Feel the fear, and do it anyway. That phrase pretty much sums up the idea of courage. Some things in life are so daunting and overwhelming that the idea of letting go of fear seems ridiculous; so, we acknowledge our true feelings, but push right through them. We grit our teeth, keep a stiff upper lip, and carry on. Inside, however, we are often still trembling.
I had an opportunity to think about this recently at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. As we sat and watched cowboy after cowboy get tossed, tangled, stomped, and stabbed in the “high flying awards,” my husband turned to me and asked a logical question, “Why do they do this, again?” And yet, we knew that, despite the risks and very real injuries, those rodeo riders would be back in the saddle – or on the backs of bulls – in no time.
It’s easy to recognize a person with “grit.” Their tenacity keeps them going and going and going, no matter what obstacle they face. What is it that’s behind that courage, though? Often, it’s faith.
Faith can come in a variety of forms. It’s all too common to be told to believe in yourself. Yes, confidence can come from within. But we often are keenly aware of our limitations, aren’t we? Where is that courage supposed to come from when we have reached the end of ourselves?
I’m not sure there’s any sport where more prayers are said than in rodeo. When you’re a cowboy riding a three-thousand-pound bull, you’ve got to believe in a power bigger than yourself. But it’s not just the cowboy who whispers a prayer for protection when he looks in the eye of an angry bull. We the spectators are right there with him, in front of the Lord, before he begins his ride and then again when he hits the dirt. And the praises go up when he is able to get up and walk away.
True grit is knowing who to trust. It’s not just about feeling the fear. It’s about facing it, knowing that the God of angel armies has got your back. It’s knowing whatever you’re up against, you’ve got this, not just because of your own strength, but His.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;
be courageous; be strong.” – I Corinthians 16:13 (NIV)
“Be strong and courageous and get to work. Don’t be frightened by the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with you; he will not forsake you. He will see to it that everything is finished correctly.” – I Chronicles 28:20 (TLB)