“Be strong and of good courage. Dread not and fear not; be not dismayed.” I Chronicle 22:13
We are moving on stringer daily in the #LAST70DAYSOF2013 series. I want to appreciate all the feedbacks from all of you who have had time to read the series. Today, I am excited to share about cultivating courage and courageous acts. Read on and if blessed, please share, you never know who this will encourage.
In our world today, I wonder how many times some people die before they actually die because of lack of courage. The truth about life is that the things men fear (things they refused to confront boldly) are the things that kill them at the end of the day. If you afraid to face a thing continuously, you will discover with time that become your habit to back away whenever you are in fear. On the other hand, if you courageous confront your fear, over time, you will discover that courage to confront your fear will become your habit. And you will find out that most fears disappear when you confront them. Courage means you have the ability and the willingness to confront your fears. Courageous people are not people who are not afraid, they are simply people have mastered their fears. Ernest Hemingway once said that “courage is grace under pressure.” Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.
Being courageous is one of the strongest virtues of successful people. The fearful never try anything and as a result never succeed in life. One of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself is to cultivate courage in 2014 and ensure that you act courageously all through the year. Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible. This is because, to bring down the giants, you need courage to stand against them. When we talk about courage and acting courageously, two stories come to my mind. First is the story of Joshua and Caleb in the ancient Jewish days. The story was told that they had been promised a land the flows with milk and honey. Some of the men were sent out to spy out the land. 10 out of 12 of the spies came back with fear and negative reports concerning the giants found in the land. On the other hand, Joshua and Caleb countered their report and fear with a positive report and courage. At the end of the day, those 10 spies did not inherit the land. On at least three different occasions, it was read that God told Joshua to be strong and of good courage and the giants will fall for him and the land will be taken over by him.
Second story is that of David and Goliath. The Israelites were afraid to confront Goliath until David came. He courageously went out against the giant who had dreaded the army of Israel, led by King Saul for several days. While others saw the giant as too big to bring down, David saw him as too big to miss with a sling. He had a different perspective.
The lessons from these stories are as follows:
1. The giants are real but you cannot bring them down until you confront them, for you cannot conquer what you cannot confront. Joshua and Caleb saw the giants but they refused to see defeat. They saw the potential to win and they concentrated on that. Nelson Mandela who I consider of the most courageous men in recent century once said “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.” In order words, without fear, there is no courage.
2. Lack of courage can deny you the privilege of a lifetime blessing. At the end of the day, only those who had courage to confront the giants in both stories were able to achieve and enjoy the blessing while those who were afraid lost out completely. While Joshua and Caleb inherited the promised land, David became the son in-law to the king with lots of gifts following. Lack of courage steals away your rewards from you.
3. You can never know how powerful you are and how weak your enemy, the giant is until you confront the giant in courage. Everyone had assumed they were helpless as far as the situations were concerned. You can never know what you are capable of doing until you try. There is an African proverb which says “the eye is a fearful person.” What that simply means is that most people base their judgement of what challenges they face on what they see (by sight). If you keep walking by sight will never try anything.
Apply for that job, apply for that scholarship, propose to her, accept his proposal, start that business, try that investment, start that book project, start that music album – you can never tell if it will work out until you summon the courage to try. And if it does not work, try again and keep trying until it works. At the end of the day, you will be far better off than the person who never tried. Helen Keller said “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” The trust is that if you are never afraid of trying, then you are not living close to your potential but away from it. So what matters is your ability to confront those fears when you step forward to challenge your potentials. It is a different thing to perpetually live in fear and another to have fear and then confront it courageously.
So to cultivate courage and courageous acts:
1. Believe God when He tells you to take a step: When God told people like Abraham and Joshua to move, they did not argue with God like most of us will do today. All they did was to believe and then stepped out in faith. If you have certified that it is God leading you, feel free and take that step.
2. Step out of your comfort zone: I understand that long before fire-fighters run into a burning building, they practice and train for the experience. You can do the same. Look for ways to mitigate the potential for damage in the situations you face. Educate yourself; know your facts. Preparing for a presentation? Practice the speech over and over. Ready to follow your dream? Make a list of some of the things you’ll do first to gain momentum.
3. Prepare for the outcomes: Take baby steps into low-risk situations that make you uncomfortable. That will help boost your confidence and courage when it comes to coping with more difficult scenarios. So, stick your neck out. Speak up when you’d usually keep quiet. Practice facing your fears.
4. Evaluate and celebrate the end result: When you do take on something that requires a good dose of personal courage, recognize the achievement. Notice that you took a risk and survived. You stood up for something that mattered, and you persisted. Give yourself credit and know that you can do it again, if you have to.
I wish you a very courageous 2014 as we count down to the year you will manifest God’s glory.
Prayer: May God make you string and give you courage to overcome all fears confronting your destiny in 2014. With God’s courage in your inside, every giant will fall for you in 2014 in Jesus name, Amen.