Mint Green Courage

I'm typing this post with mint green fingernails. I am a pink-polish girl in season and out of season. Red or coral is about as far outside of my comfort zone as I'm likely to step. But today the girl next to me chose to paint her nails a glittery gray. She said she'd been wanting to do it for months and was finally going to try it. I told her she was brave. And I meant it. And then I traded in my bubble-gum pink for mint green. Because watching someone be brave makes me want to be brave too.

Last weekend I read Annie Downs' book Let's All Be BraveIn it, she talks about finding "your people":

But how to find them - the people who will stand with you and hold up your arms or cover your mouth when you should shut up - seems to be the challenge. The people are easier to identify than you may realize - you just follow your path and look around, because the brave ones? They are the ones parallel to you. They are your people...You step toward the thing that scares you and you do it and then you look around. Those people standing beside you? They are brave too. They must be to be walking alongside you on the courageous path. (pages 78-79)

Let me tell you something about the past six months of my life. I have not felt brave. I have not felt bold. I have not felt courageous. In nail polish terms, I have felt the softest shade of pink in a world gone all neon and glitter.

But my friends? My people? They are the bravest. One is brilliant and moving across the country to go to school. One loves people with boldness and fights furiously to see them live into what God has for them. One opens her home in a way that makes all feel welcome, invited, a part. One raises her children with the kind of intentionality that sees each of them as an individual - she is three different mothers all in one. One prays for the nations right here in our city. One lives every day with the gentlest kind of strength I have ever witnessed. One has a heart that beats with such joy and kindness that she leaves people smiling at the presence of God in their midst even if they don't know what to name it.

My people are brave. And they make me want to be brave too.

I have no illusions about their lives. They tremble with fear. They cry in frustration. They are tempted to quit. They crawl into bed some nights and wonder what they are doing and if it means anything to anyone. Sometimes they speak without thinking, and sometimes they are silent when they should speak. They are just living, as best they know how, with this great big God inside of them, and He is making Himself known in and through them.

It makes me smile when I see Him like that. And it makes me braver too.

I don't want to live their lives. I want to live my own life with the same kind of boldness and courage. I want to seek God with the same passion. I want to serve His people with the same joy. I want to love with everything inside of me and pray with every bit of faith He'll grant. I don't want to be them. I just want to be near them because they dare me to let God have His way.

Sometimes someone else's glittery gray dares us toward our own mint green.