Courage [kur-ij] noun 1. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery (from dictionary.com).
In the past few weeks, two women I know displayed great courage. They didn't face a life or death situation, but they did face their own problems. Even more than that, they shared their difficulties with others. They opened up and they were honest.
Sometimes honesty takes a whole lot of courage.
Because being honest means letting your guard down. It means no secrets. It means showing others the good...and the bad. It means opening up the possibility of a negative response. That takes courage!
It's not that these women were dishonest to others in some way and then had to come clean. That's not what I mean at all. I mean they owned their problems, dealt with them (and are continuing to deal with them), and then shared their problems as well as their progress.
And they held nothing back.
Let me tell you, I admire these two women greatly! They are such an encouragement and inspiration to me!
They could have easily kept everything to themselves, dealing with their problems on their own, and avoiding the possibility of judgement from others. They took a risk. A big risk. And their honesty had a huge impact on me.
Their raw honesty represented hope to me. Hope of overcoming difficulty. Hope of moving on. Hope of second chances. Hope of change. Hope of a softened heart.
Their honesty was also a comfort to me. To see these women who had gone through something, who had learned and grown from it, and then were confident and brave enough open up and even use their experiences to encourage others...and then to be totally accepted. I find that very comforting!
What if I'm in that situation some day? What if I'm the one sharing my heart and being completely honest about my struggles? I know I'd be nervous and scared, and would probably be devising multiple escape plans!
I also know I wouldn't want to be judged, looked down upon, or gossiped about. I would need a lot of courage to be honest on the level these women were.
And you know where that courage comes from?
Isaiah 41:10 says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Joshua 1:9 says, "...Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
That's what made these women truly courageous. They turned to God, and God strengthened them.
And God used them to encourage others.
...To encourage me.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)