Courage is a funny thing. Do you know how many times GOD tells us to have courage? Or to fear not? So many times... it's almost as if HE knew that we would struggle with fear, almost more than any other struggle. Ok, of course HE knew that, and HE loves us so much that HE put it in HIS story over and over again, so we would be sure not to miss it.
Our GOD is amazing.
About a week and a half ago I went before the committee in our church that will be a huge part of my support system through my journey into ministry. One of the purposes of the meeting was for them to get to know where I am in my faith journey, and why I feel I am being called to go into ministry. One of the questions I was asked was why I had been scared to do the service back in July? I answered that it was the anticipation of it that was scary, all those things I imagined could go wrong. It got me thinking about courage, and what that means.
Duckling #3 said something the other day. He said that courage didn't mean you weren't afraid, it meant that you did what had to be done even though you are afraid. Ah... the wisdom of children. But seriously, he is right. Being courageous has nothing to do with a lack of fear... and everything to do with stepping around or past or even through that fear and getting to the place where you realize that your world is so much bigger than you ever imagined.
I played the violin at church tonight. We were doing a carol sing to celebrate the beginning of advent, and I played the introit (one verse of 'The First Noel') with the organist accompanying me. It went well, and a lot of people came up to me to encourage me and tell me that I did a great job.
Encourage. That is a powerful word, a powerful thing to do for someone. To encourage someone is to give them a piece of courage. All the words of encouragement that have been given to me have served to make me braver... almost like another kind of puzzle. All those beautiful words have joined together to make a picture of who I can be... if only I have the courage to go there. If I have the courage to step past or around or through the fear that is so good at holding back, I can get to where I see what all those lovely and loving people see... that I can do things!!! What a gift... what a blessing, to give someone that piece of courage.
I have this picture in my head that has been there for many years. Maybe not in a coherent way, but in the way I have lived my life. It is a picture of failure. Not necessarily based on any reality, but I have come to believe, based on the lies of the enemy, that I am not capable. Lies that I didn't have the courage to disbelieve. But all those healing words of encouragement that have been banding together are becoming bigger and stronger and so much more powerful than those lies. What an amazing, freeing thing this is! As I sat there in church tonight, after I played my piece, I just kept thinking 'I did it!' 'I can't believe I did it!!'. And it wasn't just that I played the piece, it was that I had the courage to put myself out there.
Encouragement. Healing. Freeing. Empowering. Amazing