Courage, plain and simple

The knight in shining armor, vanquishing the dragon or the evil witch.    The woman who won’t give up her seat on the bus.  The policeman who delicately deals with the man with a gun.  The fireman who runs into the burning building.  The teacher who works with students who could care less about learning how to add fractions because their mom didn’t come home.  The girl who does her best on the history test, even though she hasn’t made over a C on a test all year.  The boy who goes out for the football team again, even though he hasn’t made the team the last two years.

Courage comes in all shapes and sizes.  Which is kind of the problem.  We assume that courage looks more like the knight in shining armor than the boy who gets cut… again… from the football team.  Or that courage looks more like the woman who refused to move back a row on the bus, than the girl who refuses to give up trying in school.  But, in many ways, the everyday, ordinary, doesn’t-even-feel-like-it courage is the harder kind.  Because it’s the kind you have to deal with every single day.  Day in and day out.  Time after time after time.  Never ending.  At least with the knight, if he doesn’t succeed it’s all over – because he’s dead.  Or the woman on the bus – she had no idea that day when she woke up that she was going to make history that day.  It wasn’t in her plans.  Promise.

The thing is though, if you’re NOT courageous in the day-to-day stuff, like school, or work, or whatever is hard for you, than when it comes to facing the dragon or the witch or the burning building, you’re not going to be ready for it.  Because you haven’t practiced.  Courage takes practice.  Every day, don’t give up, keep trying, keep pushing, practice.  Courage isn’t going to suddenly burst from you when the huge, life-or-death, history-making hard stuff comes by if you’re not practicing it in your day-to-day life.  You have to practice it in your day-to-day life!!!!  The everyday, little stuff counts!

So, what does daily courage look like?  It looks like going to school even though it’s not fun or easy.  It looks like trying to get along with your family.  It looks like facing the daily grind with a smile.  It looks like hoping things will be different this time, even though history says they shouldn’t be.  It looks like gently confronting a friend, telling them how what they are doing is hurting you, or how they’re hurting themselves.  It looks like being willing to deal with the elephant in the room, to deal with the awkwardness that is, for whatever reason, between you and someone else.    It means facing the hard, uncomfortable stuff – not avoiding it.

It’s easy to avoid stuff.  Unfortunately, it’s also cowardly.  And, well, while being a coward feels more comfortable in that moment – it’s only for that moment.  It actually steals little tiny bits of you at a time, because God didn’t make you a coward.  With Him, through Him, you’re supposed to be bold and courageous (that’s in the Bible).  Being a coward means denying who you were created to be.

So, go say the hard stuff.  Say “hi”.  Workout and practice throwing all year, and try out for that football team – again.  Study your heart out, Dear, and do your best on that next History test.  Have the courage to hope that when you go talk to your boss about that thing, it’s going to be different this time.  Believe that God is who He says He is, that He’ll do what He promises…even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

That is courage.

And it is, ladies and gentlemen, incredibly important.

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