Turtle Courage


A couple of weeks ago I came across this brave little guy while out for a walk with my dog.  Usually the turtles I meet along the path will quickly pull their necks back into the safety of their shell. Not this guy. I hovered over him like a giant and he continued to stand his turtle ground.  Neck out…eyes wide open.

Today, I’ve started the Hillsong 40 Days devotional..thanks to my Twitter friend from the land down under, Jason Ewart (who told me about it). You can check it out here on YouVersion too.

The verse for reflection on the first day comes from Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

As I studied my turtle picture, I wondered, was the risk he took to remain out of his shell a wise thing for him to do?   I’m certain it breaks the number one turtle safety rule:  When huge giant approaches, retreat, retreat!!  Yet, he survived. His choice to not retreat paid off.  His choice to keep his eyes open during a threat didn’t cause injury to him.

Just like this turtle, we have similar choices we must make every day.  There are times when the best thing we can do is retreat.

“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.” (Psalm 61:3)  We rest in His arms until the storm is over.

Yet sometimes learning to live intentionally, and making every moment in our day count requires us to stand our ground and to not retreat into the safety of the familiar.

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” (Deut 31: 6 Message)

This turtle’s little act of courage reminded me that sometimes the wisest choice we can make is to step out of our comfort zone (stick our neck out) and refuse to close our eyes to the scariness around us.

Sometimes that’s where we discover that the giant situation towering over us is more terrifying in the dark than in the light.

I am reminded of the verse in Ecclesiastes 3: “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth”

Lord, give us the wisdom today to know what to do. Help us to know when to retreat, when to stand our ground, and when to move forward full speed ahead.

Give us the courage to live with our eyes wide open.

10 thoughts on “Turtle Courage

  1. Anne Peterson


    Loved this. Really loved it. Maybe because it’s easier for me to pull my turtle head into the safety than risk it being out there. Would love to see a pic of you on your sidebar. Also, for those of us who don’t know a blog by it’s writer yet, if your name was on there, it’s easier to comment. I had to search for it. Just my thoughts.

    And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
    Anais Nin

  2. bill (cycleguy)

    i was out riding my bike the other day and came across a pretty good sized snapping turtle on the main highway. Tragically, he stuck his neck out a little too far. he was in the same position when I came back and after I slight nudge with my foot, I picked him up and tossed him into the wetlands that ran alongside the road. he never moved. In his case, I wish he had listened to the number 1 turtle rule: never try to cross a main highway unless in hyperdrive.

  3. Carol Peterson

    Interesting. I’ve always told people that I’m a turtle. I have that “slow and steady” attitude whereas having courage is something I struggle with.

    Thanks to you, Eileen, now I have an additional turtle character trait to apply to myself and then live up to. I’m smiling. Thanks!

  4. Maria I. Morgan

    Great post, Eileen! Love the picture of your turtle friend. Thanks for the encouragement to seek God’s wisdom to “know when to retreat, when to stand our ground, and when to move forward full speed ahead.”

    *I noticed you’re a She Speaks graduate! Will you be attending the conference in July? I’m signed up and raring to go “full speed ahead.” 🙂

    1. Eileen Post author

      Oh, I’m not attending this year. I would have loved to see Michael Hyatt! We are moving to Georgia and this summer is going to be upside down and crazy. I am going to a conference in the Fall and hope to add more as soon as we get settled. Have a great time, learn lots and come back and teach me!!


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