Tuesday, November 1, 2016

BRAVE ENOUGH by Nicole Unice

There are times in life that you face more than one major upheaval without anyone by your side. It’s like a slow drown while everyone on-shore go about their everyday lives. It’s hard to scream when you are drowning so nobody hears your distress. Perhaps many don’t like to get wet, or held back by their own fear of water or the inability to swim themselves, they prefer to think that all is well and you will re-appear one day. And you do know that one day you will make it back on shore to join everyone else.

Question is: will you be in a better or worse condition then?

I know of people who have gone through life-changing shipwrecks. Though the storms are long over, they have become storm avoidant, and stone cold. I was drawn to BRAVE ENOUGH to investigate storm survivors who live to tell not of how they have learnt to avoid storms or not to trust people which is tragic because it shows that although they came through the storm, something has drowned inside them. I want to know how people face the storm and still not lose courage.

In today's digital age, many of us are not very sensitized to pain, whether it's our own or another's. Courage seems to be a quality that is hard to find, even inside churches.

"Courage seems to be a quality that is hard to find ..."


The INTRODUCTION begins with, ‘We are all a little scared. We’re often afraid of being irrelevant, worthless, or forgotten. We worry about what will happen if we speak up, or what will happen if we stay quiet and rest for even a moment…scared into stillness but vibrating with anxiety.’

But the point of having courage, she argued, is to face what is making us scared and anxious rather than the rightness or wrongness of doing or not doing something.

Interestingly, the first chapter of the book touched on courage needed to write a note to a friend. Compared to facing life changes after losing a loved one or a divorce, this is a cinch. But if we would hold back a little on snap judgment, aren’t the little hard things in relationships the ones that need the most courage to sort out?

But before we protest that it's another self-help book, we are quickly reminded that God is in the business of restoring courage and Unice highlighted poignant moments in the Bible when Jesus knew someone nearby had lost the strength of courage.

To the paralytic man brought to Him by friends, He said ‘Take heart, son’. Matthew 9:2
To the woman who came uninvited and alone, He said ‘Take heart, daughter’. Matthew 9:22
To His disciples who saw Him walking on water, He said ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ Matthew 14:27
To us all, He said ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33
There are only four mentions of Greek tharseo in the Bible. It means courage, or be encouraged.

“Despite all the ways that you feel you are too much for anyone…you are never too much for Him. When we are n the tumultuous waters of our past, we are not free! We are just trying to survive.” – God is serious about what hinders us.

Chapter 1 - “Courage cuts across circumstances. Sometimes we need courage to write notes, to get out of bed, to say hard tings.” It is when God calls us to endure.
Chapter 9 – God’s grace can offend our sensibilities and our perception of how things should work. “It was hard for Peter to accept when Jesus stooped low to wash his feet. It’s personal and intimate, and it requires us to let Jesus invade our personal space, our rights, and our understanding of how the world should work.”

This book is for believer of all levels of maturity. To those facing the first storms of life with Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, it encourages you to come through stronger. To seasoned leaders and pastors, it takes us away from giving pat answers to life complexities that we are facing, or throwing ourselves into a state of defeat. We won’t know how to help others go through their storms if we can’t even face our own pain.

Whether for yourself or someone going through a stormy season, this book is a good companion for the ride. And as always, also be there in person for them. 

Where you can get it: I got it on OpenTrolley. It's not available on Book Depository, Kinokuniya or even SKS Bookstore which stocks books by Christian authors.