As quick as I am to resist change, I’m equally fast at giving up when it’s a change I’m actually trying to make. Tenacious is not a word I’d ever use to describe myself…unless it is holding to the status quo. But when I need to work at learning something that is difficult for me? Thanks, but I’d rather just stick to what I know.
No, my life would never be a good lets-teach-kids-to-branch-out movie. Most of the school subjects were easy for me to learn (with the exceptions of handwriting, spelling, and calculus), so I never pushed myself in school. I didn’t join any sports teams, because why would I sign up for something that took so much boldness? I eventually started riding horses, and joined marching band – both of which I can see now that God used to begin teaching me some important lessons about opening up to others and about learning to have more confidence in myself. You can’t be unsure with a half-ton creature beneath you, and the instrument I chose in marching band – the sousaphone – demands support and projection. So even in those, God was working on me.
One major slow-down with having Violet ready was the formatting of the interior. After much deliberation, I decided to give formatting it myself a try. I ended up formatting the thing about three times, as I went through the process of figuring out how to do it. It was exhausting and aggravating and a few times I just wanted to beg the hubby to let me see what I could scrounge up around the house to have a garage sale and see if I could raise the extra money to pay CreateSpace to do it.
But I stuck with it. And I eventually did it to my satisfaction, including the page numbering. (I thought for a time that those page numbers might just do me in.) Now, I’m really glad that I stuck with it, and glad that I succeeded at something that doesn’t come easily to me. It gives me better sympathy for kids struggling with a subject in school, and I think for fellow humans together. Some people thrive on facing a challenge and overcoming it. I don’t. But now I see better how satisfying it can be.
When we think about tenacity or endurance, what Bible verses come to mind? The enduring love of God? Enduring to the end? Hebrews 12:1-2 reads, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The “cloud of witnesses” the writer references is a long list of many faithful people of God whose faith sustained them and allowed for great things to happen in their times, recorded in Hebrews chapter 11. Look it up if you can use some encouragement for enduring the struggles we face in life. I know I can! As we go through this life, running the race, so to speak, we all need encouragement.
Are any of you runners? I never was until a year and a half after our second was born. I wanted to be healthier and to have more energy to keep up with the kiddos (our second-born was SO much more active than our first!), so I started jogging. It wasn’t easy, and I had to discover that if you push past the first time of tiredness, you’ll get a second wind and be able to keep going. Once I learned that, running became a lot more enjoyable. I still haven’t gotten back into running after our third was born (and he’s almost five now, so I guess that’s a little embarrassing to admit), but I can tell my body longs for that day.
Similarly, sometimes in our “Spiritual Race” we are running and sometimes we are walking. Sometimes we are crawling. It’s during those times that encouragement becomes so important. Where do you find encouragement? When I was running, I found it in my family and friends, in my running partner, and even a bit in myself.
Family and friends – fellow Christians running alongside us – are excellent encouragement in the race. My husband ran a half-marathon with a friend of his, and both said they probably would have walked at one point, if it wasn’t for the other one there, spurring each other on. Similarly, Christians aren’t meant to live in isolation. We encourage one another, spur one another on to keep going!
Back to the aforementioned “cloud of witnesses”…we can find great encouragement in those who have gone before us. Their example of faith isn’t meant to be idolized, but we can certainly be encouraged by it! Moses himself said he was not a great speaker, but look how God used him! The example of quiet devotion and generosity set by my grandparents is very inspiring to me. It’s wonderful to see how our Lord uses people for His work with the gifts He has given them! How has He equipped (or is still equipping you now?) for work in His kingdom?
And let us not neglect to remember that in the midst of this race, we are to look not to ourselves, not to the cloud of witnesses, but to Jesus. It was He who suffered and died for our sake. It was He who was raised by the Father. It is He to whom we look for all we need: grace, peace, mercy, love, joy, patience, steadfastness, and so much more. To Him, with the Father and Holy Spirit, be glory and honor and thanks and praise!
Dear readers, may you continue steadfast, encouraged in your faith by those around you, by those gone before you, and most especially by the One who established your faith.
And a final reminder…Violet’s Daybreak is about to break! Be sure to join us for the Facebook Launch Party! More info at my Facebook Author Page.
|(Photo by Alex Shaw at Shaw Photography.)