I left off talking about courage and the first three attributes of courage. Courage is something inside of all of us. It doesn’t have to be some great act, as I said before. There are three more attributes I want to share with you now.
Standing up for what is right is always a courageous feat. Many times, we are stifled by our fears or insecurities. We let the fear of what might happen stop us from being brave. However, standing up for what is right is what we have been told to do by God. We are supposed to seek the truth. A social activist, Maggie Kuhn, said: “Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” Being courageous can be frightening. I personally know that speaking up can be scary. When we muster up our courage, it can be done. That does not mean that the right will win, but at least you spoke up. “Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself,” N.D. Wilson. I have read so many stories of missionaries or people who are not allowed to worship freely, standing up for their beliefs. It is awe-inspiring the amount of courage they have. It makes me think if it were me, would I be that courageous? I would hope I would be.
The next characteristic of courage I want to explore is expanding your horizons and letting go of the familiar. It takes a lot of courage to venture into the unknown. Even if the unknown is just the other side of town or a club you have not participated in before. Often, we give up on ourselves or allow ourselves to miss out because we let our fear of the unknown tell us we cannot do it. Robert F. Kennedy stated once, “This world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.” Have you ever heard someone say another person has a childlike spirit because they through caution to the wind, or try everything they can, unhampered by their inhibition? I have often watched my children ask to do something and start to scold them only to realize that if they didn’t, they would not have experienced some extraordinary things. By allowing your fear or inhibition to keep you from exploring, you are going to miss out on life. There are wonders you could never imagine waiting for you to discover. Imagine even if you were courageous and asked out the girl you like, what could happen, or applied for that internship that you know you will never get. My grandpa used to tell me, a curious little girl, you will never know unless you try. I believe these words to my core.
The last point I have about courage is to face suffering with dignity or faith. Suffering is something that we all try to avoid. It is also something that no matter how hard you work, it is eventually going to happen. The way you deal with it will make the difference. I recently spoke about the death of my father-in-law. I loved him like my own father. I always told him that God gave me two fathers; one didn’t come until I was twenty years old. The suffering you feel when you lose someone feels unbearable. Now many people will tell you that there is a time limit on your suffering, that you need to suck it up and move on. I will say to you that it takes courage to feel pain. Tears are okay. You have to grieve in order to be able to walk with it later on. You never leave it behind. The loss will always be a loss, but how you walk with it makes the difference. That is where courage comes in. “There is no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bear witness that a man has the greatest courage, the courage to suffer,” Viktor Frankl
Being courageous can be scary or painful sometimes, as we explored today; however, it can also be healing and help you to conquer battles in your life; you never thought possible. Be strong. Be courageous. Find yourself in the world. Rebecca Martinez