The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
~Martin Luther King Jr.
We are living in times where very few are feeling as if they are standing in very many “moments of comfort and convenience.” I’m sure if we took a poll, most would raise their hand to agree that there are many more “times of challenge and controversy” to deal with in their daily lives.
I have friends at this moment holding their breath, hoping and praying to hang on to their job. To say that it is taking courage just to face every day is an understatement for a lot of people walking in our midst. Maybe you? Somedays I know I can raise my hand.
Can you imagine how wealthy I would be if I could find a way to bottle up courage and sell it right here for $9.99 to everyone who wanted it?
I’m willing to bet it would sell for a whole lot more then that.
Sometimes it takes courage just to get out of bed and face another day. It takes courage to look in the mirror. Courage to look at the checkbook balance, the Visa bill, and the unpaid stack of medical bills piling up in the corner.
Courage to have that dreaded conversation. The one you have had SO many times in your mind, several different ways, with many imagined outcomes, but have never had the guts to have…face to face…for real.”
How do you get yourselves to continue on when all you want to do is hide under the bed?
What’s It All About?
When obstacles start to become the standard rather than the exception, it helps to know what you are fighting FOR. The first step in collecting courage is in having a clear, unwavering vision of what is most important to you to keep you on track.
You need to know WHAT you are fighting for. Then you need to remember the WHY. Is it the need to put food on the table? Is it that big hairy audacious dream that just won’t let you go? Given a strong enough, compelling enough reason to get out of bed, open the bills, or face that dreaded conversation, you will make it happen. You will find a way. You will SUMMON the courage from a place inside of you that you might not even know is there.
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
~Oriah Mountian Dreamer
Once you have summoned it, you have to find a way to sustain it. It’s one thing to summon up a moment of courage to achieve a great thing, or to rescue someone or something from an impending disaster. But what about those times when you need sustainable courage, ongoing power, faith and determination?
Where is it going to come from then?
From the very same place. From the vision. From the WHY that got you going in the first place. This is where many of us falter. We find our purpose, we pump up our courage, our strength, we sound the battle cry of “We shall overcome…” and then-
our courage dwindles away. We don’t have it anymore and we don’t know where it went.
It’s right where it always was.
In the WHY.
Keep your purpose clear and your path will be bright, your courage will guide you both day and night…
It’s not. It takes daily discipline. Perhaps the one thing harder for most of us to find than courage. Committing to finding the time for a daily focus and renewal of looking at our goals, values and purposes.
John and I went away this weekend for a mini retreat. Just an overnight in a different location, a time to get alone together, listen to some good music and have time to talk uninterrupted and let our visions and dreams get some breathing room. It’s too easy to get caught up in the daily TO DO list and the drumbeat of EVERYDAY SYNDROME that keeps us moving along but not really “living” when you are in the thick of it all the time. Getting away from that daily pace helps to get you back to the WHY and the purpose behind what all the motion is about. I came back feeling more creative, more centered and feeling like with faith, we can do anything. I found my courage out there on the open road.
Maybe you can’t get in the car and drive away right now. Maybe it feels too hard to squeeze out even a few minutes of alone time to get focused. The holidays are among us and every moment feels priceless. It feels like any moments we take away from the task are counter-productive. However, it’s when time is at its busiest that we need to step back the most. Take those moments to get refocused on the “What are we doing all of this for?” “What is the big picture?” and “Why am I willing to put up with this struggle in the first place?”
Take a few moments to get renewed. Find your courage. It’s been there waiting for you all along.