Podcast: Courage


Tova and Wellspring therapist, Lorena, discuss living a life of courage. 


Host: Tova Kreps, LCSW
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Guest: Lorena Cucalon, RMHC
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00:00                                     Welcome to wellspring on the air where professional Christian counselors share practical life and Bible insights. Why? Because hearts and minds matter. We're glad you joined our show today to hear from our host Tova Kreps, president of wellspring counseling in Miami. Tova is a licensed therapist with many years of experience as a Christian counselor. Tovah teaches, writes, and consults and life. FM is pleased to have wellspring, counseling, restoring hearts and minds in our community. Welcome to wellspring on the air. I am Tova and with me today I have Loraina and we are from wellspring counseling. And today's program is going to be about courage. Courage is one of the other positive psychology virtues that we've been working our way through. You know, the Bible tells us not only what we shouldn't do, but what we should do, which is to use our gifts to follow God ave an intimate relationship with God and he tells us how to do that.

00:51                                     And that's the kind of the same thing as positive psychology. It's really interesting and no surprise that the scientific study of behavioral scientific study of what makes life worth living and what helps people flourish are the exact same for virtues and all the things that scripture tells us because God's truth is truth. And so anyway, so today we're talking about that virtue of courage. And again, Lorraina is with me today. Now I'm glad you're here. Thank you. Til I thank you for having me here again. And I know that Lorraina has a particular love and passion for helping people grow in their strengths. And so that's why we have her on this particular show with us today. And we are talking about courage. All right, let's dive in. Lorena, what, what's courage? What is courage? Well, I have to say that carriage is acting. Even if you feel fear that's taking action even is fear.

01:44                                     It's in front of you. My quote always is, the only way is through. The only way is through. And actually it's true and the research, and I had fun studying this to prepare for today. Um, if you don't have fear, it really isn't countless courage. People who are quote, fearless, they just probably have something wrong with them that makes them not feel the anxiety. That's not courage to just have no fear. Courage is to overcome our fear and to take an action. Right. Face it. Um, there is this quote about, and Marcel friends that he said, so when you hear the cannons go toward them. Yes. That, that quote, that is a quote. Exactly. So we go toward the canons. Okay, well that is courage. All right. Did you have you had a Roosevelt club for, I do have a Roseville coat that I really like and I use it a lot because it is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

02:40                                     The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is mirrored by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly. Who Errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. But who does actually strive to do the deeds? Who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions. Who spends himself in a worthy cause, who are the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. That is courageous. The most wonderful quote that I have heard that before, it is so good to hear that it's the, it's the one in the arena that is taking the risk and who fails daring greatly. Vass courageous. You know, we'll pull in a good source like Wikipedia, courage also called bravery or valor is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation.

03:41                                     And then it goes on and talks about two types of courage, which the other literature also says to there's physical courage, which is bravery in the face of physical fear, so pain, hardship, death, threat of death. That's that one type of bravery either running into the burning building to save somebody kind of bravery and courage. And then there's moral courage, which can look a little different. We don't always get as much credit to the moral courage that it takes, which is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition or shame or scandal or discouragement or personal loss. Do you have the courage to do the right thing even if others aren't with you? You're the only one people say don't do it. All of those things so that moral courage really counts too. Oh, of course. Both of them have encourages to act on a conviction and even if you face threats or challenges or difficulties as far as your own doubts and fears, you move on and you, you take action.

04:37                                     And, and when you stand by, uh, somebody that doesn't have a popular position because of whatever they are supporting, that's also courageous because you're becoming vulnerable and letting people see you through. Like what do you really think and what do you believe in who you really are and not protected there by being along with the crowd, you're out there alone. Exactly. And also, you know, being courageous is one of the virtues that really helps you when you're tested in all the other virtues. Because if you are wise, you have to be courageous to let people know that you're wise. If you are, you know, whatever you it takes to do all, you have to show yourself there and allow people to see you exactly who you are, you know? So that's true. Well there different types of courage. You know, there are also along the lines of different types of, we see this particularly in asking, there was a research piece I read about, um, that was a gender one women's view of courage versus men's.

