Trade cowardice for courage.

In Sunflower journal3journaling some experiences and thoughts recently a sentence I had written down ended with: “…I don’t have the courage to be the first to breech it! I am so sorry Father for not trading…” — {I started to write ‘my weakness for your strength’ BUT that just wasn’t EXACTLY the fit here so instead it came out as -}

my cowardice for your courage.”  OUCH! Cowardice? where did that come from?

I mean weakness is humbling enough. Trading my weakness for God’s strength. That has been a concept I have understood, experienced and spoken of to others at times. In various past circumstances I have recognized the need to surrender my weakness to allow God’s strength to carry me through. God’s strength to do the next thing when it wasn’t in my body and ability to do so. A few glimpses from the past come forward of times I have said ‘if you don’t pour strength into me I cannot go forward’.  He did and I did. Some verses that have carried me at times:

Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.”

II Corinthians 12:10  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Instead of just letting the thoughts pass on by I stopped to ponder the concept of trading cowardice for courage.  And I shall confess up front  that as much as I have missed writing, there was a teensy cringe (ok, a big cringe)  at going forward with this thought in black and white let alone sharing for others to see.

Who wants to think of oneself as a coward? I surely do not. Yet, I know it is a trait I have within. And I also know that one needs to learn how to identify it accurately.  For not all restraint, holding back, or turning away  is rooted in cowardice.  Sometimes it is just plain prudent and wise for the situation or time. How to discern the difference?!

Words are such fascinating things. Imagine trying to communicate without them.

Cowardice and courage.  What do they mean anyway? Next step-word search! NOPE! I did not ‘google ’em’.

My definitions are from an old Webster Dictionary – yep, old school, off my shelf, in my hands book!

Coward: one without courage

Cowardice: dishonorable fear

Dishonorable: bringing shame or disgrace on someone or something.

Courage: fortitude, valor

Valor: bravery, intrepidity

Intrepidity: fearlessness

Cowardice =  not just fear, but dishonorable fear

Courage = fearlessness – lack of fear, no fear

I John 4 18In reading the definitions I am reminded of love in relation to fear from past Bible studies. In I John 4:18 – a verse I had memorized in years past and re-memorized in recent years – one learns: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment…”

Love has no fear; fear has torment. Both concepts I have learned as 100% accurate from experience. I dare say you have as well.

I KNOW I am loved by God with His perfect love which casts out fear. So, I have to ask where is this sense of cowardice coming from for myself? To answer that takes me back to the end of 2006 at which time my mind closed up on me. Memory was lost. Experiences, knowledge collected, lessons learned, information absorbed and filed away were GONE. In their place was stark blackness and in that blackness resided fear. Oh, how far I do I go in telling, explaining? This new concept of trading cowardice for courage grips me to the core in ways I am not able to express adequately.

Succinctly, there was an almost complete loss of knowledge base to draw information from to deal with life. All the filing cabinets of info were locked behind doors with no keys available to access them. Memories gone. Retention was non-existent. Slowly over a span of several years some of the doors opened but many have remained closed. Pockets of memory have resurfaced, but stored knowledge of things studied are mostly still locked up not to be retrieved. Retention remains an ongoing difficulty when once recall was a close friend.

Abba, Father, you understand and know better even than myself. You experience with me the frustration.  You understand the fear which grips me, the cowardice that overcomes when faced with conversing with the others.   For though I believe you are able to put words in my mouth when needed I still hesitate to open my mouth without having the words thought out in my head beforehand. Fear whispers in my ear with a voice of its own:  “Why try? Just keep your mouth closed and you won’t have to worry about making a fool of yourself when nothing comes out. Or that what does come out is incoherent babble as you furiously attempt to find the words to string one complete sentence together.”

Though I have tried diligently the last several years to re-build a knowledge base in different areas again – it does not remain.  Info slips away like sand through the fingers. Lord, You have brought me so far from where I was and I have shed so much of the fear that had wrapped itself in my soul but there is still a chain of bondage. For though some doors are opened, the info stored behind them is a chaotic mess. The cabinet drawers are empty with all the files lying on the floor in a jumbled pile. Without your direct intervention nothing can be found. ONLY you know where ‘the something’ that is being looked for is located in this mess in my mind. I accept this and ask for your help to trade my cowardice for your courage.  Courage to be the first to breech the silence when confronted with conversation opportunities; courage  to reject guilt if I do not breech it. The thoughts will come or they will not. Either you will pull it out for me to find and share OR it will stay concealed and not shared. It is out of my control.

Regardless, another link in the chain of fear has been broken. I am more free to go forward in my Savior’s Love trading the cowardice to speak with courage to trust.  I shall write/speak when it is available in my mind to give out and not fret the timPsalm-31-24es there is nothing there.

Until next time, be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart…

Shell Sig