“Deep within all of us there is a yearning to be brave. And like all of our deepest, truest and best yearnings, it comes from how we were made.” (p. 103)
Thus begins chapter 9 of Just Courage, by IJM CEO Gary Haugen.
We were made for courage but find ourselves behaving far short of that. What is the path back to the courage we’re made for? Haugen shares three practices that he and IJM try to live out to help with this.
- “Do less, reflect and pray more.” Freeing people from injustice sounds like the sort of job you can’t really take a break from–talk about urgency! But Haugen reports, “we begin every morning by spending thirty minutes doing absolutely ‘nothing.’ For thirty minutes every day we just sit quietly, reflecting, praying, and preparing spiritually for the day. Then at 11 a.m. we gather again to pray–every day.” (p. 105) He notes that as consumed as they can be with the work of rescuing others, they must pause daily “to truly receive our rescue from Christ.” (p. 106) This is a good word for anyone. Here’s an applicable practice for anyone, especially if/when we’re trying to discern some fresh leading of God in our lives: “Reflect about the life you are living, about the anxieties you are carrying and about the life you sense God is calling you to live.” (p. 105)
- “Search the promises of Scripture and take a risk.” Haugen recommends questions to ourselves like these: “Am I being brave, or am I being safe?” and “In my Christian life, do I see myself playing offense or defense?” He reminds the reader that “all the things we value were never meant to be safeguarded. They were meant to be put at risk and spent” for the sake of the gospel (p. 107).
- “Embark on the lifelong journey of spiritual formation and renovation.” Haugen says, “It’s not by sheer will that we become brave. It takes reformation of the heart. God doesn’t call us to try to be brave but to train to be brave.” (p. 108) Then he recommends three books: The Divine Conspiracy and Renovation of the Heart, both by Dallas Willard, and The Life You’ve Always Wanted, by John Ortberg.