05:36                                     And it was interesting that the men tended toward the physical stories as their view of it and the women had more like raising your children, like this is a lifelong thing that takes courage. It's that kind of tenacity and perseverance that is actually also a piece of courage is that persistence and the willingness and the ability to stick with it. So we may have some gender differences on what we think is courageous and we probably tend in, in movies and entertainment to focus on the, the hero, the courageous hero of the, uh, physical break group bravery. But really the other may, these lifelong facing, facing of grave illness, you know, with courage is a huge thing and there may be a longer, slower kind of a looking thing on commitment. I always say that commitment is the fundamental for everything that you want in life.

06:27                                     If you want a business to grow, you have to be committed. If you want to finally be what anything you want in life, discipline, willpower and commitment. If not, you're not going to accomplish anything, right? So for example, it takes a lot of courage not to drop off your business because it's not working or courage when you are raising your kids and you are committed to a certain role model that you want to become for damning. But also you have to be a little flexible with emotions as well as we were talking about the other day that you know, emotions do not, cannot be read it if you really want to be courageous because fear can paralyze you and can lead you do you know, just stayed there. Do not move, do not act because the brain is developing died way that it's wired in that way that okay, danger, stop doesn't move.

07:13                                     Protect yourself. That's the immediate reaction but you have to go through that. You have to allow that to happen in your brain and then your emotions through those feelings. Then it's yes and then make a decision to go through. Even though I'm afraid and the let the feeling come and go, I'm going to still commit and do this. And then the word persistence as you were saying before, women usually we use the, you know, raising our kids because you cannot say, okay this is getting too hard. Probably in you're committed. You have to be committed, you have to be committed. And I think one of the healthiest way of doing this is committing to yourself to become a better person, to move towards your, you know, even if your fears are right there you move. You know, because your children's are going to inherit from you or your fears or your faith.

08:04                                     You know, if you are fearful, they're going to see your fears and they going to follow them. If you are, you know, you move towards them even though you go toward the canons. Yes, you go to where the candidates they're going to see, wow, you know my respect and they're going to respect you and they're going to try, you know, to follow, maybe know your steps that you know, some kind of example that you set up right there, trust you. And that there are some character traits that fall into positive psychology under the, the virtue of courage. Um, they are honesty, perseverance, and zest. So let's take a minute and talk about each of those. Why, how does honesty relate to courage? Well, honesty. Honesty is the main point of care, which I would say because it interrelates to everything in your life, your relationships, your work, your talents, who you are with yourself, not just with everybody else.

08:54                                     Honesty is being vulnerable with yourself as well. And with all others. That is honesty. That being who you really are and saying exactly what it's supposed to be said and you know, act according to your mind and emotions and everything in one place. Integrity in one word. You know, this is what I teach in our bounce curriculum. So are for those of you who don't know, our bounce curriculum is what we use for helping people overcome bad things that happen. They're all lives, specifically trauma. And the first step is that is to face it. And so to get over bad things, you have to face them honestly. So what's the truth for truth about what I did? So I have to, it takes courage to see your own sin, your own regrets, your own failures to face what somebody else did. It takes courage to be honest about that person really hurt me or they betrayed me or, or maybe even the honesty that they hurt me, but it wasn't on purpose.

09:49                                     That's a piece of truth that it takes some courage to look at. So, so facing what I did facing what other people did, you know, um, is it true it was intentional or not? And then also facing what I lost. So it takes honesty to really say I lost something really important to me that I dream I wished I had or I loved when I did have and lost. And so I, I totally agree that honesty is the core ingredient of being greatness. We really need a whole lot of courage to face the truth. Oh it does. It does take a lot of courage to say, okay, I didn't know I was feeling this. I had this root in my heart. I had this pain. I never talked about it with anybody. I didn't say it out loud because that probably we are afraid of people, you know, judging us, you know, for how long you have that you should have forget that.

10:38                                     And there are no shoots in life to just go through as you can go. You know, and you know, along those lines we do, we can be more courageous as Christians because there's always an answer. I don't have to be afraid to look at my sin because I have someone who's already paid for it and loves me and forgives me. I don't have to be afraid to look at what other people have done to me because God's going to protect me and he loves me anyway. Even if no one in the world loves me well, and I don't have to be afraid of what I've lost because with God, he's going to make up for everything this life and some day in eternity. So it makes us more courageous to be Christians. I when I was reading a little bit about this, I thought about being courageous in the Bible.

