I used to teach Active Parenting, and one of the many good ideas in that curriculum is the definition of courage as taking a known risk for a known reward. Almost everyone wants a level of certainty and security in their lives, so overcoming the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure requires some courage as well as some risk taking. There are many risks known to us, such as financial problems, embarrassment at making a mistake, or loss of peace of mind.
Some of the rewards of courageous living are also known to us, like freedom, helping others, and self-fulfillment. I get great satisfaction from someone improving their attitude, changing their behavior, or making a difficult choice for what is best for all concerned.
When encountering a risk, I like to call the fight or flight response the Turtle Reflex. Understandably, like turtles, people pull into our shell to find protection. Also like turtles, people are unable to make any progress unless we stick our necks out. We need a safe environment where we can experiment with trying life a new way, and to cope with our fears.
Jesus took a known risk (separation from God for three days) for a known reward (gaining for us forgiveness in this life and eternity with God). I’m glad He didn’t just stay in His shell.
I’m sure others will be glad if we don’t just stay in our Turtle Reflex!
Dr. Ray Smith is the most sought-after counselor and relationship coach for physicians in Spokane. After graduating with a Doctor of Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, he worked with doctors in Galveston, Houston, San Antonio, Spokane, and Memphis, where he earned a second doctorate, in counseling. His background in parish ministry led to pastoral counseling and coaching for Christian MDs and the creation of physicianscoaching.com to help G.P.s and specialists deal with their unique stresses in medicine.
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