3 Lessons on Bravery From Mary

I‘ve heard the Christmas story countless times. We’ve journeyed through wonderful seasons of Advent. Yet when December 25 passes… it’s always feels strange when it all ends.

I try to dwell in the magic for a few for more days, till New Year’s at least. But the truth is, after Christmas Day, I’ve begun to mentally pack up the decor and long for clear spaces in my cluttered home.

But I want to take something from the Christmas story into the New Year.

When I think about dreams I’ve had and paths I’ve taken, I feel like so often fear has trapped me under a glass ceiling. Fear has taken me to a never-rising plateau and left me there.

I want to live true to my calling, but I feel timid.

I want to feel bold and brave, but the fear ceiling presses down on me with the threat of failure.

Fear complicates things. Being brave isn’t easy. But it’s pretty simple.

3 simple lessons I learned from Mary

In the book of Luke, I re-read a story that even my three-year old can recite with confidence—the story of Jesus’ birth. But this time, I read it peering into the heart of a young girl—the bold and brave woman she was.

Here’s how she was brave.

 1. She asked questions

Mary wasn’t disrespectful, but she was curious about a things. Sometimes I feel like I have to know All The Answers or have already arrived at a certain place in my life before I can be brave.

But I don’t. I can ask the right questions to the right people. I only need enough information to move from A to B, not from A to Z.

 2. She was willing to do the work

No doubt Mary had been around other pregnant women and knew the physical and emotional challenges ahead of her. She knew the cultural adversity she would face as an unwed mother.

Yet she trusted her calling, and accepted it with strength and dignity.

3. She didn’t try to go it alone

Mary’s calling was an honor, but it was also a huge responsibility. She knew that she couldn’t walk this road by herself, and had the wisdom to accept support and guidance from the angel Gabriel, her cousin Elizabeth, her betrothed Joseph, and of course, God.

To say that Mary didn’t let fear hold her back from bravery is an understatement. She was faced with an unprecedented situation, but accepted her task and calling with bravery and trust, so that over two thousand years later, here we are, still celebrating the child to whom she birthed.

You may not have all the answers we want, but as you move into the fresh slate of a new year, look for ways you can move forward in boldness and bravery into whatever you’ve been called.

7 Comments

  1. Julia

    Great post and FANTASTIC perspective. Thank You.

    I always say that I would LOVE to have Mary over as one of my “five famous people to invite for dinner”.
    I would totally ask about the birth (ALL the details because I LOVE birth stories) and EXACTLY what went down in that stable. I would love to get into her head too. Imagine being called by God for this big thing that will change the world and somehow ending up in a stable smelling of urine and faeces? Gosh, I wonder what must have been going through her mind at that moment.

    • Nicole

      Oh, that would be a riveting dinner conversation! Hearing her birth story would be amazing.

  2. Janean

    I love this. Fear is a paralyzer that creates invisible/imaginary walls. I’ve learned that sometimes when we are being bravest we don’t even realize it at the time except for our lived ones offering encouragement from alongside. If I may, there is a fourth thing Mary teaches us and that is heart pondering. How I love that quiet verse after Jesus’ birth. After setting off in a new, bold direction and overcoming fear, it is important to take the time to heart ponder and reflect and say, “Wow! I just did THAT!”

    • Nicole

      Oh yes, I’ve always loved that pondering verse too. You’re right, it is an important part in “setting on off in a new, bold direction!”

  3. Lisa A

    It’s always a great experience when you can read familiar things with new eyes!
    I read years ago, in a book that I like to re-read every so often, that Mary is not the great exception, rather she is the great example for all of us.

    • Nicole

      I agree about re-reading. 🙂 Great perspective!

  4. Lisa

    My word of the year this past year was Be Brave (well, thats two words…) but it is neat to see that maybe, just maybe I have been trying to be a wee bit like Mary and be brave. She is such a great example.

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