Being Strong and Courageous
reengage | reimagine | realign
Tasmanian Baptist Leadership Development Coordinator Jenna Blackwell grapples with being strong and courageous in our new paradigm.
Can you remember a time where you found yourself at a crossroads?
You know the path you think you should take, but you find yourself reverting to a familiar one, with well-worn tracks, common distractions and quite possibly even the same destination that you’ve been to before.
It takes courage to move beyond your experiences and presumptions and enter something new.
The Courage to Change
Over the last year, Tasmanian Baptists have encouraged individuals and faith communities to reengage, reimagine and realign with God’s mission.
This is a nice concept, but to implement these in our lives takes a lot of courage!
Even fearless entrepreneurs, and those who love change, find themselves tripped up. Maybe the path is different, or a replica of a previous one. But regardless, the formation of experiences, beliefs and values impact the current experience and the end result.
Often we don’t know what stops us getting the desired outcomes. Other times, we might know why we’re getting those results (or not getting), especially in personal leadership and spiritual development. However, we can lack the courage to face our fears and failings needed for different results. The fact is, we usually delude ourselves with defence mechanisms and excuses.
It takes courage to move beyond your experiences and presumptions and enter something new. There is always inherent risk when stepping out of the known. But, isn’t this the faith journey?
What does it look like to walk with courage?
A decade ago, “courageous faith” probably meant talking to a stranger about Jesus.
While this still takes courage, many people are coming to realise there is courage required to lead oneself to God. This is where it all starts – personal leadership and spiritual development. No matter what your daily life looks like, these are foundational aspects of courageous faith.
So then, what is meant by personal leadership and spiritual development?
It is taking ownership for our contribution to a surrendered life to God. This includes personal times of stillness, practicing listening, inviting others to journey with us (especially in our brokenness), and loving our families and those around us.
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Being Strong and Courageous
Lately, I have reflected on Psalm 131. Verse 2 reveals a picture of a trusting child coming into the loving embrace of a loving and trustworthy parent. This provides an example of how we can come into the arms of God – to rest, to be still, to be loved.
But I have calmed and quietened myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Psalm 131:2
But allowing yourself to be truly loved takes courage.
It requires entering the desert and owning your brokenness in order to realise how dearly loved you are. In that stillness, you are (maybe after a time, if you have run without reprieve), strengthened for the journey ahead, by coming into your identity in Christ Jesus.
As it is a journey for the glory of God and the sake of others, this journey also takes courage, which requires surrender.
The Courage to do it with others
It is also a journey requiring other people. You are not called to a life of individualism, but a life of community. It is in loving one another and doing life with others, that we are sharpened and find a more full picture of God.
It is difficult to make changes without the support or community of others. But changes do occur when other people are invited into the journey. This takes immense courage, for it requires revealing your brokenness. Without such courage, it is possible to remain on familiar paths with familiar outcomes. The wheels keep turning but the endpoint remains the same.
There are some very courageous people in our Tasmanian Baptist community. No doubt you can identify people in your community who you would call courageous. The question is, how do you walk with courage as we reengage, reimagine and realign with God’s mission?
Where to begin
Perhaps it begins with being still – coming into your identity as God’s beloved; entering the desert and facing your brokenness; and quietening your soul. By doing these things you are strengthened for the journey ahead, which is for the glory of God and the sake of others.
If this article has left you challenged, encouraged, or questioning, the Mission and Leadership Development Team would love to hear from you.
We encourage you to invite others on this courageous journey as you digest the implications of this article.
Tasmanian Baptists Mission and Leadership Coach
April/May 2022 ReCharge