Pressuring Fear With Courage

“Courage is grace under pressure.” Ernest Hemingway

Courage means doing it afraid.

Courage means putting someone else before your fear.

Courage means knowing what you stand for and refusing to back down regardless of pressure.

Courage means never having to fight dirty.

Fear is a natural part of life. 

We can face fear (be courageous) or we can run from it (be a coward).

Being courageous means we have to speak up when being silent would be easier. It means we have to stand out when blending in would draw way less attention. It means we have to take action instead of hoping someone else will come along and get the job done.

A few years back I spoke out on social media vehemently against a proposed law to ban teachers in Missouri from contacting any students by electronic communications (texting, social media, etc.). I have blogged about that before, so I won’t retell the story.

However, the day I met with the attorneys before we went to the courthouse, they spent most of the time talking with the other teacher who would be put on the stand. She had excellent reasons for why the law shouldn’t be put into effect based on uses in her classroom. My reasons, based mostly on my personal life as a church youth group leader, seemed very weak in comparison. I quickly faded into the background in that boardroom.

Then we found ourselves in a courtroom in front of a judge being questioned by the Governor’s attorney. All of the sudden the tables turned a tad.

When we left the courthouse someone from the boardroom earlier grabbed my elbow and said, “Where did all those sound bytes come from? You did amazing!”

See, I didn’t have much to add around a boardroom table of people all on the same side of an issue. My points to argue didn’t seem to compare to the teacher sitting beside me actually using Skype and social media in her classroom. However, when the opposition came at me with questions intended to trip me up and help their case, well, courage welled up and boiled out.

I was terrified that I wasn’t the right person to put on the stand. That I wouldn’t be able to answer the questions honestly and still prove our side of the argument was legally correct. 

We won that one. Several people thought I was beyond crazy for putting myself, my livelihood, on the line like that. 

Just keep quiet and do as your told, Carrie. It’s not going to make a difference anyway.

I don’t believe that, though. One person with courage can make a lot difference. My difference that day was small. However, every time we exercise our courage, it grows, and then we find that we have a little more courage the next time something we’re afraid of comes around.

photo credit: ♔ Georgie R via photopin cc