I’m both impressed and a bit disconcerted by courageous people, especially if they're doing something heroic in the cause of that which is good, right and worthwhile, doing something beyond themselves in the service of others. Perhaps it’s partly because I’m not a particularly courageous person myself. Yes, I’ve taken risks when the benefits (fun, excitement, reward etc) have outweighed the potential costs. I’ve also taken steps in faith that felt inspired at the time and where outcomes were far from certain.
But the challenge I guess is how to really push myself into spaces and experiences that genuinely terrify me. How to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. How to do the right thing, the new thing, the courageous thing in the face of my own deeply held, paralysing anxieties. How to overcome the internal barriers that almost physically hold me back from stepping out. Courage after all is acting in the face of fear, not acting without fear. That’s the part I find most difficult to imagine and to do.
Charles DeFoucault once said, ‘The one thing we owe absolutely to God is never to be afraid of anything.’ It’s something about absolute faith in God’s providential plan and care. It’s believing that some things are more important than our own lives, comfort, security etc. Jesus said, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God, trust also in me.’ It’s about seeing and grasping the bigger picture, the greater cause, the more important relationship. Lord, help me to see, trust and do.
Nick is a psychological coach, OD consultant and trainer, specialising in critical reflective practice.