This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a woman’s conference at New Life Church called "Daughters--Hello Courage". Staci Eldredge was the speaker and she was quite fabulous. ;-) If you have never heard of her, she is the co-author of "Captivating" (a Christian book for women) and she co-authors books with her husband John Eldredge as well.
This will be a 2 Part post since there is a lot of ground to cover.
The topic was on "Courage". Staci talked about all of the elements that can give or take away courage from us as women. It was amazing to me how in depth this particular topic was and how much it stirred things up inside of me. I know I was not the only one moved by this because many of us were utilizing the tissue box quite often. ;-)
What is the meaning of courage?
Wikipedia states that Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.
Dictionary.com states that Courage is: 1. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. 2. To have the courage of one's convictions, to act in accordance with one's beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that Courage is a mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
Interesting isn't it? There are so many facets of courage. Most of the time I just think I either have it or I don't. I do not venture into the realm of why do I not have courage or how is it that I gained it?
For those of us who are women,it goes back to our identities in Christ. There are deeper issues that are going on here. Bare with me for a bit as I try and process all that I learned this weekend.
Staci talked about the heart of God and where we stand with Him. The core desire of a woman is to be romanced. The desire of romance is buried in the heart of God. God designed this yearning to be romanced so that we could be closer to him. We also need to be needed, essential, irreplaceable.
There is something fierce in the heart of a woman! Your Faith and Courage will shine out and that is what people will see. I know for sure that I want a beauty that draws people to the heart of God. Living with Courage means living with Faith.
Deuteronomy 31:8 says "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
What would it be like to live with Courage like Esther? It's not about doing but being.
G.K. Chesterton quoted, “Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” Esther had great Courage. She had this inner strength inside of her that helped her to lean on God knowing that when she stood up for her people, she may parish in the midst of it--yet she stood up for what she believed in. It's an awakened heart with confidence. ;-)
Yet, the Lord never said that once we became His children, we would live without pain and suffering. Actually, the Bible guarantee's there will be suffering. There are different types of suffering. There is suffering that comes from our own foolishness in which if we learn from it, it can make us wise. There is the suffering that comes from a fallen world and also suffering that comes from other peoples foolish behaviors. There is suffering from God that is put onto us for our own good, and then there is suffering that comes from being His children.
...and yet, the Lord comforts us. We may not always see His healing physically, but always we will see the healing of our hearts. When we face suffering throughout our lives, it is hard to trust in God for our comfort, healing and safety.
Something deep inside each one of us prevents us from living courageous--FEAR! When we fear, we hide. 1 Peter 3 talks about not giving way to fear. When we allow fear to creep in, especially when we are not looking up for Christ's help, then we hide from ourselves and from other people. We, placing ourselves in this hunkered down position, are not allowing healing into our lives by facing what is in front of us.
Sometimes fear and uncertainty creep in even as far back as our early childhood. Specifically for us girls our hearts yearn to be filled with love and affection. The questions,"Do you delight in me?, "Am I captivating?","Do you love me?" are the biggest things that formed us into who we are today. If they were not answered in a healthy way, then our confidence in ourselves may have faltered. We desire to be loved, to be beautiful. God created us to have confidence. God designed the Father/Daughter relationship to be one of the deepest relationships out there. If our earthly fathers failed at giving us what God intended then it may have created some very deep wounds within us.
These wounds, they come with messages. They come with such pain that we tend to believe them to be true. For instance, the father wounds may say "I don't love you, you are not worth it to me". The message that may have come with that is the belief that you are not worthy to be loved, to be cared for. That you were rejected and are unlovable.
So, what did we do with these wounds that crippled us? Well, we made vows to ourselves. One thing we may have told ourselves is "I will never allow anyone near me" or "I will never be loveable", or "I will never be liked". These type of vows carry us through our lives and hinder us from the healing God wants so badly for us. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear. It compels us to face what is hard and push through.
In the movie "The Princess Diaries", Mia made this quote about Courage. "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. From now on you'll be traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey."
I don't know about you but I want all of the healing available to me through Christ Jesus.
Part 2 of “Daughters—Hello Courage! Is coming soon so stay tuned...