Unlocking Courage Part 2

Photo by Daryn Stumbaugh on Unsplash

daryn-stumbaugh-58483-unsplash

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:

  1. 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

  1. 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)

  1. 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.

Please enjoy the following quotes about Courage from https://www.brainyquote.com/.

10 quotes about courage

  1. 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. 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
  3. The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage. – Thucydides
  4. Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them. – Bruce Lee
  5. 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
  6. All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney
  7. 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
  8. Courage is fear holding on a minute longer. – George S. Patton
  9. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill
  10. Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu

 

 

 

Unlocking Courage Part 1

Unlocking Courage Part 1 Focus

Photo by Enis Yavuz on Unsplash

Can our focus unlock our courage?  I believe it can.

In Louisiana, we have small bodies of waters called canals on the side of our roads.  It is where fields and overflows from rainfall go to collect.  And Lord knows what else!  On one hot and humid summer day, my dad stopped the car and got out.  He announced that we were going to jump into a canal to cool off.  What did he just say? Yes sir, he sure said it and he went right in. My mom and brother followed after him. They had planned the trip in advance, but I did not know that.  I hesitated.  I wanted to be with them in the water, but could not move my body.  All I could think about was the fear of the unknown. What if an alligator or snake is in there? What if I cut my toe on a rock?  The rest of the family was having a blast, but not me; I retreated in fear and did not budge. The sun was hot, almost scorching my legs and sweat started to bead down my face. You’d think that would have prompted me to move.  I was known for being a martyr and could be dramatic when it suited me.  I did not move, nope, not one inch. After about 15 minutes of watching them have the time of their lives, a glimmer of hope appeared.  I stood there looking down at my daddy holding out his arms and saying “jump, I will catch you”.  I was afraid, but I did it anyway.  I trusted his word to be true because I trusted him. I focused on my daddy and jumped right into his arms.  And he caught me, just like he said he would.

I wish I could say all my fears disappeared that day, but they didn’t. Just like that day, sometimes I still take my focus off of my daddy’s arms (Heavenly Father) and cradle fear instead.

II Cor. 4:18 (CEB version) says, “We don’t focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal.”  God and his word is eternal. He is trustworthy and his word never fails.

Prov. 3:5-6 (KJV) says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding.  In all thy ways, acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”

Where is he leading you that may be a little frightening or scary?

Focus on Him and He will make a way where there may not seem to be one.

Focus will unlock our courage and help us do what we thought we could not do before.

May we all walk a little braver and dream a little bigger than before!

10 Power Verses about Courage

  1. “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.” Deut. 31:6 NIV
  2. “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.” Jos. 1:18 NIV
  3. You will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. 1 Chron. 22:13 NIV
  4. David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” 1 Chron. 28:20 NIV
  5. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 2 Chron. 32:7 NIV
  6. Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4 NIV
  7. Will your courage endure or your hands be strong in the day I deal with you? I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it. Ezk. 22:14 NIV
  8. With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. Dan. 11:25 NIV
  9. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matt. 14:27 NIV
  10. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1Cor. 16:13 NIV

 

 

 

Reflecting Brilliance

Photo by Anne Edgar unsplash.com/@anneedgarphoto 

Brilliance is defined in three distinct ways:

·         intense brightness of light

·         vividness of color

·         exceptional talent or intelligence

When I think of vivid color and intense light, I think of diamonds. Light reflects colors through the diamond and is stunning. The diamond cutter is trained and skilled in his craft and knows exactly where to split the stone to radiate the most light.

Simon T. Bailey, Author, Speaker, & Entrepreneur, was a guest speaker at our company recently.  If you have ever met Simon, you’d agree that he is all three of those definitions rolled into one. Everything about him reflects brilliance. His smile and laughter light up the whole room. His background and seasoned life is a true testimony to all of us. He has the heart of a student and is a dynamic motivational teacher.

Here are a few insightful life lessons I received from his message:

1.        Shift our brilliance – Brilliance is a mindset. Our thinking has everything to do with our happiness and developing meaningful relationships with others. Brilliance comes from knowing who you are and who you are not. Be who we are called to be because nothing else will bring us joy or peace. It is being comfortable in your own skin and seeing others as an asset not a competitor.

2.      Release our brilliance – Brilliance is a choice.  In the presentation, Simon said that in order to receive something, we have to let go of something. We have to close one door to open another.  We also have to use discernment and know that not every opportunity is ours and every open door an invitation to walk through. 

3.       Develop our brilliance – Brilliance is a journey. Simon challenged all of us to devote 1-2 hours a day for professional development and we won’t recognize ourselves. There is no status quo on the success path. We have to consistently devote time to grow so that we will be ready for opportunities that present themselves. If we wait for the opportunity, it will be too late.

When we are living a life in which we use our talents to our fullest capacity, we reflect brilliance.  We are perceived as exceptionally talented and smart because we are maximizing our strengths.  Our life is full and overflows to others. It bears the fruit of our labor in self-development and we are successful. Everything we do is almost breathtaking. We radiate light, beauty and impact the lives of others with our brilliance.

Simon T. Bailey is the author of 9 books, professional development courses and speaker series.   He is a highly sought after international speaker with over 30 years of knowledge to impart.  Learn more about how to become brilliant and more about Simon, by following the link to his website.  simontbailey.com