I’m in the middle of a few different projects at the moment. One is a “decluttering” project that I hope to tackle over the next wee while, to streamline things in our home, get rid of unnecessary clutter that wastes time and takes up space, and to create a better sense of peacefulness in the place where we spend so much of our time.

I am honestly not a great finisher when it comes to projects. I’ve admitted before that I was a sprinter in the swimming pool, as opposed to the Hubs who was a strong and steady distance swimmer, and that is, in a way, a bit of a personality trait that carries over into other areas of my life. (And his.)

As I was about to close my Bible early one morning recently, finishing up with Psalm 31, the last verse stood out to me enough for me to write it down, and as a result, to take a moment to more deeply consider what it really means.

“Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the LORD.” {Psalm 31:24}


That first big word, courage — the Hebrew word used there is transliterated Chazaq (pronounced khaw-zak). It’s a verb, and the meaning behind it has everything to do with hardening and strengthening: to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute…

If you stand back and tilt your head to one side for a moment you might see a paradox here: we’re being instructed to strengthen ourselves, so that we will be strengthened.

Be strong, prevail, have courage — and then God will give me the strength I need?

Wait… what?

Here are my thoughts on this interesting dynamic, if you’ll humor them.

Picture me teaching our eldest child to write in cursive. He was super interested in learning cursive this past year, so we bought some materials to help him get started. I was excited for him to do something different and interesting with his handwriting, perhaps expand some new territories in stretching his growing brain, while enjoying learning something beautiful and interesting at the same time.

I bought the curriculum, showed him how to get started, gave him small assignments to work on on a regular basis, and encouraged him on good form, but he had to pick up the pencil and dive in for himself. I couldn’t make him learn cursive, and we might’ve had a greater challenge had he not been motivated to do so on his own.

Once he stepped into it and began writing, there were times where it took discipline for him to want to do the next few pages in his workbook. We took some breaks here and there, but then I’d pull the workbook out again — wanting to raise someone who is a better finisher than his Mama. He kept going, and now he writes beautifully (for a second grader) in cursive, just as he already did in print. He takes joy in being able to sign his name in cursive when the opportunity arises.

In the same way, whether I’m tackling a decluttering project, or working on a novel I’ve had rolling around in my mind for years, I have to step up and take the initiative. I have to be brave, strengthen myself, and be disciplined about continuing on a course of action to accomplish that particular goal.

Take A Step

When Peter, in the boat, saw Jesus walking to him, on the water, who-knows-what gave him the crazy thought, Hey! I wanna do that, too! But something did — and so he called to Jesus-on-the-water and said, “Hey, Lord! If that’s You, will you tell me to come to You?” And if you think about it, the story gets even crazier, because Jesus said “Come.”

Now here’s where things go from crazy to crazy-amazing. Somewhere inside himself, Peter finds the pluck to hoist a leg over the bow. He had to find something in himself to be brave enough to step out of the boat. He stepped out — and then God made the impossible incredibly possible.

He couldn’t have known for sure what would happen when he stepped out of the boat — and he wouldn’t have found out if he didn’t.

That simple word from Jesus — Come — was enough to supernaturally defy the laws of physics. And Peter’s courage was met by God’s power, right then and there. But first, Peter had to have the courage to take that step.

Whether you’re fighting the good fight to finish something that’s been on your plate for a while, you’re being challenged to step into something new for God, or you’re just fighting the good fight to push back the covers and put both feet on the floor in the morning, know that your decision to be brave and take that first step puts you in the best possible position for God to give you the strength you need to take the next step, and the one after that.

The Sermon in a Nutshell: If we take a step towards God, in obedience to the command of God, we can be sure the power of God will meet us there.

Be brave today, friends! You’ll be putting yourself in the right place for incredible things to become possible!



{Download the Printable Here.}