5 Ways to be Brave When You’re Really Scared

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It is true that sometimes I have chosen courage and sometimes my courage has deserted me. No one wants to be faint-hearted in the face of an obstacle, or pain. Everyone wants to be brave.

I wrote the following in a hospital coffee shop as I waited for my husband to have minor surgery several months ago.

My heart says it’ll be okay, but there is always that other voice, fear.

The framed art on the wall says, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’ ” (Author unknown).

I think about the value of courage – the ability to do something that frightens me, and I realize it’s a choice I must make every day for the rest of my life.

So what is it that creates courage?

Our faith in God’s attributes and His sovereignty create in us the courage to act in the face of fear.

To be courageous we must act in five ways:

  1. Stand up for righteousness. One biblical example we have of a courageous woman is Abigail. When Abigail’s husband refused David and his men food, she displayed inordinate courage in sending gifts of food to David. Then she faced her harsh, badly behaved husband, Nabal, to tell him what she had done to save his bacon. He dropped down dead, and she was delivered from his evil hand and became the beautiful bride of David. What amazing courage when she could have allowed fear to stop her actions!
  1. Be strong in action even when you are shaking inside. As God said to Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous”. The Pareto principle, or the law of the vital few, infers that 80% of people will go along with the crowd; only 20% will lead the pack. What will you do when faced with the need to act righteously, to stand out from the crowd? Will you be one of the 20%? It does not require a special person . . . just you!
  1. Follow the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. Tune out the background noise of fear and learn to listen. His voice comes from outside in; it is the voice of faith, the voice of courage. The book of Romans teaches that although we do not know what to pray for as we ought, the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
  1. Look to examples of courage in action, like Paul the Apostle who said, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).
  1. Realize the Holy Spirit gives to each of us the courage we need in overcoming the sin that will weigh us down on our journey through to the overcoming life in Christ. This world needs women of courage, women of God who will act boldly in our crooked world.

Question: What stimulates you to act courageously in trying times?

 

 

 

 

Coaching For Transformation

www.alisonward.me
www.alisonward.me

My daughter returned from a trip to a country store with a loaf of artisanal Italian bread baked with thyme and sundried tomatoes. Spread thickly with yellow farm butter it was a feast all on its own.

A well-known coach calls questions the bread and butter tools of a coach, so a coach asking questions is like baking artisanal bread and spreading it thick with farm butter to present to the client in an appetizing manner.

Coaching Christian Women

Stressed, overcommitted, over responsible, and out of control of their time and resources, women in the church are in great need of discipleship coaching.

I see these women regularly trying to balance the finances, balance their lifestyle, balance their work-life, balance their home and family and still have some ‘me’ time all with some discipleship or spiritual transformation thrown in there somewhere too.

A woman benefits from coaching for spiritual transformation, and if she will take the time to enter this accountability relationship, she will discover growth.

I only have to look at Proverbs 31 to see a woman who has balanced her time, her strength and her abilities and is successfully growing from the inside out. King Lemuel says of her, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov 31:30, ESV).

In coaching women in the church we need to ask powerful questions, questions that provoke enquiry, make them think deeply about their lives, their motives, their desires, their future, and their spirituality.

Questions in the Scriptures

What is the most powerful question you have ever been asked?

Did it make you stop in your tracks and think more deeply?

What if you had never been asked that question?

God asks deep, penetrating questions because he wants us to think. God’s first question in the Bible to Adam, is, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9, ESV), which made it impossible for Adam to ignore his sin or continue to hide it.

He had to expose his condition and thus make the move to restoration of relationship with God.

Job begs God for answers and God asks him questions, in fact, the longest list of questions in the Bible is in Job 38 and 39, provoking enquiry about what Job’s belief system is and bringing Job back to the responsibility for his own life.

Wise Coaches

As coaches we believe our clients have the answers to their own lives. These answers may be buried so deep inside; it takes more than a spade to dig down through the layers of soil to find the treasure.

Powerful questions can be like drilling for oil.

As you go down, you will eventually hit the precious stuff!

“You can tell a man is clever by his answers. You can tell a man is wise by his questions” (Naguib Mahfouz).

Wisdom for a coach is refraining from advice giving and moving to powerful, probing questions that provoke enquiry on the part of the client and curiosity on the part of the coach.

I spoke about artisanal bread, because this is baked on a small scale and needs an artisan, a craftsperson to lovingly hand form and bake each loaf. Just so, there is an art to forming questions that make people think, make them stop in their tracks and think deeply.

This is what coaching is all about.

Contact me at hello@alisonward.me for a free half hour session.

