By Kathy Gates
What does courage mean to you? Do you think of the firefighters
who lost their lives in the World Trade Center towers? Do you think of the men
and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq?
What about the courage to admit a mistake? Or the courage to
stop someone from hurting you? Or the courage to stand up for what you believe?
Or the courage to just be yourself?
Yes, all those things take courage, but all of those things also
have something else in common. Do you think any one of those things can be
accomplished without feeling some fear? No. There cannot be courage without
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment or
decision that something else is more important than the fear. Courage is what
you do IN SPITE of the fear, in spite of the resistance, in spite of what you
want right now.
But you don't have to show the kind of courage that it takes to
get on the 6:00 news. You can show courage every day. It takes courage to go
against "that's just the way it is."; or "what can I do about it?", or "I've
always been this way"; or "They won't let me...".
Courage is deciding not to put your
current desires above your desires for the future. Courage is deciding there's
something more important.
For me, courage brings to mind the Bible story of David fighting
Goliath. In order to get into the Promise Land, David had to fight his giant.
Don't you image he had something else he would have rather done that day?
Fighting a giant wasn't likely at the top of his list. But he chose not to put
his current desire over his true desire.
In order to get into your own personal promise land, you'll have
to have courage to stand up to your personal giants too.
It takes courage to end an unhealthy relationship. It takes
courage to quit an unfulfilling job. It takes courage to say No to someone who
is using you. It takes courage to set up a new spending
plan. It takes courage to say Yes to your dreams when it means putting
your self-esteem out there for the whole world to see (well, that's relative,
but you know what I mean). It takes courage to reorganize your time so that you
spend it on what is most meaningful to you. It takes courage to ask for what you
need and want in your life. It takes courage to be honest.
Courage doesn't mean that you don't recognize the difficulty of
the task. Not at all. It does mean that you are willing to do it anyway, to push
yourself out of the comfort zone, to give it a try.
Courage is standing up to whatever mental- emotional-physical
"Giant" is in your life.
Resolve to live in such a way that courage, not fear, directs
your life. Resolve to determine your own worth, not let someone else decide it
for you. Resolve to stop working hard to build someone else's dreams.