Courage is a BIG word for me. Actually, it’s not JUST a word, I believe it is an attitude, a discipline, a way of life and what really scares me is that is risky.
I have to admit that I voluntarily selected this word, knowing full well that it is going to stretch me, my faith and the things I do.
I chose the word “courage” to be my aspiration for this year because I believe I need more of it.
I don’t think I’m a very courageous person. In fact, aside from a few things I’ve done in life, I’m pretty much a wimp.
I don’t like risks, I don’t like difficult challenges and I don’t like feeling like a failure. What I tend to like is comfort, and routine, all of which do not require much courage.
You will never see me jumping from an airplane, or dangling by my ankle from a rope hanging off the side of a bridge…no way, not this girl!
That certainly does take courage, but that’s not the kind of courage I’m hoping to gain.
I’m looking to develop courage to do other things, all of which keep both of my feet firmly on the ground!
Things like furthering my education by going to college, or using my spiritual gifts in new and creative ways. I want the courage to do more things on my own, independently of my family and without feeling like a need a buddy beside me.
My favourite movie of all time is “The Wizard of Oz.”
Remember that scaredy cat, the lion? What does he ask the Wizard for?
Because he is always afraid. Afraid to be who he really was. He knows he is a lion, who is not living like one. He needs courage so that he can be strong and do the things that lions are supposed to do. He longs for that kind of freedom, but he’s too scared to try.
I’m a lot like the lion in “The Wizard of Oz.” I too, long to live a life of freedom. To live apart from the fears that keep me from being all God created me to be. I want courage to believe the truth about who God says I am and the courage to step out in faith to live out those truths.
So, I’ve decided to redefine my idea of courage. I always thought that courage meant the absence of fear. I would assume people accomplished things because they were fearless or unafraid not in spite of them.
I recently realized that God told people in the Bible like Joshua, to have courage over and over again. Why did he need to tell them to have courage? It seems obvious, but it is often overlooked. It is because they were afraid. Joshua needed a lot of encouragement, in order to do what God wanted him to do. I believe God essentially says to Joshua and people like me, “You can do this, even if you’re afraid. Do it scared.” In other words, it’s ok to BE afraid, but it’s not ok to STAY afraid. If you stay afraid, then you are disobedient to God, and stuck in a cycle of fear and defeat.
Joshua would never have led the Israelites to the Promise Land if he chose to stay afraid. He took courage and believed God was with him all the way and that with God, he could do amazing things. I wonder if his word for that season of his life was COURAGE?
It’s also encouraging for me to see courage being lived out in the lives of the people around me. Take the other morning, for example.
I was reading scripture with some students from PILAS (the ministry I’m visiting while I stay in Guatemala)
All of them are learning English and some of them had the courage to read the verses out loud in English in front of me, a “Gringa,” whose first language is English. Yikes.
I admire that!
These students are living out lives of courage by the very fact they are in this education program.
It takes courage to dream of a better future for your life.
It takes courage to be the only one in your village to go to college.
It takes courage to get up every day and face the challenges of learning a different language.
It takes courage to believe in Jesus when no one else in your family does.
That’s what I am striving to attain in each aspect of my life. I’m building my faith muscles by exercising courage. When I am faced with a challenge I am going to say, “with God, all things are possible.” I will take that next step of faith and be amazed at what God can do through me when I have courage.