COURAGE AND GRIT VS. FEAR AND INACTION
One of the most difficult and soul-consuming battles we face from day to day, is the struggle between the person we would like to be, and the individual we are.
Daily living sweeps us away in busy activities and distractions that shape our life. We spend endless time and effort focused on keeping our OUTSIDE world in balance. Meanwhile, we steal precious time and attention away from our INNER world. You know, the same INNER world that is the core strength to keep EVERYTHING on the OUTSIDE in motion.
So, when a moment of crisis hits in life, you search for the courage you need. But because it’s rarely been used, it sits starved and weak. All too quickly, that old default response, FEAR, kicks into action. After all, it’s been used all too often and is well-fed.
Young or old, rich or poor, we will ALL have times when our courage is called into action. Do you know what will rise up in you?
CHOOSE TO BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS
God firmly promises us that He will give us strength. But He also commands US to be strong and courageous. In other words, brave action WILL be required.
There is truly a unique value in possessing strong courage. To wrestle with the toughest difficulties, and still have the stamina to be steadfast. Imagine not only being able to stand strong, but to actually go a step further and test what you really have in you. To get to the place of KNOWING what will rise up in you, when those challenging life moments arrive.
WHAT IS INNER STRENGTH AND COURAGE?
Something sparked in me early in life. I knew I wanted to be strong INSIDE. Having courage seemed like the golden ticket to take me where I wanted to go. Then I could do what I dreamed of doing!
It took faith and grit to keep going in all the big and small challenges. To be willing to face risk and follow the path God was leading me on, success or failure. True to His Word, in every venture I made outside my comfort zone, He has never failed me.
Little did I know that all of those pieces from my rocky road through life would BUILD the inner strength I always desired. And now, when my own courage is called into action, there is a foundation. I KNOW what will rise up in me.
COURAGE IS NOT JUST FOR TODAY, BUT TOMORROW TOO
In the stirring book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” can you guess what topped the list of the five most common regrets? Two out of the five LIFE REGRETS had to do with a lack of courage. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” “I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.”
Living a life of COURAGE is more than just a single event or season. It is an ongoing and continuous focus, effort, and investment that becomes a courageous life of strong grit. Not just a step, but a path that grows into your own courageous journey.
HOW FEAR LIMITS YOUR LIFE
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” Anais Nin
We all have giants we will have to face. Every internal giant we OVERCOME directly affects how we will handle the outside giants that threaten us. You have important work to do in this life. Champion the right to be yourself and embrace your courage. Focus on building your courage from the inside out.
Take action to overcome the fear to speak up and find your true voice. Refuse to allow perfectionism to discount anything that seems less than a masterpiece. Move beyond “Imposter Syndrome” that steals your confidence. Be determined to re-frame any rejection that attempts to stop you from trying.
God is greater than ANYTHING that tries to hold you back. And each time you risk, you build MORE courage!
CHARACTERISTICS OF TRUE COURAGE
What true courage is and is not.
Being strong and courageous is not acting aggressive, pushy, or rude. Quite the opposite. True inner strength comes in the form of integrity, dignity, and grace. The ability to remain calm, cool, and wise in the face of a storm. Being strong and courageous does not mean you can’t be vulnerable, ask for help, or feel weak at times. Just as God can use failure in our life, He can also use moments of weakness for great purpose.
God made each of us with different strengths, personalities, and experiences. We cannot compare or measure our courage with anyone else. Most importantly, we cannot judge or assume another person’s courage. A person may appear timid and weak outside, but be very strong inside. Moreover, a person may seem very confident and strong outside, but be quite fragile inside.
But the common ground is that we ALL have the potential to USE the strength God gives us. The ability to decide and act on becoming more courageous.
WHAT DOES HAVING GRIT MEAN?
True grit is the ability to stick with things, to keep going, to have perseverance. Furthermore, new light has been shining on the role of grit for achieving success in life.
