What does a courageous life look like?
I don’t think I quite know. I don’t think a courageous life is what you see on Instagram; long posts talking about adventure and authenticity and how scared they are about something (yet they’re doing it anyway). I think a courageous life is lived a little more quietly and a lot more off screen than that.
All I know is that whatever it looks like, my life doesn’t look the same.
I cracked my Bible open to Philippians 1 earlier. Philippians is such a beautiful book; the lessons learned on living a joyful and content life that glorifies God are of such great worth. Paul was in prison, yet seeking to make God well known, and he writes (verse 20),
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Sufficient courage…in a prison…in order to exalt God, no matter what happens.
So frequently, I whittle away at my bravery. It comes through the smallest of things; ignoring a bold opportunity to speak about Jesus when it seems uncomfortable; panic at the thought of an unknown future; the search for digital affirmation. I effectively slaughter my own courage in order to achieve a safe, comfortable life.
Merriam-Webster defines courage as ‘mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty’.
What does it look like to live with such courage that God is glorified? I think, for starters, it means leaning into the discomfort in our lives; what are unknown situations or hard conversations in light of the fact that we’re loved by GOD? We can take courage knowing that whatever the consequence of our bold action, we’re never going to be unloved, unwanted, or let go of by our Savior.
I think it also means that we know who we are, and we are brave enough to stop looking for affirmation and confirmation in all the wrong places. When we’re courageous and in love with Christ, why does the number of likes on an Instagram post or the number of followers on Twitter matter? We have greater things, eternal things to pursue and chase.
Sure, courage may mean traveling to far off places, walking through a door without knowing what is going to come. More frequently though, it means looking at our Savior, and taking the next uncomfortable step. Courage is not living a life without fear, difficulty, or danger; it’s the strength to take that venture, that step out in spite of your fear or situation.
Take courage, my heart.
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As David faced his death he wrote on his tablet, “God has a plan.” That’s true courage!