Brave: ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
I hope you live your life bravely.
As I was preparing to photograph the father/child course for Summit Adventure, I was getting excited to come along side and support people doing brave things. Any trip with Summit Adventure has a common thread of pushing people out their comfort zones to grow in relationship with God and other people. On the father/ child course that might look like climbing to the top of a 150 ft rock face or it might look like taking time to have an honest, vulnerable conversation with your dad or child.
On this particular course, it was at one of the rappel sites that I learned about bravery. The second group of the day had made it to the top of the site. One of the participants was nervous about the rappel. It had been a challenge for him face a fear of heights to climb to the top of the site, and now there was a 200 foot rappel waiting for him. As he prepared to rappel, the atmosphere changed. The typical nervous joking of participants died down and there was tension in the air as his anxiety built.
I made my way over to a ledge fifty feet away where I could take photos of the father and son as they rappelled. It was a solemn thing to witness. He was struggling fiercely with fear. He knew what he had to do and no amount of advice or encouragement from anyone was making it easier. It was a slow raw battle to reach the ground.
As I watched, I knew there where areas in my life where I react the same way. I see other people glide down rappels full of trust and even joy and I come to God kicking and screaming and crying, begging if there is any other way.
Currently I live in a small town hours away from family and close friends. I work a steady 9-5 job with a small photography business on the side. I am confident God brought me here. I see Him teaching me things. But it’s hard. I don’t have family to go home to in the evening. I don’t tell stories of watching peoples’ lives being changed like friends working at various non-profits. I don’t travel the world climbing mountains or taking photos like I see other friends doing. Life is that simple but hard cliché of being faithful in the mundane things. It’s not glamorous. It’s a struggle. I fight fears and lies of wasting my life, of not being valuable. There have been many nights of asking God if He has forgotten me, left me hanging on this rappel. He hasn’t. He stays with me through the frustration. He waits out the internal kicking and screaming till I’m finally still enough to listen to His voice and let it overcome my fears.
I don’t know what your rappel is, the thing that unnerves you to your core. But I hope you’re willing to go into the fight with fear and face it. I hope you are willing to keep inching your way down the rope till you reach the ground. I hope you live your life bravely.