Being Willing to Get Courageously Messy
What will these next few weeks and months hold for each of us? Really none of us knows. But instead of leaving it all to happenstance (hmm…a word I rarely use), why not invest in something exceedingly important. Bumping that up a few notches, why not make it something so courageously pursued that it will impact others in life-changing ways. Even if it might get messy.
Did that stop you?
Don’t let it. Begin where you are with the measure of courage you have, but do begin.
Recently I read a poem by Rachel Macy Stafford called, “Let Me Be Love.” Instead of a love that is easy or convenient, it points toward “a show-up kind of love that is found where it is least expected . . . where it is most needed” (and probably messy). One that “silences hate-talk, throws out lifelines, and scoots closer.”
Scoot closer to love. As you do, you’ll also scoot closer to courage.
What would that be for you?
Respond From the Heart
Courage for each of us is often about something that won’t be easy or natural for us but we move forward into it anyway, with all its messiness. We see something that matters to us, that grabs our heart, and we feel we must respond. The courage part is that we do respond.
Look at the story of the Good Samaritan that Jesus shared. In courage, the Samaritan said both yes and no. Yes, it is my heart to see the need, and I will help this beaten person left to die. And no, setting all hesitancies and cultural restrictions aside, I cannot walk past and ignore what I see as a problem. I must act.
Steven Garber addresses this in his book, Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good, and asks, “How can we have our eyes open to reality and understand that we are more implicated, for love’s sake, now that we see?”
We must be willing to get courageously messy.
The root of the word “courage,” coer (French), or cor (Latin) means “from the heart.” It refers to the center of the person, the essential heart of the person that offers the strength of spirit to face danger or difficulty. It is authentic full-hearted or wholehearted participation.
Willing, invested, and all in.
Ask Questions for the Heart
Take a few moments to look and see what around you feels messy and in need of, for love’s sake, a few people willing to take courageous action and help move the situation into a different, better place for all. A few questions for reflection:
When I look and see, what do I find stirs my interests, passions, and values? (My resounding yes.) You might notice these stirrings around one context or several—your home, neighborhood, community, or more widely within the world.
What are the needs I see? (My no: No, I can’t allow that to go on like it is. I can’t not do something.)
Given these observations, who am I willing to be? (a loving family member, a compassionate neighbor, a community leader, a visionary leader, a change agent, etc. *)
And in recognizing who I am willing to be, in what three ways am I willing to actively engage that intention, with courage and wholeheartedness, over the next month?
Authentically and Prayerfully Engage the Heart
Move through the above questions as a prayer activity. Ask God to help you view each question through his lens and his heart for you and the people involved. Allow him to lead you in discernment and in authentic action.
Observe your thoughts and feelings around what stirs you. Also see who God has created you to be and the image he has stamped uniquely on your courageous heart.
Identify foundational Scriptures that will ground your courage and your action. Examples: Psalm 133:1; Joshua 1:9; Matthew 18:20; Luke 6:45; Romans 12:16; 1 Peter 3:8; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 3:14; Hebrews 10:24-25.
Choose actions that can be stated clearly and simply, and yet creatively, as S.M.A.R.T goals.
You are a person full of heart, courageous. I’m guessing you have already recalled a real need in your home, community, or world—some life area that is messy that you feel called to engage in. Take time to move through the questions and see what else you discover that will help you see that you can and see how you will. Scoot closer. Be that person who, for love’s sake, responds—authentically, prayerfully, and with courage.
And be courageous in sharing here too. Tell us your stories or share your thoughts around your courage-in-progress. Ask your questions. Let us know how we can pray for you and cheer you on in the coming months as you open your heart to be all in, making a difference.
Some of the ideas around considering our intentions, who we are willing to be, and what we are willing to do are gleaned from coaching training Jan has received through the Academy for Coaching Excellence, Sacramento, CA.
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