“Courage is recognizing your fear of doing something, but doing it anyway.” Though I remember hearing that quote spoken by someone, I don’t remember who they were. None-the-less, their words made a home in my memory, which is all that really matters.
This last weekend I had the opportunity to be courageous. I was invited to speak at a church in a nearby community about my journey to forgiveness. A week before my scheduled talk, I’d prepared myself by first writing out what I thought I wanted to say. Then from time to time, over the course of the next few days, I sat down, read what I’d written, and did a bit of editing as well.
By the time Sunday morning rolled around and I stood in front of my audience, my head was ready to tell the story, but my heart was leery. It was not convinced that I would be successful. But then, I opened my mouth and started to speak in spite of the fear in my heart.
I gazed out at my audience. Their faces were kind, and I had their attention. Their eyes were on me. It wasn’t long before my heart beat settled down. I’d convinced it that I could say what I needed to say. I’d persuaded my heart that my story was relative and important. If I’d given in to the fear in my heart, I would have excused myself and walked out the door. Thankfully, I did not let fear have its way with me.
Afterward, I mingled with my audience. Their comments were kind and they were easy to talk with. One woman was greatly impressed with my ability to stand in front of an audience and speak candidly about myself. She told me that she could never do what I’d just done.
Her words caused me to pause. She did not have to stand up and speak in front of a crowd that day and maybe she never will. But, I think that whatever it is we are led to do because of our faith, God has a way of supplying us with the courage to do exactly what we are supposed to do.
I think of my friend, the missionary. I would never travel to a foreign country, learn their language, live among them and share the gospel. But she does because that is what she believes she needs to be doing.
Then there is my brother, the pastor. He immerses his whole being into the people who populate his church. He spends time with them, listening to their hearts and meeting their needs as much as he can. I don’t have the patience for what he does.
Why bother with courage? I don’t imagine anyone as fearless. Everyone experiences a degree of anxiety. None of us know exactly what will happen when we step out in faith, but we can believe in the courage that is found when we do take that step.