How Strong is Your Courage Muscle?

Have you been feeling defeated?  Have fear and self-doubt taken front and center in your life making it nearly impossible to make a brave choice?  I have good news for you!  With a little work and a plan, you can grow your courage.  Courage is like a muscle and when exercised it gets stronger.  That means there is hope for me and you.  You can grow our courage muscle with these five simple steps.  You can become the courageous and strong woman you long to be.

Step #1:  To Grow a Muscle, it Must be Used

As I grow older I notice my triceps and biceps are getting a little flabby (yikes! youth is not on my side anymore!). If I want to make my arm muscles stronger, I have to use them and do exercises that focus on making them stronger.  If I do not, then the muscles will continue to get weaker and weaker.  Not only will my muscles grow weaker, but there is an increased risk of healthy muscle being replaced saggy, untoned skin.

Your courage muscle is the same.  It must be used and exercised to grow.  Exercising your courage muscle requires taking brave steps of faith.  No matter how small, every courageous step you take builds your confidence.  And confidence strengthens your ability to make courageous choices.  However, if left unexercised, the courage muscle weakens and is replaced by self-doubt, fear and uncertainty.

Application:  Today make one courageous decision…just one tiny, brave choice and begin to build your courage muscle.

Step #2:  Accept that Growth is Uncomfortable 

Building muscle is uncomfortable.  Lifting weights for strength training or running for endurance isn’t easy, but there is a reason behind the madness…the results!  Yes, to enjoy the results you must endure the uncomfortable.  To reap the benefits, you must be challenged.

The same is true for your courage muscle.  It can be extremely uncomfortable to use especially if it hasn’t been used in a while.  The fear of failure, the unknown and anxiety, to name a few…are enough to keep many of us with a weak or non-existent courage.  It must be accepted…there will be discomfort.  Make peace with this fact so it does not control your ability to make brave choices.

Application:  Today when you make your courageous decision, say to yourself, “It is normal to feel uncomfortable and even fearful. I accept this and I move forward anyway.”

Step #3:  Nutrition is Essential to Growing Muscles

To reach their potential, muscle need proper nutrition.  Without it, chances are you will gain some muscle, but not the results you’re expecting.  Healthy lean proteins, whole grains, and a plant based diet with the “good” fats is critical to fueling your body and growing strong.  What you put in your body matters and has an overall effect on the results.

Your courage muscle is no different.  Sure, you may get some traction on your own…maybe make a few brave decisions.  However, in order to make your courage muscle really strong, you need to feed on courage food.  Courage food comes in many forms:  books, podcasts, conferences, church, and bible studies.  It must be a source that is pouring-in knowledge and wisdom about the topics of defeating fear and anxiety or growing courage, strength and boldness.  To grow in courage, you must know about courage.

Application:  Buy a book on the topic of courage or defeating fear and read it.  A great book to start with is, “If You Want to Walk on Water You Have to Get Out of the Boat” by John Ortberg.  Or read your Bible.  It is filled with verse on courage and strength.  

Step #4: Results are Better with a Coach

I will never forget Coach Cook, my high school track coach.  In my younger years, I aspired to run in the Olympics. Coach Cook pushed me further than I thought I could go and he believed in me.  He cheered me on when I was trying to beat my lap times.  Though I never made it to the Olympics, with my coach I achieved more than I could have on my own.   Whatever the goal…coaches are sought after by a variety of everyday people who need encouragement and accountability.  Left alone, it too easy to skip a workout, get lazy and eventually give-up.  Coaches and mentors are the perfect answer to this dilemma.

Coaches can help grow your courage muscle too.  Courage coaches can include: a life coach, mentor, accountability group, small group, best friend, spouse or a counselor.  Most importantly, it is a consistent person whose job is to encourage and cheer you on; a trusted person that will challenge you.  Someone you can openly discuss your fears and doubts with who will not judge you but lift you up.  Personally, for me at different times I have had a life coach, a counselor and a few dear friends.  Without them, my journey would be lacking in wisdom, discernment and confirmation.

Application:  Pray about and seek a courage muscle coach today.  Make the decision to meet with this person consistently.

Step #5:  Celebrate Little Victories Along the Way

When going through physical training it is important to celebrate the small victories.  Without celebrating the milestones, the task can seem too hard and one can lose sight of the greater goal.  It could be as simple as a pat on the back, making a note in your journal or a fun reward like a day off or a special treat.  The practice of celebrating will inspire and encourage you.

The same principle applies to your courage muscle.  Look for small victories…for example if you are shy but you said “Hi” to someone at the grocery store today…recognize it!  By doing this, you will build your confidence and maybe the next time you will say, “Hi” to two people.  For me, making notes in my journal is critical.  Then I can go back and review my progress.  You will be amazed at the small things that add up to the big!  Celebrate!

Application:  Take 10 minutes today to recall a small victory.  Share your victory with a friend or write it your journal.  Do this on a regular basis.

If your courage muscle is weak, take heart, with these practical steps you can grow it.  I know you long to be a brave, bold woman who faces her fears. I believe you can! In fact, I know you can…put these five steps above into practice and watch your courage muscle begin to bloom.   

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9