At the beginning of 2009 when it became time to launch what is today Capturing Courage International Ministries I wasn’t sure what to name this thing by which the Lord was leading me so I went to the box of thank-you cards that I had received and kept for the previous decade and began looking to see if there was a common theme. What came through loud and clear was comments regarding courage, “Cyndy when I am near you I have courage to speak my truth” for instance. Again and again people commented on courage and so this is what I named the work I do today.
Yet in the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about this name, wondering if I’ve really explained the core meaning of it, and how it applies to the work of CCIM. In my own heart and mind I know it means the courage to draw close to the Lord and to enter into an honesty and intimacy of which we are often afraid but have I communicated this to others?
Brene Brown explains: “The root of the word courage is cor–the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart”. Over time, this definition has changed, and, today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic. Heroics is important and we certainly need heroes, but I think we’ve lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we’re feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage. Heroics is often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary.”
A few thoughts immediately come to mind. One, this matter of our whole hearts. Matthew 22:37 reads, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” It is far too easy to bring to God our service, our sacrifice, our good deeds, our moral certitudes, when in actual fact God really just wants our hearts.
“Love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33
From prayer minister to international teacher and prophet I facilitate the revelation of God upon people’s hearts. As we come before the Lord He is faithful to reveal us to ourselves and in this we are granted opportunity for repentance and healing; profound freedom comes of knowing our hearts before God and here we find Him.
“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:13, NLT
It is not an easy thing to come wholeheartedly to the Lord. The vulnerability required to open every nook and cranny and every closet and cupboard of our heart can be daunting. By and large we are afraid and hold back, unsure of how God and others may take us. Our hearts condemn us and out of this preconditioned condemnation we hold back.
But condemnation is not of the Lord; God is in fact the lifter of our heads. And it is as we come into the covering and work of Jesus Christ that we find condemnation flees; you see, it has no place in the presence of God.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.” Psalm 3:3
So as we risk to bring our entire hearts to the Lord we find that we are encompassed and loved fully and completely; the grit and the grime of our life is washed away and hope springs fresh and joy is restored.
But we are still afraid. Intellectually knowing of hope and God as our shield does not remove our fear, only a personal experience of our Lord in all His grace and peace and love reveals Him in His fulness. It therefore takes courage to come before the Lord speaking our truth, opening the vaults of our hearts and minds, inviting Him in, welcoming Him without reserve.
At CCIM we are facilitating this grand encounter between the hearts of humans and the heart of God. It’s a pretty amazing work and an awesome privilege. And that is an understatement.