Joni Ereckson, throughout her childhood and adolescence, led a healthy life with no physical problems. Yet, a diving accident changed her life. Joni became a quadriplegic. She was no longer able to use her feet and hands. She did not, however, let her handicaps overcome her heart's desires and aspirations. She started expressing here artistic talents through drawing.   However, Joni did not let what she lacked physically stop her from fulfilling her dreams.  Instead, she used her own mouth to hold the brush. Joni did not stop there.

Joni's circumstances did not cause her to harden her heart and turn away from God.  Rather, she found her mission was to lead others to Christ, and to edify those who suffer losses.   She started a radio program and wrote books that reflected her courage in Christ. Today, Joni is known for her artistic expression, books and radio programs more than her handicap.

You have probably heard stories like Joni's, those of people who overcame their handicaps to become great achievers. The underlying element that causes these people to act differently is courage. Courage is not only the opposite of despair, it is also acting or moving in spite of despair.

Here are Six Practical Ways to Develop Courage.

First of all, get to know your strengths instead of looking at your weaknesses.  Try to remind yourselves of the things that you can do well. For example, if you have skills for fixing things, think of that as a strength you have. Secondly, look at the bright side of your life. There are definitely many things in your favor, even when you are going through the worst period in your life. Look around you and notice what you do have, such as family, friends, health, education, etc.    When was the last time you looked at the things that were going for you, instead of, looking at all the misfortunes in your life?

Second, allow yourself to think affirmatively. In other words, think about what you are going to do and what you want to see happen instead of thinking about what you may do and what may happen. When you concentrate on what you want to see happen, you will make it happen.

Third, start with simple tasks and work your way up to bigger and more challenging tasks. Success in each little work will lead you to greater successes. If you see your situation as one giant obstacle to conquer, it will appear threatening to you. On the other hand, if you look at it as small pieces of a greater whole, the task to complete and work on it piece by piece seems easier to grasp and you will likely accomplish your goal. Four years of college education may sound like a monumental task, but if you take it one semester at a time and begin to work towards your goal, you will graduate and succeed in attaining this goal.

 Fourth, look at the many facets of possibilities instead of dwelling on the vulnerability of your problems. You will find that there aren't very many problems that cannot be solved, but the hardest task is developing the right attitude to start the process of solving them. Become a possibility thinker. When President Gerald Ford was leaving the presidency, he was asked by a reporter to state one thing that he was going to miss from the presidency says. The president stated that he looked forward to the challenges that he had to face on a daily basis. Life is challenging regardless of what vocation we choose. The point is that we should be willing to accept the challenges, regardless of how big or small, deal with them the best way we know how, and accept whatever the outcome may be.

Fifth, be persistent. The old saying that a "winner never quits and a quitter never wins" is very true. Life with its multiple problems can be rounds for victory for the self-determined, self-motivated, and hard working individuals. The difference between an amateur and a professional performer is that the professional spends fifteen more minutes for practice while the amateur stops at five minutes of practice.

You have, I am sure, heard of people who have led expeditions to Mt. Everest. There was an expedition in the early 1920s, led by Mallorey. In spite of their great preparation for the worst, they failed two times to conquer Mt. Everest. Finally during their third expedition, Mallorey and most of the crew were killed in an avalanche. When the remaining crew returned to England, they were saluted in a great banquet. There were pictures of all who were killed on the walls and there was also a huge picture of Mt. Everest on one of the walls.

As the leader of the remaining crew stood up to receive applause from the people, with tears streaming down his face, he looked at the giant picture of Mt. Everest and said: "I speak to you, Mt. Everest, in the name of all brave men living and those yet unborn, Mt. Everest, you defeated us once, you defeated us twice, you defeated us three times. But Mt. Everest, we shall some day defeat you, because you can't get any bigger and we can." That was courage. Mt. Everest became smaller and smaller as human skills became better and better.

Lastly but most importantly, to develop courage find your source in God. Many hundreds of years ago, a young lad by the name of David, looked at a giant Goliath, who was backed by a Philistine army, and said: "This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand…for the battle is the Lord's and he will give you into our hands. (I Sam. 17:46-47) Paul the apostle said: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthened me.""

The Bible presents many such examples of people who acted courageously in the midst of troubles. When we analyze the secrets of their success, we will notice that all of them drew courage from the same source, from God, the source of all power. Isaiah 40:29-31 says: "He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."

LifeChangers Broadcasting

Dr. K Abraham