Life scares the heck out of me sometimes. Most of the time, actually, if I’m really honest. Maybe you can relate. When it comes to making the tough decisions, holding the line with our kids, being honest in relationships, fear can start to make us feel like downright cowards.
But here’s the good news: Even a scared-stiff coward can be brave.
Because courage isn’t a feeling. It’s what you DO, not how you feel when you’re doing the scary, step-out-of-your-comfort-zone things that chip away at your confidence.
Courage is a verb.
“Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
The Bible has a lot to say about courage. Through most of scripture, two Hebrew words are used: amats and chazaq. In the original language, chazaq means “to strengthen, prevail, become strong, be firm, be resolute.” (It also means to be sore… which made me laugh, because I feel the sore more than the brave in most of life’s courage-requiring situations!)
But the point here is this: it’s a process. Courage is a becoming. A doing. A living. Feelings have nothing to do with it!
Courage is a gift.
It’s not something we conjure or strive for. It’s something God creates in us. While you’re being brave, the feelings of bravery are building in you. Throughout scripture, when God tells someone to “be strong and very courageous”* the words connote His strengthening that person as He speaks. It’s an act of creation, just as at the start of time… but ongoing in us every day.
And it’s already yours.
When we’re trying to live courageously, we need a lot of encouragement! And guess what? The root words for courage and encourage are the same. The new testament coined the term parakaleo (encourage), which means “to advocate, to comfort, to come alongside and strengthen.” Here’s the kicker: The NAME of the spirit of God, given to all who believe is …paraklete, a form of the verb “to encourage.” Which means you have powerful, life-giving encouragement every moment, every day, in every situation. You are not alone.
What’s an area you could use more courage right now? How would things be different if you walked into that knowing you already have the courage you need?
Go get ’em!