Well, it’s that time of year again.
A time marked with costumes, candy, jack-o-lanterns, and creepy decorations. One where spiderwebs, skeletons, and scary props are common, and fascinations with things like ghouls, witches, and goblins run wild.
I’ve never liked Halloween.
Now, I realize I’m generalizing it, and that Halloween looks different for every family. Some people celebrate it only by dressing up in fun costumes, and others just enjoy handing out candy to the enthusiastic and creative kids. Others might go to events at their churches or schools for fellowship. As with any other holiday, there as many ways to observe Halloween as there are people.
But as a whole, I’ve just never appreciated the focus on the ‘darkness’ that Halloween usually brings. Aside from the more superficial things like wondering how human-sized spider decorations on someone’s window doesn’t give them heart attacks, I especially struggle with the secular focus on creepy, gory, and even demonic things.
Again, I recognize that everyone has different convictions and views when it comes to Halloween, and I’m not here to debate between them. What I do know is that I’m a sensitive person when it comes to that kind of stuff, and it easily bothers me. Spending too much time focusing on things of a dark or creepy nature quickly leads to chills, trouble sleeping, anxiety, nightmares, and a reluctance to leave where I consider safe.
But Halloween isn’t the only time I can find myself scared. In fact, whether Halloween decorations and urban legends bother you or not, I’m pretty sure there are some things in your life that make you nervous too.
Some of the most common fears of people around the world include death, heights, insects, dogs, needles, storms, snakes, spiders, small spaces, germs, public speaking, flying, and being alone. And there are many, many more phobias we often experience.
Life can be scary. That’s just the truth.
From my own experience, whether it’s due to small phobias or crippling terrors, sometimes we’d much rather just stay where we consider home, curled up, biding our time and choosing to avoid as much of the outside world as we can. It’s much easier than facing the things that scare us. At least short-term.
But we aren’t meant to hide from life. We’re meant to live it. Experience it. Find joy in it. We have God-given purposes and journeys to take, and those journeys include scary things. God often calls us to do things that terrify us. I’m still pretty young, but I can testify to this countless times over.
God’s not one to keep us in our comfort zones. But neither is He a God of fear.
The solution, I’ve found, is courage. Webster’s defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”.
It’s doing the right thing even when it’s hard. Standing up for something even if you’re the only one. Facing a fear even though it’s almost paralyzing.
It’s being able to step out of those comfort zones when God calls us to, and not be hindered by “what ifs” and anxiety.
And it’s something I’ve found I really can’t do on my own. In order to have courage, I need to go to the source of it, which is of course, God. The more scared and unsure I am, the more I realize that I can’t face my fears on my own. I need Him. We all do.
There’ve been a lot of new, uncertain things in my life recently (although is there ever not newness and uncertainty?), and over and over again, I’ve experienced what a difference it makes when I ask God for courage and rely on Him, instead of trying to muscle through it on my own. By myself it never works. With Him, I can endure any trial.
And the same is true for all of us, no matter what the situation. No matter how hard or scary or intimidating. With God’s help and courage, we can overcome any obstacle He asks us to.
We certainly might still feel afraid as we’re doing it. But we’re doing it, and that’s the point. When God gives us courage, feelings are no longer the focus. Our emotions don’t determine our actions, our faith does.
So though I’m far from perfect, any time I reach a situation that scares me, I’m trying to be extra intentional about seeking God and asking for Him to help me be courageous. He’s never failed me, and I know He won’t. And that promise itself emboldens me.
God can do amazing things through people willing to be courageous.
I want to be one of them.
And as I seek to be one of those courageous people, staying immersed in Scripture and prayer are the main things that help. In addition, hearing what other Christians have to say is another thing that can help me stay focused on God and not my challenges. So today I thought I’d share ten of my favorite quotes about finding courage, with the prayer that they help you as much as they help me.
1. “When God speaks, oftentimes His voice will call for an act of courage on our part.”
2. “Nothing but encouragement can come to us as we dwell upon the faithful dealing of our Heavenly Father in centuries gone by. Faith in God has not saved people from hardships and trials, but it has enabled them to bear tribulations courageously and to emerge victoriously.”
3. “Do not ask for fears to be removed; ask for courage equal to the fears.”
4. “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones. And when you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
5. “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
6. “We can walk without fear, full of hope and courage and strength to do His will, waiting for the endless good which He is always giving as fast as He can get us able to take it in.”
7. “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
8. “The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life even in order to keep it.”
9. “The badge of courage does not require that we walk through something dangerous. It simply requires that we continue to share God’s love whenever and wherever we are.”
10. “Down through the centuries in times of trouble and trial God has brought courage to the hearts of those who love Him. The Bible is filled with assurances of God’s help and comfort in every kind of trouble which might cause fears to arise in the human heart. You can look ahead with promise, hope, and joy.”
No doubt about it, finding courage in scary and overwhelming situations is hard. But when we know where to look for that courage, the task of finding it gets a bit easier. My prayer for us all today is that we’d remember Who the source of our courage is, and that we can go to Him for that strength any time. He’s always here for us, always ready to help us, and always glad when we seek Him in whatever’s going on in our lives.
Did any of these quotes speak to you today? Go ahead and let me know your favorites in the comments, as well as if there is a certain topic you’d like to see more quotes about. While you’re there, I’d love to hear something YOU’RE learning about courage!
Be on your guard;
stand firm in the faith;
be courageous; be strong.
(1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV)
1. I shared more of my quote collection in many previous posts, which you can find here.
2. To receive your own printable pages of the above quotes (and the ones used in my other ‘Quotes’ posts), sign up for my email list! Simply fill in the form here, and I’ll send you PDF copies of the quote collections – as well as an inspirational short story. I look forward to hearing from you!