COURAGE THE MOTHER OF ALL VERTUES

13 LITTLE-KNOWN FACTORS ABOUT COURAGE THAT COULD POSITIVELY AFFECT YOUR DESTINY
Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues because unless a man has that virtue he has no security for preserving any other. Courage is an essential principle for destiny fulfillment.
What is courage? Courage is the quality of being brave: the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action. Courage is described as the absence of fear. It is not only the absence of fear, it is the act of facing the things that scare you but which you know are necessary if you are going to get what you want in life. Courage is the ability to break away from your comfort zone. Each of us has a comfort zone, a zone of behavior that is familiar to us and where we feel comfortable and safe. They are routine parts of your everyday life, the things you can do with no sweat. But to succeed, with your destiny, you will be called upon from time to time to break away from your comfort zone. Sometimes you will need a bold David versus Goliath kind of courage. At other times, we will need a quieter courage, the kind described by Mary Radmacher-Hershey, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying: “I will try again tomorrow.”

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. (Josh 1:6-7.NIV)
6 FACTORS THAT STOP PEOPLE FROM TAKING COURAGEOUS STEPS
The Bible exhorts us to be courageous, but despite the fact that courage is necessary for success in life, few people really manifest daring behavior when it is needful. The reasons for that lack of boldness are various. Here are six of them:
1. Natural or personal limitations
Some people are handicaps. These handicaps may be inborn or acquired handicaps; physical or emotional. Many people are not courageous to do some things because of those natural or personal limitations. But the good news is that by boldness and courage you can surmount natural limitations and fulfill your destiny. Many people have risen to heights that their natural limitation could not have allowed them rise. Why? Because they have been bold and courageous enough to challenge the fate that nature wanted to impose on them. Some of the wonderful hymns we sing today were written by people with serious natural handicaps. One of the most serious pastors, evangelists and miracle worker preachers of our generation is the Australian Ps Nick Vujicic of Rock Church but he is a seriously, naturally handicapped person. He has no arms and no legs, but he has fought and has entered his destiny. His slogan is, “no arms, no legs, no worries.” Moses in the Bible was a stammer; Helen Keller the famous American poet and writer develop a serious illness at 19 months of age which later render her dumb and deaf. But still, all these persons challenged their handicaps and became blessings to their generations.
2. Our background
Some people lack courage because of the type of background they come from. Many people have seriously compromised their destiny simply because they limited it to the type of background they came from. Still, I have seen many others challenged their background by courage to rise to the level God had destined them.
3. Our tradition
Some are afraid to take some steps because it goes against their tradition. Tradition here means the ‘status quo’, the way things are usually done in their community. They say: ‘it has never been done that way’; ‘nobody has done that before’. As far as destiny is concerned, you should not think in terms of how they do it in your community, think in terms of what God wants you to do.
4. The way people see and rate you
Because of the comments of others, some people have very low self-esteem and have developed a serious inferiority complex. Such people would not take courageous steps in life, because others rate them so low and they have allowed others views to seriously influence them. When God told Saul that he was to become a prophet, he hardly believed it because others had given him the impression that he could never be a prophet. That is why when he started to prophecy the people asked: ‘Is Saul among the prophets?’(1 Sam 10:12). As far as your destiny is concerned, what others say doesn’t count much. What really counts is what God is saying, and the way you see and rate yourself. A high self-esteem is indispensable if we want to be useful for God.
5. Conjecture
This refers to the prevailing economic situation. Children of God live by faith and not by sight. So if God asked you to take a step, be sure he has surely provided what is needed for you to succeed. Never look at the economic situation to take courageous steps for God, look at God himself. When God gives a vision, he chooses some people to support it. God has destined some people to sponsor only big projects, and until they see somebody with a big vision they will never release what they have.
6. Fear of Failure
There are many causes to failure but to be afraid of failure leads the list. It may be fear of approaching new prospects, fear about changing careers, fear about learning new skills, fear of going back to school, fear of telling other people what’s on your mind. The vast majority of people are terrified about speaking in front of a group of people. No matter what makes you afraid, the only lesson you should keep is that you are stronger than any of your fears… and you can overcome them! Most of us are indeed willing to simply avoid temporary discomfort and possible ridicule from others. This is insane! In the long run, retreating is not the best way to handle your problem. You will never be highly successful or develop your talents to the fullest unless you’re willing to confront your fears. This is how; Miguel de Cervantes expresses this truth: “He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he who loses courage loses all.”
7. Our past
Some people are no more ready to take courageous steps for God because of the experiences they had in the past. These experiences may not necessarily be negative. They may also be good experiences. Have you not heard that “the first enemy of the best is the good”? Never allow your past achievements stop you from daring more for God. If a good deed can limit our will to dare, then negative experiences will do even worst, and actually they do worst. We always think of our bad and bitter experiences and dread that we may fail again if we try. Be careful, you failed yesterday but you can succeed today or tomorrow.

