Sunday, September 28, 2014

Claiming Courage

Affirmations:  I am courageous.

"I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not the one who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." Nelson Mandela

It seems lately the topic of conversation has often turned to the concept of courage.  Partly because my Women of Faith study group is reading The Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To by Anthony DeStephano. One of the prayers is, "God grant me courage."  I loved the chapter of this topic.  I thought his presentation was clear and comprehensive and for me, just what I needed to "hear" at this time.

I know I have at least two positive affirmations that have bolstered my confidence over the years.  They are, I am a bold adventuress and I am audacious.  I say, "yes I can."  They have worked quite well for me.  Many times I've jumped into situations, well OK maybe I simply walked into them, which I was not sure about.  I'd usually come out the other side excited about what had taken place and exhilarated that I'd overcome my fear and anxiety.  It was always a very empowering experience. 

While those affirmations have been good, most of my days are fairly uneventful or at least not adventurous and yet I can carry with me a sense of concern; concern about my finances, my health or that of my loved ones, my relationships and especially about the future. 

Part of Anthony's premise was that we need to practice being courageous.  We need to pick up the quality, the gift every day.  At first we should start with small things and as our strength grows and our courage muscle becomes stronger, we will be able to be courageous at more challenging times.  They are a coming!  Or, perhaps they are already here.  The words were for me, filling a need.  His advice was exactly what I seemed to need at this particular time in my life.

I believe I am still grieving the death of my mother and her blessed but very difficult last several years of her life.  I know I will heal but for now the memory lingers and weighs on me and leaves me wondering about my future, my old age and my death. 

Think about the brave people you know?  Think about the brave people you have read about?  The first group that always comes to my mind are our service people.  I know for some they discovered courage in situations they never imagined they could endure.  Our veterans are some of our most remarkable heroes.  Then, our fire fighters come to mind.  My dad, Frank Grolimund, was a captain with the New York City volunteer fire fighters.  I vividly remember being with him as he ran into a burning building to help with whatever was necessary.  I believe he was very brave, if not a little crazy.  I think too of all the fire fighters who ran towards the dangers of the World Trade Center on 911. The memory still brings tears to my eyes. Then, there are all those people fighting cancer or some other life threatening illness.  I am here to tell you it takes an enormous amount of courage to continue that fight and sometimes even more, to allow yourself or a loved one, to let go.

The greatest example of courage for me, however, is that of Jesus Christ.  When I mediate on his time in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46) I cannot imagine the courage it must have taken for him to give himself completely over to His Father and get up and walk out to what he knew, he knew in every excruciating detail what he was to experience!  He must have asked His Father for courage that evening and it was obviously granted. 

Now, I have learned that God will also grant me courage if I only ask.  It will be one more answered prayer and I don't have to wait, I can claim it now.  I can claim it daily in all things, small and with practice, large.  "God grant me courage."  I am asking and I believe in answered prayer and with that comes a new affirmation, I am courageous.

How about you? Want to overcome fear and become brave?  Want more courage?  Join me.  Ask!

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