“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
If you grew up in a Christian home, you must have memorized this quote culled from a passage in the bible at a tender age. Many of us have recited this absent mindedly without understanding what it truly means. One minute they a shouting these words atop their lungs with so much confidence and alacrity. Next minute, they are doubting themselves, crying and lamenting the woes of life.
Our perception of faith differs across our individuality and belief system. We all interpret faith differently. Faith means accepting the things you have no control over and relinquishing them to the authority of a superior force or greater power. This greater power is often linked to the individual’s religion or belief system. The superior force could be God, a demi-god or the universe. The Things may not be smooth and rosy in your life.
You may have lost your job/business and all your assets in one day. You do not know how you will rise on your feet again. You have no single idea of how you will feed and fend for yourself. In such situation, it is typical of the human to being to think, worry and panic. We become anxious and distressed. However, a person who has faith will not be visibility shaken by the sad turn of event. S/he may be terrified at first but then they remember the words of reggae legend Bob Marley,
“Don’t worry about a thing cause every little thing gonna be alright”
…and peace is restored to their troubled hearts.
They are overwhelmed by a certain wave of peace. They become calm and unperturbed by the situation. Faith begins with recognition, an acceptance of our incapacities. Having faith does not mean that we are ignorant of our problem. It only means that we choose to look beyond those problems. We know there is darkness in the tunnel but we choose to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. We know that the clouds are thick and dark, but we show to focus on the silver lining behind the cloud. Faith is simply a change of focus. It is that peace you have in the middle of the storm. It is the hope you have that everything good will come. It is that silence that engulfs your soul in the mist of perils and chaos.
Faith gives us this inward understanding that everything will be fine. We may not know how it will happen but are just know it will. It helps us let go of our worries. Faith may not give a full understanding of the physical happenings but it gives a peaceful assurance of hope. Faith humbles us. Many of us think we are invincible. We even boost and brag about it. We have this illusion that nothing could ever go wrong and we believe that the world begins at our feet. Ops! Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no such thing as a problem free life. No, the world does not revolve around you. Life comes with many challenges. Anything can go wrong at any time. Faith makes us realize that we can’t always be in charge or in control of situations.
Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to believe in you, in your abilities and potentials. However, a time comes when we lose the motivation to continue. The period it seems nothing is working anymore or it seems everything has fallen apart. It is only faith that can keep you going. Faith gives us the strength to push through hard times. It is the inner strength that compels us to keep fighting even when we do not feel like it. When we feel like giving up it is faith that keeps us going.
Faith is what helps us maintain our sanity and stability when all you want to do is give up. Faith stops us from melting down or losing our cold when it seems there is no way forward. It stops us from having a break down or going gaga. Honestly, life problems can freak the life out of you but faith helps us stay calm. In the past, you would have screams down the roof top or slammed your head against the wall. However, this time you are enveloped by a sense of peace. You take a deep breath, stay calm and try to figure out the best possible solution.
Courage is the ability to be strong in the face of challenges. It is that fearless and resilience that we exhibit when we have been stretched beyond our elastic limit. It is the strength that we have when everything around us seems to be falling apart. Courage makes us fearless in the sight of danger. It makes us brave in the face of adversity. Instead of scramming away like fright and terror, we look forward and push headlong. Courage ignores the odds and walk straight into in fire and out in split seconds. It is the ability to do the things are would naturally not dare to do. In Martha Pasternak’s words,
“Courage is the ability to do the thing that frightens us”
It takes courage to do the things that make us scream,
“OMG! I can’t be I did that! I had no idea I could do that!”
