“Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality. ” ~ C.S Lewis
Courage is one of the virtues I admire most, and struggle most with. Courage and self control.
From a young age, my Mum always drummed into my head the importance of being able to be resolute in the face of fear. She would always say to me “Shade, not many people have courage. It is so important for you to have courage”. As I got older, she has always reminded me, that one of the most important things I must look for in the men that I choose to be involved with, is courage. “Never be with someone who doesn’t have courage”, she says.
At each phase of my life, new experiences would teach me the importance of courage. I remember sitting in the car one morning before going to school in year 5, and crying to my Mum. I wasn’t going to back in there. I couldn’t go to school anymore. Why couldn’t I just read the books at home? I didn’t want to be bullied anymore. I wanted them to like me. Somehow, somewhere in my 10 year old heart, a little bit of courage stirred up. I dried my tears and determined that I was going to go in and hold my head up high. Even if they told me my skin was the colour of poo. Or that my two afro puffs looked like kangaroo ears (they would stick up and then dangle over at the front…yeh, it’s kind of a funny insult now that I look back).
I remember being a teenager and being pressured by friends to do things that I didn’t want to. I can’t say that every time I said no. I can’t claim that I was happily independent, without regard for other people’s wants or expectations or demands. I am ashamed that sometimes I stayed silent when I should have spoken. Sometimes I joined in in talking when I should have been silent. It wasn’t that I didn’t know wrong from right -I might have been kind, or true, or honest or pure or gentle deep down inside, but I didn’t have courage. Courage. It is the form of every virtue at the testing point.
When I became a Christian, I found that new type of courage was required from me. Not just the courage to be the odd one out. There are so many people who do not share my faith who have had the courage to stand up for what they believe in. Atheists can have courage. Gandhi had courage. Even Hitler had courage (no, I am not putting atheists, Gandhi and Hitler in the same category). I knew that my faith made me different, but it was the courage to keep trying in the face of my past failures that was new to me. I had never felt so acutely the peace that came from walking with God, but I had never felt so acutely how unlike Him I was.
This week has been a difficult week for me spiritually. I have talked to God less and watched rubbish TV shows more. I have ignored His call to my heart to turn from my own selfish desires and turn to Him. I have gossiped. I have lusted. I have been selfish. I have thought things I would only confess to my Maker. It is easy to look at myself and lack courage. Fear of repeating my past failures propels me to surrender to a mediocre faith, that allows God to access the peripheries of my life but not live at the core of my being. Courage.
I pray for it daily, that I will have enough to remember that I am utterly dependent on Him to make me who I am supposed to be. That I will have enough to get up when I fall, and then trust Him to carry me.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. ~Harper Lee
“Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other.” ~Samuel Johnson
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” ~Winston Churchill