11:19                                     It's a commandment actually because this is being courageous to not fear, do not fear to be strong and be say, say it over and over and over again, and it's up to ourselves. If we, you know, okay, I have to go through these. It doesn't matter. Just no way out. I can not ignore it. That can be denied. It already passed. I am already in here. It was my mistake or somebody else's mistake, but I have to go through these. There's no other way. So it's a, we feel the fear and then we take the commandment the strongest, strangest. And you move through it. And the reason it's easier, a little easier ever so slightly easier as a Christian is because there's a buck dot on that. Yes, this is dangerous, but God loves me. Yes, this will happen, but God is there with me.

12:02                                     And so we have the ability to face the fear and face the truth, and then have just enough courage to keep going. Yeah, this is huge. Sometimes we, you know, we've phase on some marketable, you know, pain or danger, whatever it is that it's happening in our life. And we can, we can say, okay, this is big by my God is bigger and you know, I have to go through because if had seen my life, it's because I can move on. I have to, so I have to do it. Well, the other character traits of courage, it was honesty and then it's perseverance. Since s let's talk about perseverance for a more severe instance. My favorite, and you already said it, you've already been saying it. Commitment, competitive in your perseverance. Perseverance. Yes. Because without perseverance, nothing last long. Yeah. If you do not persevere, you will not see the desire of your heart.

12:49                                     So that's something that I really encourage. You know the people that our work with to take a look at it and see where are you going to, what do you lie? What is it that you love? And you have to have a plan. Yes. But you have to be flexible because there's a god bigger than your plan. But also you have to persevere to not let you know things around you distract you. Have you seen the horses when they are raising? They do not look to one side or the other and you're in a, you run marathons. I do. [inaudible]

13:19                                     person here. It's constant with you. When you're, when you're running, when you're training, you get distracted and you get lower. And if you are thinking negative thoughts, you lost energy and you cannot follow the team. It sounds incredible how our mind works. And then when you are focused on, you are running and you're in the marathon, you did not look to one side or the other and you just walked through that and then you'll see your time. Oh my goodness, I did, you know, completed my time. But you do not allow yourself to get distracted. That's, you know, just persevere. You just got to persevere. And the last one is zest, but I think we'll take a little break and we'll come right back with zest and then maybe a couple of personal stories on the, how do we develop this courage? Right? Alright, this is wellspring on the air and we'll be right back.

14:02                                     Well, spring now offers professional Christian counseling at six locations in Dade County. Therapists are now taking clients at two new locations, one at Crossbridge, Miami Springs, and Kiva Skein for more information, (786) 573-7010 or wellspring miami.org for more information. All right, well if you're just joining us as wellspring on the air, and I'm Tova wellsprings cofounder and president and with me, I have one of our wonderful therapists, Loraina Kukula and she's here. And today we are talking about courage, which is one of the virtues and scripture and in positive psychology, because we don't always just want to work on our pathology. We want to also build our strengths. So courage is one of the strengths we can build. And if you missed the beginning of the show, you can find us on your favorite podcast station, wellspring on the air. But otherwise, keep with us for the rest of this time.

14:55                                     We have been talking about the character traits of courage, which is honesty, perseverance, and zest. So learning it, tell us about zest. What is zest mean? For me it means enthusiasts. That's what I've been reading a lot about. I need this in live with joy, you know, commitment with interest and with the spirit. I like you adding that cause earlier we were talking about commitment and honesty and it just felt so doom and gloom [inaudible] something nice to say. Oh, good. Do this with joy, right? Yes, of course. Can we add joy into this? Persistence? Yes. A commitment. It's something beautiful. Commitment is something that, okay, I have the courage to do this. I know I can do this and now I'm going to be joyful and I'm going to stay committed to my wellbeing, my with my joy in my priority and have fun with.

15:40                                     Yes, and put your spiritual life into what you're doing and joining every day. That's, that's exactly what it means to enthusiasm. You had something else to say. Yes, yes. That emphasize and creates a different kind of energy in your body. When you, you disposed yourself, you put this emotion into actions. Your body reacts to it and also your body, it's, you know, sits differently, speaks differently and see, it's one thing to say, hey, let's do this together. Then say, Hey, let's do this together. You know, you get contagious. People get amazed but you and you get to move people to moving to one direction. So sidetrack, but actually that's one of the things that we work on. In January, we do a healthy habit seminar. Every year and, and again, that's kind of working on the positive. But one of the key things about breaking a bad habit and replacing it with a good habit is that before you can actually succeed, you have to get excited about a picture in your mind of why, how great you're going to feel when you succeed.

