More often than not, I don’t feel very courageous. I feel more like running and hiding under my pillow in my warm and comfortable bed.

Facing life head on is scary.

Courage takes courage.

Yet in His word, God commands me to be courageous. That’s a pretty strong word, “command,” don’t you think? But I can’t change the words right there, in black and white in front of me: “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.” (Joshua 1:9)

If courage is commanded, courage must be possible.

Over the last fifty-seven years, I have failed at courage many times, taking a huge detour so I did not have to be. But I also have won at courage. When I have, it’s mostly been very quietly, one little step at a time, until I found a new boldness rising up inside of me, and I did “it” filled with fear, but I did it. God never belittles me for my lack of courage in the little and the big. But He always encourages me to go deeper, and deeper, and deeper in Him. Because He knows that when I see Him clearly, I will be fine–no matter what I am facing.

Like when I got in my car and drove in horrible weather shaking in my boots. No amount of deep breathing got the shaking stopping, but I did it.

And when I stood up to speak in front of 300 people and my voice refused to obey me. But I pressed through and did it anyways.

And when I forgave someone who turned my life upside down and wounded me in the deepest part of my being, letting go of the righteous gut-wrenching pain of unfairness.

And in all of these, here are the two secrets I discovered:

  1. There is no courage available in me. Courage does not come from the inside. True courage is found when I remember who God is, when I remember that He goes with me. 

courage_deuteronomy

Shaking in my car and in front of all those people, I knew that God Himself was with me. Forgiving the unforgiveable, I knew that I was being graced to mirror my Savior who was leading me.

You can’ fake His presence. You can’t fake courage.

2.Give thanks

I have no courage when I look at what I do not have, my inabilities, inadequacies and short-comings. Because in those moments, I completely forget what I actually do have going for me.

When I remember that God is with me, I begin to see that with Him comes all provision necessary. And as I begin to give thanks for these realities, I sense my very spirits becoming filled with confidence. I stop thinking out of a place of lack and begin to think in view of what I do have.

Filling my mind with the awareness of what is for me puts strength inside of me, and this strength turns into the courage to do what I have to do, whether it is driving in the snow or forgiving the unforgiveable.

 

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