Be Strong and Courageous! | Joshua 1

Welcome to Real Life. Do you need courage today?

Grace Church women feigning anxiety during a tornado alert.
On the morning I began to read the book of Joshua, I woke up feeling anxious. I have suffered through a few bouts of anxiety/depression in my adult life. Lately, I’m battling it again. In the words of Dr. Timothy Keller, “I’m addicted to a high level of productivity.” I pile on projects and responsibilities until I overload. Then, I feel overwhelmed, anxious, can't sleep, etc. I've learned to view these symptoms as God’s check in my spirit: It’s time to back off and chill out, Peg.

As I read God’s encouragement to Joshua, I knew his words were for me as well:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).
Joshua was justifiably anxious. Moses, the awesome prophet—who stood up to Pharaoh, called plagues down on Egypt, and led Israel out of bondage and across the desert wilderness—just died. Joshua had served as his assistant. Now, God was calling him to step up and lead Israel into the Promised Land.

The task was overwhelming. The Israelites weren't warriors. They were wanderers. Joshua alone could never conquer the strongholds of Canaan. But, he wasn't alone.

Life is overwhelming at times. As a child of God, I’m not alone either. He is always with me. What God calls me to accomplish, he will empower me to do.

God’s Part:
  • God chose Joshua. The people had no vote. What role/assignment has God chosen for me: wife, parent, daughter, writer, employee, unemployed, student, teacher, caregiver, person with an illness? He will empower me to fulfill his will.
  • God did it. “I will give you every place where you set your foot” (Joshua 1:3). It wasn't up to Joshua to make this happen. It was on God. First, I must discern what God has called me to accomplish versus what responsibilities I’m piling on myself. Then, I can confidently lean on his strength. It’s not up to me to succeed, to impact, to change my world. It’s on God. 
  • God was with Joshua. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5b). He’s with me, too. 
My Part:
  • Own the role/assignment God’s chosen for me. I can’t meet every need on my horizon. I can’t be all things to all people. But, I can be who God has called me to be today.
  • Cooperate with God. This takes strength, courage, and faith (Joshua 1:9). Joshua didn't just sit in his tent. He led Israel into battle. Oddly, in this season, I need courage to rest from the battle: to back off on commitments and responsibilities. I must trust God to complete what needs to be done (without me micromanaging it).
  • Meditate on God’s Word (Joshua 1:8). Know it. Believe it. Live it.

Oh, Lord, I feel small and weak. You are the Strong One. Give me strength and faith and courage to fulfill your will today. May your strength be perfected in my weakness.

What do you need courage for today?

[1] 2 Corinthians 12:9


  1. First of all, I'm sorry you're going through that again, Peggi. I love how you chose to focus on His promises instead of your fear - as difficult as that may be. And ohhhhhhh, the micromanaging we attempt. I can't tell you how many times I have given IT (whatever IT is at the time) to God - and then offered Him my suggestions as to how I'd like Him to handle it. Based on outcomes, it has become abundantly clear to me that He doesn't need my assistance. And yet, I still seem too willing to offer my input! Prayers for you through this time, Peggi.

    1. Thanks, Shel. I appreciate your encouragement. And, I'm glad you could relate. Most of all, I'm grateful for your prayers. :)

      You are a courageous woman! It takes guts to battle cancer. It takes courage to be an advocate (lawyer) and represent others well. It takes courage to write honestly. Go, Shel!

    2. Depression is a really tough one to deal with. I feel for you because I know how it is and you don't wish that upon somebody eIse if you know yourself the depth of darkness your mind can take you. I can't add much about this subject in relation to religion, but I can add to it in general.
      I'm very familiar with depression. That sneaks up on you and one day says: hi, I'm here, see to deal with that. And once you've gotten a visit from depression, the likeliness of it coming back grows with each time. And one day it won't leave anymore. It has become chronic.

      Although I look at the world from a different angle than the religious style of life, I do encounter the same struggles.
      I can relate to this quote: “I’m addicted to a high level of productivity.” I pile on projects and responsibilities until I overload. Then, I feel overwhelmed, anxious, can't sleep, etc. I've learned to view these symptoms as God’s check in my spirit: It’s time to back off and chill out, Peg."
      You take different conclusions as me, but in the end they do come with the same result. There's an issue, a weakness, a difficulty or even an illness (what depression basically is) that we need to overcome or try to live with. And how do you do that?
      That's not written in stone, but is something that each of us has to figure out for themselves.
      Finding the courage again after life has overwhelmed you with a lot of tough stuff isn't easy.
      Sometimes we need a bit of a stand still, an evaluation. We expect so much from ourselves that we almost certainly set ourself up for disappointment in ourselves. If we were more compassionate to ourselves, giving ourselves more breaks in life we would do ourselves a big favor.
      I wish lighter days for you. I wish more balance in what you want to do in life and what you can handle. Life just isn't that easy to figure out.

    3. Hi Mirjam,
      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I'm sorry that you've also suffered from depression.

      Thankfully, my experiences with anxiety/depression is that each bout has been easier/lighter, not worse. It does not scare me as it used to. I better understand how God has placed these physical symptoms in my body as signs that I need to changes my activities and mindset.

      You mention high expectations. Living a grace-filled life: embracing God's grace for myself and extending his grace to others has been key for me. Grace loves, accepts, and forgives -- even when it is not deserved.

      Each person's experience is unique. I am praying for you, Mirjam.

      P.S. Here's an earlier blog I wrote on depression:

  2. "And he said to me, My grace suffices thee; for my power is perfected in weakness", 2 Corinthians 12: 9.

    1. Amen! Thanks for writing out the verse for us, David. :) And thanks for stopping by.

  3. God tells us "I am YOUR God."(Isaiah 41:10) This told me that I am worthy for Him to notice me when I flounder through times of depression. God is always with us,

    1. Hi friend,
      Thanks for the powerful reminder. Yes, our God is always with us ... even on our darkest days!


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