Courage: My word for the Year

12:31 AM


It's late, and I really should be asleep. However, instead, my mind is racing with thoughts, hopes, dreams, and, yes, a few fears.

As I write this, it is the first day of the new year. The day started too early for someone who had been up at midnight. It had a short workday, a lunch with my dear sister Rose and then an afternoon with friends, chores, and celebrating the New Year. At the end of the day, my dear friend Jessica asked me about my word for the year.

I wasn't sure I would even have a word for this year. I don't have one most years. As Jessica told me about her word, and I thought about some of the things on my heart, I remembered a scene from a story, a scene where hope, courage, and a mountain of fear all mixed together for one of the most dramatic and powerful speeches in the Old Testament.

Three men, who refused to follow the crowd, stand before an angry king who is angry and has the power to take their lives (or so he thinks). The king gives them another chance to save their lives. They respond like this:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Let's break this down a little:

Fear: Anger of a king and a horrible death

Hope: They serve a God able to save

Courage: "Even if he does not..." whether God saves them or not, they are willing to take that stand.

Of course, we know that God saves these men from the furnace. We don't really feel the fear because we know the ending. Like all those stories where we want the guy and girl to tell each other they love each other and get it over with, or watching a game that we already know the final score. Sometimes, knowing a story takes the fear out of the story.

When it was going on, those three men didn't know that God would save them, they only knew he could.

In real life, someone might confess their feelings and not have them returned, unlike most romance novels.

Before the game was played, it could have gone to either team.

Uncertainty and fear go hand in hand. Courage is that stepping out anyway and saying things like:

"God can save, but even if not, I will serve him."

"I'm going to share my heart, knowing it could cause either great pain or great happiness."

"I'm going to play my best, knowing the outcome is uncertain."

Those three men were about to have courage because their hope was built on a solid foundation. That is my goal for this year, to have courage. And to know that I can be courageous because my hope is built on the unshakable foundation which has already been laid. That is Christ. 

I don't know what that courage is going to look like, but I guess that's the point, isn't it?

Do you have a word for the year? Thoughts on this story from Daniel? Need a prayer for courage? Comment below. I would love to hear from you. 

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!! <3 I love that passage from Scripture, and hearing your thoughts on it was very encouraging.
    My word for the year 2021 is Safe [in Him]. :)

  2. I love your word for the year! "Sometimes, knowing a story takes the fear out of the story." So true! Even if we don't know specifics with our individual life stories, we do know the ultimate ending we are promised.

    Courage will mean a lot to me this year as well, I believe. And though I've never picked a word for the year before, the one that was impressed upon yesterday was "Focus." Focus on the Lord!

    1. I love that, Kelsey. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

  3. Beautiful!!!! My words (I can't choose just one XD) are:
    & Hope

    1. Picking one is sometimes not possible. I love your words!

  4. You are right in your description of courage. I was walking that as the last day of the year came to a close and a certain battle with fear came to a head.
    I don't know if it's possible to separate action and decision completely, but it sure seems the moment requiring the most courage is right before the action that displays it.
    I didn't think of a word for the year until I read this, but I think mine is: Walk.

    1. You're right. I don't think it's possible to separate action and decision. After all, if you decide to do something and then don't do it, the purpose is defeated.
      I like you're word for the year.

  5. I love this <33
    My word is Progression.