Why Courage Requires Fear

This is a guest post by Jared Latigo. He is a designer, father, husband, writer, and aspiring speaker. You can read his blog or follow him on Twitter.

I’ve recently come in contact with a lot of information regarding courage. It’s a particularly interesting subject to me in many aspects of life.

Why Courage Requires Fear - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/thinair28, Image #15843759

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/thinair28

Being a father, husband, entrepreneur—and generally living in a crazy world—the opportunity to exercise courage seems to present itself on a daily basis. If we’re to be leaders on top of all that, we better understand how this thing works.

Michael Hyatt has said,

    “Courage is the willingness to act in spite of your fear.”

As he points out in his article, courage and fear have a connection, which lays the foundation for what I want to say in this post.

Courage is not the absence of fear but rather requires fear.

There is no need to be courageous if you aren’t afraid of something. Luckily, we’re afraid of plenty of things throughout the course of our day and lives. We wouldn’t be human if we weren’t.

Courage Cannot Be Separated From Action

To illustrate this point further, let me share some information I heard from the “Men of Honor” simulcast put on by Sherwood Baptist Church, makers of the movie Courageous. Ed Litton, pastor of a sister church, spoke at the event and he hit the nail on the head:

  • We were made to be courageous.
  • In trials, our first response is to run.
  • We were made for trouble.
  • Stand for what matters.
  • Courage cannot be separated from action.

So how does this tie into fear? Fear is something that we all have struggled with at some point in our lives. I remember being afraid of what was going to happen as I became a father. I’ve never had any formal “father training.”

I thought, How am I qualified to do this? But my son was born and he’s almost three now. He has yet to steal a car!

I also remember getting married. I was excited, sure—no, I was ecstatic! I had been looking forward to it for years, because I knew when I met my now wife that she was the one.

It wasn’t until I was standing at the altar that I become seriously scared. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life, because I had to overcome the fear of committing my life to her … forever.

Even though I knew it was a truly remarkable thing, that didn’t make me any less scared. (That and I had fractured my nose the night before so this would be the first time she’d seen me with my eyes way too far apart.) I was scared, and it took serious courage to keep my knees from collapsing.

So courage feeds off fear.

What Is Fear?

Ed Litton says,

    “Fear is just a call to exercise courage.”

Without fear, we can’t have courage. We cannot act courageous in any situation unless we have something to protect, something to honor, something to prove, or something to commit to. Fear is a call to action and that action should be courageous.

But lets keep in mind that there needs to be a healthy level of fear. “All things in moderation” is a saying I try to apply to most areas of my life. Don’t let fear take over and cause inaction. That would be cowardly.

The Call to Courage

Be courageous today. Look fear in the eye and shoot it down. Don’t let it take over. Don’t let it win.

As leaders of our homes, businesses, churches, workplaces, etc., we need to understand how important it is to have courage. We were made to be courageous.

Questions: So tell us. What is something that you feared that you were able to overcome by being courageous? And what was the outcome? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Candice Porter

    Going back to school! 

  • Candice porter

    Hey Jared,
    This comment : Your post brought to mind the parable of the talent.  The man who the master condemns is the one who was afraid to act.  He literally buried his talent.  One day while reading my bible God led me to the chapter on talents as the above comment refers to and God spoke to me as He has before and told me He has called me to teach and thats a gift He’s given me, BUT God also said, Your called to teach but your AFRAID and you are burring your talent I’ve given you.
    So, honestly still struggle with this. I’m believing I’m going to take that first step of ACTION and do it and watch as God shows up and proves to me I need to TRUST Him.

    • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

      He will show up as long as we’re doing what He says…and oftentimes even when we’re not to help get us back on course. Hope you’ve taken that action by now, sorry for the late reply!

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  • Tammy

    My Pastor was just talking about fear last Wednesday; when we let fear take control of our lives is cancels out faith. Two things in your blog that really stood out for me was…. “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather requires fear.”, and “Fear is just a call to exercise courage.” I can think of many times I overcame fear. Like, deciding to become a Christian, choosing to confess and face issues from my past, doing things that cause me to step way out of my comfort zone, and each time I choose to reach out when I am going through a time of depression. Courage is an action, courage is a choice. Unfortunately, I tend to let the battle between choosing courage or the “easy way out” go on inside of me until I reach a meltdown point. The peace the comes over me when I finally choose to take the route of courage always amazes me. I always have to wonder why it took me so long to take that first step toward courage. 

    • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

      We all struggle. Glad you enjoyed it…hope it sticks with you through those tough times. 

  • http://twitter.com/landrewchalmers Andrew Chalmers

    Great post! Its such a good reminder of how facing even our greatest fears is so necessary to our growth in life. I especially love the personal story you put in about getting married. What a great example of a good decision that was still very scary and took a lot of courage. As God continues to open doors I continue to pray for the courage to walk through them!

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  • Sharon Leukert

    There is a lot to fear in my future. Crohn’s Disease doesn’t exactly have the nicest reputation, especially once you start having surgeries, and I’ve had several. If I weren’t staring this disease in the face each day, I wouldn’t be summoning up the courage to stare this disease in the face each day. Yes, there are days beyond belief, but it is worth the fight.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      I know it sounds a bit cliche’—but I will pray for you this week! Like you said—it’s worth the fight! Keep going!

    • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

      We have a friend at church that has that. I know it can be very difficult to live with. Certainly hope you’re doing well. Keep fighting, you’ve got a purpose to pass on to everyone you meet. 

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  • Scott Dalton

    Excellent points, Jared. Too many of us think of courage as the absence of fear, and call ourselves cowards when we feel afraid. I think I was in my thirties before I realized fear doesn’t mean I’m a coward–unless I let it stop me from doing what I know I need to do. Thanks!

    I linked this post from my blog, as well: couragecounts.com.

    • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

      Thanks Scott! You’re totally right too. I certainly appreciate the link!

  • Robin Leigh

    It has taken me eight years to publish my testimony. I was afraid that people would know what kind of person I once was and hate me for it. I finally bit my cheek and sent the manuscript in last year. Dear Daddy was released in October and rapidly spread to book sellers in nine countries. I was amazed and incredibly humbled at the positive response…Look at what God can do.

    • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

      Wow, that is awesome Robin! I hope it’s going well for you! Now you really have something to teach those of us that are afraid…we never know what God can and will do if we trust him fully.

      • http://twitter.com/RLeigh1 Robin Leigh

        Thank you Jared, that means alot to me. With the addition of South Korea; in mid January the count was up to 21 countries. For any one who fears…God will take this if you just let go of the fears and let Him. This was all about being obedient.

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  • http://twitter.com/SwaggerDMangene David Mangene


  • http://twitter.com/nataschavale natascha valemangene


    What a great article!  My motto is your
    ambition in action. Fear will help! As long as you’re not afraid of fear, fear
    can be the trigger to a new step. Love that! And as I write, I overcome a fear
    moment. To write in English. Thanks for the article. Natascha

    • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

      Glad you enjoyed it! Keep rockin it!

  • Lee

    I overcame my fear of speaking to women in a nightclub – a friend was teasing me – and I just said – ‘ok, I’ll go over and chat with those ladies’ – and that’s exactly what happened.

    The hardest fear I know of to overcome is: the ‘fear of the negative’ and once that’s done I can think of nothing that can stop a man from fulfilling his potential.