where courage comes from

One of my friends talks a lot about courage. We went cliff jumping together once and it became our metaphor for doing brave things. We call each other cliff jumpers for pep talks, encouragement.

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately. There have been long seasons where fear played too big a role in my life. Should it have any role? I don’t know the answers to all my questions about fear, but I think maybe courage is the better train of thought. Perhaps questions about courage will inspire, where questions about fear shame.

I was wondering today where courage comes from and I think part of my answer is space.

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Nearly every week Grant will send me away to get coffee, take a walk, spend some time coming back to myself. It usually works. I end up quieted. I come home with new energy and joy and ideas. Being alone gives me a chance to talk to God, to remember how much bigger he is than all my insecurities and doubts and nervousness.

You may be thinking coffee shop and that sometimes helps but actual wide space is even better. My home state had space. Growing up in Minnesota the horizons stretched open like arms and when I looked up there were no peripheral borders besides the clouds. The sky was wide, wide, and I could remember how wide and deep and everywhere God was too. I needed the space then and I need it now still, maybe more even. Now I find it in the rock crevices and pebbly trails bordered with spiky yuccas, in the way the rocks reach for the sky like I do.

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I climb for the sky with the rocks, and my courage swells up, drunk on all the space I can give it. It is enough.

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