By Nancy Virden (c)2016
Even the tallest Sequoia tree was once a seed. In part one of this three-part blog post, you saw the need to begin where you are. Now you need a seed of courage and will find it in the next strategy.
Strategy 2. Plant a Seed of Courage
Ask yourself what you want. Do you want to live in fear? Do you want to accomplish your dreams? What kind of person do you want to see looking back at you in the mirror? Consider your values and take the time to write down your specific answers.
The result: Clarity of focus will surprise you and others.
Stan is a young adult whose parents paid his bills. One day he announced, “I do not want you to help me. No money, no rescue. I want to know I can make it on my own.” With that, he moved to another city alone. His struggles included homelessness and loneliness. Because he knew who he wanted to be, this motivated him until he earned financial independence.
Strategy 3. Water That Seed with Action
When I lived in Kansas, I saw amusing tumbleweeds bouncing across the plain and streets in whatever direction the wind blew. Dry seeds blow in the wind too, but they do not produce anything. Your seed of courage needs soil and water too.
Define what needs changing, and come up with some creative ideas to follow through. No idea is too weird at first as this is just brainstorming. For example, if you want to be more assertive, practicing in front of the mirror is a step forward. If you want to stop procrastinating on a tough decision, ask a friend to give you a deadline.
The result: You will begin to feel and think differently.
Edgar lost his job. As an older man, he began to feel useless. Hopelessness finally paralyzed him until it was difficult to tackle small chores. He said, “I feel as if I am only waiting to die. This is not good.”
Edgar began cleaning up around the house. This led to him constructing a birdhouse for his wife. Soon, he was speaking differently, and believing he could contribute. He said, “I’m going to volunteer at a charity. I’ve plenty to give.”
Ask, “What step(s) will I take today toward becoming who I want?” Make at least one quality decision. So what if the step is tiny, who cares? You are the one stretching your courage, do what is fitting for you today. Amaze yourself over time, as one step leads to another, then another.
The result: You will know you are a winner.
Julie is extremely shy (socially anxious) and unhappy about that fact. Walking across the lawn at a crowded nearby park is too emotionally strenuous, so she does not go there with her children very often. She decided she wants to be more capable, so she sought appropriate support and is changing her approach to social challenges.
In the mirror, she used to see someone who was never good enough. Now in her mind’s eye, she recognizes a fighter. Her boldness and self-respect grow with each small movement of progress.
Two more strategies that grow your courage will be presented in the third and last part of this series.
Father God, Thank you for bringing me to this place where I am considering changing or am already beginning to change. You are my strength and refuge. In You will I trust. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Helpful Word
[God] gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
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