Common Courage for Daily Dilemmas: Choosing Godliness Even When it’s Hard

Common Courage for Daily Dilemmas: Choosing Godliness Even When it’s Hard

Common Courage for Daily Dilemmas: Choosing Godliness Even When it’s Hard

The conversation was fragmented, as so many are with teenagers. The details came out in blurry fits and spurt, bits and pieces I puzzled together. My son was stuck in the wildly popular video game he was playing. He wanted to conquer the formidable foe (my interpretation of the beastly opponent he was battling) but needed more life, so he needed to “pray.”

It wasn’t praying like we pray, he assured me, more like a simple video game move - a move a player makes in front of a stone carving, an idol they call it. “Praying” gives a player life.

My suspicions were raised and reflections of those stiff-necked Israelites and their lingering affair with idols raced through my mind. Wait a minute. Why are we choosing this for entertainment?

"But it’s not like that, Mom,” He defended quickly, feeling my quiet questions inch into the sacred space of something he valued. It’s not a big deal. Everyone plays this game.

This is precisely where parenting gets trickier than I thought it would. It’s not the big and wild disobedience that is hard. Those moments are clear and obvious. It’s these quieter, stickier dilemmas – the ones every other mom seems to have said yes to, the ones that come in shades of gray. These things we inadvertently condone, support, and spend our money on, but do we agree with them?

And what are we to do when they are suddenly brought to light? Once we are faced with a conviction, involving parenting, work, marriage, or in the quiet of our own personal space, what are we going to do with it?

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Miguel Bruna

Deciding Whom to Disappoint

Deciding Whom to Disappoint

Years ago, my washing machine broke. We called a repair man only to be told it was beyond fixing. A friend of a friend knew some newlyweds who had combined households and had an extra washer in the garage they had been wanting to get rid of, so we scooped it up. After we got it situated in our house, it didn’t work.

We gave in and bought a washer from the store, but it didn’t work either. You can’t make this stuff up, right? I was fully pregnant with our second child and all these failed attempts to own a working washing machine meant my hampers became cornucopias of overflowing soiled laundry.

We eventually got a working washer, but it arrived on the very day I had plans to head out of town with a friend for the weekend. Overflowing laundry, out of town adding to the laundry–should I stay, or should I go now? And more importantly, who exactly am I willing to disappoint?

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"...harrowing decisions will always demand bravery, but what about the small moral and ethical battles we fight quietly every day...?"

"...harrowing decisions will always demand bravery, but what about the small moral and ethical battles we fight quietly every day...?"

In my earlier years of life, I always relegated courage to the realm of overt valiance– the hero in battle, the great defender in the line of fire. Something rare and unique, courage to me was a well to drink from on the rarest of occasions. But the more life I take in, the more demand I see for a quieter courage, a daily courage, and common courage.

Life-saving and harrowing decisions will always demand bravery, but what about the small moral and ethical battles we fight quietly every day, the ones no one even sees? What about bending but not breaking the rules, negotiating with the will of a tiny two-year-old or 10-year-old, and having to let your friends down in choosing between good and best?

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Thomas Kelley

The Courage Required for Daily Life

The Courage Required for Daily Life

It takes courage to live from a conviction of Truth that is not popular and to take a stand when it’s easier to do what everyone else is doing.

It takes courage to walk away from busy, to say no and prioritize a life that is not Instagram worthy but lays roots that will one day grow long term fruit.

It takes courage to persevere and keep believing when that fruit grows slowly in our finances, our faith, our relationships, and our children.

It takes courage to obey when we can’t quite see where this obedience is leading and to believe more in the One who leads us than in the mountain we see in front of us.

It takes courage.

It takes courage to provide proper correction for children rather than ignore the growing opportunity (for both them and us) that is discipline.

It takes courage to breath in and breath out the grace we have already been covered with.

It takes courage to know that God loves our kids even more than we do.

It takes courage to keep growing them even while He is still growing us.

It takes courage.

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"When I limit my definition of situations that demand courage, I also limit my ability to summon it."

"When I limit my definition of situations that demand courage, I also limit my ability to summon it."

There are the brave who hold fast to sound doctrine in changing times, ready in and out of season. (2 Timothy 4:2-3). There are the brave who remember His works, know who He is, and hold fast to this hope when life feels shadowy (Psalm 143:5). There are the brave who walk in Holy fear, seeking His wisdom and trusting His goodness beyond what is popular.

When I limit my definition of situations that demand courage, I also limit my ability to summon it.

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"These situations are challenging because they require courage."

"These situations are challenging because they require courage."

Doing the right thing is not just hard, it takes courage, and I need to see it to draw on it.

When caught in dilemmas of letting down one person or the other, leading a child to make wise choices with entertainment, being uncomfortably on the receiving end of gossip, sifting through what is legal and moral and right in a situation – it’s not just hard. Hard is a riddle to be mentally solved or a bolder to be physically moved. No, these situations are challenging because they require courage. And they are not rare; we find ourselves here quite regularly.

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Courage Breeds More Courage

Courage Breeds More Courage

I told that teenager his dad and I needed to think and talk about this game. We would put the discussion on hold for a few days, as well any further engagement with the game, and reconvene our discussion at a later date.

That later date never came because a day or two later, my son came to me and said, “Mom, I’ve thought about this more, and I don’t think it’s right. I want to get rid this game.”

Our courage to ask the hard questions starts the discussion and breeds courage in those around us. Bravely and graciously pressing into hard and awkward places can be the very window that God uses to speak into the hearts of others.

Design Credit: Rachel Dawson

"...the fabric of daily faith and growth also rests in the neatly woven threads of common courage..."

"...the fabric of daily faith and growth also rests in the neatly woven threads of common courage..."

There will always be a place for the overtly brave defenders of all that is good – the occasions that require a loud and public brave. We need this courage. History is made from this courage. But the fabric of daily faith and growth also rests in the neatly woven threads of common courage, day in day out, constructing a tapestry of bold believers who are choosing godliness even when it’s hard.

Katie Westenberg is a wife, mom and writer who is passionate about encouraging women to fear God and live brave. Her daily brave involves life in the countryside of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their four kids. She also enjoys traveling, reading and any adventures that include friends and family. You can find her at I Choose Brave as well as Facebook and Instagram.

This article is part of our courage theme for the month of August on iBelieve. What is courage? Usually, we associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences -- good and bad. We believe this kind of “ordinary courage” is what God calls us to live into every day of our lives.

Check back here throughout August for a new story of courage as our writers tackle what it means to be faithful, courageous women in a culture that values comfort and conformity.

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