Is it a skill, a trait, or a gift?
Do we inherit courage or learn it from those around us?
Can we share courage if we have it, can our courage grow stronger or can we receive it from someone else?
These questions require us to pause and learn what courage actually is and how courage enters our lives when we need it.
Wikipedia says: Courage is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.
So as I begin this study of courage, I am reminded of the story of the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz.
The lion’s one wish after he met Dorothy and friends was to receive courage. He was supposed to be the King of the Forest and he found himself deathly afraid of his own domain. How many times do we find ourselves feeling that we are never comfortable in our own skin or the places that we should feel at home never welcome us completely into their world? Would it be different if we had “courage” to pave the way?
The definition of courage above uses the words ability and willingness to describe courage. Looking closer at the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz, we learn the lion believes that courage is something you get from outside of yourself. In the act of receiving a medal from the Wizard, the lion now believed he had courage. The lesson of the lion’s story is that he had this courage all along and he just needed to believe in himself. Courage is within each of us-are we willing to let it blossom? Courage is strengthened by God as we willingly allow Him to foster the ability that we all were given when God created us.
How many times do we wish for something tangible to prove that we are stronger, braver, more beautiful, etc? The ability and willingness is inside of us and we can make the choice to use it or not.
- Courage can be sought on our own or it can be strengthened and made complete through God.
- Courage will become our driving force when we let God be the driver.
- Courage cannot be maintained if we are seeking to overcome our struggles without God’s grace.
So as we learn what courage looks like for us and as we make the choice to fight the daily struggles of life with courage strengthened by God, here are some other ways to define courage from Dr. Melanie Greenberg Ph.D, Psychology Today, August 23, 2012. Below are a several of her action steps with quotes to illustrate each.
1. Feeling fear but choosing to act.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear — Nelson Mandela
2. Following your Heart
“It takes courage … to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” ― Marianne Williamson, “Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of ‘A Course in Miracles'”
3. Persevering in the Face of Adversity
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow. — Mary Anne Radmacher
4. Expanding horizons, Letting Go of the Familiar
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. — Lord Chesterfield
5. Facing Suffering with Dignity or Faith
The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances. — Aristotle
And so as we walk the path to our own wizard – the God of Courage – let us remember that He will provide that inner strength when we are battling with ourselves or outside challenges. God gifted us with courage when we were born and He will allow it to bloom as we are willing to let Him mold this courage within us. He will help us conquer the fears that consume us, the suffering that causes deep seated ache within our hearts and will rejoice with us when our courage now becomes our strength in facing each day.
Thank you Lord for the gift of courage. May we embrace the courage within and may we learn that you will always strengthen us as needed on our journey.
Do you choose courage strengthened by God as your “go to” when faced with difficult situations or do you fight the good fight on your own? How has courage helped you to overcome those challenges that seem overwhelming?
Courageous blessings, my friends!
Excited to be linking with P31OBS for the last week of the Made to Crave study.
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