The case for courage

The case for courage

Help me not to be fearful of other people's response to my obedience to You.

When I said those words in prayer last week, it was further proof of how much I've grown over the past 3 years. I used to admittedly be overly-analytical of what some people think of me, especially my friends. More specifically how they perceive my comments, my tone, and my opinions. While I have no problem speaking up for myself and other people, the mental gymnastics that I used to put myself through was exhausting. It also revealed a bigger more well-hidden issue deep in my heart, which was that I idolized my friendships.

Just a little backstory about me, I grew up in a city where fighting was encouraged if one felt slighted or disrespected by another person. It didn't matter if you were male or female, a child or an adult, you had to be ready & willing to fight in any setting and the likelihood of fighting a so-called friend was just as probable as going blow for blow with an enemy. I can confidently say that my middle school years shaped my former perspective about what it meant to be a good friend.

Loyal to a fault.

Down for whatever even if it led to trouble.

Keeping secrets that aren't healthy or safe for the parties involved.

Taking unnecessary risks that could hurt myself or other people and the list goes on.

My perspective on friendship was less about wanting to be liked and more about wanting to be viewed as reliable without rocking the boat. Unfortunately, this mindset eventually blew up in my face because it's built solely on submitting to how someone feels regardless of context. Thankfully, I've since learned that although our feelings are valid, it doesn't mean that they represent the truth and the truth does matter y'all.

In 2022, God exposed and uprooted this idol in my heart but the truth is that He started cutting away the thorns it produced back in 2020. It wasn't easy and it definitely didn't feel good mostly because it required real courage that my flesh would never have and a new level of trust in the LORD that I hadn't quite exercised yet. However, the reality is that pruning by the Father is necessary for those that are in Christ. It's the only way that we'll perpetually bear good fruit (John 15:1-8).

I'm now at a place in my life where I'm okay with both the possibility and the reality of other people being bothered or even offended by my boldness to stand on and for the word of God. Most of my friendships have shifted drastically and some have withered away altogether because of my decision to live out loud for Jesus instead of trying to hide my faith behind the world's standard of what it means to be a good person in an effort to keep the peace.

‚ÄúDo not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.¬†For I have come to ‚Äėset a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law‚Äô;¬†and ‚Äėa man‚Äôs enemies will be those of his own household.'" - Matthew 10:34-36

The Strong's Concordance tells us that the word courage is used to express wind, breath, mind, spirit such as the Spirit of God. In other words, one cannot have true courage without the LORD. My advice to those who want to be bolder on behalf of the kingdom of heaven and more fortified in your faith: Make a case for courage during your prayer time with the Father. Why? Because there's no reason for you to be afraid of anyone when we serve the God who made everyone.

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