I don't know why but lately it seems as if I wake up in the morning with a word on my mind. IT was that way with "regret" as well as "illusion" and this morning at 5:30am it was "courage". I don't know why this is happening, but it does give me something to think about during the day.
As is usual I start with a basic definition: The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear; bravery. OK nothing unexpected there.
Then I move on to some quotes concerning courage. My favorite web site for quotes has become Thinkexist.com. So what do I find there that speaks to me.....well one actually relates back to one of my quotes on regret. Sven Goran Eriksson said " The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure." This quote doesn't mention courage per sea, but acting out of fear of failure is I think the opposite of acting out of courage. Also not explicitly mentioning the word courage, Roseanne Cash said. "The key to change is to let go of fear." Letting go and overcoming fear seems to be the secret of gaining courage.
This brings back to mind the Upper Rooms Daily Reflection from last Saturday. It spoke on fear; what it does to us and what God says about it in our lives. Here was its thought taken from Norman Shawchuck's book A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God. "Fear kills a mind and soul by slowly obliterating the visions we hold for our lives. That we should not fall prey to fear is a constant theme in the scriptures. God does not want us to Succumb to the chilling and killing aspects of fear; God encourages people not to be afraid of the circumstances in which they find themselves. It seems that one of God's favorite themes is 'Do not be afraid' or 'Do not fear.' Perhaps God repeats this theme so often because we so often fear circumstances that confront us in our lives and ministries."
So it would seem the key to gaining courage is to conquer our fear. How do we conquer fear? A major way to to trust in the Lord. One of the final things John records Jesus as saying during the last supper prior to his betrayal was "In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!" John 16:33b. Matthew ends his gospel with Jesus promise "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20b.
There was one final quote that struck me as I read about courage. It was an anonymous one. "It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return, but what is the most painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let the person know how you feel."
Courage; casting out fear really is the important thing to gain that elusive trait named courage! Courage can be a scary commodity, but only if it is fear that rules my life. Just how courageous am I willing to be????