One of the hardest choices in my life was choosing to enter one particular building on one particular day to face one particular group of people. While that doesn’t sound challenging in itself, I was knowingly facing the possibility of significant further heartache on top of the excruciating emotional pain that I was already enduring. There was zero guarantee that things would go well and a very real possibility they would go poorly. Only courage enabled me to step into the unknown that fateful day.
Courage. It’s a word we all know, but how many of us comprehend the significance of possessing this character trait in our everyday life or the detrimental effect if we don’t? I certainly didn’t that ordinary day. However, hindsight has shown me that possessing courage in that pivotal moment has led to innumerable priceless benefits I never could have imagined. Had I failed to have courage in that circumstance, it would have severely negatively impacted me, my husband, my children, many friends and countless other people. Only hindsight has revealed this to me.
We think of courage as what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego needed or David when facing Goliath or Navy Seals when deployed on a mission. And they all definitely need courage! But we also need it in very small but pivotal moments when it might not seem so obvious. Courageous choices done almost in secret can have tremendous impact on our lives. Very few people even know about my entering the building that day, and even the group I was encountering might not comprehend how hard it was for me to face them. Everyday life courage doesn’t make headlines and might go completely unnoticed.
After years of silence due to a break in our relationship, a friend reached out to me. She said it took courage for her to contact me again. Praise God she listened to His promptings and possessed the needed courage, which led to our reconciliation.
Over and over again I have safely sat at my desk with my fingers hovering over the keyboard typing away a confrontational email or one full of negative feedback. Instead of ever hitting that send button, I desperately need the courage to have an in-person conversation. But oh how much more comfortable it is to face a computer screen than a human being! Despite repeatedly experiencing very undesirable consequences after some of these emails have unfortunately been sent, I still at times battle the instinct to go send an email rather than schedule a sit down face to face. Inspite of my very slow learning in this area, I recently had a tremendous victory. I still used my computer to organize and type up my thoughts, but I used online communication solely to schedule a meeting. The night before the meeting I hardly slept. I was so nervous! I was sure the person would be discouraged with the subject matter I was bringing up. Consequently, I was shocked when the person was actually excited to hear my feedback. Had I communicated the exact same thoughts through email I guarantee you the reaction would have been the opposite. Having courage made all the difference in the message being well received.
What motivates me to act with everyday life courage? While I was completely unsure of the outcome of my actions that day I entered the building, I was one hundred percent sure that the only way to please Jesus in that situation was to open the door and face these people. Confidence in God’s Word, His commands, and His ways fueled my courage. Same motivation spurred my friend to contact me. As far as the emails go, I’m motivated to avoid the disastrous consequences I’ve faced in the past!
Though things have often turned out well for me when acting courageously, a utopia cannot be guaranteed. Not that long ago, I overcame my strong instinct to email someone and made a needed phone call instead. The result? One of the worst phone calls in my life unexpectedly occurred leaving me sobbing after we hung up and a relationship severed. But even with that disappointing outcome, I felt total peace upon reflection. I knew I had conquered my cowardly instinct and acted with everyday life courage. My character had been tested and shown to clearly be growing. And that felt really good.
What phone call do you need to make? What person do you need to go face? I pray you will take that next right step and act with everyday life courage. One day hindsight might make you so thankful you did.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”” Joshua 1:9 NASB1995