On Tuesday night, men from Restoration gathered for our monthly, ManUp where we have been talking about our character. We begin with a 20 minute lecture on the topic, then time in small groups to talk about it, then a 3 person panel shares their personal stories about how they have been growing in this area. We’ve had 3 of these evenings and each one has resulted in significant conversations.
Last night we talked about courage. Someone asked on the feedback cards:
Ok, courage is good. Check. Now how do you move from fear to courage?
That’s a great question.
Quick refresher on our working definitions of courage:
- Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you.
- Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief.
- Courage is doing the right thing at the right time in the right place.
Here is how the stories from our panelists answered the question– how do we move from fear to courage.
We don’t. In every story that was shared last night, no one stopped being afraid. In Exodus 14, when God had Israel backed up at the Red Sea with the Egyptians bearing down on them, He made a singular way for them to be rescued. God parted the Red Sea and said, ‘Tell the people of Israel to move forward.’ There is no way they stopped being afraid. Walking through those walls of water was the only way they were going to be saved, but I am sure they were terrified. Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you. But the fear doesn’t go away.
We make a decision to do what feels terrifying. So one panelist asked someone to marry him. Another panelist quit his job and started his own business. Another panelist drove to his parent’s house to have a conversation with his Dad. None of those men stopped being afraid. But all of them had a moment of courage when they said, ‘I will do this.’ For each of them, there was a pre-decision that helped to ‘lock them in’ to the decision. For example, one guy called his parents so that they would be expecting him (and so he couldn’t just drive around skipping the conversation). God gives us the strength we need for the decision we have to make. He makes a way and invites us to trust Him, to depend on His Holy Spirit, to TAKE IT. We don’t stop being afraid.
We put people around us. Each of the men who shared last night talked about the role that their small group, their spouse, their friends played in bolstering their courage. None of us can be the kind of people we want to be on our own. We need folks who encourage us, pray for us, and tell us to obey the convictions of the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, in our church those kind of people are easy to access. Are you in a small group? They all start on January 19.
Next month we will ManUp about sex. February 11. You won’t want to miss it.
I am very grateful for the men in our church. God is doing good work in them.