In her enlightening book, “Grit”, Dr. Angela Duckworth outlines her research that shows the one characteristic that is emerging as a predictor of success, is grit. Beyond intelligence, IQ, physical or social factors, GRIT wins! Most exciting is that grit can absolutely be learned! It is well within our control to build it and use it for greater success in life.
FAILURE TO LAUNCH
So, realizing the life-changing power in developing courage and grit, WHERE do we learn these important qualities?
The average life journey prepares our minds in school, our bodies for good health, and our skills to make a living. Many set out to follow proven paths, make choices based on what they need to do, and what others expect them to do. As a result, most slip into staying average, and can easily become complacent when another battle for needed change is lost. Is it any wonder that courage and grit get so neglected?
Courage and grit are not reserved for the extraordinary. They are waiting and in reach of the ordinary, every one of us. They are waiting to make US extraordinary!
LEARNING COURAGE AND GRIT FROM OTHERS
God has a powerful way of teaching us through the experience of others.
Good, bad, or ugly, we are captured by the stories of others. Their life lessons can teach us, inspire us, and ignite change in us. Sometimes, it can be a wake-up call that shakes us to the core. It’s the common human emotions we all experience that can connect us and move us.
Those that win, those that lose, often have a compelling desire to share the story or lesson of their journey. Not only for the sake of others, but also themselves.
BUILD YOUR FOUNDATION OF COURAGE AND GRIT
“COURAGE is the FIRST of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees the others.” Aristotle
So, where do we start when we become motivated to expand and grow? Do we reach for more courage? Do we truly recognize the powerful driving force it can be? That it can affect everything else?
After all, it is COURAGE that moves us into action, and GRIT that keeps us going.
Courage and grit affect how we approach every day of life. They impact our world from the inside out and they influence what we can accomplish. They are solid foundational pieces, worthy of building on.
5 ACTION STEPS TO BUILD COURAGE AND GRIT
So, how do you become mentally tough, develop a mighty heart, and stand ready to face your fears?
Don’t stand in your own shadow.
Get your little self out of the way so your BIG self can move forward!
1. Start by taking command of building your own courage and grit.
Only you have control over putting the strength God gives you into action. Will you be intentional in choosing to BE strong and courageous?
2. Build up your courage and grit muscles
What happens if you go long periods without using muscles in your body? They deteriorate. When called into action, they would be weak. Likewise, daily life can become so routine that we rarely use our courage or grit. When that’s the case, they also can break down.
Keep your courage and grit muscles strong. Design a plan to continually and consciously think about, activate, and USE them. It’s an ongoing focus and building process, risk by risk, layer by layer.
3. Design your own curriculum to purposely use your courage.
Consistently and intentionally increase your knowledge regarding courage and grit and how they affect you. Think about them, focus on them, speak about them, and pray about them. What we focus on GROWS!
4. Plan risks that will take you outside of your comfort zone and stretch your courage. Challenges that will require time and resilience.
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Make courage and grit a part of who you are. A daily part of what you think about the most. See yourself as standing strong in God’s power within you. Tell yourself you are growing stronger and more courageous every day. Feed your Courage, starve your fears!
5. Lastly, The Strength Test
Be ready! Life and circumstances may try to discourage you and tear you down. Therefore, you have to keep the muscles strong and well-built. When you KNOW you are prepared, you will not only have strength in challenging moments, but you will realize that those new challenges are working to build you even more!
Stay focused and stay in faith. Stay plugged into God’s power and know you are ready. Your muscle will begin to feel so strong, it will become natural to reach for MORE opportunities in life.
EXTRAORDINARY COURAGE AND GRIT
Finally, when you focus on KEEPING YOURSELF STRONG, you will also be able to show up stronger for those around you. But it all starts with YOU.
When you reach the point where you refuse to seek safe places and easy tasks, you will be standing away from the crowd.
When you possess the nerve to move out of life’s shallows and venture forth into the deep, it is then, and only then, that you will truly be living the courage of your convictions. Living what I call, the GRIT Life.
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