16:40                                     That's that tipping point on breaking the habit or starting the new habit is that you have this clear, enthusiastic image of when I'm Fin, I'm going to, when I, or when I've gained weight, I don't want to put thin out there too strongly, the whatever that goal is, then we see ourselves in it within Fuji ASM. Enjoy. That's when it tips. Alright, so let's move on past that. All right, Lorena, I was going to ask you to just tell me about a time that you were very courageous. We need some story here. Give me one. Okay. When I was younger, I was in my country and living in my country, had my profession and everything was goin in Ecuador, or I'm from Ecuador and I got sick for two weeks. And while I was sick, I had this dream that I was traveling. No, I was recently divorced.

17:27                                     It was kind of, um, you know, a hard time. But yeah. But I had a, I had a very good life, although I was going through that and I had this dream that I was traveling and, and I heard in that dream that I had to open two suitcases and start putting things out. I'm like, I'm not doing that. You know, that's what my first thought. But then I got sick two more weeks and, and in that tumor weeks, I had the same dream and I thought, you know, I better, you know, if it's from a god, I better, you know, obey. And I act too. So, so I put two suitcases in front of my bed and I start putting things like very pressure things, you know? That's what I thought. I needed to put it, like things that my daughter's loft, Dah, Dah, Dah.

18:03                                     So after I, I, I became, he'll, you know, and I was, well, I went back to my job and need was in March and by August I knew I had to come to Florida. I knew it, I knew it in my heart. I was so scared, but I didn't know what, where I was coming. I didn't know what it was doing. Well, I was familiar with the place because I used to spend my summers here and you know, with my parents when I was growing up, but I didn't know what I was doing. So I was just praying like, and I remember God with this Bible verse saying, me, uh, stay still. I know that I am God. That was my, the whole entire time for all those months, from March to August. And then I moved here and, uh, when I arrived here and somebody was taking me out, no, I had an apartment and everything.

18:45                                     So, uh, he picked me up and said, oh, this is heavy. Are you staying at her? What are you going to do here? And I said, yeah, I just smiled. I couldn't, you know, say what I was going to do here. Bad God provided me with such a great blessing. I couldn't see my life differently if I wouldn't have take the courage to do dad because I left everything that I knew, familiar and my family, my job, profession, and everything that we knew. So there was like Abraham at night, go to that land and yeah. Then I came with both of my daughters. They were eight and nine and I had to fight for a good school because I didn't know the districts and I didn't know the system. I had to learn everything. And by he did it, he did a great job. And how many years ago was that?

19:30                                     That was in 2001 okay, so a while ago. Yes. So in hindsight, did God bring you here? Oh my goodness. He did for sure. He did. He raised my daughters in a different way. We learned so much more about faith, but the real one, the one that you have to leave every day, you know, by his hand, uh, he was committed to me as a single mother. Um, he protected me. He provided me who he was, my counselor, my husband, my protect her, the father of my daughters. And there are two amazing young ladies. It would have been different there because of the situation back then. Well, I was thinking about this and I have actually a lot, it was interesting when I thought of all the things I've done that I think are the most brave things, almost all of them related to something God told me to do or that I felt led to do that seemed, and the reason it seemed courageous just because it was scary and out of the box, which is kind of what God does, he pushed us to pack suitcases, ran or whatever, you know.

20:29                                     So we adopted our two older children when they were six and eight years old. They came to us as foster children and then we adopted them. And in hindsight, we just, I looked back and that was truly brave. As a matter of fact, I kind of think it was crazy, just downright crazy to have done that. We hadn't been married very, it wasn't like planning for children like normal people do. But we were so convinced that God wanted us to do this. And there were a lot of ways that God showed us that as we braid about it and did it. And I know the people around us just thought, what are you doing? You know? And it was that crazy. And I think, why did I have the courage to do it? And I had the courage because I was convinced of God's leading.

21:11                                     And that's where I think this, this courage and the walk of God is something because God gives us sometimes directions that seem not normal. And that's why it takes courage. You know? And I remember that the Bible says that even if you go through the water and if you go through the fire, I'm going to be with you. So it's, in my case, I thought I was going to, you know, people thought I was crazy and, and that it was, you know, I also thought that I was crazy doing that. And I don't think you're wrong to just promote doing crazy things. No, no, no, no. There is this time where there are times when our lives as Christians, when we're walking with God really personally, that he asked us to do things that are, that feel crazy or little out of the box. And really it's just typically obedience to something that has told us or something in scripture.

