Courage can be seen as the basis for the very best of life. As far as virtue is concerned, courage is the asset that facilitates real progress in godliness.
There are seven ways life takes courage, and these may be seen in the acronym, C.O.U.R.A.G.E.
Curiosity about our own fear: when we can be curious about our fear we become honest about our felt lack, and in becoming acquainted with it, that curiosity leads us to a choice for courage. Through curiosity we become open.
Open—mentally and emotionally: being open both mentally and emotionally takes courage but it also delivers courage. This is aided by being conscious, where we harness our energies, and we manage our fatigue. Through openness we take courage.
Understanding: it’s important that we are open beyond our fear, in order to receive the insight we need to develop what it takes us, individually, to take courage. Understanding leads to awareness, which precedes action.
Resilience in the face of challenging situations: this is to bear the strains of the moment. It’s in the hardest of moments that our resilience needs to come to the fore. We take courage this way when we decide by the power of our will to hold on when we want to let go or give up.
Action to do what must be done: taking courage is not just about making decisions; it’s also about having the poise to implement those decisions. We need to take courage in going forward, even though we may not know what exactly to say or how exactly to do what we need to do. If we are courageous, and praying for wisdom, God will lead us in the appropriate action.
Grace in order to temper the moment: just as steel is hardened but becomes brittle and needs to be tempered for toughness, grace works in our lives by helping us take courage by a subtle strength. Such grace is prepared to take the longer road in order to go the right way.
Empathy for all and to sacrifice ourselves: taking courage is helped when we understand other people’s perspectives properly. Empathy is available to us when we have sacrificed our own needs enough to see others’ needs.
Taking courage is helped by curiosity, openness, understanding, resilience, action, grace, and empathy. By these seven virtues, the Gallant Prince of Virtue itself—courage—is activated. Courage ignites all other virtue.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.