Courage Transforms (Day 2)

Once we fall in the service of being brave, we can never go back. We can rise up from our failures, screwups, and falls, but we can never go back to where we stood before we were brave or before we fell. Courage transforms the emotional structure of our being. Brené Brown.

 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 1:6)


Many summers in early September, Dave and I make pilgrimage from Bear Lake to Grand Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a 17-mile “day” hike over the continental divide.  Once you’ve set out on a journey like that, there is no point in stopping halfway. 

This experience reminds me of Phil 1:6 and also the rules of engagement for rising strong. Check out #2:

Once we fall in the service of being brave, we can never go back: We can rise up from our failures, screwups, and falls, but we can never go back to where we stood before we were brave or before we fell. Courage transforms the emotional structure of our being. This change often brings a deep sense of loss. During the process of rising, we sometimes find ourselves homesick for a place that no longer exists. We want to go back to that moment before we walked into the arena, but there’s nowhere to go back to. What makes this more difficult is that now we have a new level of awareness about what it means to be brave. We can’t fake it anymore. We now know when we’re showing up and when we’re hiding out, when we are living our values and when we are not. Our new awareness can also be invigorating—it can reignite our sense of purpose and remind us of our commitment to wholeheartedness. Straddling the tension that lies between wanting to go back to the moment before we risked and fell and being pulled forward to even greater courage is an inescapable part of rising strong.

So too, the Apostle Paul knew that his spiritual friends– the Philippians– had headed out on a risky journey. And Paul was confident that while they could never go back, God would bring them through.

The particular work God begins, and will finish, is a work of Grace in the hearts and lives of human beings. Phil 1:6 is a kind of motto or theme verse for Paul’s letter: The God who began a good work in you will finish it! God will never stop working for your good.

This iconic blessing from Paul is a something that every one of us can speak over the people in our care. It’s also a prayer that anyone can pray for one’s own self. And remember as we speak it: God has begun good work in you, which will lead you out of the grandstands and into the arena of your calling and purpose.

Starter Prayer

God, help me remember that you have started a work of grace in my heart and life and how you always finish what you start.

Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown

Introduction and The Man In the Arena Quote
Chapter One: The Physics of Vulnerability (Also known as the 10 Rules of Engagement for Rising Strong.

For personal practice, spend some time reflecting on the Man In the Arena quote and Brené’s teaching in the book intro. What is your arena? If you know, put it on a post it note and keep it nearby. Sometimes we think of more than one possibility, and as we reflect over several days, one arena comes into focus and seems most true for this season.

Published by

Katie Martinez

Katie Martinez is a pastor and spiritual director living and working in northern Colorado—She speaks and writes about spirituality, leadership and the Martinez Family antics. Katie is married to Dave, and the two have four daughters, two sons in law, a boyfriend or two, four college roommates, one cat and three grandkitties. A lover of mountains, rivers, oceans and trees, Katie's favorite things are sleeping, waking, reading and traveling.

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