Over a decade ago I sat in front of my computer staring at a blank screen, trying to decide what to say. Finally, the words came to me and I wrote, “Be courageous and write in a way that scares you a little.”
I’d spent the last few months dreaming and planning with my (in)courage cofounder Stephanie Bryant and now the site was almost ready to launch. We’d spent many hours praying and imagining what this community could become. Back then we talked about it like God’s beach house—a place where you could put your sandy, dirty feet on the table, laugh late into the night with your friends, and hear God’s voice perhaps clearer than anywhere else.
We’d reached out to writers and invited them to be part of the adventure. The “yes” responses had enthusiastically come in, much to our amazement. Now on this particular day I was crafting a letter to the original contributors to help them write their first post.
I thought a lot about what I wanted to say to them. Most publications back then were still telling their writers to hold back, sound the same, don’t share too much or get too personal. But that’s not what I sensed God wanted from us. So instead of rules and guidelines, I told them, “Be courageous and write in a way that scares you a little.”
That line became one that we repeated to each other through the years. DaySpring recently created a journal with that quote on the cover. It’s sitting on my desk now and with all that’s going on in our world, I’m thinking again about what courage really means—not just for writers but for all of us.
When I said “be courageous” over a decade ago I meant dare to put yourself out there. What does that mean now when life looks like social distancing and staying at home? Thankfully, I don’t think walls get in the way of courage. Even if we can’t open the door to our homes, we can still open the door to our hearts. Even if we can’t go the places we want to, we can still go where we’re called. Even if we can’t get together, we can stick together.
I first wrote those words to writers but I’d like to say them to all of us today. Just change the phrase to what it looks like for you now…
Be courageous and help in a way that scares you a little.
Be courageous and parent in a way that scares you a little.
Be courageous and work in a way that scares you a little.
The reality is we’re all afraid right now. But there’s more than one kind of fear. There’s the kind that comes from external circumstances, like Covid-19. But there’s also the kind of fear that we experience when we choose bravery, when we do hard things, when we discover an inner strength we didn’t know we had. I want us to embrace that kind of fear.
Because people need what you have to offer more than ever before.
Even if you can’t change all the world’s problems, you can still change one life at a time.
And if you do just one small, unseen thing it’s still enough to make a difference.
I extended an invitation to the original writers of (in)courage all those years ago. I’m extending a similar invitation to you today…
Let’s be courageous and love in a way that scares us a little.
Are you with me?
p.s. I still love helping writers so I created a course, Be a Kick-Butt Writer by Friday, to give you clarity, confidence, and courage. Our world needs your words of hope and encouragement more than ever before.