Thursday, May 27, 2010


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 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????


Anonymous said...

Courage has been a concept generating interest in the field of psychology. Courage being amongst the key virtues.

Human strengths in six, broad categories:

Wisdom and Knowledge, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance, Transcendence.

Courage is broken down into four main subcategories: Bravery, Perseverance, Honesty, and Zest.


Defined as “the ability to do what needs to be done despite fear” as opposed to less sophisticated definitions that simply categorize bravery as fearlessness or acting when an observer would be afraid. There are several forms of this bravery. Physical bravery involves acting in spite of possible harm to one’s body. Moral bravery involves acting in a way that enhances what one believes to be good in spite of social disapproval and possible backlash. A third, theoretically newer, definition of bravery is psychological bravery which involves things such as overcoming one’s own addicting habits, irrational anxieties, and harmful dependent relationships. Psychological bravery means acting against one’s own natural inclinations and facing fears which might not have any societal moral implications.


Perseverance falls under the larger category of courage because it often involves continuing along a path in the midst of and after having faced opposition and perhaps failure. Perseverance involves the ability to seek a goal in spite of obstacles. In order to persevere at a task, a person must be able to suppress desires to give up and pursue an easier task, a metacognitive understanding that the ends justify the persevering means. A person high in perseverance is able to overcome low self-esteem and estimations that one cannot do the task.


As defined by positive psychologists, honesty and authenticity as a subset of courage means more than simply telling the truth. It involves integrity in all areas of one’s life and the ability to be true to oneself and one’s role in the world across circumstances. Though perhaps one would not immediately associate honesty with courage, there are obvious situations in life where to be honest and authentic requires a great deal of strength in the midst of fear. The positive view societies have of honesty can be seen from the fact that it is something people try to develop in young children and adolescents. While all people seem to grow in their understanding of the moral importance of honest and integrity as they grow older, there are certain individuals who seem to especially excel in this human strength. Of all the subcategories, Honesty shows the most promise as a distinct, well defined area of classification.


It is defined as, “feeling alive, being full of zest, and displaying enthusiasm for any and all activities”. This is a category that is influenced not only by subjective psychological factors, but also objective factors affecting one’s physical wellbeing such as chronic pain. The reason to group Zest together with other courageous virtues is that Zest most often comes forth as a character strength in the midst of trying circumstances.

In the spiritual realm, courage or fortitude is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which map the path to rightousness. Easier to shape in a theological perspective, but not easily translated to dealing with our daily, temporal conflicts.

Your posts make me think, so back at ya!

Suzanne said...

Thank you anonymous you have given me a lot to think about.