Courage for the Rest of Us
I don't know about you but I don't feel courageous most days. I get up, reluctantly. I brush my teeth just like everyone else - courageous or not. And I go about my day hoping that things are smooth, I get stuff done, and at the end of the day - find something that made me laugh.
But what does it mean to be brave? If you and I were truly living the courageous life, what would that really look like? When I was young, courage seemed to involve doing scary things. Like jumping off of a cliff. Taming a lion at the circus. Or catching that pesky mouse. (Sorry. Can't do it. Mice are well...not right)
As I grew older, I discovered a whole host of fears that had nothing to do with lions - mostly because lions did nor roam the streets of suburban Chicago. Things like questions. Will I fit in? Will I succeed if I try? Am I enough?
As a teen and young adult, I learned to play it safe. My motto was: it was better to play it safe. Go along with the crowd. Avoid risking rejection or failure. Only do what you know you can do well. And sometimes, that served me well. I hid in the middle of the crowd.
As an older adult, God began to peel back the layers. Would I be obedient even when it involved risk? Would I step out into uncharted territory? Could I trust God to be with me even when not everyone approved or I had no idea what I was doing or when called upon to learn through failing?
Which brings me to you. You see, some may think what I've done in the last few years is courageous. Quitting my job without another one. Opening two different businesses without a notion of just how to do that. And along the way, I've developed this passion for my life and for your life.
The reality is that being brave is hard. You and I would rather play it safe. You and I would like to protect and deny and avoid all the things that come with feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
When it comes to courage, what is one thing God is asking you to be brave with? I'll start. It's putting my business out there more. More networking. More marketing. More willingness to face the possibility of a no thanks. For so many of us, courage is about taking a risk with that friendship or relationship - letting them know how we truly feel. Maybe it's applying for that new job posting at work. Or raising our hands to volunteer for something that feels way out of our comfort zone. Or befriending a stranger.
There are some days when I feel courageous. I'm trusting God to provide for me. I'm trying some new things. And yet, on other days, it's easy to be comfortable with my work from home life. And through it all, I'm reminded of the definition for courage I've embraced years ago and still remind myself of today.
I've been wanting to write a One Foot book for some time now. A book that would inspire women in their faith journey. The problem with wanting to write a book. You need a concise message. It's harder than it looks. While I haven't narrowed it down yet (mostly because I like to think of the title before I even start writing which is a writing no no), the one passion I have is that we would all realize we have what it takes to walk in courage.
Do you believe that? I don't always believe it about myself either. I'm just doing what needs to be done. But sooner or later, everyone of us will take a step that's scary - but you'll do it anyway.
So as I prepare to consider my book in my head, I thought I'd start with a few thoughts on courage.
Courageous People Are Self Aware
Sounds weird, doesn't it? Or at least a little new-agey. We don't have to be consumed with ourselves to be women of courage, but in some small way, it pays to know ourselves. Do you know what scares you? What are those things you've been avoiding doing because well it's safer not to do them?
Courageous people know what scares them. They also know how to pause and reflect instead of running for the door. The recognize the signs of "Hey I want to avoid this because it's scary", feel their fear, and choose to trust God and do it anyway.
I'll end this here: do you know what scares you? And can you press pause, feel the fear and do it anyway?
Courageous people know that being brave looks different for everyone
My little girl self would not agree. She would go back to jumping out of airplanes and taming mice or lions, you pick. But today, as I've made some of my own brave steps, I've realized one thing. What feels courageous to me is not what is courageous to you.
We each have our own journey. Some of us are on a journey where being courageous means trying something new like a personal trainer and getting serious about avoiding offending food groups (I won't mention any names). For others, it means starting a new business. And for others, courage looks like starting a Bible study with our friends at work or inviting your family to church at Easter.
Whatever it is - your brand of courage will look different than mine. There is no one size fits all when it comes to courage. So do your thing. Take your own brave baby steps. And appreciate how far you've come.
Courageous people are desperate for change
None of us really enjoy living outside of our comfort zone, do we? I mean, if I had my pick, I would certainly choose my recliner watching the Cubs win the World Series on repeat. But that's not how life works.
And what I've noticed most of all about courageous people is that they are desperate for change. They lean into change. They pursue change in a way that gives them the strength to walk through things that feel scary so that - at the end of the day - they can design a life of purpose and love - everyday.
To be honest, that's my passion too. One Foot was created out of a passion to live in courageous faith each day. I wanted to design a life of courage where I would not look back and not regret because I was afraid to try. And for you, the One Foot community - my desire is the same. That each of us would find our path to courage. That each of us would be on the journey of changing our lives one courageous step at a time.