Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “B” Is For “Brave”

9 May

Letter BIn the alphabet of manly virtues, the letter B generates a plethora of options. Picture the scene from 3 Amigos where Alfonso Arau playing, Elguapo asks, “Would you say I have a plethora of piñatas?” and you pretty much know what’s going thru my head this very minute.

For me what immediately rises to the surface is the word Brave.

Now to most of us, this would seem to be an obvious selection but it just so happens to be the one that I’m extremely passionate about.

I began a journey many years ago and have been developing something for several years now, centered on answering the question, “Are You Brave?” 

And in trying to answer that question for myself, I’ve learned several things.

1. I’m sorry to say, my answer is not very encouraging, because if I’m honest, most days I’m not brave at all. Most days I cower, submitting and surrendering to fear. Most days, I’m running in retreat. I wish this weren’t true, and I wish I could look in the mirror with confidence and declare my bravery, but unfortunately it is.

2. I’ve learned I’m not alone. I’ve discovered I’m not the only one who can be seen running away from the conflict. As a matter of fact, all you have to do is look at some simple empirical data relating to pornography and you’ll start to see the truest picture of this.

3. I’ve started to identity something that pushes against the walls of my heart, begging me to remember something. Something that has long since laid dormant, almost as if it were telling me there was a time before the fear, and that somehow this injustice needs to be made right.

There was a before you know.

A time before fear and the notion of bravery became pre-packaged, polished, marketed, and sold to us in the form of movies, television, and books. A time when beauty was easily recognized and the resistance and brutal war didn’t exist. A time when peace was very real and glory permeated everything.

Do you know what I’m talking about here?

I love how John Eldredge describes this in Waking The Dead.

Why does a man hope to be found brave? Because we remember, if only faintly, that we were once more than we are now. The reason you doubt there could be a glory to your life is because that glory has been the object of a long and brutal war.”

What beautiful, powerful words!

This journey for me, answering the question, “Are You Brave,” began with a close friend of mine, casting a vision of what it looks like to be brave. What he didn’t know then, and what keeps me up most nights, is the desire to reframe this argument, even redeem it through the context of relationships and community.

I’ve been blessed to be a part of a community of men who do just that. It’s not easy, and they are not perfect, but they help remind me of who I am and my true calling. They call me out when I start to run, and they hold my arms up, when I’m too weary to do it alone. They have shown me, again and again, that what it means to be brave is not about seeing how much of a load I can carry, or how much pain I can absorb alone, but rather, being brave is naming my fears, asking for help, and speaking into the darkness.

Brave is responding to the question of “Do I have what it takes,” as Dan Allender puts it, with boldness and humility, knowing that there is only One who has what it takes, and it’s through Him, and by Him, and for Him, that we become fully alive to the great beauty of life.

The reason why movies like Braveheart, and Gladiator resonate so much with men, is precisely because of the larger story they tell. They set ablaze the fire in us all, to once again live, full of the knowledge of who we are as men.

I’m reminded by something, ironically enough, an incredibly wise woman, says to me. She says, “The journey towards what we want, often times looks not at all, like what we think it does.”

I think that applies here as well. I think in trying to understand what it means to be brave, you and I should start with the idea that it probably doesn’t look like anything we assume it does.

When I ask you the question, “Are You Brave?” what stirs in your heart?

(This is part of a brand new series on More Than A Beard featuring 26 posts from 26 authors on manly virtue. We still have a few letters open that need authors if you are interested in taking part:  J, K, N, and U. For more info on being a part of this series, send an e-mail to dmwonders@gmail.com or leave a comment below)

-Josh Collins

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Simply put, Josh Collins is a Communicator. He is a Speaker, Writer and Experience Architect who lives in Franklin, Tn. His passion is to create awesome experiences that change the way we engage audiences and help you do the same. He can be found at www.thejoshcollins.com. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+

4 Responses to “Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “B” Is For “Brave””

  1. Chris Morris May 9, 2013 at 10:09 #

    The word brave used to scare me. I thought it meant I had to growl in the face of fear, preferably while wearing either a suit of armor or a loincloth. Chiseled abs seemed to be important too. Now I understand brave looks different for each of us. At its core, being brave means taking the steps to honor God in every aspect of my life. This means bravery has a lot more to do with humility than bravado; prayer than stature; and intimacy with my family rather than marksmanship with a rifle. Still working on bravery, but most days I move forward rather than back.

    • sixsteps268 May 9, 2013 at 11:53 #

      Chris, thanks for your lending your voice! I love the word you used, marksmanship, great visual reference for me!

      Often times, it’s far easier for me to know what brave is not rather than what it is.

  2. For the Love of God May 9, 2013 at 18:21 #

    Well thats challenging! What a great read! Thanks for being so transparent!

    • sixsteps268 May 9, 2013 at 20:25 #

      Thanks! To be honest, I don’t know any other way to be!

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