3 Ways to Download Courage
By Georgia Shaffer
Courage is contagious.
Just like people influence us with their anger and sullen moods,
others can help us increase our level of courage.
About two years ago, I spent a week with two women whose lives were in danger because of their work for Jesus. While each woman had credible threats on her life, they both had little, if any, anxiety. They continued to concentrate on the task they each felt called to do. I walked away feeling thankful for the opportunity to observe these strong warriors.
What I did not anticipate, however, was the contagious nature of their courage. I arrived home and decided I wanted to be just like them. I shared their stories with anyone who would listen, hoping others would also be encouraged. I learned courage can be “caught” from doing three things:
1. Interact with the courageous. Simply being around these two women and watching them in action gave me an extra dose of boldness for the Lord. Courage can be put “into” you from the outside. Psychologist Dr Henry Cloud says the word encourage literally came from ‘in courage.’
Our character and abilities grow through internalizing from others what we do not possess in ourselves. What are you worried, concerned or frightened about? Find someone who is living with that reality and successfully tackling it. For example, one of the benefits I found when I attended my first Conquer conference was how powerful it was to be with other like-minded women who want to Be Brave and Grow Strong. If you need more courage, I hope to see you there this year. Remember, we become like the company we keep.
2. Read about the courageous. The Bible is full of stories of courage. For example, the Old Testament story of Joshua and Caleb, who were sent by Moses along with ten other men to check out the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb came back and told Moses we believe that with God’s help the Israelites could defeat the giants living there. More than 45 years later, when the Israelites finally took possession of the land, Caleb said to Joshua, “Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me” (Joshua 14:10-13 NIV, emphasis added).
Now the hill country was one of the places that the Giants still lived. Caleb successfully fought those giants and I can almost promise you that you will have to face some real giants as you face your fears.
3. Pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s gift of courage More than once, when I was unsettled and anxious, God strengthened me through the Holy Spirit’s guidance to a Scripture verse or passage. He has whispered a verse into my heart or caused me to remember something I read or heard.
That was true for Joshua, who led the battles in the Promise Land. God encouraged him with these words: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them” (Joshua 1:5-6 NRSV).
Whether you discouraged about a project, struggling with a disability, or are in a difficult or destructive relationship, search out someone—dead or alive--who has faced a similar challenge. Ask God to bring a role model into your life, someone who has successfully navigated that issue so you can observe and learn from them.
As I mentioned earlier, courage is contagious. Not only will there be brave women who have faced many challenges at the Conquer conference, but I would love to meet you at one of my workshops. I will be speaking on the topics of Taking Out Your Emotional Trash and When Life Doesn’t Turn Out the Way You Thought: Rebuilding After Loss & Unwanted Change.
Bio: Georgia Shaffer is an author, a Professional Certified Coach and a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania.