In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, July 08, 2011

In Others' Words: Courage

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." ~Winston Churchill

I have to admit, Winston Churchill turned my perspective on courage upside down. I always think of courage as a "stand up and say something or do something." Courage is active. It's bold. It is, at times, in your face. 

But is courage also the ability to sit down, be quiet, and listen? To be strong enough not to need to say anything? To be willing to let the other person speak first--even if that person has hurt you?

As I mulled over this quote, I realized that true listening isn't passive. Listening is active (as is courage). To listen to someone you have to focus on them. Ignore everything else. Not allow your mind to wander. Not begin to think of all your replies before the person is finished speaking. (That's a tough one for me.)

Is it courageous to put someone else before yourself? Yes. It's also biblical. Consider others more important than yourself . . . (Philippians 2:3)

In Your Words: How do you define courage? Do you agree or disagree with Churchill? Have you had a chance to be courageous lately?

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At 9:03 AM, Blogger Wendy Paine Miller said...

I've grown in this area. I used to think I had to yell in a fight w/ my man to be heard. I don't think that at all anymore. It was likely a learned behavior, but still. I've learned to really listen and validate. The temptation to stand up and be heard is always there (not just while fighting w/ my hubby) but I think ultimately it has to do with trust...the ability to sit and wait.
~ Wendy

At 10:21 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Ah, Wendy .... when we meet at ACFW, we're going to find we have a lot in common . . . :O)

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Edie Melson said...

This post really challenges me. I'm such a "doer" it's hard for me to act or react in any other way. God is definitely working on this part of my character - thanks!

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Me too, Edie. Me too.

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Scoti Springfield Domeij said...

Courage is listening to feedback from a critique group member when you're in love with you WIP.

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

Beth, what a great post. I agree with Winston Churchill, though I didn't know this quote until today. I love the idea of courage also being willing to listen completely.

I guess, thinking on courage in a slightly different slant, it is also the willingness to move forward when God says, trusting His plans when I don't understand them.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Jennifer Shirk said...

That's a great quote. I never really athought about courage like that. I do feel it takes a lot to be still and really listen.

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Scoti--you are so right about critique groups and listening without commenting, even though you love your WIP. That takes courage and trust.
Great insight too, Jeanne.
And Jennifer, I agree about how this quote put a whole new slant on courage. That's why I posted it.


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