top of page

Courage: Cultivating It In Everyday Life

The concept of courage is a fundamental pillar of human resilience and integrity. Stories and examples of courage are found throughout every culture, religion, story book, and history book. While most of us are not called to embrace courageousness at a level that will be the next blockbuster hit, we all have the opportunity to be courageous in our everyday lives.

From a Secular Perspective

Courage is not merely the absence of fear, but the ability to act virtuously in spite of fear. It encourages individuals to confront adversity with a calm and rational mind, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth rather than sources of despair. Marcus Aurelius, one of the most renowned stoic philosophers and Roman emperors, encapsulated this perspective beautifully:

"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment."

This quote underscores the stoic belief in the power of perspective and rational thinking in overcoming adversity. Courage, in this context, is deeply intertwined with wisdom and self-mastery.

In our modern world, courage manifests itself not only in facing physical dangers but also in navigating the complexities of everyday life with integrity and conviction. Whether it's standing up for one's principles in the face of opposition, pursuing daunting personal goals, or speaking out against injustice, Epictetus offers timeless wisdom:

"The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests."

Epictetus, a former slave turned philosopher, emphasizes the transformative power of challenges, and encourages us to view difficulties as opportunities to demonstrate our courage and strength of character.

From a Christian Perspective

Courage is a virtue deeply rooted in the teachings of Christianity, encompassing not only bravery in the face of physical danger but also moral strength, spiritual resilience, and steadfast faith in God's providence. In the rich tapestry of Christian theology and spirituality, courage emerges as a guiding principle that empowers believers to navigate life's challenges with grace and conviction.

Courage holds a profound trust in God's love and sovereignty. This trust is beautifully encapsulated in the psalms:

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" ~Psalm 27:1

This particular verse reminds Christians that courage stems from placing one's faith in God who provides strength and protection in times of trial.

Throughout history, Christianity has honored the courage of martyrs—those who bravely endured persecution and even death rather than renounce their faith. The witness of martyrs such as St. Hermione, St. Leonides, and countless others inspires believers to stand firm in their convictions, even in the face of adversity. As St. John Chrysostom eloquently stated:

"Courage consists not in hazarding without fear, but being resolutely minded in a just cause."

For Christians, courage involves steadfastly adhering to the teachings of Christ and the Church, regardless of the consequences.

CS Lewis quote

For Everyday Life

"But doc, I live in ___(fill in the blank)___, I don't have to worry about being courageous!" Even if you are livng a life of luxe and comfort, we all have moments where we have the opportunity to be courageous. Did you ever have to have courage to have a tough conversation with a loved one that was long overdue? Did you ever have to stand up to a boss/teacher/superior over something that was against your values? Did you ever have to make that phone call to deliver bad news? Did you ever have to reach out and ask for help?

In Christ’s parable of the talents, the man with little lost even the little that he had and was cast into out darkness because he failed to use his small gift through lack of courage: “and I was afraid and hid your talent in the ground” (Mt 25.25–30). The person with courage faces all things with strength and lives ever day, in every little thing, with the power of Christ. To be “faithful in little” is a sign of great courage.

Courage can be seen in parents striving to raise their children in accordance with Christian values amidst societal pressures. It can be found in a married couple bravely working through their differences to unite on the same front. It can be found in individuals standing up for justice, mercy, and compassion in a world often marked by division and conflict. It can be found in saying 'yes' to a calling from God.

"Courage consists not in hazarding without fear, but being resolutely minded in a just cause." ~ St. John Chrysostom

Full surrender also takes great courage. Have you fully surrendered every facet of your life to God? It takes courage to let go and let God, especially with areas of our lives that we erroneously believe we have control over. While you and I may not find ourselves riding horses with swords drawn in hand to battle Sauron, courage is still a valuable virtue worthy of cultivating in our everyday lives.

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the Lord! ~Psalms 27.1,14; 31.24


bottom of page