Becoming Brave: Seven Hallmarks of Courageous Women

becoming brave women

By: Patricia Engler

Wouldn’t it be great to be brave?

I mean, think of all those valiant women of the Bible who rolled up their tunic sleeves, took a deep breath and changed history. Like Jael in the book of Judges, who single-handedly slayed an enemy king using only the implements available to an everyday housewife—er, tentwife. Or Rahab, the prostitute whose entanglement in an espionage adventure saved her family and landed her a place in the New Testament “Hall of Faith.” And don’t even get me started on Esther. What kind of captive orphan girl becomes Queen of the World and then risks her neck to invite her husband on a date that spells doom for her nemesis and deliverance for her nation?

And then, there’s me.

Oh, some days I get to exercise my inner “fearless female.” She’s the one who likes to do crazy things like jump on a motorbike in Africa, or kiss an alligator, or rappel face-first down a cliff. But on more typical days, I come face-to-terrified-face with my inner wimp. She’s the one who the sight of blood sends running. The one who—don’t tell anyone—once jumped when the toast popped. Hey, even the uncertain grayness of debris in the kitchen sink strainer makes her cringe.

Fortunately for kitchen sink warriors like me, history’s courageous women of God have a lot to teach us modern day disciples. For starters, we can learn from seven things these women have in common:

 

  1. Brave women are women of God.

This is the big one. Brave women know they have every right to be afraid, because they understand that they can’t accomplish a single thing without God. Having committed their lives to His will, they seek Him in obedience as weak vessels through which He can accomplish great things at His discretion. Mary, Jesus’s mother, modeled this mindset when she told the angel Gabriel, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38, ESV.)

 

  1. Brave women are women of mission.

Because they are women of God, brave women are women of priority. In serving the God who is stronger than themselves, they live for a commandment, a calling and a kingdom that is greater than themselves. So, they determine that it doesn’t really matter what happens to them. This sense of calling is the undercurrent we hear in Esther’s words before she entered the throne room uninvited: “If I perish, I perish.”

 

  1. Brave women are motivated by love.

Being women of God, courageous women are defined by what defines Him: sacrificial love. This is the kind of love that sentenced Corrie ten Boom to years of labor camp imprisonment for smuggling Jewish families in Nazi-occupied Holland. It’s the kind of love that made Ruth abandon her own family, cling to Naomi, and follow her to a faraway land. It’s also the kind of love that motivates silent heroines today—the ones who daily rise to missions involving dirty diapers, skinned knees and, yes, even the kitchen sink.

 

  1. Brave women do what is right.

Read Proverbs 21, and you’ll probably get a sense that righteousness, or justice, is a verb—something you do. And doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, regardless of whether it’s scary or gross or life-threatening, is another hallmark of courageous women. (The right thing, of course, might not always be 100% obvious; that’s just another reason why brave women need God.)

PS—did you know that good works do more for your looks than nice clothes do? If you don’t believe me, just read 1 Timothy 2:9-10.

 

  1. Brave women don’t let fear stop them.

Remember Sarah, who left everything to follow her husband into unfamiliar territory because of God’s promise? Paul said, “You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” (1 Peter 3:6b, NIV.) In other words, doing the right thing might be terrifying. But bravery can’t be a lack of fear, because without fear there’s no need for bravery. (Who needs to be brave while sitting on the couch eating chocolate?) The secret is not giving way to fear, but giving it to Jesus instead. In return, He offers Himself: His presence, grace and word.  In fact, flooding our hearts with His word is one of the best things we can do to overcome fear. The calling and love which motivates bravery helps hugely too: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18, NKJV)

 

  1. Brave women are ordinary.

It’s easy to look at women like Esther, who did extraordinary deeds, and think they must have been extraordinary people. But Esther was just a captive girl in a foreign land. God prefers accomplishing great things through common people (1 Corinthians 1:27-29.) The secret isn’t being an amazing person; it’s serving an amazing God.

 

  1. Brave women are faithful.

Wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, brave women do it faithfully. Whether single or married, captive or queen, wherever God has placed them, they live out every daily action for Him. Sometimes it’s slaying kings, hiding spies or dodging Nazis; sometimes it’s desludging sinks. But it’s always the right thing, motivated by love.

So wherever God has us, let’s be brave.

Let’s be faithful, ordinary women of God who never let fear stop us from doing right.

Because perhaps—just perhaps—we too have come to this kingdom for such a time as this.

 

patricia englerPatricia Engler is a young writer with a three-fold passion for Christian apologetics, outdoor adventure, and Dutch licorice. Mostly, she desires to walk with God and bring others along. When not typing undergraduate papers, dreaming about global missions, or trying to build homemade outdoor gear out of dental floss, she may often be found wandering along Canada’s west coast, looking contemplative. And eating licorice.

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