fifty shades of brave

fifty shades of brave

Today’s post is written by Brave Writer, Lorretta Stembridge


Are you brave?

Once upon a not-so-long-ago… if you had asked me this question I’m fairly sure I would have answered,

“Ummm….   no.”

I think, it’s because somehow in my mind I’d much rather choose other ways  and words to describe who God has designed me to be, what I do and what makes me tick.

I might agree to saying  I’m “strong” or maybe “creative”. I might allow that I’m wizened or experienced.

But “brave”? Nah…. that title is reserved for someone…well, brave.

People like Queen Esther, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller or Jim and  Elizabeth Elliot- you know, people who’ve earned it. 

Right? Am I the only one?

Because I guess I’ve just sorta reserved that title for “special use” or occasions when someone does something rather extraordinary or noteworthy… something requiring a tremendous amount of courage or emotional strength that goes beyond their natural inclination or current abilities.

In my mind, brave is what happens when someone steps beyond the borders of their accepted and known territory and  into the slightly off-kilter, out-of-the box, unknown places– inside themselves– or out in the big wide-open world… even if it’s  mixed with a little bit of fear. They take a step.

Sometimes because they want to.
Sometimes because they HAVE to.
They just do it.
They just choose it.
They just be it.


Yeah. That’s …. brave.
So, I guess….  that’s me.

And I’m pretty sure it’s you too.


See,  what I’m learning about being brave has a lot to do with recognizing, celebrating and living in the awareness of the level of brave that exists in all of us.

Right now.

It’s about learning to value and embrace our own personal level of blossoming brave while encouraging the brave that may  just be budding in another.

Because, let’s face it what’s brave for me might be a walk in the park for someone else.
And my happy level of brave may cause you to break out in hives and cold sweats.

That’s ok.

And depending on the season of your life or the situation you are facing today, chances are your level of brave has shifted into places and territories you’ve probably never dreamed possible.

I know for myself…there have been some moments in my life when my level of brave was mildly discernible at best… a  little on the lighter pastel side. Those were moments  when it was all I could do to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other,  pick up my cross and carry it one. more. day.

On other days, my brave has burned white-hot with tinges of a crazy-blazy passion to right a wrong, speak a word, lift a hurt or ease a burden. I was on-fire, burnin’ bright with my brave.

braver than we thinkAnd the days when my brave was simply the calming hues of being near,  steady and still,  while another worked to summon up whatever it would take to make their own brave happen.

There may be days when you stumble across a brave that stops you in your tracks and you think…wow. I wish I could be as brave as THAT.

Or you may believe you’re not really brave at all.    Hold the phone.

Because the worst enemy to your own shade of brave is the belief that yours is less than that of another.

The worst enemy of your shade of brave is not recognizing how it’s changing and developing …and how it’s changing you. Day by day. Moment by moment.

Maybe your brave is simply the ability to speak up for the one who can’t speak for themselves…. even if it’s finally for the one in the mirror.

Maybe it’s to be silent when faced with that bit of gossip or judgement, which may leave you standing outside the circle you thought would bring you so much comfort and community.

Perhaps it’s to go to a foreign land or even the unchartered territories of the shelter or red-light district downtown.

Maybe it’s closer to home and shaped like an open door to the hurting neighbor child, the lonely widow or newlywed next door. Maybe it’s the ride to the grocery store,  or the phone call to the police or  agency that can help.

Brave could mean answering the call of “Mommy!” or “Daddy!” one more time this day no matter how exhausted and ill-equipped you feel for the job.

Brave might mean…

  • Asking for help.
  • Being accountable.
  • Telling the truth.

Your brave could simply look like the steadfast heartbeat of God, standing firm  against the changing tides and seemingly prevailing winds of our culture….anchored and sure in the bedrock of His Word and the rainbowed color of His promises.

The color of brave is  like that you know… and  it’s almost never about you. In fact, it’s almost never only for you. Yet, with each moment and decision it’s there…shading your life til,  before you know it… you’re changed like never before and  you just know it;

you’re brave.

So… what about you…are you brave?

I bet you really are.


A video editor and media designer by trade and an artsy-funky type by design, Lorretta loves to take the broken, discarded and ignored  and make something lovely. Others call this “folk art”, she calls it redemption. She loves Jesus, her husband & family, cats, and coffee–in that order. Passionate about the underdog, She strives to live every day as God’s big “show and tell”, trusting nothing past, present or future will be wasted in His capable and loving hands. Lorretta writes at Dancing on the Dash

13 thoughts on “fifty shades of brave

    1. Hi buddy, I wonder if you find it as disappointing as I do that in most churches today we are often taught to speak up for everyone else but ourselves. Like if we did we would be accused of being prideful. The Scripture teaches this, God loved me, sought me, and save me as an individual to make me part of the greater church. To deny myself like a vacuous Ziploc bag would be to deny the the reality of the Holy Spirit living in me. Because of the cross only then did God find it appropriate to take up residence inside of me. That’s worth speaking up about. In front of the religious elite our Savior Jesus Christ spoke up for himself often and only according to the will of his Father. With that being said, when necessary and with the leadership of God’s Spirit let’s speak up.

      1. Hey Friend. Yes. That’s where I am… in the “speaking up” stage of my life, listening to God and simply wanting to help others step over the threshold into their places of ‘brave’. In some really sweet ways, you’ve gotten to watch and enjoy the process…. God’s really good this way. Do not deny the good gift of God in you either. Grace is ours for the taking, and for the sharing. Bless you!

      2. Yohann, Yes! The Pharisees heaped petty rules on people and it just didn’t stop – the heaping of rules where Jesus speaks grace and freedom. I love that you wrote this comment and the spirit behind it to go out, but from the abiding place in Him which is simultaneously gentle and strong.

  1. Loretta,
    Thank you for this encouraging and well written reminder that “brave” can come in more than one shade and we all have different types of “brave” at different seasons of our lives and we should never ever compare…Love this 🙂

  2. Loretta, I just pinned this to my “best of the week” board at Super encouraging (as always), and, yes, brave. I love thinking about all the shades of brave. Mostly this made me think about how God knows — He just knows — where we are and why. The very bravest I have ever been involved doing way less courageous stuff than I do now, but I just had less of me and was anchored to less of Him so it took much more chutzpa to do it. I love to be in your midst watching you live brave and write brave.

    1. Yes Patty! See THAT’S what brave is…what brave does. It starts with one step and then another and before you know it–your miles away from where you began. God does this through us when we let Him. Oh girl… your appreciation and encouragement help me stay on the path of brave… I just want to keep walking ahead and holding the door open for another to pass through. Bless you sweet Sister!

  3. Because the worst enemy to your own shade of brave is the belief that yours is less than that of another. – Loretta, this line spoke to me. I have always thought my brave, my words, my job, my role, my contribution….fill in the blank…was less than or not as significant or not as necessary….again…fill in the blank…..than others.
    This line really sums it up for me:
    The color of brave is like that you know… and it’s almost never about you. In fact, it’s almost never only for you. Yet, with each moment and decision it’s there…shading your life til, before you know it… you’re changed like never before and you just know it;
    you’re brave.
    Beautifully written. Thank you!!!

    1. I’m so glad this spoke to you the way it’s been speaking to me…still! I wish I could say that I’m done on the subject…that I could just check the box on my personal list of accomplishments–but it’s just the way these things are… we are all in the midst of “_________ING”…. the process of perfection on our journey towards and with God. I wrote a bit more about that once upon another time ( Glad you’re here with me!

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