Courage, the Cowardly Lion & I

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When I was a girl, I loved the movie The Wizard of Oz!
The movie scared the beejebers outta me but I adored it, I loved Dorothy’s red shoes and often imagined myself clicking my heels while repeating the line “There’s no place like home!” It wasn’t just the bedazzled shoes, although I think I’d still wear a pair, it was the longing of her heart…..it was just so sad to me.

Throughout the movie there are many life situations and analogies which we could explore but for this article let’s look at the Cowardly Lion.

Wikipedia tells us about the Cowardly Lion as follows:

The Cowardly Lion is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum. He is a Lion, but he talks and interacts with humans.
Since lions are supposed to be “The Kings of Beasts,” the Cowardly Lion believes that his fear makes him inadequate. He does not understand that courage means acting in the face of fear, which he does frequently. Only during the aftereffects of the Wizard’s gift, when he is under the influence of an unknown liquid substance that the Wizard orders him to drink (perhaps gin) is he not filled with fear. He argues that the courage from the Wizard is only temporary, although he continues to do brave deeds while openly and embarrassedly fearful.
Hmmm how very interesting and how easily I can relate to this Lion!
How many of us live our lives in reaction to fears – Too many I would suspect!
Do we take enough time to look at the motives for our actions, are we aware of when we’re simply reacting in ways to avoid our fears?
Here’s an exchange from the movie which I love:
Cowardly Lion: Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?
Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman: Courage!
Cowardly Lion: You can say that again! Huh?
Much like the lion, I was very good at presenting bravado in the face of my insecurity. Perhaps I shared the Lion’s outward image of being scary and proud?
 More often than not I researched subjects in order to feel more secure, but never did I truly trust myself or have the confidence in my choices which I should have. What this ended up doing, in my personal life, is to frustrate me to the point where I gave in and truly just followed the flow of life, avoiding the things I feared. I didn’t actually choose my path and seek to achieve it authentically, I took advantage of situations and redefined myself based upon what I perceived as the perspectives of others.
I thank God everyday that this has changed, now I am consciously aware. With each breath of my body I am ALIVE in the knowledge that God has a plan for my life and I am not in control.
Do you ever feel like you’re not in Kansas anymore?
I certainly did when I walked into my first 12 Step meeting, but as with the Lion, I soon realized that within the rooms there were people who understood me.
Until I began doing a personal inventory, I hadn’t realized how much I had been floating through life. When I did, I became ashamed. My feelings of inadequacy all floated to the surface at once!
Talk about overwhelming….I was desolate…sober but desolate.
In time, by becoming reacquainted with my emotions and feeling worthy of them, I learned how to cope. Eventually I learned to recognize my strengths and gifts, while being mindful of my weaknesses.
Through this, my eyes opened to the fact that each of us are adequate in God’s eyes.
This alone gave me courage.
True courage to live and experience…both the “good” and the “bad”, knowing that God is driving my bus and that He loves me is enough.
Courage wasn’t something I had to find, I simply had to turn to God and it was there, ready for the taking.
And so today I lift up my cuppa coffee in toast to the makers of The Wizard of Oz for putting out the message which so many years later I finally understand.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (my 5 year old’s favorite verse!!)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
As Bill Sees It – AA 
When fear persisted, we knew it for what it was, and we became able to handle it. We began to see each adversity as a God-given opportunity to develop the kind of courage which is born out of humility, rather than of bravado.

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