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Doing What We “Can’t”
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I am not the one to talk about courage because I have so little of it. For me it always comes with expediency—doing what needs to be done whether I feel qualified or not. That applies to many areas of my life. It applied to entering children’s ministries. When teachers or leaders didn’t show, I stepped in because the children needed someone. Nursing home ministry was much the same. I agreed to hand out the songbooks but within a month I was filling in for song-leaders who couldn’t come and speakers who had to cancel. To me who had no voice to sing and a terror of standing up in public God gave a ministry of song and word. I knew the angels were my helpers when one day a blind lady told me, “You have such a beautiful voice. I love to hear you sing.” (I’ve also had a patient tell me they could do with a much better song-leader!)

Writing, this compulsive thing I do, has equally terrified and enticed me for most of my life. I cried when my first major article appeared in print. It was on a controversial subject and a highly respected professor advised me against writing it. I disagreed with her reasons and did the thing I felt pressed to do. When the story came out as the cover article, I felt no gloating. I went to the lady’s office, handed her the magazine and cried at disappointing her.
    
I keep before me a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, a strong advocate of the power one and a “just do it” attitude: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face….You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

I Could Swim

There are many things I don’t feel called upon to do: walk a tight rope; sky-dive; climb Mt. Everest. But Roosevelt’s words did give me the courage to go snorkeling off the coast of Mexico—even though I didn’t know how to swim. In salt water I discovered that with mask and flippers, I could swim. What a beautiful underwater world opened to me when I took the courage to do what I thought I could never do.

A few years ago I read in our local paper about a woman celebrating her 80th birthday by sky-diving for the first time. I chanced upon her granddaughter recently. Turns out the entire family at that birthday bash took assisted sky-dives. “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” said the woman. “My grandma said it was her best birthday ever. That lady was afraid of nothing!”

What’s holding you back from a fuller, richer life? Look your fear in the face and “do the thing you think you cannot do.”

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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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