Cultivating Courage

“Where does your courage come from?” she asked.

I paused. ‘Good question.’ I thought ‘Where does my courage come from?’

It was Saturday morning and I was sipping coffee with a dear friend, having an unplanned catch up when she posed this question to me. And it has stuck with me ever since.

Where and how do we gain courage?

The reason it has stuck with me is because it’s never been a conscious decision. I don’t think courage is ever truly a conscious decision. I think it’s a cultivated one. Courage is cultivated so when we are presented with the need to engage with it, we’re simply summoning the courage that already exists within us, rather than creating it on the spot.

Courage is best cultivated in the unknown. When we take God at his word, we create space for Him to lead us down paths we would not have anticipated or chosen on our own. This has certainly been the case for me. Each time I have been presented with a sink or swim scenario, I have summoned courage that I wasn’t aware was there but had been cultivated in secret through faith.

Courage is intricately connected to faith.

The more my friend and I pondered this notion of courage being something that is cultivated, the more we realised how connected to faith it was. Our courage matches the amount of Faith we have. If we look at Peter walking on the water, we can see that his big faith resulted in big courage which resulted in an experience no one else has had to date. This thought immediately leads me to question what areas in my life is my faith so small that I am missing out on seeing, doing, experiencing something truly amazing? In what ways am I limiting myself because I’m too afraid of what people might say or do? How am I limiting God and the freedom I give him to direct my steps and call me out onto the water, activating deeper courage?

Our faith is directly connected to our perception of God and our ability to take Him at His word. I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to be a mediocre Christian. I didn’t want to sing about an all-powerful God on a Sunday and then enter into the week doubting whether or not He had the power to do anything at all. If I truly believed in God, then I equally needed to believe that He is who He says He is. That He can do what He says He can do.

This has led to a truly adventurous life with God and I have found myself in situations and moments I never would have planned for myself. I am doing things I never thought I would do because I choose to believe in a God who is who He says He is.

Right now, my courage is being tested and strengthened again and I wanted to share it with you because in doing so I’m breaking down the fear that is preventing me from cultivating a more courageous heart.

I’m writing a book.

I’m writing a book about being single.

I’m writing a very real, honest, deeply vulnerable book about being single.

And it scares the crap out of me.

I am writing this book for many reasons (which I will continue to share over the coming months as I work towards its release date) but one of the reasons I am choosing to bare my soul and share some of my most painful moments is because it’s cultivating a more courageous heart within me.

I am feeling all kinds of anxiety over writing this book. I am deeply fearful people will hate it. I am fearful people will criticise me and my journey, think me stupid, hate what I have to say, think it narcissistic and completely miss the heart behind it. But despite all these fears, I keep forcing myself to sit down and write. I have kept toiling the soil, planting seeds of courage, cultivating and caring for them, so that they take root and grow so that fear won’t hinder me anymore.

We can only be courageous when we are out of our comfort zones. This book could be a complete flop. Or It could be the encouragement that Christian single people have been searching for and that I hope it to be. Either way, I need to find out. I need to be courageous. But I can only do that if I’m prepared to believe that God is God, that He is who He says He is. And if I can do that then there will be no hesitation to courageously lower both feet onto the churning ocean and fix my faith and eyes on the One who called me to step out of the boat.

My prayer for you is that you would have the faith to cultivate courage in your own life and let it lead you into places only Jesus can take you.