"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid." (Franklin P. Jones) I have to take issue with Mr. Jones on this one, because when we hold all of our fear internally so no one become the wiser we are struggling, we can count on at least one other individual knowing we are afraid - God! You may not realize this, but I have often asked others why it is God needs us to admit we are afraid, hurting, feeling lonely, etc., when he knows our thoughts and hearts already. I believe it may just be more for us than it is for him - because we have this tendency to "mask over" our true "state" or "condition" of mind and heart. When we are finally willing to admit it to him, we might be at the place we will admit it to ourselves!

No creature can hide from God: God sees all. Everyone and everything is exposed, opened for His inspection; and He’s the One we will have to explain ourselves to. (Hebrews 4:13 VOICE)

If it is impossible to really hide ourselves from God (our true selves), then why is it we try so hard to make up how we feel inside because we think if he really knew how we feel he'd be put off or somehow think less of us?  What is really happening is that we think less of ourselves when we face these very real emotional struggles inwardly.  We somehow think we are not "measuring up" to our potential - and maybe we are not, but that only means we may not be focusing on the right things.  We can be emotionally insecure and put on the greatest display of courage for others to see, but God isn't fooled by our display.

Most of the fear I have faced in life really comes down to one thing - I have been counting on myself to rise to the challenge and to overcome the obstacles.  I have to admit, I have leaned on my own abilities way too much at times, only to be trembling on the inside the entire while, all because I knew my own abilities may not have been sufficient.  This usually proved true, simply because I tend to take on big challenges without any clear direction when I do this.  God isn't after us becoming "puppets" he can control when he asks us to trust him with our lives.  He is after us becoming reliant upon the strength he gives when we lean into him and seek his direction.

You may never know what the other person is walking through in life - because we ALL have this tendency to put on brave fronts on occasion.  It is either because we are too intimidated by others to ask for their help, or we are too determined to show them we can do it.  Either way, our pride gets in the way of us being genuine.  I really had my eyes opened to this when one of the ladies in my group began to really open up one night as we sat around sharing. She began with something like, "I don't get it.  You are all put together, in this great relationship with Jesus, and look at me.  I am always struggling, never getting it right, and I suck at life."  It was at that very moment I finally saw how much my "masking" my real me was actually hurting others around me who were judging where they were in life by the way I "appeared to be" in mine!

I was so guarded about all the very real struggles in my own life so as not to let others know I was actually "human" that others were thinking I had it all together!  Spoiler alert:  I didn't then and I still don't!  If I ever do "get it together", please know it will likely be the very moment I enter heaven's gates!  Bravery isn't the mask we wear to show everyone else we are strong and courageous.  It is the mask we remove letting others see we are just like them after all!  Just sayin!


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