Life Shrinks or Life Expands

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Anais Nin

“Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible.”

“It is never safe to look into the future with eyes of fear.”
Edward Harriman


Before I share a few of my thoughts on courage, here are the counts for how often certain words appear in the Bible.

Fear = 336 times. This is the BIG ONE for the negative.
Discouraged = 15 times
Downcast = 11 times
Anxious = 5 times

Faith = 458  times. This is the BIG ONE for the positive.
Hope = 180 times
Confidence = 37 times; Confident = 18 times, for 55 times combined.
Courage = 33 times

Fear (and the rest of the negatives) immobilizes you. You hunker down to protect yourself, stay safe, and avoid risk. Faith (and the rest of the positives) launches you out, sets you free, puts you in motion to engage with what is around you.

Fear will keep you from being curious about new opportunities. Faith/courage will fuel curiosity to explore possibilities.

Fear will keep you from the risk of love. You might be rejected. Faith/courage gives rise to love. It is better to have loved and to have lost love, then never to have loved.

Fear will keep you from being a servant to those in need. You might get hurt. Faith/courage make it possible to do what is right even if it is hard.

Fear will keep you stuck, stagnant, and not pursuing new learning and growth. You might fail. You might look bad. You might be discouraged at how hard it is to learn and grow. Faith/courage will motivate you to start and continue, go the distance, stick with it, persevere, and finally, gain the results of your intentionality.

So, I believe the authors quoted above are onto something with their thoughts on courage. Your life and the quality of your life will shrink or expand according to the amount of courage and faith you have.

Courage will give rise to the other virtues. You will be willing to live into them and live out of them.

Courage will be the source of moving into a changing world and an uncertain future in what I am calling VUCA times.*

The word from Jesus is simply: Be strong, be courageous, be full of faith, do not fear… for I am with you. And because I am with you, you can live free, full and expansive lives. That is the new normal Jesus has for you.

Here to Help You Flourish and Expand,
Pastor Brian

*  V=Volatile, U=Uncertain, C=Complex, A=Ambiguous

Volatile times lead to anger.
Uncertain times lead to anxiety.
Complex times lead to confusion.
Ambiguous times lead to immobility or feeling stuck.

Brian Rice
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