The 5 Crucial Steps to Forgiveness That will Change Your Life

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Everyone should read a book on forgiveness by a respected Christian author. A book I do recommend is ‘Total Forgiveness’ by R.T. Kendall.

At various times in my life, God has used books I have read on forgiveness, and my heart has been challenged and I have been truly changed by each one, as I have allowed the light of God’s Word to shine into my hard heart, and penetrate the darkness in my soul.

Forgiveness is essential for a Christian to live a fruitful life unto God.

Forgiveness is not a concept, but a lifestyle.

Forgiveness is a necessary part of a healthy mind and soul.

Some years back I read of a psychotherapist who believed that up to 80% of patients in a mental institution were there because of unforgiveness and had no other cause for their mental illness.

If we don’t forgive those who have sinned against us, we risk disease in our bodies and crippling thinking in our minds, and a host of other wrong ways to think about life.

When we don’t forgive, our minds are playgrounds with carousels of hate, envy, jealousy, bitterness, resentment and all kinds of impurity. We hurt ourselves and because of a hardened heart, we start to hurt others too.

So how do we forgive?

  1. Acknowledge before God in prayer that you have not forgiven ___________for __________ (put their name and offence in there).
  2. Pray from the Lord’s prayer: “forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matt 6: 12, NLT). This quickly reminds us that we are forgiven as we forgive.
  3. Ask God, by the Holy Spirit for grace to forgive. Wrestle with this as much and as often as you need to.
  4. Do not dwell on their sins towards you, but on your mercy towards them. Mercy says, ‘I will give you what you don’t deserve’.
  5. Do this as many times a day as you need to, and keep doing this day by day. It will be often at first and as your heart accepts and your mind renews, your thoughts will fade and your attitude will change and one day you will realise you are free.

Does it matter whether the other person knows what you have done or felt?

No, it does not, as forgiveness is your gift to yourself.

If the other person knows of the problem between you, then go to her.

What about forgiving yourself?

If you are living in regret, guilt and shame, it is time to forgive yourself. You do this before God in prayer too, and let go of the pain and the shame, knowing that all the sin you have committed is washed away, cleansed, by Christ’s blood, as you trust in Him, not in yourself for forgiveness and salvation.

Do not set yourself up as your own God, judge and jury! Leave that to God who judges all men’s hearts.

Where and how have you found help to forgive? I invite you to comment on forgiveness.

You Don’t Have to be Perfect to Find Your Voice in the World

At last! I have got my blog up and running.

It’s been a journey to get to this place. It’s been a good journey, but a distance to travel nonetheless. This is a place to write my heart out, to share with you and to serve you.

www.alisonward.me
www.alisonward.me

I find myself writing blogging notes on my iphone, my ipad, pieces of paper, documents on my laptop, and generally overflowing everywhere. I sometimes even sit in my dressing room at night (when I am supposed to be sleeping, and so as not to wake the man of my dreams), and think and write.

So I write to reflect, to learn, to grow, to live, to lead and to share that journey with you. I blog about leadership, coaching and women’s issues.

A Small Part of My Journey

Cancer has been, and continues to be the uninvited stranger in our home for nearly eight years now.

My husband was diagnosed with Stage 2 prostate cancer in the same week my father died and my daughter miscarried twins, conceived through in vitro fertilization.

There were times I wanted to cry out, to be left alone, to wallow in self-pity. I struggled with issues of faith and God’s sovereignty.

I have asked, what was the purpose in all of this?

Leaders Lead

In this time period, my husband and I were studying leadership from a biblical perspective and this is what I came to see:

  • That leaders grow exponentially through times of trouble and suffering
  • That leaders are in God’s crucible often, being refined and purified
  • That leaders continue to lead when they are being pressured
  • That leaders search out biblical answers to difficult questions
  • That leaders continue in the grace of God no matter what the season
  • That leaders glorify God in the whole of life
  • That God’s ultimate purpose for a leader is her own salvation

Since that time period in my life I have completed a Masters degree in leadership and coaching and continue to pursue hard after God and his will in my life.

Find your Voice

I also want to share with you that for many years did not consider myself a leader in my own right, even though:

  • I was raising children (leading their hearts and choices every day)
  • I was leading ministries in the local church (as the pastor’s wife)
  • I was leading the women’s ministry in the church
  • I was learning and growing in my leadership style
  • I was adding value to all I did through who I was

I had to come to the place of taking charge of my personal leadership development, and stop making excuses for who I am.

So while my journey is about me, it’s also about you (see 2 Cor 1:3-5). I am passionate about seeing others develop in the Lord Jesus Christ into their gifts, and reach more fully into their potential in all the phases of their lives.

What is your voice in the world, and how do you want to use it?

Leave a comment and let’s talk.