Links Daily Devotional

Ordinary Courage

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24, NKJV)

I recently enjoyed watching the movie Courageous. Sherwood Pictures produced a wonderful film that will inspire the hearts of men to be better husbands and fathers. The storyline filled me with tears, laughter, and joy as each character evolved personally, in relationship with each other and with God.

One of the taglines describing the movie is “Raising children in a God-honoring way. That’s courageous.” Amen and amen! As I look beyond the scope of this movie, I realize men are not the only ones who need to be courageous to live in a God-honoring way; it is also essential for women, sons, and daughters. What does it look like to live courageously in a world so driven by technology, non-verbal communication, and drive-thrus?

Common synonyms for courage are fearlessness, bravery, standing firm, daring, boldness, and fortitude. While these are great characteristics to possess, being courageous is also a matter of one’s heart.

The root word for courage is cor, Latin for heart. In its earliest form, possessing courage meant “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” However, over time courage has become a description used mostly to characterize heroes. We surely want to celebrate and honor heroics, but I also believe if we embrace researcher and author Brené Brown’s definition of courage—speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we are feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad)—we can make an eternal difference in our families and in the Kingdom of God.

A majority of us will never have to courageously face putting our life on the line. We will, however, have opportunities every day to put our vulnerability on the line. This is ordinary courage and it is life-changing.

Ordinary courage will look different for each of us, but it gives us a voice to tell our stories from our heart. It occurs when we risk being honest, open, and real about our feelings, even if that involves disappointment. It is asking for help, taking responsibility for our words and actions, saying I’m sorry, building appropriate boundaries, and not compromising our beliefs. Practicing ordinary courage offers others our heart, greatly impacting the world around us.

King David is a wonderful example of a man who lived a life of ordinary courage. Throughout Psalm 31, he was open and honest about his feelings, fears, needs, failures, praises and requests to the Lord. He finishes his psalm with, “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (verse 24). David understood there is a relationship between having courage and the strength of one’s heart. As he practiced ordinary courage, people were drawn closer to the Lord.

When we want to experience improvement in our golf scores, we spend time and energy practicing the different aspects of the game. The same is true for ordinary courage…it takes practice and the willingness to step out of our comfort zones. Some days will be easier than others, but if we remain steadfast as we put our vulnerability on the line, our courage will draw others in and we will make the world a better place.

Tracy Hanson

February 28, 2012

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