One of my favorite movies ever, has one of my favorite lines ever.
Iris, a young professional, is having dinner with her elderly neighbor, Arthur.
Arthur, an accomplished movie director, says, “Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You are a leading lady, but for some reason you’re behaving like a best friend.”
To which Iris replies, “You’re right, you’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life!”
I have this question that keeps playing pinball inside my head:
What part will you play in God’s story?
God is doing something in the world. I’ve been overwhelmed recently seeing the ways He is working all around me. The question is not, is God working? The question is what part will I play?
We are always given a choice. To be the “leading lady” (or gentleman) in what God is doing, to be a witness to miracles – or we can be the best friend, sit on the sidelines and watch him use other people to accomplish His plan.
The leading lady has what Arthur calls “gumption.” It is essentially bravery, with maybe some crazy mixed in. That is what I want to be. Brave – to the point where others might say, she crazy.
In my reading through the “Fear Scriptures” for Lent, I have now found myself with Joshua. You know, Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous, do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (I can hardly read that verse without singing the children’s song.)
But when I backed up to see the bigger picture of what was going on, I really found myself loving verse 7: “Only be strong and very courageous…”
When it comes down to it, we can choose not to fear. But we have to choose to be something else instead.
God tells us so clearly in Joshua 1: Only be strong and very courageous. Do not be frightened, do not be dismayed.
It isn’t just “don’t be scared.” God gives us the antidote, because He is our healer.
God tells us to replace fear with bravery. Choose to be BRAVE, and only brave.
What I love as well is that further along in Joshua 10, when they have conquered tons of cities and captured five kings, Joshua takes the opportunity to pass along to his men the message God gave to him. “Joshua said to them, ‘Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous’” (Joshua 10:25).
Pass on the message: replace fear with bravery. Replace timidity with strength. For the LORD goes with you, before you and behind you, wherever you may go.
Live with gumption – be a part of the story God is telling.