Courage: Fear and Faith

Photo by Liz Chang

By Liz Chang

I can’t be courageous without a deep knowledge of what I fear, what I grieve, what I am pained by or what I am scared of. And, to see and acknowledge those aspects of myself takes just as much courage as it takes to be and act in confrontation of them.

Because, what is courage if there is nothing at risk? What is courage if there is no vulnerability? What is courage if there is no inkling of doubt?

We need them. We need the risk. We need the vulnerability. We need the doubt. Because it is in those spaces where we learn to have faith, love, and hope.

When I think about the season that my husband and I are currently in, I am mindful of the tremendous amounts of faith, love, and hope (read: risk, vulnerability, and doubt) that are needed for us to grow and thrive. In the summer of 2017, we decided to uproot our comfortable lives in Seattle to relocate to New York City where I grew up and where my parents still reside. We moved without jobs lined up and without a clear plan of action for how we would begin a journey of integrating our lives with my parents whom I felt called to live closer to for this season of life.

The cross-country road trip and the excitement to move to NYC occupied us until we arrived and reality began to set in. And then, we entered our year of struggle. We missed our community in Seattle and questioned why we would intentionally disrupt our comfort zone to bring on financial stress, family stress, relationship stress, and career stress. I questioned my motivations and goals for making such a big request for us to move, and struggled to be empathetic towards my husband’s challenges of being here. I was easily upset, easily discouraged, and frequently weighing the costs and benefits to our living in NYC. “Let’s just move back,” became our go-to saying to each other because it said enough to capture our thoughts and feelings.

But, we are still here. AND, we are here having grown individually and together in our marriage in ways that we would not have gained while staying in our comfort zone. Because in feeling and facing circumstances of grief, pain, fear, and  anxieties, I am learning more of what it means to grow in faith, hope, and love. It both sucks and is beautiful. I dread it and I appreciate it. I don’t wish these struggles on to anyone, but I do wish this kind of growth for everyone.

And it was so hard to worship through it. There were many times when I didn’t; when I couldn’t bring myself to sing along to a worship song, let alone attend a church service at all. And yet, during my current days of relief and pause from the daily churn that exhausted me for over a year and a half, I am able to say God is faithful. I certainly don’t think I will be able to say this everyday moving forward, but I am grateful for days like today when my spirit is willing and God’s presence does not seem as hidden.

It takes courage to worship. It takes courage to take actions in faith. And, I suppose it is also a reminder that faith without deeds is dead.

Sisters and brothers, I pray you be bold and courageous with a faith that is alive and thriving. I pray that even if life doesn’t get easier, that it will get better for you. May your life get better with God’s presence being made known to you, better with you growing in endurance and resilience, better in your relationships, and better through reaping the fruit of what you sow.

Liz Chang is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and works with individuals, couples and families at a group private practice in Manhattan (Holding Hope Marriage and Family Therapy, https://www.nyc-couples-therapy.com/). Liz has enjoyed experiencing life in the midwest and the pacific northwest during her young adulthood. She studied Marriage and Family Therapy at Seattle Pacific University and misses Seattle’s beautiful summer months. Liz is a Korean-American born and raised in New York City where she and her husband now reside. They enjoy going for walks, exploring new neighborhoods, cooking, traveling, playing spikeball, and watching their cats be cute (Instagram @bennyslyf).


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