FIVE POTENTIAL SOURCES OF COURAGE

Courage is mostly directed against fear; it is the weapon to face fear. Fear is a natural human sentiment and all of us are victims of its effect once in a while. Courage is needed but you are afraid. However I know of five friends who can encourage you every morning to be courageous. They are:

1- Your God. When you get up every morning remember that your God has commanded you to be courageous. A courageous person breaks away from routine, breaks away from men set standards, and launches into new grounds. He goes a step further; he surprises everybody with the standard of his dreams and vision, because he sees with God’s eye and properly behold what God has for him. God gives any one of us talents as he wills, but expects us to develop them as we will.
2- Your destiny. Next, your destiny should motive you to gather courage every morning because you must fulfill it. Be courageous enough to face any obstacle opposed to it. When you are gripped by fear and anxiety, it’s usually because you are stepping out of your comfort zone. The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible. Don’t be one of those who lets his regrets take the place of his dreams. Regrets can come only if you fail to take the courageous actions needed today to make your dreams a reality.
3- Your shortcomings. You have shortcomings which can potentially discourage you. Be proactive by arming yourself with courage every morning that will help you challenge your shortcomings. Lack of experience can be compensated for by boldness, daring instincts, and originality. History shows that the most successful people started out completely inexperienced and learnt as they went along.
4- Your second chance. No matter how you fail you still have a second chance. Be courageous. Success is never final and failure never fatal; it’s courage that counts. Often we are surprised to find out that many of the world’s greatest men and women had to overcome great disabilities and adversities to go on to greatness. Their lives teach us that circumstances do not make us what we are but reveal who we are. Raise him in abject poverty and he becomes an Abraham Lincoln. Strike him down with infantile paralysis and he becomes a franklin D. Roosevelt. Call him a slow learner, ‘retarded; and write off as uneducable and he becomes an Albert Einstein.
5- Your future challenges. When you push through fear and take action in some areas of your life, you’ll develop confidence in other areas as well. Those former dread activities will become part of your comfort zone! And this is a bonus. Life doesn’t reward those who refuse to expose themselves to difficulties and challenges. Courage has power in it. It can work wonders. It is impossible to fail if we always live in the brave and cheerful attitude of mind.
6- Your future success. Show me a successful person and I will show you someone who confronts his or her fears and takes action! Men who succeed keep open minds and are afraid of nothing. If you want to be successful, you must be willing to be uncomfortable. To achieve your goals and realize your potential, you must be willing to be uncomfortable to do things that you’re afraid to do. That’s how you develop your potential! If you are not willing to do what others have not done, it would be difficult for you to have what others have not got. All those who have made great inventions in this world, were courageous. They had never heard or seen what they invented, but still they had the courage to go ahead and invent it.
People like Thomas Edison who invented the electric bulb and many other things, those who invented the television, radio phone, and Bill Gates who invented the Microsoft software, were courageous. There’s nothing wrong with having some fears. Successful people have fears. The difference is that successful people take action and move forward despite being afraid. You are a winner just by entering the arena and participating, regardless of the result. Developing any skill takes time.
Verily, courage is the absence of fear; that is just in principle. In practice courage is fear which has said its prayers. When you are afraid pray and take action and God will see you through.
God bless you

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