Pursuing the things we love can be tough as we face the fear of judgement or failure. Whether it’s following after our dreams or speaking in front of a crowd, it can be difficult to leave the safety of our comfort zone in place of an unpredictable future or possible ridicule and opposition from those around us.
I have often felt that same way- take for example starting this blog! It took me over 2 weeks to post my first few sentences. But in spite of it all, I still overcame my fears and so can you.
Being courageous doesn’t mean you have to do a grand heroic act but it means always being genuine and standing up for what you believe in, despite popular opinions or the approval of others. Christian author Charles Swindoll wrote: “Courage is not limited to the battlefield, or bravely catching a thief in your house. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are inner tests, like remaining faithful when no one’s looking, like standing alone when you’re misunderstood.”
It is important to not forget that we each have our own unique talents and gifts that we can offer to the world that should not be dampened or hidden.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and giveth light unto all those that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” Matthew 5:14-16
I encourage you to let your light shine today so that the world can see the light of Christ in you. When you feel that sense of fear come over you, focus on Christ and all the reasons why you can do this, and you will find the courage to overcome your fears.
Tips on how to be more courageous this week
- Practice daily small acts of courage. They always say practice makes perfect! Think about what it is that you have always wanted to do but never had the guts to do. Write down a couple of actions that you can do and challenge yourself to do one small act of courage everyday for 30 days. For example, if you are scared of public speaking or sharing the gospel with others, you can challenge yourself to say hi to a stranger, make an announcement in a small group, talk about a subject you’re not familiar with in front of family and friends, or give a presentation to a small group of coworkers. You will be amazed how things that used to make you nervous will become second nature to you with practice.
- Remind yourself of your personal values and beliefs. It would be difficult to stand up for what you know to be true when you’re uncertain of what exactly that is. Reflecting on what you like and don’t like helps you build upon your identity without allowing others to decide for you. It is important to build a strong foundation of core values so that when negativity and opposition occur, you will have the courage to withstand it.
- Understand that failure is a valuable teacher. Make sure you befriend it! Going after your passions is not free of setbacks and mistakes to be made. It is all part of the journey to help you grow and will help you get to where you need to be. Accept that failure is a necessity to achieve your dreams. Don’t be afraid of it, rather, embrace it and learn from it. Doing so is another form of courage as you muster up the will to continue on despite obstacles. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying: I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
- Pray for help. Remember, you are never alone. If there is ever anything you stand in need of, ask your Heavenly Father. He will give you the courage that you need to accomplish the righteous desires of your heart. As you approach situations that gives you a lot of anxiety, start your day by praying for strength and visualize Christ standing by your side through it all.
- Focus on God’s approval not the world’s. Often, we are overly consumed with what others may think of us that we shrink in the face of judgment. Remember, there is only one perfect judge and his opinion is the only one that matters.
- Don’t be your own worst critic. We often tell ourselves a plethora of excuses including things such as we’re not good enough or we’re not talented enough. Jesus always taught “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth” – Matthew 5:5. Be kind to ourselves and understand that through small and simple means great things shall come to pass. We have the capacity to do great things, don’t let our inner doubts talk us out of it.
How can I start practicing more courage in my every day life?