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 the shape of leadership

Jump in — Faith First

Let go of what’s familiar, and boldly follow where God leads

Kent Ingle on July 23, 2018

What most people don’t understand about success — however you define that — is it’s available to anyone, but it’s never a straight path. Not everyone starts in the same place, faces the same obstacles, or overcomes the same odds. But it doesn’t matter where you start; it matters what you choose to do given the circumstances you find yourself in today.

The college students I most admire are the ones who have had to work harder than their peers to attend college. I’ve met extraordinary individuals who pushed through the skepticism of parents who didn’t attend college, rose above trends in their culture or community, and never gave up until they reached their goal.

What gives people the strength to look beyond what everyone else says is impossible and do it anyway? Courage. It’s a familiar word few people have the guts to act on in life and leadership.

It’s easy to fit in, go with the flow, and fall in line with the expectations others place on you. In fact, that’s a guaranteed way to avoid a lot of friction in life all the way around. But it’s also a path that will crush your soul in the process.

God created you for a purpose. Your divine design is a blueprint for how you can uniquely solve a problem or make a difference in the world. To do that, you need courage.

So, where do you find courage? And how do you recognize it when you see it?

Courage is one of those things that is hard to describe, but you absolutely know what it is when you see it. It is the commitment to be the first in your family to finish college. It’s the willingness to leave an established church to start a new one. It’s the boldness to leave the familiar corner office of a high-rise building and start a new job.

The most important thing to know about courage is that you can’t demonstrate it when you are living in the safety zone of what is familiar and predictable.

Most people will never feel the rush of reaching positions of leadership, influence and fulfillment they previously thought were impossible. How do success stories happen? One courageous step at a time. It’s unfortunate that so many people settle for what’s familiar instead of leaping out into the great adventure to which God is calling them.

When you step out in faith, courage sets in and fuels your journey.

Comfort Is the Greatest Inhibitor of Courage

Many people dream about the things they would do if they had enough influence, time and money. However, the reality is there will never be enough influence, time and money. Those are, to put it bluntly, excuses you can lean on to rationalize why you should or shouldn’t act on what you know to be true and right.

I’m convinced there will be more than one right opportunity in your life. But I also believe that everyone only has a limited number of times to act before those opportunities fade into a distant memory. Everything is for a season.

Don’t let the allure or illusion of comfort keep you from acting on the things you know you should be doing. You don’t learn what courage is on the sidelines; you learn what courage is by getting in the game and playing with all your heart. You will never understand courage living from a place of familiarity and ease.

With God’s guidance and empowerment, you are far more capable than you might think. You must first believe in yourself — and, more specifically, in God’s ability to work through you — before anyone else will. Biblical courage begins with faith.

Something amazing happens when you walk by faith, reach toward your full potential, and fully activate your divine design. You have the energy and drive to push beyond what is familiar into the great unknown.

The thing I fear most in life are not the opportunities I reached for and didn’t achieve. Rather, I fear the God-given opportunities I never acted on. Those are unresolved moments where I could have learned something about myself and God I didn’t know. I use those experiences to drive me forward.

Scripture repeatedly reminds us to have faith, trust God, and take courage. I believe God will never lead you to a barrier you can’t break through with enough commitment, resolve, focus and faith. With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)! Embrace that, and you’ll do things the people around you only dream about.

When you step out in faith, courage sets in and fuels your journey along the way.

It’s time to let go of what’s familiar — by faith — and find the courage to accept the adventure that is right in front of you.

Identify an area in your life where you need to grow your faith and demonstrate courage. Determine what must change in you to turn that obstacle into the opportunity of a lifetime.

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