If I asked you to think about a character from a story who sought courage, perhaps a most obvious answer is the Lion in the Wizard of Oz. It was a very clever move by the author of the book – portraying the animal kingdom’s fiercest animal as a timid scaredy-cat. His disillusionment that he can’t be who he was born to be is frustrating for the audience – and even the characters in the book – because they all know he is quite capable of courage.
Lion proves it several times and makes it obvious he is willing to, infact, fight to the death to protect his friends. What the Lion lacked wasn’t the ability to be courageous, but confidence in his courage.
And so the Lion doesn’t really recognise his full potential because he believes this lie that he – who is created to be fierce and courageous – is a coward. And so he is unsettled and not at peace with himself.
The same is true of us.
But the reason we don’t offer this to the world and fulfill our full potential, is because of fear.
Fear of looking silly, fear of rejection, fear of disappointment, most of all… fear of failure.
Think about something you’ve been wanting to do. Have you been wanting to learn a new skill or maybe even change jobs? Get back into an activity you love, or exercise? Make a new friend? Ask someone out? Share your viewpoint about something you know might ruffle some feathers?
Whatever it is, go back to that list of fears and I guarantee your hesitancy is due to one of them. We can find all the excuses in the book, but the true cause of our inaction is fear.
The Lion in the Wizard of Oz thinks he is cowardly because he is fearful. But we know he isn’t really cowardly, because courage is in fact acting in the face of fear.
Fear is not a justified reason for inaction.
We are made for courage, that is why we admire it so much in the heroic stories of fairytales and true life events. These stories show us that moments of courage are life-changing – and they will be for you too.
Like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz, we need to realise our own capabilities and that we were made for more.
I have seen so many instances in just the past few years where I have had to confront such fears.
I was afraid of looking silly writing blogs as a young woman with so much inexperience and personal flaws – but I have learnt so much about myself and my faith in the process.
I was afraid of rejection when I applied to study to become a doctor – but I have been rewarded for my faith that whatever the outcome, it wouldn’t be a waste or a shame.
I was afraid of disappointment when I have had to be vulnerable with people about personal struggles – but instead I have been enveloped even more by people who truly love me.
I am afraid of failing every time I resolve to be a better person – but God is my refuge and my strength (Psalm 46:1–3) and He is yours also.
Peace sounds like something that is soft and comfortable, lying in a glade of grass by cool, running water.
Courage is something that sounds like steel clashing with steel, fire and blood and sweat. Peace sounds like it demands unity, whereas courage sounds like it demands conflict.
The two don’t really seem to go together… but they do! Because they both demand respect and compromise.
We must feel a bit uncomfortable to be courageous and do the right thing, but the reward of peace is an overwhelming comfort that makes it worth it every time.