Bold as Starlight


Tasha Burgoyne -Bold as Starlight3

Bold used to sound like an ugly adjective to me. I came into the world early–at a mere 3 and ½ lbs. My lungs weren’t ready for the world.  I was rushed from one hospital to another and spent my first 21 days in an incubator, connected to tubes. The only way my family could make contact was through tiny holes in the sides. There was no skin-to-skin, no co-sleeping, no decisions to be made about how to feed me. It didn’t matter how attached anyone wanted to be. My reluctant little frame was boldly thrust forth into the world, ready or not.

From day one, bold wouldn’t wait for me to catch up.

Later, bold felt like my bike being held back for a few minutes by a classmate after school. He clutched the handle bars, standing in the way of me and my path home, laughing. He later claimed he did it “as a joke,” but I had never laughed. This boy had been positively described as a “bold personality” by our class teacher.

In fifth grade, bold was a playground bully.

As I grew older, people were always telling me to “Be bold!” Yet, no matter how hard I tried to muster the part of my personality that wasn’t measuring up, it wasn’t enough. Did bold mean I needed to be louder? Move before I was ready, speak before I thought, breathe before my lungs could keep air? Did it mean being forceful and ready to fight back?

While working in retail during college, I was asked to be bold with my sales and to sell clothes like it was my reason for living. The problem was, I couldn’t have cared less if anyone bought those clothes. I wanted to do a good job, but I didn’t care about the brand one bit.

As a college student working at the mall, bold looked like pushiness and inauthentic passion.

I’ve learned since then that being bold isn’t about being loud, pushy or a bully. It isn’t something to search for more of as if some of us come into the world lacking. Bold isn’t narrowly confined by a single personality type. It isn’t defined by those who speak first, speak the loudest, or air opinions online like it’s their business.

Bold can be staying silent when you feel like shouting, being patient on the interstate or calm with your little one who is up again for the fifth time in the night.

Bold can be deferring to another person, persistently praying the impossible, wearing a coat of humility day after day in a look-at-me-selfie-nation, and honoring one another, no matter who the other is: foreign, filthy, familiar, friend or foe.

All of these things require courage and invite risk. Isn’t that what bold truly means after all?

Bold is something we can all be when love calls for it.

Bold comes in many more ways than I originally understood.

These days, the atmosphere in our nation reminds me of the little boy I faced over my bike handle bars and pushy salesmen who only care about profit.  It looks like adults who’ve reverted to playground-style bullying because they are afraid of what will happen if the chaos we all see isn’t controlled.

When my kids are fighting, my first instinct is to be as “bold” as possible by laying down the law, and loudly.  Sometimes they need the rule reminders from me, but in the end, that isn’t what changes their hearts.  And unchanged hearts repeat the same offense again and again.

If I am going to step up to be bold for change, I must be bold enough to look within and bold enough to offer up every corner of my own heart in surrender first. I am not immune to plank-eye vision or being asked by Jesus if I am ready to throw the first stone. It’s only my surrendered, humble heart transformed by perfect love that beats to the rhythm of bravery. A surrendered, humble heart transformed by perfect love is the boldest agent of change a crooked and warped generation could ever encounter.

Allowing Jesus’ perfect love to transform my heart has been crucial to being bold. It’s his love that makes you and me uniquely bold. Wherever we are, no matter the depth of night sky surrounding, let’s shine bold like starlight and offer the darkness another way.