by Judd Watkins

Courage is one of those words that is so bastardized and twisted by our modern society it’s tough to get a handle on what it really means. Men get told that having courage means being fearless. Taking risks. Embracing danger.

Like battling the Wood Beast in FLASH GORDON. I mean, sure Flash is a badass but is that truly what courage is? When I was eight years old, that simple version of courage made sense. It was easy to wrap my little brain around but, as I’ve put a few years behind me, I’ve learned it is more complex than that. Turns out you need fear to have courage. Fearlessness is the hallmark of a psychopath. And though I’m a big fan of risks and danger, that’s not related to my courage. That’s just me looking for an adrenaline hit.

Courage is more than that. It’s deeper. And stronger.

Courage isn’t shredding someone on social media because they have a different opinion. It’s having a real discussion with someone who doesn’t think like you, an actual live person, face to face. Courage isn’t asking some girl to send you nudes. It’s manning up and telling her (face to face) you enjoy being around her and asking her if she’d like to grab coffee or something. Courage isn’t blaming the school because your kid gets in trouble, or your boss because he isn’t happy with the way you do your job. It’s taking a hard look at the fact that maybe your kid is a turd or you’re half-assing your job. And then taking action to fix that stuff. Courage for you might look like joining the Airforce alone at 18 to get out of the tiny town you grew up in. It also might mean sharing the emotional damage of medivacing blown-up soldiers for all those years. (And, how God is redeeming that.) Courage might be deciding to let God save your marriage after you find out that your wife has had a boyfriend for the last year. Or maybe it’s you telling your pals that you drink way more than you want to, and you just can’t seem to get it under control. It could even be finally telling Jesus you want him in your life. That where he leads, you’ll follow.

I watched a buddy check out our waitress at a business dinner the other night. I get it, women are attractive. God did that. But this guy was acting like her jeans were the menu. He had just asked me why we didn’t hang out anymore. I told him I wasn’t really interested in hanging out with guys who leer at waitresses, especially when their wife is at home watching the grandkids. I didn’t make a scene or knock his teeth into his throat (If that girl had been your daughter, you’d have wanted me to), but I took action that, a few years ago, I never would have. That looked like courage for me.

We need to embrace true courage. You know, taking action despite your fear. Doing something you’re afraid of because that thing is more important than you, or your fear. Whether that’s a fear of something outside of you (like a snake in your tent) or inside (like worrying that nobody really likes you). It could be showing up to the same crappy job that you hate and working hard anyway, because it’s your best shot at supporting your family. It might be telling your buddies that, no, you won’t send that girl a pic of your junk. Maybe it’s just going to MAN CAMP even though sleeping without your CPAP could kill you, or the thought of possibly praying out loud in public makes you nauseous. Those things are truly courageous.

At MAN CAMP we’re gonna hear about courage in a broader context. We’ll hear from some men who will share their personal stories of courage. (We’ll post part of those stories here, prior to camp.) We’ll also hear about how being a Man of Courage and a Man of God are connected. Sure, we might also recreate that iconic scene with the Wood Beast, but that isn’t courageous, it’s just fun!

Come to MAN CAMP, be encouraged!

See you out there,

Entrepreneurial Leader | Adventure Creator | a MAN CAMP Founding Father

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