Going Back Into the Arena (Day 6)

I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time. Brené Brown.

I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:19-20)


In the introduction to Rising Strong, Brené Brown writes about two counterfeit versions of courage that are overused in our day: ‘gold-plated grit’ and the ‘badassery deficit’. You can google these phrases or read about them in Rising Strong.

When we read the Apostle Paul’s courageous sounding statements throughout the Book of Philippians, let be clear… Paul is not gold-plating grit or acting out of a badassery deficit.

He’s not exalting his failures to get attention. He’s not embracing his imprisonment without admitting the pain and complexity of the whole mess. That would be gold-plating grit.

Paul is talking about the painful death of his expectations. This is not a testimony about how that death is easy for him and ought to be for us as well. He’s voicing this out precisely because the death of his expectations is excruciatingly painful. He’s voicing this out, because the voicing, itself, is an essential component of emotional resurrection.

In Paul, we see a leader standing fully in his truth, falling down, getting back up and saying: “This work is hard and painful, but it’s very important to me, and I’m going into the arena again. And I want you to know why I’m doing this. I’m going in again, because even though I may be killed, I have hope. And my hope isn’t really about getting out of prison and having our mission succeed. Here’s what I hope for: My goal is be unashamed in Christ and continue to teach that truth with boldness. I choose to share my feelings with you, because I need your help and support. I also want you to learn how to embark on a similar journey of transformation yourselves.”

I LOVE the application that true courage has in all sectors of our lives, including the transformation of our souls and communities.

Daring is essential to solve the problems in the world that feel intractable: poverty, violence, inequality, trampled civil rights, and a struggling environment, to name a few. But in addition to having people who are willing to show up and be seen, we also need a critical mass of badasses who are willing to dare, fall, feel their way through tough emotion, and rise again. And we need these folks leading, modeling, and shaping culture in every capacity, including as parents, teachers, administrators, leaders, politicians, clergy, creatives, and community organizers. Brené Brown.

What is your arena? What is hard and painful about your work there? With whom do you share your stories of struggle? Where is your soul on the healing journey toward ‘hopeful’ and ‘unashamed’?

Starter Prayer

God, expand my heart with the courage to talk openly and honestly about my stories of struggle.

Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown

Read or review the introduction. Press on to Chapters 4-5 whenever you are able.

Scripture For Rising Strong™ is part of group study at Crossroads Church in northern Colorado.


Published by

Katie Martinez

Katie Martinez is a pastor and spiritual director living and working in northern Colorado—She speaks and writes about spirituality, leadership and the Martinez Family antics. Katie is married to Dave, and the two have four daughters, two sons in law, a boyfriend or two, four college roommates, one cat and three grandkitties. A lover of mountains, rivers, oceans and trees, Katie's favorite things are sleeping, waking, reading and traveling.

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