Posts tagged " courage "

Corridors to Courage

August 3rd, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools 1 comment

My
radio show audience knows my oft-repeated slogan—the more that things
change, the more we need to depend upon those things that never change
. 

 

It
is my conviction that what I call God’s Biblical Blueprint is the best
information source about those things that never change.  Right now, things seem to be changing as
rapidly and as profoundly as we have ever seen.   Thus, we even more urgently need to know how
to deal with change.

 

Here
are the three most important things to know about change. (i) Change is
inevitable; (ii) Change is scary.  (iii)
Change can be managed.

 

Change
is inevitable because God placed us in a world of time with every ticking
second heralding the new.  Our ability to
live safely and comfortably depends upon cultivating an easy adaptability to
new circumstances. The key word is new, and new means change.

 

Change
is scary because we humans are most comfortable when we live under stable and
predictable conditions.  Changes in
health, financial, social, and family circumstances are just plain scary.  Change is usually scary even when the change
is for the better.  For instance, a major
promotion can be almost as scary as losing one’s job.

 

Change
is best managed by acquiring courage.  To
guide us through change, the Tanach, the Hebrew Scriptures teaches us the
phrase, “Be Strong and of Good Courage,” or in Hebrew, CHaZaK VeEMaTZ.  Every time this phrase is used it is to
encourage (see that word courage in there?) someone about to experience
major change in life’s circumstances.

 

It
is found in the context of God promoting Joshua to be Moses’ successor.  It is found when King David hands over the
kingship to his son, and it is found in the context of Israel confronting its
enemies in war.

 

The
first word, ChaZaK, describes having sufficient strength to triumph over
whatever one is up against.  For
instance, the first Scriptural use of the word is,

 

Everyone
came to Egypt to buy food from Joseph

because
the famine was CHaZaK, strong in
all the land.

(Gen 41:57)

 

 The famine was strong enough to overwhelm the
land. One needs the strength to do what one sets out to do.

 

The
second word, VeEMaTZ, means, ‘and be courageous,’ which is to say, have the
courage and the will to use your strength. 
For instance:

 

With
strength she girds her loins and invigorates her arms.

(Proverbs 31:17)

 

The
Hebrew word translated as ‘invigorates’ is the word EMaTZ suggests that having
arms isn’t enough – one needs the fortitude to use them.

 

Winston
Churchill claimed that World War II need never have taken place.  When Hitler reoccupied the Rhine Valley, violating
the terms of the Versailles treaty which ended World War I, Britain and the
allies could have confronted him and precipitated his fall from power.  Instead, they hesitated. They possessed the
military capacity—the CHaZaK, but they lacked the courage and the will—the
EMaTZ to do so.

 

Thus
Scripture teaches first CHaZaK, be strong
enough to do whatever needs doing.  Once
we know we can, we seek courage
to give us the will to do what must be done. 
Gaining the strength is a matter of strategy. Gaining courage is more
complicated.

 

Here
are three corridors to courage:

 

(1)
Analyze each challenge you face separately so that you are not overwhelmed by
an amorphous blob of fear.

 

(2)
Cowardice is contagious. Courage is equally contagious. Keep company with people
who possess it.

 

(3)
In your imagination, constantly run a video of your fearlessness while
repeating the mantra, ‘Be Strong and of good Courage’ or ChaZaK Ve’EMaTZ.

 

Change
is constant.  Courage becomes constant
with exercise and use. Courage will always be the best way to deal with change
and the fears it generates.