Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens us or strength in the face of pain or grief.
Everyday courage is not about heroes or heroism. Rather, it is about the grit and determination necessary to make tough calls that keep the best interests of others ahead of our own. It is about facing the daily challenges with a surrendered spirit to support the standards of Jesus Christ. Courage is displayed in walking into the school building, leading a team during challenging times or standing firm on Christian principles—especially when others are opposed.
Each time we make decisions aligned with these standards, we may experience fear or anxiety because they challenge the status quo, irritate others or lead us into uncharted waters. This is everyday courage and it is the kind of courage Christ followers need to succeed.
Consider four different types of everyday courage: moral, intellectual, disciplined and empathetic
Moral Courage is the courage to stand up for one’s beliefs in the face of overwhelming opposition. Moral Courage is the outward expression of our personal values and core beliefs often with the unintentional resulting actions focused on a greater good.
Intellectual Courage is the courage to challenge old assumptions or understandings and act on new understandings and insights gleaned from scripture, experience, education or the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Intellectual Courage compels us to wisely address and consider ideas, beliefs or perspectives.
Disciplined Courage is the courage to be reflective, strategic and focused in the face of constant distractions and opposition. Christ followers who practice this type of courage have great clarity on their vision and on the impact they want to have on others within and outside the Christian community. They are focused on doing the right Christ-honoring things in a spiritually empowered thoughtful and purposeful way.
Empathic courage takes maturity, humility and compassion to put aside our own biases and assumptions to let go of control and certainty for the sake of learning something new. When we are willing to listen to a different perspective and permit ourselves to empathize, we can be enriched by a new way of thinking and open to a new way the Holy Spirit desires to lead, guide or direct us.
I see you being courageous. Courage isn’t always loud, take charge or obvious. Sometimes courage is making the decision, getting back up, trying it one more time or believing when all the evidence is contrary to what you’ve already accepted. And just about the time you think you just don’t have it in you—remember what Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take courage—take my courage—I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)