Are You Starting the New Year Off with a Strong Courage Muscle?

It’s that time of year to evaluate life and set goals.  Many of us recognize the need to lose weight, exercise and grow muscles. But how many of us evaluate the condition of our courage muscle?  Consider these questions to see if you need to grow your courage muscle in 2019:

  • Is it hard for you to respond to fearful situations with a courageous attitude?
  • Have you been feeling like fear is defeating you and sabotaging your life and dreams?
  • Have fear and self-doubt taken front and center in your life making it nearly impossible to make a brave choice?

If you answered yes to these questions, 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 to have more courage this year.  With a stronger courage muscle, we can achieve our goals, face our fears, follow our dreams and be the brave women God created us to be!

5 Steps + 1 Bonus Step to Growing Courage in 2019:

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 by 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 take risks and eventually you’ll have the ability to do courageous things you never imagined possible!  However, if left unexercised, the courage muscle weakens and is replaced by self-doubt, fear and uncertainty.

Application:  Today do something courageous.  Something that scares you…just one tiny, brave choice and begin to build your courage muscle. 

Step #2:  Growth is Uncomfortable…Accept it! 

Building muscle is uncomfortable, awkward and often includes some slight pain.  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 tolerate 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.  Fear of failure or the unknown and anxiety, to name just 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:  Growing Muscles Requires Good Nutrition

To reach their potential, muscles 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 are 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 under your belt.  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 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 few books I recommend are:  “If You Want to Walk on Water You Have to Get Out of the Boat” by John Ortberg or Unexpected by Christine Caine. Read your Bible. It is filled with verses on courage and strength.  Also, see My Top 10 Bible Verses to Boost Your Courage…feel free to print it! My gift to you!

Step #4: Get 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 farther 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’s too easy to skip a workout, get lazy and eventually give-up.  Coaches and mentors will help you achieve more than you can on your own.

Coaches can help grow your courage muscle too.  Courage coaches can include: a life coach, mentor, accountability group, small group, best friend, spouse or 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 Every Little Victory!

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.

Bonus Step #6: Above All, God

There will be times when what we are facing is too difficult, and our courage isn’t enough.  In these times we need a power greater than us. The Bible says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble” Psalm 46:1.  In moments like this, we need not fear or be afraid because God will supply us with the courage we need to face the situation. All we need to do is ask for His help, and He will strengthen our courage muscle. He is our source of courage, faith and hope.  Above all, God!

Start Growing Courage in 2019!

If your courage muscle is weak and you want to grow it in 2019, take heart, with these practical steps it will get stronger.  I know you desire to be a brave, bold woman who faces her fears, Chickens IN and follows her dreams. I believe you can! In fact, I know you can…put these six steps above into practice, look to God and watch your courage muscle grow.   

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

 

JJ