Friday, March 4, 2011

7 Myths about Courage

We finished up our Courageous series recently and I have personally been deeply impacted by all the things we've learned as a community. I think for me it was the most important learning we've done together as a church since we started. If you are interested in hearing the message series, make sure you check out our podcast.

I've had some big posters (giant sticky notes really) on my wall for the past couple of months as we worked through Courageous and on one of them I had posted 7 myths we believe as it pertains to Courage. I'm getting ready to clean house a bit and switch gears so I wanted to record them and put them out there before they are gone for good.

7 Myths about Courage

  1. Courageous people aren't afraid - I think we tell ourselves this in order to excuse ourselves from actually acting on the things we know we should be doing. As if people who demonstrate great courage didn't have to deal with fear. The truth is that courageous people have fear, they just don't allow it to win.
  2. Courageous people have a special calling - I think this is related to #1, but a little different. This is more about ignoring the dreams and ideas that we have and just giving in to the life of "normal". We tell ourselves that those people who do courageous things must have a special calling from God, whereas I'm *just* called to be a _______. I don't buy it. God is calling all of us to live courageous lives of faith, and some of us actually go for it.
  3. Courageous people have clarity about the future - Every one of us has uncertainty about the future. For many of us, that uncertainty is the source of all the fear we experience. But courageous people don't have some magical ability to see how things are going to end up. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that courage is taking the first step when you can't see the rest of the staircase. You will never have the clarity you want. Don't let that be the excuse that keeps you from ever taking the next step.
  4. Courageous people are born that way - This is the "some-people-have-it-and-some-people-don't" mentality. We tell ourselves that courage is like the ability to dunk a basketball. God made some of us to dunk, and some of us to play golf. Unfortunately it isn't true when it comes to courage. Courage is more like a muscle. We're all born with it - but regular exercise helps it to grow.
  5. God wouldn't ask me to do something risky, "foolish", or "crazy". - Really? Have you ever read the Bible? Ask Daniel how the lions den was, ask Joshua about marching around a city for seven days, ask Gideon about intentionally fighting a massive army with only 300 men, ask Moses about standing up to the most powerful person in the world with nothing but a stick, ask Abraham about nearly sacrificing his own son. Jesus said that his followers would face persecution and even death. He said that to follow him meant to eat his flesh and drink his blood. He said it meant to give everything away. He said that our enemy is like a lion seeking someone to devour. Sounds pretty risky to me.
  6. Courageous people act with the full support of others - It would sure be nice if this was true, but it isn't. People don't like change. Courageous people are change agents. They aren't satisfied with things the way they are. They take risks. They step out in faith. And you know what that does? It makes "normal" people nervous. When you take a step of courage, it begins to threaten my perfectly controlled safe world. And so I will start to say things like "You don't really want to do that", or "think about what that will do to your kids", or "it's not worth the trouble", or "the issue is so big, what can you really do anyway?". You will face serious opposition to your courage - and it will probably come from the people closest to you. Be ready for that.
  7. Courageous people don't fail - The truth is that courageous people probably fail more than most people. You can't fail at something you never attempt. So courageous people try, then fail, then try again, then fail, then try again - and maybe get it right. Don't ever let failure make you retreat back to "safe". You will fail. Push on - the dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced any of the above? What would you add to the list?


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