“You’re nothing but a great big coward,” Dorothy said sternly to the cowardly lion when she first met him in the woods with the Scarecrow and the Tin Man.

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“You’re right. I am a coward. I haven’t any courage at all,” responded the lion with tears running down his cheeks and his voice trembling.

Upon finally meeting the Wizard, the Cowardly Lion is introduced to Lesson Number 1 when the Wizard says to the sheepish feline, “You’re a victim of disorganized thinking.”

So much of our fear is a result of our own disorganized thinking. We replay negative tapes from our history that keep us in our cowardly state. These old messages keep us from making the big sale, or applying for that new job, or starting our own business, or simply standing up for ourselves.

The wizard goes on to say to the lion, “Back where I come from we have men who are called heroes. Once a year they take their fortitude out of mothballs and they parade it down the main street and they have no more courage than you have.”

Most likely, the people who make the sale, get the job, start their own business, or stand up for themselves are, or were, just as scared as you are. The difference is, they took action. They didn’t let their fear stop them. They acted in spite of their fear. Fear is stagnant. Courage is action.

Lesson Number 2 is that courage is all about the heart. While the spineless lion received a medal to show his courage he really should have asked for the same thing as the Tin Man – a heart.

The root of the word courage is “cor” which is the Latin word for heart. In its original form the word meant to “speak one’s mind while telling all one’s heart.”

Courage is an inside job. The medal the lion had wrapped around his neck is an outside symbol. It will really do nothing to help him develop the inner strength he needs to be more brave. Courage requires us to look deep within our soul, to be uncomfortable, and to make a heart decision.

We can put up all kinds of signs and symbols in our offices or homes that remind us to be more courageous. Ultimately though, it comes down to our core, our heart, and a willingness to face our fears.

“Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?” pleads Dorothy as she encounters Glenda, the good witch, toward the end of the movie.

These cries for help lead us to Lesson Number 3.

 “You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas,” proclaims Glenda.

“I have?” queries Dorothy.

“Then why didn’t you tell her before?” the Scarecrow asks angrily.

Glenda responds, “Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.”

And so it is with courage. We’ll never know how strong and courageous we can be, or already are, without learning it for ourselves. Courage and believing in ourselves requires us to rearrange our disorganized thinking. They require us to examine our core and our heart and not look for something from the outside to change us. Courage requires us to act.

Others can encourage us but no one can help us move from fear to courage. We must do that ourselves. That is a heart decision.

What courageous heart decisions do you need to make today?

Proverbs 28:1


This is a repost from June of 2018. After recently having multiple conversations about this very thing I felt the need to post this again.

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