This is Day 2 of our 31 Days of Less and More series. To read all the posts in order, start with Day 1 and check out our overview page to see the topics for the entire month.

courage

(photography by Patty)

She was crowned homecoming queen of her class and she was beautiful.  I always envied her hair and her womanly figure, but mostly, I was baffled by her kindness.  The boy that everybody laughed at was sitting a few seats down from her at lunch that day, and  the cruelty was almost unbearable.  He had Down’s syndrome and they always tried to make him talk, just so they could laugh at him.  Her eyes betrayed her compassion.  From that day on,  the most beautiful girl in the school and the captain of the cheerleading squad,  seemed to make it her personal mission to protect him.  She sat with him, walked with him, laughed with him and pretty soon, everybody started to see what she saw—a lovable and caring person, whose disabilities were only a veil, hiding the treasures of this precious life.  I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed anything more courageous.

We often think we need courage for the big transitions of life:  courage to go graduate school, courage to try that new sport, courage to adopt a child, courage to launch a business.

There’s the kind of courage that those things require—the kind that’s easy to see and admire.

But there’s a quiet courage of the  everyday.  The courage that’s easy to miss.

It’s the kind of courage that we often overlook or belittle—the courage to stay when we’d rather leave,  the courage to be gracious when we’d rather judge, the courage to be vulnerable when we’d rather build walls, and the courage to lay down our own agendas in order to serve someone else.  I struggle to muster up this kind of courage everyday, but when I do, it’s life-changing—both for me and for those around me.

Everything we will talk about in this series will depend on today.  Do we have the courage to become who we really are?

Will we have the courage take an honest look at ourselves and the way we live everyday?  And in case you haven’t noticed, we’re not exactly living in courageous times.  There aren’t a lot of ordinary heroes left. But we know it when we see it;  when someone performs an act of extraordinary kindness for no apparent reason, when someone goes out of their way to see us and know us and understand us, when a mom stays up with a sick child despite exhaustion,  when a father gets up every single day and goes to work.

Sometimes, courage just means making your beautiful, vulnerable self available to the world.  That is the kind of courage we need more of and it’s within your power to start today.  Become an ordinary hero to the people in your path.  Your courage will be contagious and you will be well on your way to becoming who you were made to be.

Day 2 Challenge:  Identify one small thing you have thought about doing but have been too scared to do.  It could be something as small as trying a new food or a new fitness class at the gym, or perhaps speaking to a crowd, riding a roller coaster, or even confronting someone who has hurt you, Whatever it is, write it down.  Tell your fear out loud that it can’t control you, that you are going to do this one thing even though you are scared.  Then do it!

Next, think of how different your life might be if you were courageous for the people in your life.  If you were open, vulnerable, tender, kind, self-sacrificing, and compassionate. Think of who most needs your courage today and find a few small ways to show them.  Maybe you’ve been fighting with your husband, or yelling at your kids, or maybe you’ve been keeping your heart at a safe distance from everyone in your life.  Whoever’s name comes to mind,  write it down and list 3 ways you can be more courageous in your relationships this week.  Pray for that person everyday and put them right at the top of your ‘to do’ list.  See how your thoughts about them change after a week of loving them with courage.

Be sure to read Ruth’s Day 2 on Less Fear!

Read the next post in the series:  Day 3 on Less Bitterness and More Forgiveness.

39 comments on “31 Days of Less and More, Day 2 {More Courage}”

  1. Whew. Exciting and terrifying. YES those moments when we choose courage always pay off somehow, right? often in great big ways. but the things I still fear are pretty big. I will write one down and call it a start. xoxo

  2. well, that was awesome. i’m a stay at home, homeschooling mom so it’s easy to overlook the impact i could have everyday.

    thank you for the encouragement today! i’m really looking forward to reading your series!!

  3. “See how your thoughts about them change after a week of loving them with courage.” What a beautiful challenge. Figuring out what this looks like when a relationship isn’t healthy yet it’s important to my husband. (my MIL) Not wanting to fill ill towards everything she does and desiring to find a place that is healthy for myself and my family. Will be taking on this challenge and still attempting to honor boundaries that I have set without being in constant turmoil. Looking forward to the next 31 days! Thank you!

  4. I am going through some life changes right now and this touched my heart. Thank you. I have written down what I’d like to do and have been thinking about, but putting off because I have closed myself off for a while. Exciting stuff!

  5. I feel like this post was written for me. Just before reading I actually posted a comment on our town’s news blog about a hot topic in our community. My heart was pounding the whole time. Me, sharing my opinions for everyone to read and judge. Yikes. Thank you for what looks like a great series. I need this!

  6. Edie, you are right. Courage is the opposite of fear. So why am I so afraid to confront this one. It’s a HUGE fear in my life and I know I have no control over it, only God does. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and ask your prayers while I contemplate facing it. I’m asking God to help me extend grace for those who need it most. (me included) 🙂 blessings~

  7. Oh, I’m going to enjoy this so much. This would certainly make a good topic for our ladies class or retreat. Do you have a printable version?

  8. 1. You’re amazing. 2. I read your blog regularly 3. I’m excited for this series 4. What a great little form of nightly devotion for my children. They are young but this message is one I don’t want them to miss. Thanks Edie!

  9. Sometimes, courage just means making your beautiful, vulnerable self available to the world…..wait a minute where you just speaking directly to me. I have been emotionally shut off from many I love for a while now. I accept your challenge, hopefully with grace.

  10. I hopped on over here from Crystal’s blog, and I’m so glad that I did!

    This was such a lovely blog post, not what I expected to read, but so much better!!

    I am really challenged by this. I’m going to be thinking on it tonight. There are so many areas for me to be courageous in. Thank you for the story and the challenge! I can’t wait to read more of your words!!!

  11. Hi! Thanks for this post, I really needed it today. I have been battling some fear over some little things and your words were just what I needed to hear.

  12. AS I have entered the blogging world, I have come to realize more than ever I have fallen into a pattern of letting fear overwhelm me. This challenge along with some bible study, prayer, soul searching and deep conversations with trusted spouse and friends is moving me to a place of freedom. A friend and I are stepping out in a business together-one I have been afraid to enter, but know fits me, my life and our God given talents. Thank you for soulful honesty.

  13. I had a little knot in my throat while reading this, and at the end…the tears finally came. I don’t know why, maybe it was just what I needed to hear and I just didn’t realize it.

  14. I try everyday to “put all of my baggage down” and have the courage to be more open. I guess my baggage is a reminder of what can happen when I allowed myself to be vulnerable and the fear of letting that go is huge. I just keep trying and I am making progress, slowly but surely!

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