Broken and Brave: Standing Up Afraid

“You have such a good attitude about your foot,” said a friend as we discussed my crutches.

She had no idea my struggle only the day before.

I stood on one foot in front of my bathroom mirror as I attempted to apply eye-liner with my crutches tucked under my armpits .

“Everything is harder on crutches,” I muttered to myself.

I have struggled with this nagging foot injury for over a year now. Two weeks ago I got my diagnosis. It was time to try no weight-bearing for six weeks. No weight-bearing, no driving, no running, no martial arts, no…

Limitations and hows swirled in my brain. Tears of frustration, of pushed back goals, of what-ifs fell hard and fast. I felt broken, weak, and scared. There was no good attitude, no bravery, just whining.

When I think of bravery too often I picture Wonder Woman standing strong and perfect with her shield and lasso of truth. My bravery goals are to look like a super hero victoriously standing over the battle field without a hair out-of-place. But as I stood on one leg attempting to fix the wobbly line of eyeliner smeared across my right eyelid the truth hit me hard. That picture of Wonder Woman and all the other super heroes isn’t real.

Real bravery is standing broken, disheveled, and scared, but standing anyway. Wonder Woman and all those other super heroes have a super power or super gadgets to help them stand tall and brave. But we mortals don’t. We often have to stand broken, or bald, or bleeding, or exhausted to face our fears.


Brave isn’t having it all together and breezing through life. No, brave is standing broken and fighting each day.

Brave is fighting addictions after stumbling again.

Brave is laughing through the tears as you hold a clump of hair in your hand and your veins ache from irritating drugs.

Brave is learning to dream again after your first, second, third dream didn’t come true or fell apart.

Brave is admitting we don’t have all the answers, but learning, growing, and trying our best.

Brave is trusting God with hopes and dreams even if He does not fulfill them in our time or our way.

Brave is finding help when depression or anxiety threaten to swallow you whole.

Brave is speaking the truth in love, making a phone call, asking for forgiveness, forgiving.

Brave doesn’t require us to be whole or to be unafraid. In fact I don’t think anyone can be truly brave without knowing fear. Brave is being aware of the dangers, perhaps even feeling the wounds of previous encounters and trying again. Loving again. Fighting again. Learning again.

The most beautiful kind of brave is the broken kind.

When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 ESV

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!  Psalm 27:14 ESV

Will you stand with me today, broken, shaking in fear, but trying again?