Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” Winston Churchill
What is it we think of when we hear the word courage or to be courageous? Is it that certain people come to mind? They could be ‘famous’ but they could also be ordinary, everyday people or special friends or family members. When I really start to think about it I find a lot of examples of people, close to me and also more at a distance who have faced into adversity or faced a challenge and have had the courage to persist, fight on and come through the most challenging circumstances. When I think about it even more I am at least a little bit heartened to know that I have also had my moments where I have had courage and have responded well and with determination to work at and through what life has thrown at me. And yet compared to many I know what I have had the courage to endure is but a pale reflection of what many have had to endure.
Poverty, War, Injustice, Bullying, Terminal Illness, Relationship breakdown, Injury, Death of a loved one and many more are just some of the many things that we as humans face into. We also have many other challenges that may not be as ‘major’ as this but nonetheless require courage.
When life and circumstances create those moments, seasons, even years of pain, challenge and the need to exercise courage, a lot is put into perspective. My Travels with Tearfund to Kenya, India, Malawi and Russia have created some of those moments. Friends and Family going through significant loss or pain or illness have also done that.
Courage is a really great quality. But dare I say it, Does ‘courage’ sometimes get used to mask our true feelings? Fear, Pain, uncertainty, fragility and an honesty that can also be releasing and freeing.Do we need to face into these first and be real about these before finding the strength and the support to be courageous?
Jesus in Gethsemane, The honesty of many of the war poets, professional sports players at crucial stages and very often for me job interviews. Examples abound of expressing anguish or fear in situations. It seems that expressing honest fear, doubt and uncertainty is something that makes us truly human.
I am aware that this latest ‘journey’ will be a real challenge. I want to celebrate where I do have courage and where courage is good. I also want to explore more of my fears and anxieties and work through them. What can be overcome and what can change? Where can I exercise and grow in the art of courage, where do I need to in order to more fully express who I am and come more fully alive?
I know that I need to express more courage in my relationships, in being bolder in asking for things and speaking out the truth in love! I also want to celebrate where I do have courage and to carry on expressing that. It should be quite an adventure, especially with my leg in a plaster cast!