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  • Writer's pictureMaria A. Mansfield

Courage To Do The Next Thing

Two arrows Fear & Courage

I think most of us have a good understanding of what we are going to do next in our life; or at the very least, an idea of what we should be doing.

Although we sometimes hesitate to carry it out. I find it can be easy to avoid it, procrastinate, or do something in the meantime, right? We might come up with a plethora of valid excuses for not moving forward in our life.

Maybe, we are all alike in this way, unless of course, we intentionally decide otherwise, or by chance happen to have the courage to do the next thing.

What do you think is missing to face the next thing in your life? Is it about timing? Or about resources? Is it more the amount of courage we have or lack?

-If timing is the concern, I respect that. When we do things seems to be everything these days. It's never the right time to do the wrong thing. However, doing the right thing at the wrong time can also be a bad thing. Timing is essential for a good outcome.

-If it's resources, you might never have everything you need to start. Just start where you are and use what you already have, and then go from there.

-But what if we lack the courage to do the next thing? After we've thought long enough about what we need to do, sometimes it seems like the next step takes unsurmountable courage. We doubt if we have it in us; -worst yet, we question ourselves.

Fear seems to make everything look worse than it is. It enlarges the possible obstacles; but then, the difficulties end up working out. Fear focuses on everything that could go wrong but then doesn't. It cripples us into thinking our challenges are way too big for us to succeed. So we wait, we linger, we feel unsure. Another week goes by, a month, a year, -ten!

Courage instead focuses on the strengths we have and then hopes for the best; even if we still feel fear. Sir Winston Churchill once said: "Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision." He was right.

Courage enables us to do it anyway, to show up, to get through it. We do the next thing with courage, in hopes it will all work out. Through this process, we move away from fear, towards faith and hope -both in ourselves and in God. In the Bible, it says in Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged; for the LORD, your God will be with you wherever you go." I think of these words often when I face challenges. Just knowing God walks with me wherever I go, calms my fears.

This past month, I was able to have some biopsies done, without fear paralyzing me. Then I was blessed to have my Mom at home; she came to visit us! It was such a privilege to have her here for Mother's Day! I was also able to finish my manuscript and send it to my publisher. I could complete the Counseling Course that I was attending. And just before May was out, I had my surgery. A lot of these things took courage; especially the medical ones. I had to make a decision: I would be facing these challenges with courage and not giving into fear.

I'm not saying this to brag on me. I believe most ordinary people can do extraordinary things if they dare. I'm convinced you too can put your fear behind you and move forward with courage onto the next event in your life. I've found this is how we grow when we stretch out of what seems familiar to us and face new challenges.

In the movie, "The Wizard of Oz," the lion walks the long yellow brick walk hoping to find courage, unaware it was already in him. He had courage but didn't recognize it in him because he didn't believe in himself. I know this is just a musical, but what a shame when we do this in real life! When we don't recognize the courage and strength, we already have to face life's challenges.

I hope this encourages you to do the next thing you need to do. You've already thought of it, analyzed it, shared it with friends or your spouse and now it's your time. Go in confidence that it will work out. Have the courage to step up to the next challenge in your life. Mark Twain said: Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear" Do it, even if you're afraid.

So we show up to life, in spite of feeling overwhelming fear, and the full weight of our inadequacies. Courage is a rare blend of faith and hope that believes the best will happen. We already have enough courage to do what we're supposed to do next!

Let's walk with that confidence and knowing that God is with us wherever we go!


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