperate. She was so desperate she was willing to enter in this man’s home, despite the judgmental things he would say about her. She was so desperate, she was willing to approach Jesus, give him her nicest perfume, and let him receive her sorrowful tears. She was so desperate, she found herself on the ground, grasping for even just his feet.

She was so desperate, she became brave.

And I realize now that maybe this is me, too. I see desperation while I am told I am brave, but perhaps the two can both be true.

Maybe I am brave after all. Not because I say bold words and write my heart out for the world to see, but because I’m desperate enough to sit down and do this. For myself. For you. For God.

I’m so desperate for the truth to be declared. I’m desperate for healing in my life. I’m desperate for God to be glorified through me. And this desperation has driven me to say things, do things, and believe things I wouldn’t otherwise. If I were this image of a normal nineteen-year-old with average hopes and stable emotions that I envision, would I have anything to say when I sit down to write?

I’m desperate and I do like to think that I’m brave. On a good day, at least. Who’s to say where I’ll be tomorrow? In the morning, you might find me again in my chair, unable to move.

But when I do move (and I always do), may my mind believe bold things, my hand write great things, and my heart know that I am brave.

This is my prayer. Not just for me, but for you, as well.

We all need to be told that we are brave. We don’t just need the world to say it; we need God to declare it.

And yes, we sometimes need desperation to drive us to believe it and be it.

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