I have always been intimidated by the idea of courage. Whenever I heard that someone was courageous, I always pictured a strong, powerful individual who despite all odds persevered through a challenge. Having recently watched the new Wonder Woman movie, that character embodies what I always thought courage looked like. For a long time I never considered myself a courageous person because I was fearful. I saw a challenge and I felt afraid. And while sometimes I was successful, I always thought I missed the “courageous mark” because of my fear.
The mistake I made was thinking that courage is an absence of fear, when in fact that is not true. Courage is the resolve to move forward despite fear.
Joshua 1:9 says,
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Here is we see that we are commanded to be courageous. We are also commanded to not be afraid. Being afraid means we are in a state of fear where it controls us and guides our actions. This is what we are instructed to overcome. However, we are not asked to conquer fear through our own awesomeness. Look at the end of this verse. Be courageous and don’t be afraid because God will be with us wherever we go.
There is so much we can be afraid of. Maybe it’s just me, but I find this to be an easy, default reaction to many parts of life: relationships, motherhood, finances, etc. But a life lived on purpose is not characterized by fearful decisions but powerful ones. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we are reminded that as followers of Jesus, the spirit that we have been given by God is not defined by fear, but by power, love, and self-discipline.
Does this mean that you will now never be afraid? No. But being courageous means that we will move forward despite the fear that could so easily cripple us. We move forward because we do not go alone. This beautiful saviour, Jesus, has given us the greatest call- to know Him and walk with Him, whatever may come our way. This is the picture of a life on purpose.
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.”
Mary Anne Radmacher