I act on a stage in front of countless strangers. I can dive off a diving board. I go parasailing. I introduce myself to people I don't know. I raise my hand at meetings.
Yet introduce doubt and the fear of personal rejection, and all that confidence flows out my toes.
Whatever happened to the bold little girl who declared to Joshua Krisher in the first grade that they were engaged? I had no trouble making him my square dance partner, or kissing him on the way to the homework box. (My god ... I was a brazen hussy.)
I need to be brave now, not only to handle external pressures, but also to get over my problems, and resist self-pity. That's a different kind of bravery--one that lays you bare under the microscope, and forces you to confront your more neurotic side.
Uncomfortable, to say the least. Then again, so many things these days are. Why should today be any different?
Prayer #6: Liquid Courage
Every day, Lord, you ask me to do unpleasant things, from mundane to extraordinary. Confront a coworker. Accost people for interviews. Call a boy. Receive criticism. Stick to a principle. Demand justice. Defend my faith.
But this takes grit, gumption, moxie, determination, and courage. Ah, courage. How often I feel like the Cowardly Lion, all bravado and bluster until night falls, and I wind up crying into my tail.
In the end, though, the Lion stepped up when his friends needed him most. He discovered reserves of strength and dignity he had previously dismissed. And such storehouses can only come from You.
Pour your non-liquid courage into me, Lord. Fill my bones with it. Surround every muscle. Inundate me with your power, so that it leaks out my eyeballs and through my nostrils. Give me excess, so it pools at my feet and trails behind me in droplets, creating courageous puddles that other people can soak their weary feet in.
I snivel and shrivel without it. Such fortification is vital. Drown me in courage, Lord, baptize me in it, and pull me out as a refreshed, invigorated woman, ready to do your will.
I wait for the flood. Amen.