At the beginning of this new year, a friend of mine on Facebook asked for friends to send her a "word" for the year that began with the same letter of their first name. Since my name begins with a "C", I had a lot of choices for encouraging words. "Cheerful", "Capable", "Calm", "Creative", etc., etc., etc. But I was struck with an immediate word and knew it was the one I was supposed to send her: "Courage". She responded to tell me that she really, really needed that word. (I think a lot of us need the word "Courage" this year. I know I do.)
And then, about a week later, Jana sent me her blog post and the title was "Collecting Courage". Apparently, Jana was sensing the need for courage too. As always, Jana brought some beautiful insight regarding the need for courage. She graciously agreed to share this post from her Granted Grace blog.
May it "In-Courage" you as it did me. ~Taylor
by Jana Alexis
I haven't always picked a "word of the year" but I love words so it's been fun to pick one the last few years. Last year, my word was hope and it meant so much to me throughout the year. Meditating on that word became an anchor for my hope-weary soul. For this year, a new word just jumped out at me in mid-December.
// courage //
Courage is my word for 2018. Courage to believe. Courage to continue hoping. Courage to make changes and live rightly and love deeply.
In Hidden Christmas, Timothy Keller writes that Christianity is the only religion whose God needed courage (pages 56-62). Ponder that one for a moment. Pastor Keller writes that being a Christian means having the courage to take the world's disdain (they're going to think you're crazy). Courage to give up your self-determination (as Jesus asked of us: deny yourself). Courage to admit you are a sinner (this one should probably be first--hardest one of all).
"And how will you get the strength to be courageous like that? By looking at Jesus Himself. Because if you think it takes courage to be with Him, consider that it took infinitely more courage for Him to be with you. Only Christianity says one of the attributes of God is courage. No other religion has a God who needed courage. . . . He faced all these things for you, and He thought it worth it. Look at Him facing the darkness for you. That will enable you to face any darkness yourself."
(Excerpt from Hidden Christmas, pg. 61)
So this year I'm looking to Jesus for courage-inspiration and He will be my courage-foundation.
And instead of focusing on just a couple of specific verses for the year, I'm collecting courage. It's a treasure hunt for passages of Scripture that speak to me of courage. First finding of the year?
~ So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a very little while, "He Who is Coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. ~
Courage is: Keeping your confidence
Persevering in the will of God
Living by faith
Not shrinking back but believing
So, here's to a new word, a new year, and renewed courage to face whatever this year brings.
Do you pick a word of the year? I would love to hear about it!
You can leave Jana a note below or visit her blog by clicking on her photo.
+ Top Photo is of State of Grace's Kirsti Elliott & Renee Jehl taken at Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire