Could it be Courage? – Guest Post by Jeannie Ewing
“I’ve always admired how you just dive in and face whatever challenge is ahead of you,” my mother remarked with admiration to me one evening. Much to her surprise, I was taken aback. I’d never given much thought to my approach at handling difficulties, so her comment threw me off guard.
“Well, thank you,” I stammered, desperately attempting to come up with a more eloquent response. I had nothing. But her comment did get me thinking: Why do I respond the way I do when uncertainty and hardship emerge in my life?
The truth is I have battled fears on a daily basis due to (undiagnosed) generalized anxiety. I’m truly afraid of most things – anything unknown or uncertain, strange bugs or critters, ominous weather, diseases, germs, our mélange of medical bills, my health, my family’s health, etc. I could list an innumerable amount of fears I struggle with, but the key is that, with God’s grace, I have learned to face them head on.
From a young age, I made the decision not to allow fear to dominate my life. I didn’t want to become a victim or to miss out on living a full life because of fear. I saw the consequences to others who chose to remain locked in a comfortable, safe cage, and it always made me sad to see how much fear controlled what they did or didn’t do.
Courage, then, became a conscious decision on my part when I was a child. I knew it would be challenging, but I also knew it was necessary in order that I grow closer to Heaven. Saints aren’t fearful people. They walk by faith. They love. And I wanted to emulate the saints and become one someday.
I prayed for courage to face fear. I asked the Lord to infuse me with this virtue so that I wouldn’t become stagnant in my faith journey or paralyzed by the inevitable mysteries of life. For many years, I recall hearing God whisper to my heart the words from St. James: Perfect love casts out all fear.
The only way I learned to overcome fear was to dive in and confront it every day. Each time a new worry, concern, or terrifying thought enters my mind, I bring it to the Lord in prayer and take a deep breath. Then I just take the plunge into that fear. I wrestle with it for a time in my heart, and then I release it to God. If it requires more of me, such as an action or decision, then I pray for discernment and attempt to prudently make that choice.
I hate speaking in front of people. I hate calling people on the phone. I don’t like making small talk with strangers. Yet, oddly, the Lord has beckoned me to come out of my tenuous shell and simply act in faith with these types of situations.
It is easy to be courageous? It is never easy for me. But I know when I choose to be brave, to walk by faith instead of sight, to trust in God’s providence for every detail of my life, then His Spirit overcomes my weak flesh. Then, perhaps, as my spirit surrenders to God’s tenderness and care, in time courage will flourish within my life. Maybe, just maybe, when I have to face even bigger demons and monsters that threaten to leave me with nothing, I will have the courage to remain faithful and steadfast, unwavering in Truth.
Until then, I walk hand-in-hand with God as He illuminates only one step at a time on my life’s path.
Text Copyright 2015 Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.
Image Copyright 2013 geralt on Pixabay and edited in Canva by Jeannie Ewing.
Jeannie Ewing is a writer, speaker, and grief recovery coach. She is the co-author of Navigating Deep Waters: Meditations for Caregivers. Jeannie was featured on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and Tony Agnesi’s radio show Finding God’s Grace. She offers her insight from a counselor’s perspective into a variety of topics, including grief, spirituality, and parenting children with special needs. Jeannie resides in northern Indiana with her husband and two daughters, both of whom have special needs. For more information on her professional services, please visit her websites lovealonecreates.com or fromgrief2grace.com.