I see you being brave—you with the skinned knees and loping gait, the careful eyes and dimpled cheeks. I see you entering the backyard with hesitant side steps as you scan the horizon for carpenter bees, your sworn foe. One swoops low to the ground and you let out a loud, “HIYAH!”
At some point, someone told you to try yelling at the bees when you’re scared, and you took them seriously, oh so seriously. Now, it’s a rare day when I don’t hear signs of your bravery. “Ahhhhh!!!! Yah! Yah! Hiyah!” These are common sounds as you skirt the playset with furrowed brow and outstretched arm, as if by sheer willpower and piercing decibels you can kill your enemies.
The problem is, you can’t.
Inevitably, a big ol’ fat bee dive-bombs your head. He gets too close and is too fast for any well-placed ‘hiyah’ to help, and you retreat. Your brave shouts turn to shrieks of terror as you call on the big guns: “Daddyyyyyy!”
And here he comes . . . with a lawn bag. Daddy swats the bee from the sky and stomps it vigorously into the ground while you stand on the sidelines and cheer. I can tell you don’t want him to leave. You hem and you haw and you make up excuses for Daddy to stay. You don’t want him to think you’re weak, but you need him. You are, after all, only four. And you only have your ‘hiyahs.’ You need your Daddy to stay and watch over you.
As you grow, so will your fears. Soon you’ll face scary things that go well beyond carpenter bees. You may be tempted to face them by yourself. You may shout and scream and holler through the fear.
You may try being brave all on your own.
I get it. I do. Because I act the same way. I catch myself all too often facing life with only my ‘hiyahs’ for comfort. Why do we do this, you and I? Probably because we’re prideful. We don’t want anyone knowing how scared we really are. We don’t want anyone thinking we can’t handle this. But let me tell you something:
The bravest thing you can do is to call on your Daddy.
It’s an act of bravery when you say, “I need help. I can’t do this on my own.” It’s an act of bravery when you step to the side and submit yourself to the care of One bigger than you.
Life is going to become a lot scarier than carpenter bees, and you’re probably going to realize that much sooner than I’d like. Resist the cycle of pride that would tell you to buck up and scream louder. Instead, learn what true bravery looks like—a willing and humble reliance upon your heavenly Father’s care.
You don’t have to be brave all on your own, and that, sweet boy, is the best news ever.