The True Meaning of Courage

One of my "go to" phrases when I am offering someone counsel or advice is simply this: 

"Surrender the outcomes." 

It's a phrase that spills easily out of me when I'm trying to do my best to bolster someone's courage, and give them a sense of hope that whatever they are going through is not going to be the end of them. 

I know it works.  My attempts at controlling all of the outcomes to the hard seasons and big decisions of my life never work out all that well.  When I've white-knuckled my grip on my own life and refused to allow God even the slightest bit of control, things typically end badly. 

And still, despite my thorough belief in surrendering the outcomes to God, I still struggle with it from time to time.  I believe it all comes down to my aversion to vulnerability.  I hate feeling exposed.  I don't like letting my armor down. 

Maybe some of you feel the same way, too.    

And the dirty little secret of that feeling is that it can leave you feeling less-than, cowardly and small.  Here's the thing:  Those are just feelings, and we may feel them intensely, but they aren't the truth about us. Not by a long shot. 

I read this great quote today from Brene Brown's excellent new book Dare to Lead
Vulnerability is not winning or losing.  It's having the courage to show up when you can't control the outcome. 
It takes courage to drop your armor and step into the fray.  It takes courage to surrender the outcomes of whatever it is that you are going through and trust that God has it.  It takes courage to trust that despite what happens, it will not destroy you.  

If you are finding it hard to summon the courage to be vulnerable today, hear these powerful words of encouragement from St. Paul:  
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 
Let this be your prayer, your mantra today.  Take heart and stumble on as you make your way after Jesus.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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