Chapter 16: Become a Courageous Woman
I don't know why but I couldn't help thinking of the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz. He needed courage. He was determined to find it because fear was taking over his lion life. And lions are supposed to be brave, bold, and adventurous! Aren't they supposed to be Kings of the Jungle?
Well, as a woman created in the image of the King of the Universe, God wants us to be courageous, confident women who are also brave, bold, and adventurous. We know where courage comes from, we don't visit the Wizard of Oz, we seek our heavenly father. Whenever I feel like fear is about to take hold of me, I think back to when God allowed me to be victorious as a teen when I was so afraid to go back to High School after my foot surgery. He gave me Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."
I also think back to when John and I first got engaged! What an exciting time that was! I was finishing up my first school year at Timothy, and about to embark on grad school at Baptist Bible College, and things were going so well for us. In the summer of 2002, John also decided he wanted to leave his finance job in NYC and open up a Taekwondo school! Ummmmmm, can I say fear? We were pulling our finances together to plan our wedding and buy a home, and now he was telling me that he would be switching up careers? A new business at that, no definite salary, it could fail, he could get no students....not to mention I would barely see him because our hours would be opposite. At first, I was quite resistent...I even remember Jack, my father in law trying to give me all the pros to why this would be a great idea. But I was so afraid, I didn't want to be bold or adventurous, I wanted a safe career for John, with a steady paycheck, and perfect hours. Somehow, God really put this on John's heart, and so finally I just gave it to God. After all, John was never one to do anything risky, I trusted him, I trusted that he prayed about it, and I trusted that God would bless us.
Guess what? That fall when the school opened we got 80 students the first month!!! That just doesn't happen! John made TRIPLE what he was making in NY in finance. I never expected any of that! God was faithful, John worked very hard, and it was my job to be supportive and trust because what else could I do? Complain? Bicker? Argue? Get discouraged? It was much easier to give it to God, and now looking back 8 years later I see how blessed we were and how good God was to us. We have never had to want for anything. A new couple just starting out, we payed for our entire wedding, our honeymoon, and we bought a home and all new furniture in the first year! All without any debt! Now, who did all that? God!
I love how Joyce says: "You wouldn't drink poison if someone offered it to you, would you? Then stop taking fear and start choosing courage." She's right! Fear is a choice! I choose to be bold, courageous and adventurous!
Joyce also talks about how we need to have encourage-rs in our life because we are all going to come across problems, trials, and difficulties. There are times that we need encouragement but don't get it. It's during times like that that I find if I am faithful to find people to bless and encourage, God helps me by always providing a special friend just when I need her. It's a reminder to me to be encouraging with my words and actions every day. It helps to not become so self absorbed!
We also need courage and confidence to forgive those who have hurt us in big and small ways. This is always a tough one for me because I have a critical way once I've been hurt by someone. God is teaching me that I need to forgive others not only for them but for me as well. Holding on to past hurts is never good. My pastor said its like drinking poison you've intended for someone else, or something like that.
Courage and confidence is detrimental to our faith. Joyce says, "Most Christians live far below their God-ordained destiny and privileges simply because they compromise rather than taking a stand." I always used to say to my students, "It's always right to do right because its right!" Standing up for what is right is bold now a days. But we are called to do it. I can remember clearly, I was driving home from grad school one summer evening (it was a 2 hour drive and I enjoyed the time alone in the car with the Lord) and I clearly felt God was telling me to confront a "sister in the Lord" of mine. I felt it so clearly and I knew exactly what he wanted me to say and confront...but the hard part was doing it. The minute I got home I left her a message so that I would have no choice but to be accountable to do it. She came over for dinner and after we ate I told her my experience in the car and I confronted her on the issue God wanted me to (very embarrassing and difficult because it was a private issue, something I wouldn't even talk about with a close friend) In a matter of seconds she was crying in front of me, confessed her sin, and shared and admitted way more than I expected. I had no idea she had no one to talk to about this, and in fact, she was so surprised I knew what I knew, another God-thing that God revealed it to me. But my boldness and confidence was from God and He wanted my obedience. It's never easy, but blessing always comes from obedience. Be bold, be courageous, be adventurous, and God will not only bless you, but the people all around you.
View Suzette's Blog here. http://godlyrose.blogspot.com