Other terms that could be used in place of courage are daring, audacity, bravery, boldness, hardihood, grit, fearlessness, gallantry and heroism. Courage is the attribute of a Lion. He sees danger coming but no he would rather walk straight in and damn the consequences than turn back and flee. The Lion may be hungry and starving for days but he will never stoop low to eat grass. No, it is not pride. It is simply in his nature as a fighter to settle for nothing but the best. It is his courage that keeps him going. Don’t get it twisted. Being courageous does not mean we become immune to fear, fright, discouragement or timidity. We may feel that now and again but courage insulated those feeling. It suppresses them so that do not have significant influence on us. It is not about avoiding fear but overcoming fear. It pushes us to do the seemingly impossible. It could be a rejection, disapproval, disappointment, challenge, obstacle, struggle, pain, grief, failure, defeat, loss or danger. Courage helps us overcome every single one of them.
There are six different types of courage and they include physical, social, moral, emotional, intellectual and spiritual courage. These classifications of courage highlight the different areas of our lives where we need to be courageous.
Physical courage is the first that comes to mind in the face of danger. It is the ability to surmount physically danger or obstacles. This is the bravery that arises in the face of a physical threat. This type of courage often comes at the risk of bodily harm, physical impairment or death. It is that fearlessness that makes you confront or fight off a predator. In most cases, the predator is armed or physically stronger than the prey. The physical threat could be from a rapist, an abductor, armed robber, ritualist or a hit man. This type of courage required development of physical strength, environmental sensitivity/awareness, street smartness and defense tactics.
Social Courage is the most common form of courage. Everybody can easily relate to this. It is that boldness that comes in midst of social or public embarrassment. This happens in cases of rejection, intimidation, public/cyber bullying, unpopularity, humiliation, disgrace, segregation. It causes a lot of danger to a person self- image, public image and esteem. Social courage helps an individual overcome the shame that comes with all that baggage. The best way to acquire social courage is to build your self-esteem.
Intellectual Courage shows up during a battle of wits and intellectual supremacy. It is that impulse that compels you to prove yourself when your worth, value, potential, ability and capability is threatened or questions. It is what propels us to take up difficult tasks and challenging roles. It is what makes you bid that call of leadership. It is what makes you attempt that tough question. It is what makes you accept that challenge and compete for the price. It is what makes you damn that risk of failure, defeat or mistakes.
Moral Courage is an essential attribute we all must possess.
What will you do if your ethics or values are threaten?
Will you do what is right even if you stand alone?
Or will do what the crowd wants just to earn their approval?
The level of your moral courage determines what your response will be. Moral courage bids us to damn society and do what we believe is right. It is a question of “What are you willing to die for?” Dr. Kofi Osei-Kusi said,
“You are not ready to live until you have found something to die for”
You can’t be a follower of every wave of philosophy or school of thought. Take a stand and ready to defend it to the later. Moral courage is your decision to stick to your resolve in both words and action. It is the courage to maintain your honesty and integrity when an avenue for greed and deceit rears its head. Someone who has moral courage does not fear the risk losing societal approval, commendation, flattery and validation.
Emotional Courage is the force of joy that surges through our hearts and minds when sadness seems to overwhelm. It is the resolve to keep you head over the ocean of despair. Have you ever come across people who are consistently happy even when they are surrounded be a load of problems? They will freely offer you their shoulders to cry on while bearing their own pain. Such people are emotionally courageous. They have built their emotional tolerance level such that nothing really brings them down. Their endurance and perseverance is truly out of this world.
Spiritual courage is the last on the list. This is the courage we have to face issues of faith, purpose, hope and belief. It is the ability to stay strong when you faith is being tried. This does not necessarily have to be in a religious context. Remember our earlier discourse on faith. Faith is the ability to hope for the best when things are falling apart. When that faith is strained to the point of its elastic limit, this courage comes in to save the day. You are almost giving up, it seems as if all the faith and hope you had were a sham but courage pushes you to try a little more.
Faith and courage are mutually inclusive entities. They work hand-in-hand. Faith is that subtle voice that whispers to you,
“Keep pushing! Everything will be fine”
On the other hand, courage speaks to your heart and says,
“Keep Pushing! You can do it”.
Courage fastens our grip on faith. They are like two inseparable twins. Neither of them can function wholly or completely without the other.
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