Ahhhh hello friends!!! Forgive me, but it has been quite a while since I last wrote something! I will get right into it! Today I wanted to speak on the topic of fortitude and courage.
But wait… what is fortitude???
LET ME TELL YOU! lol.
FORTITUDE: is courage in pain or adversity.
And the opposite of COURAGE or FORTITUDE is cowardice.
“fortitude is all of the other virtues at the STICKING point” – C.S. Lewis
or at the point of being tested
I speak for myself here, but I definitely struggle most days with being a “people-pleaser.”
Have you guys ever heard of the “Policy of appeasement”? This policy was put in place to “avoid conflict” in the 1930’s and is known/said to be the cause of WW2. If we look more closely at the meaning of this policy… trying to “avoid conflict” ….
How often do we do this in our own relationships? Strive to appease… to avoid conflict. Appeasement very closely ties into cowardice/being a coward.
Sure, we can say this is a “cultural thing”…But let’s not make it a cultural thing, let’s make this a PERSONAL thing. Yes, our culture is more “accepting” now of many things, but how accepting are we when it comes to certain topics that we know and feel in our hearts are not right… but the world tries tell us they are… and we follow along with the lies … to “avoid conflict”?
Think about this: It’s easy to have faith when it’s easy to have faith… when everything is going great or well. It’s easy to be kind when it’s easy to be kind… It’s easy to be just when it’s easy to be just… It’s easy to be honest when it’s easy to be honest …
But it’s difficult to be honest when it’s going to COST me something. But that is when we need courage the MOST.
If we don’t have fortitude, we don’t actually have any of the other virtues.
The definition of a virtue: is the habit of doing GOOD.
& these are the 7 virtues:
If in small moments I am unkind when it is actually really hard to be kind to someone, then am I really actually practicing justice or prudence in small ways? Being kind can also take lots of courage. Let us really think of the small moments.
It is easy to turn away from courage and choose cowardice when it comes to saying NO to ourselves even when we know if we say YES to praying more, speaking up more, standing up for what we believe in—will bring us more grace. However, we continue to lean on this inclination of comfort and of appeasement and we COMPROMISE even though we know, that the Devil does not compromise.
I can think of many times where I strived to please others over first God, ignorning my own human needs in hopes to please others… I think we somehow think this will fill us, but in reality it almost always ends up with us wanting more.
We have this inclination to take care of our relationships. Wanting to always be sure that our friends or family members are taken care of, this is good… do not get me wrong, however… Is that beneficial?
I will give you a personal example, in hopes that any of this may resonate with any of you reading this today. Before I began my dating fast and in most all my previous dating relationships before it, I faced many trials. Many situations in which I TRULY needed courage. And I still face these trials, but with a new awareness now.
But to continue to touch on this topic, I found many times in my past relationships this need or inclination to appease or please the other in hopes that I will find the love and affirmation that I desperately longed for. But always, it left me wanting more.
Instead of speaking up, I built resentment in my relationships around me, and I still continue to struggle with this. I’m not perfect, but I pray for the courage everyday that I am courageous enough to speak up now, in hopes of finding the love God desires for me.
Because truth is relationships are hard work. Any kind. Whether it be a romantic relationship, a friendship, with coworkers, colleagues, your boss…Each of our relationships call us to some degree of courage. In even the smallest ways.
Prior to my dating fast, my dating relationships were so often filled with that famous GRAY AREA! C’mon, you guys know what I am talking about! Thoughts or statements like, “I think we’re friends” “I don’t know what we are” “we’re just best friends” “but we like each other.” Never any clarity.
And if it wasn’t the gray area, I was struggling with the fear of speaking up about my views on chastity and the desire/conviction God has placed on my heart to save myself for marriage in fear of rejection.
The fear of rejection so often leads us to cowardice and being passive with our communication. I speak for myself in this, but many times in relationships we want that famous question to be answered: WHAT ARE WE?? But we are too afraid to ask or too afraid that it will mean a real commitment… regardless of where you are at…this confusion leads to much confusion and quite frankly lots of heart ache, in my case.
I see so clearly now how this passivity/passive communication leads to resentment or wanting more because of things left unsaid or never having the certainty of what the reality actually is. I think the devil works in that gray area. And if there is one thing I have learned from these experiences; and that is how courage so deeply translates into our everyday life and everyday choices. Again, in those small ways. But sometimes those small things require courage, because they have the ability to change our lives.
