Every year – or season – in my life I choose a word to meditate and ponder. I am not legalistic about it – the word may serve me for six months or maybe two years – it’s a season or phase in my life. Usually it’s what The Lord is trying to teach me and it comes to me through thoughts, quotes from others jump out off the page or screen, and scripture verses shout to me. Recently, I chose courage.
Most people who know me think I am confident and that courage would not be something I needed to work on in my life. In truth, it kind of surprised me. I had never given into fear in the past and didn’t think that was an issue in my life. It occurred to me that courage, or being courageous, was not about not being afraid. I could insulate myself from the dangers of the world to the best of my ability and not take chances or embrace change and not be fearful. No, courage was about being afraid, or tentative, or not knowing what lay around the corner, but seeking the unknown and embracing the change anyway.
I knew that the big life changes I was facing (moving to a new state, leaving my newly adult children behind, buying a farm in the country) would all require courage for me to embrace. I began to challenge myself daily to embrace the unknown, and live out the words of John Wayne:
“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”
One thing that symbolizes this season of living out the idea of courage, is those darn bees.
The previous owners had started beekeeping and asked if we wanted them to leave the beehive that was established. I said “of course!” thinking how cool and environmentally progressive of me to have a beehive in my garden. I thought those 40,000 little girls and guys would just do their thing and I could brag about my beehive.
Then I went to my first beekeeping meeting and I said, “Wait a second, you mean I have to put on that white suit and open the hive and tend to them?” That truly intimidated me. I would go out and look at that hive and see those little buggers coming and going and bringing pollen back in their little back legs looking like they were carrying tennis balls, and think: “I really like having them here but there is no way I am opening that hive!” But something, down deep kept saying “Is this being courageous? Can you walk away from this challenge and not regret that you didn’t just try a little harder?”
I called a local beekeeper and asked for help. She came to my house, suited up, and helped me inspect the hive and harvest some honey. The satisfaction of knowing I persevered and faced that fear and stepped out of my comfort zone was the essence of what I had been trying to capture for months by mediating on courage. Better yet, harvesting that liquid gold was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life.
So, what is courage to you? What is that one thing that might launch you forward? I have some big things and big dreams that I want to tackle and I know that courage will be vital to those attempts, but every time I look at those bees I remember that I just need to suit up and get out there.
Besides, what’s a few stings in life in exchange for a harvest of sweetness? ~ Mary
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Calling on the Master Gardener:
Lord, I recognize that fear is not of faith and that fear is merely a distraction to fulfilling your will for my life and living abundantly. Thank you that your word admonishes me time and time again to not be afraid. I trust you with my future and choose to believe that you will be with me in any situation so that I may step out with confidence, and power, and love. Amen.
Preparing the Soil:
- What causes you fear or timidity?
- Think about some times when you let fear or uncertainty keep you from doing something.
Sowing the Word: Strive daily to do something that is out of your comfort zone even if it’s something small like reaching out to a homeless person, taking that yoga class at the gym, or initiating an uncomfortable conversation you have been delaying. Have scripture handy to pray aloud when fear grips you or threatens to stop you from enjoying something God has destined for your growth or enjoyment.
Establishing Roots: God admonishes us to not be afraid or to have courage many times throughout the Bible, but one story perfectly captures how fear can keep us from finding God’s destiny in our lives. Read the story of Joshua and the spies and how fear kept the people of Israel from experiencing God’s blessings. Numbers chapters 13 and 14.
Garden Wisdom: Backyard beekeeping has been gaining popularity and may be something to consider venturing into. If you do not wish to have beehives there are things you can do in your yard to help the bees: never spray with insecticides as foraging bees will take the insecticide back to their hives and it can destroy the hive; provide a small birdbath with stones or marbles in the water for bees to land on while they hydrate; plant plenty of flowering trees and shrubs and the bees will repay you by pollinating your garden!