Finding Your Courage

March 10, 2021

by Libby Rushton, NJHA board director

“Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?Courage.”

This quote comes from one of my all-time favorite movies, The Wizard of Oz. As a child I loved to watch this movie because it was very light-hearted and easy to follow, but as I’ve gotten older it’s conveyed a much deeper meaning. In this movie the tin man, scarecrow, the cowardly lion, and Dorothy all team up in hopes to gain a part of themselves they lack. The character that has always definitely stood out the most in my opinion is the cowardly lion. Throughout the movie, the cowardly lion feels that his lack of courage makes him inadequate, so along with the other characters, he finds himself on a journey to see the wizard. However, when he actually sees the wizard, he learns that he has actually had courage all along. I feel like the cowardly lion’s lesson is something that each and every person can relate to in their own lives.

The Oxford dictionary’s definition of courage is “the ability to do something that frightens one.” A lot easier said than done right? In a world that most of the time feels like a constant state of chaos it can be hard to remember to have courage. When faced with difficult situations it becomes easy to question ourselves and our capabilities. From the smallest to the largest tasks, we all have things that can be scary to us, and some a lot more than others. The fear of struggling and being vulnerable to failing can often make it a challenge to even try to do something that frightens us, so in order to overcome it we all have to find our own courage.

Finding your courage is different for everyone, and the first step is finding what works for you. When faced with times of discouragement I often find myself thinking about the bible verse Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” These few words alone remind me that in whatever I do, I am never alone. Whether it be calling a friend to talk it over, taking a small first step out of your comfort zone, or just facing your challenge head on, we all have to find what we can do to face our fears. Be determined to not be afraid of the tasks in front of you but choose to learn from them and use them as lessons for the future. Don’t be afraid to take the first step and find your courage…but also remember it has been there all along!