About 20 years ago, maybe longer, I played the part of the cowardly lion in our church’s version of the Wizard of Oz… called the Wisdom of God (or something like that).
It was so much fun. Playing that part while one of my (best) friends (in the world) starred as Dorothy was such a hoot. To be frank, I don’t really remember much about it, except that it was fun!
This morning I was sitting with two of my sister-friends as we prepared to record a radio show. We had breakfast and talked and laughed, and began to bat around our topic for the show:
Courage in a fast and ever changing world; courage and bravery in times of challenge (i.e., sickness, family conflict, death, loss of job, divorce, etc…), and what that looks like for a woman that is following Christ.
Okay, so here’s the thing: I’ve pretty much spent my whole life being a big chicken. Yep, brave as I might have wanted to be – or at least looked like I was, I just wasn’t. I rarely took risks of any type, whether it was driving in the fast lane (or as I called it, the crazy driver lane) or buying a red onion instead of a yellow one. Risk was not my middle name, really, although it seems I’ve overlooked risk often when it has come to my physical health and well being. I have not been as conscientious with my health in my past as I am in my present.
I have only recently chosen to participate as the primary caregiver in caring for my own spiritual, physical, and mental health. Because of my experience with CPTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder), at times I just didn’t understand that I even had a choice about the simpler things like caring for myself. I am not talking about basic things. I knew the basics of self-care: shower, brush teeth, apply make-up (or as my Pastor, Dr. Richard K. Tanon would say, “paint the barn!”), and dressing myself.
But beyond the basics, I didn’t care what I ate, what I drank, what I smoked, etc… you get the picture.
I have most often stood on the sidelines, cheering others on as they move through life, but not really doing anything other than sticking my toe in the water to check the temperature. Fear kept me silently frozen in place.
But today, right here and now, I’m ready to dive in heart first. I choose courage.
I choose to move and breathe and be courageous in my life.
I will choose courage when my physical health is in a downward spiral, mostly due to my lifetime of unwise choices…. when my eyesight is failing and I’m not sure it can be saved. Courage.
I will choose courage when I am afraid. I will remember what He said to Joshua: ‘Be of GOOD COURAGE. Fear not…’
I will choose courage when I feel alone and abandoned. He cannot lie – so He will never leave me or forsake me. I can find courage in knowing that.
Below are some of my favorite quotes about courage. I try to read something everyday that reminds me what it takes to be courageous. These help:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston S. Churchill
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
― E.E. Cummings
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
― Coco Chanel
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
― Winston S. Churchill
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
― William Faulkner
I recognize courage now. I think I’ve seen it in so many ways in my world. For some, courage means laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. For others, it may involve giving up everything they have ever known, or everyone they have ever loved – for the sake of Something Greater.
But sometimes it doesn’t…
Sometimes courage is nothing more than gritting your teeth through the pain and the grief and the work of living every day, and continuing the slow walk toward a better life.
“Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be you dismayed: for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
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