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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You know, I was going to include the Cowardly Lion in my blog post, but God led me differently. 😉 There are a lot of us that have looked up the definition to “courage”…crazy how courageous you realize you are after reading what having courage means. 🙂 Thanks for sharing! 🙂
So true Jenn! Courage is not something we need to go out and look for because God already gifted us with it and He strengthens it daily with His love and grace. Weekend blessings to you!
I definitely try to “fight the good fight” on my own far too often! I have to remind myself God is only a prayer away and I’m not alone. Thank you for this great lesson and reminder, Mary! I love the action steps and quotes from Psychology Today. #4 is one I’m working on right now. I get really comfortable with the familiar and don’t want to change. This really discourages growth :)!
Blessed that you stopped by and so glad we were able to share our perspectives on courage with each other! For me #5 is my struggle now because of a deep loss I recently experienced. Holding onto my faith during this struggle takes superhuman strength that can only be provided by God. I love how God continues to stay in step with us no matter where we walk in our journey. Weekend blessings to you!
‘Courage can be sought on our own or it can be strengthened and made complete through God.’ I am going to put this on my mirror so I can read it every morning. Thanks for your instruction on the word Courage. Praying for you.
Thank you for blessing me by stopping by! May we all let God be our strength in all we face and may we graciously accept the challenges and blessings that come our way!
I am on this journey for total dependence on God. It will take #courage to beome an #overcomer. I must keep my eyes on Him and not waiver lest I stumble on the new journey of freedom from the bondage of food and unhealthy choices.
I can feel the strength in your words. Praying that we all know God’s grace is ours each day and will strengthen our courage if we just say “yes”. Blessed you stopped by!
Yes! And God gave us not a spirit of fear, but of courage and self-discipline! I am so grateful that our good God gives us what we need to stand strong for Him! May God continue to strengthen YOU for your journey!
🙂 Missy (OBS Blog Hop Team)
Thank you, Missy! Blessed you stopped by and in the process encouraged me too. Weekend blessings to you!
Great words. Thanks for the encouragement.
Blessed that you stopped by! Praying that we all know how God strengthens us with the courage that He gifted us with from birth.
loved all the quotes and will be singing the song “we were meant to be courageous” all day 🙂
I am hoping that the song that was possibly stuck in your head all day reminded you of God’s strength in allowing your courage to bloom. Blessed that you stopped by!