There is a little verse my sweet roommate, Maddie, and I hung up on our fridge when we first arrived in our dorm and it was Proverbs 28:1 – “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as lions.” We wanted to come to Athens with the intentions of being bold as lions, but I didn’t quite know what that entailed.
1.(of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.
If college is teaching me one thing, it’s teaching me about this word bold. It’s teaching me about the definition of bold. It’s teaching me what it looks like to be bold. It’s teaching me that there are so many places in our lives where we can be bold. And it’s teaching me then how to implement everything I am learning.
And here’s what I am learning… being bold as a lion is hard, scary, and takes a whole lot of vulnerability. But, in that, I am seeing that when we take a step of boldness He begins to show up in ways we couldn’t even imagine. Boldness triggers great growth, there is no doubt about that.
For me, I have felt that there are three different kinds of boldness the Lord is trying to teach me to put into action and they are:
1. Bold in loving people.
2. Bold in my weakness.
3. Bold in my faith.
Bold in loving people because that’s exactly what we see Jesus do throughout His time as man. He never discounted anyone. He took crazy risks and went out to love everyone that we would try to avoid. He sat and ate with the tax collectors. He befriended the prostitutes. He went where the sick were and He healed them and loved them fully. He was persistent in His pursuit of people. He loved them with keeping root in His Father. And through all this, in the midst of immense persecution, He never stopped loving boldly. Coming to college, I am walked into a new world of people and I am beginning to recognize how He calls us to be bold in loving people and not just one group of people — but every kind of group of people.
Bold in my weakness because there are few greater ways to display His strength than being bold in the places where we are weak. When we begin to vulnerably open up to others about the places that we struggle and hurt, we begin to recognize just how much we need Him. We are broken in all our humanness but for some reason we want to defy that fact and show everyone that we are “invisible”. We want to be strong and we want to have it all together. But the truth is, none of us here have it all together and it takes boldness to even admit that to ourselves because we all yearn for control and strength. This one is the hardest for me… because I hate being weak, but more than that, I hate sharing about my weakness. But the more I grow with the Lord, the more I recognize how important it is for us to share our weakness. And I’ve seen how sharing our weakness opens up doors to sharing the gospel and that is so beautiful how Jesus weaves Himself into that.
Bold in my faith because our lives are not our own and our purpose is to give it all to Him and live all for Him and in order to do so, we are called to be bold in our faith. Not ashamed and always willing to share our hope He has given us when the opportunities come. When I try to think of someone to mirror in the boldness of their faith, I look at Paul and see how he allows the Lord to use Him to be a vessel. Paul boldly goes out and shares His hope and despite the great persecution he saw, he never stopped. I want the kind of boldness that leads me to never stop sharing about Him whether I am at home, at school, or like Paul — behind the bars of a jail cell. I want the kind of boldness that dominoes into other’s being bold. Paul in his letter to the people of Philippi talks specifically about how his chains have advanced the gospel — he says in Philippians 1:14 “And because of my chins, most of my brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” Our boldness is a catalyst for other’s boldness and that alone is a big enough reason to step out of fear and into courage.
Being bold looks different for each of us and also involves different hurtles for each to jump over . But today, I want to encourage you to jump that hurdle that stands in your lane. In your first few attempts to clear the hurdle you may fail and face plant, but that’s okay. We need to stop fearing failure and instead allow ourselves to fall into His faithfulness. BE bold in the ways that you trust the Lord — really give Him everything and in turn He will give you the courage to be bold.
I have a really dear friend Bailey and I was able to see him last weekend in Auburn and I was incredibly encouraged by his yearning to grow bolder. Bailey has a heart so big that is only growing bigger as he grows with the Lord and it is so cool to see that the more he grows with Him, the more he wants to grow in his boldness. After spending time with Bailey, I realized that it’s okay to be scared of being bold because those are natural feelings when it comes do doing something that is far out of our comfort zone. But in that, we cannot let fear have a grip on us… we cannot let fear tie us down… we have to overcome it. Fear is our opponent and as long as we hide behind it, we are allowing him to win. We have to face the opponent and fight until there isn’t another minute left in the game. Conquer the fear… never let the fear conquer you. Bailey, thank you for pushing me to step out of fear and thank you for showing me that our comfort zone isn’t our home.
One of my favorite writers Hannah Brencher wrote in her last blog post a paragraph that sums it all too well and I want to share it with you friends.
“Don’t look back and think, “I wish I hadn’t let fear beat me up so badly.” You needed the bruises. You needed the battering. In that, you figured out that there had to be something more. Only when the fear is smothering and we can’t sleep at night, only when the fear has taken from us over and over again, can we even dare to imagine that something might be better than this. Fear is the birthplace of courage. Fear can be a catalyst towards God. “
Take your fear and use it as a birthplace for your courage and boldness. Find where the Lord is calling you to be bolder and take the steps to boldness. I am rooting heavily for you my dear friend.
“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” – 2 Corinthians 3:1