Being Courageous


[Archived: 8 July 2015] 

Being courageous is hard. And awesome. And hard.

Have you ever struggled with courage? I know it's been something that I've wished I had more of in the past and something I've recently discovered is not as hard as I might have made it! One definition of courage that I really relate to is the "mental strength to persevere in the face of pressure, opposition or adversity." I not only relate to this because I helped to create the definition {that's a story for another time}, but also because it lays out why courage can be so difficult in the first place, and reminds us of the reward of not succumbing to the easy path. If we choose the path of courage, strength awaits.

I have always wanted to be the person who says what is on my mind, talks to the people I want to talk to and doesn't back down once I have a thought. Well, recently, I had the chance to act on those wishes {or as I like to put it, have a little courage victory}. I attended an event in which I heard a speaker that I really enjoyed, and immediately had the urge to introduce myself afterward. It was a partial networking event and was, as oftentimes they are, a bit scary. But I had made up my mind and I was not going to turn back. I marched up to her afterward, introduced myself and chatted with her for a bit. And do you know what? It wasn't that scary after all {cue up the mini victory dance}. Since this first meeting, we have had a few more conversations and have even met for drinks. I wouldn't say that I've officially arrived at "courageous" because of this singular encounter, but I do think it has been a brushstroke in the creation of a mural.

Here are three of the ways I find courage daily:

1. Sometimes you just gotta do it.

Whether it's something you are dreading or not, I've found that acting on it and just doing it helps with both the anxiety of leading up to the action and the confident boost it gives you for the future. One of my favorite sayings from my mom growing up {although it wasn't at the time} was "mind over matter." This means that your head gets in the way of what is truly the reality of the situation. If you are happy, sad, scared, or whatever emotion you may be feeling inside, you {for the most part} have the ability to control how you react. While I am not diminishing the reality of feelings and very real situations, the mind is a powerful tool that can help to overcome these situations. {Except when it comes to dessert - the mind never wins that one. The stomach does.}

2. Listen to yourself.

This is something I seem to learn over and over. It's like it doesn't stick, but I've learned both the easy and hard ways that listening to your inner voice, your conscience, your intuition or whatever else you may call it, is usually the way to go. You know that flash of a thought or whisp of an idea that crosses your mind? Or even the nudging warning you may feel? That is what I mean. We all have it and it usually tells us the course we should take. I had a conversation about this with someone recently and one way they acknowledge this little voice is by writing everything down. I mean everything - a daily log of everything they've done/seen/thought/heard. No matter what method you use, use whatever fits you best!

3. Lean on the Lord.

This one is my favorite by far. When I cannot overcome my own fear or am stuck in a rut where I feel powerless, God never let's me down and He is that power that I lack. This verse has really stuck with me this week and is quickly becoming a favorite to turn to in those times of uncertainty. It also happens to be this Wednesday's #winspiration.

Ah. I just love that.

I recognize that not all acts of courage are as simple as choosing to take immediate action nor will all acts of courage result in a completely resolved outcome, but when facing a bigger dilemma or a more delicate one, I find it also helps to remember the little victories. Baby steps forward still can put you miles ahead if you just keep taking them. I believe every action has an impact and even if something currently feels futile, it can play a major role later on. So look for those little pieces of courage each day in yourself and others. I think you'll be happily surprised at what you find.

What courageous victories have you experienced recently? Any more tips on keeping up the courage?

WordsAndrea Barrio22