Today at church Pastor Sean said something really awesome. He said that courage is not a feeling. If you are waiting to feel courageous it will never happen. When he said that it made me think. It made perfect sense. I think back on my life and there has never been a time where I went into something feeling very courageous.
I love to go cliff jumping. I also hate heights. You would think the two wouldn’t go together but somehow I make it work. I remember my first time ever going cliff jumping. It was in upstate New York at Cornell University. There was a bridge that was about 40-45 feet above a river. The bridge was made out of stone and had a wall that was about three feet tall on each side of it. The wall was about a foot thick. When it was my turn to jump, I climbed up on the wall and looked at what I was getting ready to do. Immediately my fear of heights took over and there was nothing in me that wanted to jump. After about a minute of inner struggle, my feelings about the height had not changed. Finally I forced myself to jump. It was awesome. I made my way back to the bridge and Josh told me his strategy for jumping. He told me that he would start on the opposite side of the bridge and run and hop up on the wall with enough momentum that there was no stopping him from going off. That way he didn’t have enough time to process the height from which he was getting ready to fall. That sounded like a much better plan than I had used the first time, so I decided to implement it on my next jump. I ran across the bridge, jumped up on the ledge, and the next thing I knew I was free falling straight towards the water. Nothing had changed about my dislike for heights, but there was no hesitation this time.
Since then I have cliff jumped many times in many different places. Through all of this my fear of heights has not changed. I still have a strong dislike for heights. The one thing that has changed is my attitude. When I go to cliff jump, my attitude is that I’m just going to do it. If I stand on the ledge of a jump I will never build the courage to jump. I could stand there as long as I want, but it won’t happen. I just have to force myself to jump.
The same thing is true about our walk with God. There are a lot of things that God calls us to do that we may be scared of. We can sit there and wait for the courage to build up inside of us, but unfortunately that is not going to happen. Courage is doing something in spite of the fear we may have. Maybe you are scared of telling your friends about Jesus. Maybe you are scared about tithing. Maybe you are scared of giving up that friend you know you shouldn’t have. If you want to be courageous, you are just going to have to step out and start doing it. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Remember that God is with you. So go ahead and take the step. Stop waiting for courage to come and just make it happen. When you take that step God will take you to places you never thought were possible.