The Courage to Speak Out

I'm sitting here fully aware of the irony. I'm about to start writing all that I'm excited to share on my day and online retreats on courage and yet there's a tiny voice in me I haven't had the courage to let out. I've loved working on these courage retreats. Working through my fears and insecurities and finding the courage to respond to God's call in my life has been a major theme in my journey. I've learned to have the courage to set boundaries with family. I've learned to have the courage to answer God's call for me to write a book and start a ministry. I've learned to have the courage to keep walking in the dark during painful times, trusting God's light would be at the end. I care deeply about this important subject and care about sharing it with you. 

Yet while writing these retreats over the past few months, there's been a side story going on I've been trying to ignore. Now I realize I have to confront this if I'm going to facilitate a retreat on courage. 

What am I talking about? Well, it may be the same thing you're struggling with as well. I'm talking about all of the harsh and polarizing political conversations happening in our country right now. It's all so upsetting to me yet my reaction has been to withdraw. Whenever there is a political conversation with family or friends or a bold Facebook post, I fall silent. I haven't had the courage to give voice to my own thoughts for fear of someone judging them or hurting someone else's feelings. 

This has to stop. 

Don't worry! I'm not here to bring up political views! I believe in a God that is much bigger than politics. I want to have the courage to speak out for respectful dialogue.

Here's what I have to say:  

A respectful dialogue is one in which Christ is honored in your voice and Christ is honored in mine. I'm deeply saddened by the fact that people are putting opinions and views ahead of the dignity of the human being.

Determining a person's worth based on his or her opinion is wrong.

Every person is a child of God and by that measure, deserves respect and love no matter what.

Every person's feeling, thought, and action comes from a past filled with stories - sad stories, painful stories, proud stories, grateful stories - and those stories form a belief system. Those tearful and joyful stories have so much to do with a person's fears and dreams for the future. That must be acknowledged and respected. 

If you can have the courage to honor your own story and your own voice, you can learn to honor the voice of your neighbor, co-worker, or relative who thinks so incredibly different than you. 

If you're upset about something, ask yourself, "Why am I so upset about an opinion that is different than mine?" Take note of your internal reactions to conversations. What does your anger, fear, sadness say about your values? your dreams? your relationship with God? 

There. That's what I've been wanting to say to everyone around me. That felt good. 

This is the thing about personal and spiritual journeys. While we're here on earth, we're never finished with them. I have learned a lot about courage but of course I have a lot more to learn right alongside you. That's why I'm inviting you to join me in this journey towards courage in my day and online retreats. 

Society tells us courage is about being this strong, bold, fearless kind of person but in these retreats I want to share a more Christ-like way to be courageous. Let's explore what it means to find courage through surrendering to God's strength, opening up a space in our hearts to be vulnerable and humble, being true to our authentic selves, and partnering with God to work through your fears. 

This blog today brings me one step closer to having the courage to voice my truth. What is your journey towards courage? Are you wanting the courage to change jobs? Forgive a loved one? Or give voice to your truth? Whatever it is, I hope you'll consider working on that journey with me in my online retreat and day retreat, "Courage for the Call" starting March 4th and 6th. 

Together, we can reflect on what it means to be our courageous selves.  A life of courage brings us closer to God's plan for our lives and closer to God's truth. I wish you the courage to take your first step. Come. We can walk together. 

I'd love to hear from you? What is your image of a courageous person? 
Or let me know if you've worked on being more courageous in your own life and what has helped?