22:02                                     Um, and it's interesting, all those passages we've talked about in the, in the Bible that say be strong and courageous. It's a repeated phrase. And in the Old Testament, particularly with Joshua going forward, be strong and be great. And I looked at that, the passages, there's usually a reason. So it's be strong and courageous for the Lord. God goes with you. That's Deuteronomy 31 six or four God will bring you into the promised land or four, you will lead these people to inherit the land that I promised to you. So, so we have our courage because we're trusting in the promises of God and that he will be with us. And that's what gives us courage. And the New Testament we see that, um, the disciples, after Jesus left and acts, they're talking about how bold they were and how they spoke with courage and the, and the passage says, and they noted they had been with Jesus.

22:55                                     Yes. So where did they get this courage? It's because they'd been, when do you spend time with him? And that goes back to the intimacy that I was talking about because when you were saying, it's not that we are doing crazy things, but when he told me, you know, stay still, I know that I am God. That's what I did. I buy. But when I came here, he gave me another verse, which is very well known by everybody, but it meant so much to me back then that those, you know, for, I know the plants that I have for you, they cleared the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. So we as a family, both of my daughters and I, we grab that Bible verse and we, you know, moved forward to say, it must be the, the risks in that matter that you're taking.

23:30                                     We attached to a promise that God has given you. It has to really be from God. And the second I had this one, the second Samuel seven 27 says, Lord Almighty God of Israel says, David's been, you have revealed this to your servant saying, I will build a house for you. So your serving has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And so we find our courage in what God has revealed to us in his word. When he reveals things to us, then we have the courage to trust him because he's trustworthy. His word is trustworthy. And that's what gives us courage, right? Yes. And then I think, I do believe that we'll have the seat of carriage in our hearts because actually the word courage comes from court and it, which is a French word that means heart. So it, it's, it's in our heart is we just have to develop like a seed.

24:16                                     And that needs to give fruit. So let's wrap up that I'm developing, I know that in my research that the way you build courage like in children and in, in our own cells is actually through practice is it's really like a muscle, right? We have it, we have heart, we take heart and take, right? But the, the way to build it, if we were fearful, and I think this is important for people who have anxiety issues, is through practice. So the key is you know what you're supposed to do. So break it down into something so small that you can do one little piece of it and then you experience, I took a red eye, I had fear, but I took a risk. I took a little step and then in courage and then the next time you say, well it worked last time I could do a little bit bigger and I can take the next time you forward little guy, literally build it like an even black a muscle.

25:06                                     And you think about David and Goliath. And the reason David was so brave to face Goliath is because he had prior experience with the lion and the bear. He had already been afraid. Ask God to help him succeed and now he can phase the next bigger thing. We build our courage. We do. We do. Yeah. And actually I think that two characteristic traits are very similar to faith with is being courageous and optimistic because both things are fundamentals for a person of faith. That's true. So we want to be courageous because we trust in God, we can have courage because he's faithful. We can have courage and and optimism is belief is faith. It's believing that God's true and good. Yeah. The outcome is going to be maybe what I done expect, but it's going to be good. Yeah. No matter what happens, it'll be good because he's good and I'm just walking with him and staying close to him.

26:04                                     So, alright, on that note, this has been a talk about courage and if you feel like you need more courage in your life, then spend time with your God. He will give you that courage. If you have a lot of anxiety in your life and you want to come to wellspring, we're happy to help you build that courage, courageous faith, and just a little bit at a time with some support behind you, Lorena, you'd be happy to see people came rough too. Yeah. That's one of my passions to help people. And so, so we just want to invite people to do that. So if you're on the feeling side, don't worry, you two can develop your courage and if you're um, on the bravery side, then just make sure you're to the right one and following the right things. We don't want to be doing crazy things.

26:46                                     We want to be doing God things. So this is wrapping us up. Any last words from you? Um, well just go and find help if you think that you can not do it because you, you're hearing right now and use, you think, okay, they are talking about, you know, spending time with God. I would rather spend time with God. I already read the Bible and I don't feel courageous at all. It's time for you to look for help. You know, people are out there to help you and your professionals will prepare and with a Bible at hand and to give you some, you know, support because sometimes we only need support to go through. We needed someone to walk alongside of us and that's really true. All right, so this is wellspring on the air. If you would like to find us on your favorite podcast, if you miss part of the show, then find us a wellspring on the air.

PodcastAlexandra Delgado