Each fall, I reflect on the year and recall all the things I am thankful for. During that time, I choose a word to study for the upcoming year and try to apply it in my life.
Last year, courage chose me.
Many of the conferences, podcasts and church teachings I listened to had a repeating theme: fear not and be full of courage.
During a Christian counseling session, the life coach brought up a verse in Ezra 10:4 that referred to rising up and being courageous. The NIV says “Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.”
After assisting with a health and wellness conference in our county, the host provided me with a gift. It was a clay heart with the word “courage” stamped in it.
“OK, it’s time to listen to what keeps showing up in my life, time to break free from fear in many categories of my life (social media, writing, sharing my past and speaking up).”
Fear has taken a lot away from me because I allow my thoughts to drift away from God’s promises and focus on problems I am facing. I falter and struggle every time I try to do things my own way. My human strength will never be enough to sustain me. I forget that I am never alone and that our Father sent his spirit to comfort and strengthen us for what lies ahead. And through every obstacle I face, He is there, ALWAYS.
3 Things I learned about courage so far this year:
Courage or fear is unlocked by what we focus on. We unlock our courage when we focus on God more than our circumstances. When we focus on the wonderful things God has given us and are grateful for all the people he has placed in our lives, we are freed from the bondage of fear. If we keep our focus on the creator, not his creation, he will direct our path and give us courage to do extraordinary things.
The bible says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7 KJV
Courage brings confidence. True confidence comes from the knowledge that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. That is where we get our power to overcome obstacles. It does not come from looking at our worldly accomplishments or our own limitations. We are God’s children and have already won the fight. He causes all things to work for our good and rewards us when we are faithful to take action on His word. Our confidence comes from trusting that he will do what he says he will do and that his word never fails. He keeps his promises and he loves us.
God’s word says “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18 (KJV)
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to do something that frightens us. It is strength in the face of fear. It does not mean we are never afraid. It means that we can be afraid and do it anyway. Just like in Unlocking Courage part I blog post last month, when I was afraid to jump in the water. I felt the fear but jumped anyway. We can choose to feel the fear and believe God’s truths in his word instead of our negative thoughts or other people telling us that we will fail.
And with his help, at the end of this year, I will be a little less fearful and a few steps closer to having a courageous heart, not just a clay heart with letters engraved on it.
May we rise up and take courage.
My vision for this year is for all of us to stand in the face of fear with unwavering faith and use what God has given us physically, mentally, and spiritually to serve and glorify him.
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
Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people. – Dennis Prager
The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage. – Thucydides
Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them. – Bruce Lee
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
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt
Courage is fear holding on a minute longer. – George S. Patton
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu