June 19, 2013

The Courage to Live {when tempted to survive}




I remember the boys screwing up their faces when their dad handed them the check. When they were little guys, elementary age, we would take them out to restaurants where a cashier stood behind a register to close out the bill. My husband would send one of the boys from the table with a scribbled-on ticket and some bills. They always looked back for assurance but they had to grab hold of courage and make the transaction on their own.

Courage happens most often in isolation---even when there are people in the room. The hardest things to do are the things no one else can do for you---taking the exams, giving the report, taking your turn at the bat.

The good news is that it’s that way for everybody.

In January, I prayed asking God for my “one word” for the year. The year before He had clearly given me the word “restored.” The word wrapped around me warm, hugged me in its embrace. I thanked God for it---for the assurance written across my life: Restored.

As I prayed in the cold days of January for the new word, God wrote on my heart: Courage.

I didn’t know what it would mean for me then; and in most ways, I still don’t.

What I do know is--- it takes courage to live in this world by faith alone, to believe in the Unseen God, and for promises that wait.

It takes courage to be with God rather than to do for God---courage to sit with the knowledge that I may not be getting everything right. It takes courage to be less than perfect and be okay with it.

Maybe courage is stepping forward when the only light for the path is that the sun rose in the morning.

Today I sat before the vastness of the ocean. I saw its power as the waves pushed against the shore. I watched its rhythm, how it was reaching out, being swept back, over and over and over. 

I am familiar with that rhythm. I know its song. I have sung it---over and over and over.

I’ve stumbled through life when I wanted run with a steady jog, with a bounce in my step. I have tripped up now and again, lost courage—unsure steps stammer. 

I move two steps forward, one step back. I do the hustle with God trying to figure out what He is up to next. Outwit. Outplay. Outlast.

But I want to be more than a survivor. There is no freedom in hanging on til the end and not really being all in. That's not living.

Courage isn't about surviving. It's about thriving.

When you’re restored, you are tempted to sit back in a beach chair, dig your feet deep in the sand, and not risk walking out into the unpredictable ocean called life.

For me, I know God didn’t restore me so I could try to build some kind of fortress around my life, vie for safe when the sea is prone to storms.

There is no guarantee I will only have one big storm in life. 

The rain comes at times under cover of darkness; you don’t always see the storms coming.  

Courageous living means accepting the unknown, living in the moment, trusting God with the future. It also means stepping out in the midst of the storm---eyes fixed on Jesus.

It is learning the rhythm of faith, “…the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Faith is not a state of mind. It is an act of courage.

Linking with Emily and Jennifer:



   

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