Tuesday, October 23, 2012


COURAGE.  I've been thinking a lot about this word lately.  What does it take to step out from the expectations of others and make a bold statement regardless of what anyone thinks...just because you feel deep in your heart it is the right choice?  When you peel away the layers of opinions, suggestions, expectations, and even rejections from others - sometimes the decision in front of you looks a lot different.  Often, we are intimidated from making a choice our heart knows is right - or we determine to settle snuggly in the boat instead of daring to chance walking on the water - because what our heart is whispering seems outlandish.

Sometimes it means making a choice that seems foolish by nature - like David who choose to shrug off the expectations of heavy protective armor and face a giant with the simplicity of stones and a slingshot.  When I set out to pinpoint what courage really looks like, I found this definition:

Courage is summoning strength in the face of life's difficulties or, sometimes, life's horrors. It means proceeding in spite of pain, cost, or risk. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the deliberate decision that action is necessary regardless. Courage acknowledges uncertainty, but perseveres because of conviction and resolve. 

I really like that 3rd sentence..."Courage is not the absence of fear, but the DELIBERATE decision that ACTION is NECESSARY regardless".  Many times in life, I am guilty of playing it safe and waiting for the answer to come - or the problem to work itself out.  But when I look at the example of those before me, I'm beginning to see that all Jesus followers at one time or another possessed a crazy courage that called their faith to action.  They pushed past the walls of "normalcy" to unchartered territory in a desperate quest for solutions.  As they summoned that courage, faith sprung to action, and the walls fell.   But the key?  They took the first step.  Made a bold move.   Acted in obedience that defied logic.  They had COURAGE.   They silenced the negative voices around them and focused on the VOICE of TRUTH.

Great leaders and history makers of more recent days have also had much to say about courage.

Courage is being scared to death...and saddling up anyway.     ~John Wayne

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind, next to honor.    ~Aristotle

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.    ~Mark Twain

Courage is grace under pressure.    ~Ernest Hemmingway

There are no easy answers but there are simple answers.  We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.  ~Ronald Reagan

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex.,.it takes a stroke of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.    ~Albert Einstein

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face...we must do that which we think we cannot.    ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.  ~Winston Churchill

Inaction breeds doubt and fear.  Action breeds confidence and courage.  If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it.  Get out and get busy.    ~Dale Carnegie

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.  But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.  There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.    ~Alan Cohen

And finally:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.  Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking.  Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  ~Steve Jobs

There is a common thread.  To break a chain, accomplish a great feat, live out your destiny....fears must be faced.  Norms must be redefined.  Courage must be embraced...and we must STEP OUT.  Away from the noise, the limits, the narrow viewpoint of others.   To live our passion, we must take risks.    

I'm so thankful that when I gather up the courage to stand up and step out of the boat, I have a promise that walks with me over every wave. It's an ageless promise that stands the test of time from the one TRUE voice of truth.  He will be with me.  His voice calls across the ocean..and there is peace as I focus on His face and take hold of His steadying hand.

Joshua 1:9 NIV Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

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