Jeanne Takenaka

How do we find courage when we’re afraid?

Some years back, I had the opportunity to attempt a ropes course that concluded with a zip line. Once you stepped onto the ropes course, there was no going back. You had to press forward to the platform and then fly across the zip line. A group of women stood near the base of the ladder, staring upward and whispering to each other. 

The author and a friend at a stopping point on a ropes course. We find courage by stepping out and doing the thing we're afraid of

I glanced at a friend as she met my eyes. My heart thumped hard. I wanted to do this thing, but the fear of falling almost overwhelmed me. My friend nodded toward the ladder. I swallowed hard and agreed.

We strapped into harnesses, fit tight helmets over our hair, and climbed the ladder. A “helper” attached the cable on our harnesses to the cables above the ropes course.  

“Ready?” My friend’s eyes sparkled.
“Yup.” I hoped she didn’t hear the quiver in my voice. Where would I find the courage to do this with her?

We gingerly stepped onto the individual ropes beneath our feet. The rig shuddered as someone launched from the zip line platform ahead. I fisted my cable and waited for the setup to stop shivering. 

The author and a friend preparing to launch from a platform across a zip line

As I slid my feet across that cable and maneuvered around the poles at different stages of the course, something happened. Fear lost its grip on my body and my heart. 

I balanced well above the pebbled ground. Blue sky and pine trees breathed a “You can do this!” into my soul. My friend and I made it to the platform, halfway done with this adventure.

Soon, we sat at the edge of the platform high above terra firma. Was I really going to drop into the air and hope this crazy cable kept me safe? 

The author and a friend launched and riding the zip line. A way to find courage is to do the thing you're afraid of

5 tips for how to find courage in the midst of fear:

We mustn’t allow fear of ______ (fill in the blank) to gain the upper hand in our thoughts and emotions. Yeah, this is tough sometimes, but brave takes shape when we don’t give in to fear. 

Find the facts that create a counter-balance for the fear. Choosing courage becomes easier when we have facts to fall back on. Fear feeds on uncertainty. But when we know the truth of a matter, we can make a courage-based choice.

5 Ways to Find Courage in the Midst of Fear—Fear feeds on uncertainty. But when we know the truth of a matter, we can make a courage-based choice #tellhisstory #findcourage #overcomefear Click To Tweet

Establish a wider comfort zone. How do we do this? By being brave and trying things that initially scare us. When we do things that invoke fear, we overcome fear. It may take more than one attempt, but each time we do the thing that scares us, fear loses more of its grip.

Confess to a safe person the thing causing us to be fearful. Sometimes being honest and putting words to the thing we fear lessens the sense of being afraid. And this enables us to find courage and take the next step. 

Pray for God’s perspective in the matter. Fear has a way of skewing our understanding of a situation. We often find courage after we ask God for help. 

At times, fear has a place in the decision-making processes. But, we must determine what’s causing the fear and if that reason is a valid deterrent to the decision. If we realize fear has no place, we find courage when we make the decision to move forward.

5 Ways to Find Courage in the Midst of Fear—If we realize fear has no place, we find courage when we make the decision to move forward #tellhisstory #findcourage #moveforward Click To Tweet
Meme with the words, "the Sovereign Lord is my strength; hem makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." on a backdrop of two people silhouetted on a ropes course

Choosing Courage

As I huddled on the platform, my gaze kept darting toward the ground. The thought of launching into a free fall was almost too much. Then I remembered a fact: this course wouldn’t be functioning if the equipment and the personnel operating it weren’t experienced in keeping people safe. This thought dissipated most of my fear. 

The author and a friend just after launching from the platform and riding the zip line

With a final glance toward the ground and then at my friend beside me, I grinned. We counted, “3-2-1!” and pushed from the platform. I clutched my cable and squeezed my eyes closed. When my body jerked upward, I opened my eyes. 

Exhilaration bubbled inside as I glanced at the pine trees speeding past. And then my hands lifted upward. And a joyous “Wheeeee!” caped out behind me. 

The author and a friend at the end of their zip line ride, hands in the air. When we find courage we feel freedom

That day, I completed the course a number of other times, often with women who were just as scared as I’d been that first time. Encouraging them to take the next step, to find courage, and to do the thing that scared them also invigorated me.

We all face fearful situations. But, we each have the choice between whether we’ll react in fear or find our brave.  

What about you? When have you faced a situation where you had to choose courage? What helps you find courage in fear-inducing situations?

***A quick reminder: Beginning next week, we’ll return to our schedule of Lisa Jordan hosting the #tellhisstory link up on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Head over to Lisa’s place next week to link up your encouraging posts!

Most weeks, I link up with Grace and Truth, Anita Ojeda, Instaencouragements, and sometimes Let’s Have Coffee. Come join and read more encouraging posts!

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