“You’re right, I am a coward! I haven’t any courage at all. I even scare myself.” – The Cowardly Lion
You all remember the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, right? He’s the one that said “I haven’t any courage at all” but, in the end, proved he had more than enough courage to face his biggest fears.
I believe what the Cowardly Lion actually suffered from was not a lack of courage, but fear. And that fear held him back from becoming all that he was meant to be, but only until he stopped letting fear keep him from being the courageous lion he was born to be.
Have you ever let fear hold you back and keep you from becoming all that you were meant to be? Are there areas of your life where you wish you would move forward but feel like you can’t because you fear doing so?
Fear can be a good thing. It’s meant to warn us of situations in our lives where we need to be extra cautious. But fear can also create such a grip on us that we freeze in place and never find the courage to move forward, be bold, and fully experience life.
Some have a fear of roller coasters or driving on freeways. These aren’t the types of fears I’m thinking about. For some these are very real fears that don’t necessarily keep them from fully living their lives. But there are fears that do keep us so bottled up that we won’t step out into new horizons where we can thrive.
Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of saying “yes.” Fear of saying “I’m sorry” or granting forgiveness. Fear of admitting wrongdoing. Fear of being rejected. Fear of loving or being loved. Fear of doing something God has called you to do. These and others are the fears I think really hold us back.
I’ve been a victim of fear … more times than I like to admit. It’s a trap that’s easy to fall into. One of my greatest fears in life has always been a fear of failure. I have been so focused on success that failing, at anything, was not an option. This fear has kept me from what likely could have been some amazing times in my life.
One of those times was when Susan and I were called to write Who Are the Joneses Anyway? The entire idea of writing a book, speaking on stage, and sharing the craziest parts of our lives with the public was enough to make me sick. And then there was the fear of failure! I mean, who would care about a book from unknown authors? I didn’t know anything about book publishing! I was totally out of my league. I could hear everyone laughing at me if we failed.
Luckily, I decided enough was enough! I wasn’t going to let fear hold me back from what God had designed me to do. There came a point when I simply had to say “enough!” … I’m not going to let fear of failure keep me from fully experiencing all that God had planned for me … not anymore.
This was a very real “ah-ha” type of life-changing moment for me. I summoned the courage to move beyond fear. And I’m glad I did. Our book has seen success and, better yet, it is changing lives for the better. That is something to be excited about.
Dictionary.com defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.” It’s also “having the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.”
You see, courage is not the absence of fear; it’s facing your fear head on, not letting it hold you back, and moving forward confidently in spite of it.
Are there any big decisions or dreams you are considering but you think you can’t move forward? What are they? Is fear holding you back? Aren’t your dreams worth a shot? Doesn’t the world deserve all of you?
Why not be like the Cowardly Lion, summon your courage from deep down, and, despite potential criticism, move beyond your fears? Isn’t it about time?
Make 2018 your year! Start expecting greater things than you ever imagined.
Blessings on your continuing journey,
Author | Speaker | Coach