I could have never spoke up in those previous relationships and still be confused in that gray area now… or maybe worse, but instead I have learned… that god longs to heal me if only I allow myself to be vulnerable an HONEST. And he longs for me to find good and virtuous relationships that he has created us ALL for. No mistakes in life, just lessons!
Forgive. Setting people who have hurt you free from an old debt is to stop wanting something from them. This will set you free as well.
-Dr. Henry Cloud
Sometimes even the smallest things require courage.
So, BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. We will not get to heaven by appeasement.
God is saying to you too, BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. God did not give you a spirit of timidity or cowardice. He gave you one of power and LOVE and self–control.
(2 Timothy 1:7)
“when you come to serve the Lord, PREPARE yourself for TRIALS.”
Know that being honest, being vulnerable, being TRUTHFUL, being VIRTUOUS… will not be easy. I don’t think it is meant to be. But we must think about the way we are living our lives and ask –are we preparing for trials? Are we picking up our crosses daily and following Christ?
Or are we more in a spirit that translates to “I just kind of blend in with everybody.”
The gospel DEMANDS that we be courageous. It doesn’t mean something extravagant or us yelling out on the side of street corners. But in the silence of our hearts, do we fast? Do we pray? Do I care for others? Do we say NO to ourselves? Are we preparing ourselves for TRIALS? Because reality is, we WILL face them.
Whether we be courageous or not will make all the difference.
There is no saint who lived who did not have fortitude. So, if we want to be saints, we must embrace courage and FORTITUDE.
“courage and truth are the primary measures of holiness”
We must answer this call to HOLINESS. Because for those of us, me included, who struggle with “finding or knowing what our vocation is” we must learn that our two vocations are TO LOVE and to BE HOLY.
You matter, and what you say matters, and what you feel matters. Because when you can take care of yourself and have the courage to be assertive… we have to think that at the end of each day we are the ones that has to live with the choices that we make –so why not embrace the courage & speak our truth on whatever it is that God has convicted on your heart.
So, be courageous, we teach others how to love us by the way we love ourselves. And truth, honesty, vulnerability and BRAVERY inspires bravery. When we are brave/courageous… we get to know ourselves and our own gifts and talents. This will increase our confidence, too. Because God knows, we can be or are hardest on ourselves.
I think we often shy away from bravery or being courageous in moments when they are hardest because we would rather be comfortable. But truth is sometimes the right thing feels uncomfortable
We are created for relationship. This is the reality. We all uniquely share this desire in our hearts for connection. And this is beautiful. Let us be sure to live our lives courageously so we can live out virtuous lives and translate that into our relationships/in our lives.
How can we do this?
By striving to live out courage/fortitude through HONESTY and VULNERABILTY in three aspects of our lives, with:
Ultimately, when we are honest and vulnerable with Jesus. When we are able to be openly honest with him about our fears/what’s on our hearts, and share with Jesus even the things we think are too shameful to share with him –we create a space and GIVE PERMISSION for him to enter into these parts of our lives and create freedom in the TRUTH we share with him.
This will ultimately translate into our relationships with others. When we can be honest in our prayer with God, we can then gain more clarity of what God wants for us in our relationships.
Since we are made for relationship, with god, others, and ourselves — we will gain a freedom in our relationship with ourselves as well. I promise you will find great freedom in this.
Courage is like a musclewe must work out and live out daily in our lives, especially in prayer and then in our everyday actions. We don’t become courageous overnight and living out fortitude is HARD, but it is POSSIBLE and freeing.
So I challenge you to take some time today to think about these three aspects: How can you live out COURAGE/FORTITUDE in these three areas?
Where in your prayer can you be more vulnerable with God and how? Where is he calling you to be courageous or more honest? Even though it may be hard?
How can you live virtue out courageously with those you encounter? Where is it hardest for you to live out fortitude in your life right now? Is it in the work place? In your dating relationship? With your family?
How can you be more courageous in your relationship with yourself? Self-confidence, speaking out in truth on a certain topic, is there convictions on your heart that you keep silent because of fear? Be honest with yourself. Where may God be calling YOU most to be courageous in your life right now?
Speak your truth my friends. I won’t promise that it is easy, but you will find freedom.
Please know of my love and prayers for you, my friends!!!!
I leave you with one more thing!