Courage Has Different Looks (Depending on What You’re Facing)

Watching the updated version of True Grit, it struck me that while the main character, Rooster Cogburn, had “true grit” it became more and more obvious that the fourteen year old girl, Mattie Ross, was the one who exhibited the greatest “grit” or courage throughout the film. Whether you read the book or view either of the two movie versions of this story, it’s worth taking note of how each character worked out their fears and stood fast when they needed to (despite making mistakes along the way). Each of them defined courage by their mental attitude and their choices.

Here’s another definition of courage offered by Marcus Luttrell, author of Lone Survivor, where he tells his story of being the only survivor on his Navy SEALS team of the now highly publicized account of the 2005 Afghanistan combat mission.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.”

Like the fictional Mattie Ross, Luttrell writes about summoning up whatever it takes to get the job done. Also like Mattie Ross, both individuals had to identify their enemy, create a team, formulate a plan, and then execute it.

While most people will never be called upon to face the horrors that Luttrell did, everyone has their own fears, struggles, and challenges to face and conquer. What I appreciated most about both of these stories was the emphasis on choosing the right people to surround yourself with — people you can trust. People who are skilled at what they do. People who don’t give up (and don’t allow you to give up either.)

Courage might sound all nice in theory, but it’s plenty practical. Here’s a few ways to bring some “grit” into your own battle plan for overcoming hard seasons.

COURAGE – Facing facts and doing something about them. When sorrows tally up, women need to harness and guard their emotional strength by reminding themselves of the following.

· Balance work, home, and relaxation; don’t take on new responsibilities during this time.

· Talk with trusted friends about what you’re feeling; as you do, you’ll find the weight of sorrow is shared as it is distributed some amongst people who care.

· Understand your limitations; listen to what others are observing in you and heed their counsel.

STRENGTH – Making sure you’re fit for what’s coming. When sorrow makes its presence known day after day, women need to build up and maintain their physical strength.

· Exercise daily; set (and maintain) your routine of getting a minimum of 20 minutes/3 times per week.

· Get enough sleep; factor in 7 – 8 hours of nighttime rest every night.

· Take vitamin supplements daily and eat for optimal health to offset the extra emotional pressures.

FEARLESSNESS – Moving forward even when the outcome is uncertain. When the worst is over, women need to decide what they believe, why they believe, and how their beliefs will equip them to face the future, here they develop their spiritual strength.

· Revisit and re-evaluate former belief systems; ask yourself how what you say you believe about life/death/suffering makes a difference?

· What did you learn about yourself and about how you handle loss and sorrow?

· Contemplate tomorrow in the aftermath of today’s painful circumstance. What can you do to be better prepared for future challenges?


One thought on “Courage Has Different Looks (Depending on What You’re Facing)

  1. I was always considered bold when I was younger (probably still am)…part of that courageous facade was simply a survival mechanism. Like Mattie, I believed that I needed to take care of important concerns or they would go by the wayside.
    Sadly, boldness can translate to brashness and self-absorption. In my early adult life I began to pray that the Lord would help me to limit my fear to a healthy one of Him, but that He would soften my sharp edges. I’m hoping others see me as courageous (gritty) when it comes to battling for those who can’t fight for themselves, but humble regarding my own needs.
    Thanks for the post Michele!

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