Do It Scared
“This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
- Joshua 1:9 NLT
I’ve been thinking a lot about courage for the last few weeks and was reminded of the night before my mom’s funeral. I was understandably struggling with the whole thing, not just because my mom had died but because I’ve always much preferred the outskirts of a gathering to being the center of attention, so the whole idea of the receiving line really freaked me out. I didn’t know how I was going to hold it all together—quite frankly I knew that I couldn’t possibly do it on my own. So I did something that was still relatively new for me, I grabbed my Bible and I began to read.
I don’t know what lead me to the Psalms, all I remember is God giving me hope in two verses. The first one was Psalm 27:14, “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” Then two pages later the same theme comes up again, Psalm 31:24, “So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!”
I went to bed that night still not knowing what the next day was going to look like, but I had a peace that I wasn’t going to have to figure it out alone. That God was going with me and that He would see me through; that because of Him I could be courageous.
I learned that courage is not the lack of fear but instead acting in the face of it. I was still scared to walk into the church and stand in front of the crowd the next day but I did it anyway. I did it scared.
In that place, in the face of my fears, I found a peace that surpassed understanding. I didn’t even know that it was available because I hadn’t made it to that verse yet in my newborn Christianity, but my ignorance did not keep it at bay. Had I not been courageous, had I bailed out and hid away in the nursery or the back of the church I would have missed the miracle of His presence. Through my courage in the face of fear, I got to see my God show up.
When I reflect on my Christian journey courage in the face of fear seems to be a prevailing theme. I honestly can’t think of one thing that God has prompted me to do that I wasn’t scared about—that it didn’t take courage to trust and have faith. Even holding to faith itself feels like an act of courage. No matter how many times my God has shown up, there is still an amount of fear that comes from stepping out of my comfort zone and trusting in Him to catch me.
But unless we do, unless we step out and do it scared then how do we learn that our God is good, that He is trustworthy and a keeper of His word? We can read about it—about His character and His goodness—and we can listen to the testimony of others but until we experience it we aren’t changed by it. And unless we step out and be courageous then how will we experience Him coming through?
There are so many examples in the Bible of courage that speak to me: Esther walking into the throne room, Ruth laying at the feet of Boaz, the woman with the issue of blood grabbing onto the robe of Jesus, Abagail intercepting David, and the list goes on and on. I want to be like those women, refusing to let fear win—being strong and courageous even when I don’t feel like it…especially when I don’t feel like it because that’s really what puts our courage to the test isn’t it?
It’s time that we stop waiting for the fear to go away and be courageous in the face of it. Our God is with us even when we don’t feel it, He is for us even when we don’t see it, and we are His even though we don’t deserve it. It’s those truths that will help us stand firm in the face of fear—it’s those things that will help us be courageous.
Written by Amanda Strauser