Courage

November 14, 2011


What does teen culture look like when teenagers lose their courage? Most of us had that when we were three. We believed we could fly. We thought we could stop bullets. We knew that we looked like Barbie.

Something happened between then and now. Most teenagers hold on to one or two possible areas of focus. It usually is something they are already good at, but they don’t want to try flying anymore. Too many falls. 

What happens when we lose the hope in the good stuff ever happening to us? What happens when we lose our dream?

I heard a conversation between two girls who were talking about how a purity ring wouldn’t matter unless you are a virgin. What I gathered they meant was that mistakes steal the hope in something better for us in the future. I think that the conversation was about never rising above a few errors. I know we can’t fly but I also know that one failure doesn’t mean we have to stay in our failure.

I remember when one of my daughters was learning to ride a bike. She thought she was pretty good at it. We had a friend over for lunch one day and my little girl, full of the knowledge of her expertise, announced that she would be riding around the driveway if anyone wanted to watch. The message was obvious. Who wouldn’t want to watch a cute five-year-old ride their bike. Especially given the skill level they were sure to witness.

Of course we all convened outside to see the show as she ripped her little bike around the gravel circle as fast as her tiny legs could spin the pedals. The entire time she was laughing and shouting, “I was born for this!”

It was only a matter of a few seconds when her handlebars spun sideways and she went blond trusses and wheeling extremities over them. I watched with a concerned dad’s grimace as she slid face first across the gravel. I was sure that she would erupt in a wail of sobs. She didn’t. She yelled instead. “But I was not born for that!”

I have just realized that this statement is not true.

We are born for that. I have come to the understanding that we are born with the capacity to fail. Biologically, we have been created to grow back skin, to heal over holes and to recover from near death. God designed human beings to fail, recover and repeat that process over and over again. We are made to skid across life leaving patches of ourselves in streaks.

That is how he designed us spiritually as well. I believe that is what Romans 8:35 and following indicates.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 

More than conquerors? As in, “one more victory than failure”. The news for those two girls is that they can live with courage. God has enough of him to allow you to wear a purity ring after you’ve failed.

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