Sometimes Winning is Just Being Brave

If you are subscribed to Netflix or have access to the internet, you may have seen the release of Brené Brown’s Netflix Original, “The Call to Courage.” As someone who has read her books, I was intrigued by what she had to say on such a public platform that catered to the masses, not just the Christian communities who now recommend her books left, right and center. 

Over the course of an hour and a half, Brené talked about how courage and vulnerability go hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other. Do you genuinely want to be in love? You need to be vulnerable. Do you want to share what God has placed on your heart but hate public speaking? You need to be vulnerable. Do you want to heal from heartache and tragedy? Then vulnerability needs to be something that you embrace rather than shy away from. 

At the end of her talk, Brené shares a story about her daughter, Ellen, who had been asked to swim the 100-yard breaststroke. Losing the race was inevitable. Everyone knew that, but with some encouragement, Ellen decided to swim the race no matter what happened. The race took place, she came in last, and tears mixed with the water pouring off of her as she climbed out of the pool. What this young girl said, however, still brings Brené to tears. “That sucked, but I was brave, and I won.” 

How incredible is that? A young girl who had publicly lost a race so badly that judgments against her filled the deck of the swim meet, proudly proclaimed through her tears that she had won! 

As Brené phrases it, sometimes winning is doing the brave thing; by showing up and letting yourself be seen, even when you cannot control the outcome. Even if you stand your ground amidst the storm of emotions that you experience, it doesn’t show weakness. It shows bravery and a longing to live wholeheartedly no matter the feelings or the experiences it will bring. 

My nephew is five years old and is convinced that he is going to grow up to be Spider-Man. I am sad for the day when he realizes that his dream will not happen, but it has given him the courage that most five-year-olds don’t have. One day, he grabbed my hand and pulled me into his room. He asked if we could stand in the closet and shut the doors so that we could be surrounded by complete darkness. Why? So that we could see the dinosaur on his shirt glow in the dark. We climbed into the closet and shut the doors. Derek squealed with delight as his shirt glowed. We stood there for less than a minute as he realized he wanted to play with some of his other toys, but standing in the dark only left him feeling happy and excited about his shirt. Now, what five year old asks to spend time in the dark? Not very many. 

Derek embraced the darkness because it showed the light. He welcomed the chance to see his shirt live up to its promise. Can we say the same about God? Are we grateful, even thankful for the moments in life that force us to look for God, and see that His love and mercy is indeed everything that He promised it would be? 

And this Living Expression is the Light that bursts through gloom, the Light that darkness could not diminish! – John 1:5 The Passion Translation (TPT)

The greater the darkness, the brighter the light. Sometimes it is all we can do to stand in the storm of our lives and say, “God, I see you. Please see me and act on my behalf,” but it is a beautiful exchange that gives God control of our vulnerability and bravery so that He can use it to show His strength. 

With God, we will win because He has won. With God, we will live wholeheartedly because He has prepared our hearts for the ups and downs that life brings. With God, we can be vulnerable and brave and know that even in the darkest of circumstances, He is right there with us; dusting us off and preparing us to walk in His goodness.