Keep Swinging- A Lesson in Perseverance

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Dear Lord, Thank You for golf. The sheer lunacy of that “head down” “arms straight” “butt out” whacking with a long iron rod at a dimpled demon in an attempt to get it into a tiny hole (yards and yards) down a fairway would make anyone wonder-why not just shove those clubs in a dusty corner and go see a movie? Learning to “stick with it” even when it is hard is one of the compelling reasons I keep paying good money to cuss at a little white ball. Though the progress is slow and the improvements miniscule- that “one good shot” also keeps me going back.

“Don’t give up!” For the first two weeks, my former students had anxiously entered our classroom and looked for the word written in the top left-hand corner of the white board. This was to be our “word of the day”. We used it throughout the school day as a cue for transitions, as well as in casual classroom conversation. Our first word was “perseverance”. We talked about what it meant. Then every day after for a few weeks the “word of the day” was “grit”, “persistence”, “tenacity”, “determination”, “resolution”, “diligence”, “dedication”, “commitment”, “endurance”, and “steadfastness”. Third graders (being the incredibly perceptive people they are) soon recognized the pattern and when I asked what they thought applying our new word meant they soon began to loudly declare in unison, “Don’t give up!”

The teaching experiment paid off. For the rest of the school year, when math or reading or writing was challenging, we reminded each other of the benefits of applying perseverance, or grit, or persistence, etc. It helped us to keep working harder. I hope the lesson stayed with my students. Just the memory of it encourages the teacher.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

I am much better at persevering than I was when I was younger. If I wasn’t, I would have given up on golf years ago. Nevertheless, I still find myself facing tenacity crossroads. For example-and perhaps the one with the strongest pull in my life these days-is writing this blog. Some days finding the words (any words) is very difficult. Some days I am surrounded by whispers from those demoralizing devils who tell me “I can’t do this“, “I am doing it all wrong.“, “Just put your computer in a dusty closet and go see a movie” Every day it is scary and clicking the publish button is petrifying. But then, once in awhile, I hit that “one good shot” or I receive a supportive comment from a reader (Thank you), or I am subtly reminded of my aspired goal to encourage “one woman” and then…I can face the empty page and start whacking again.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

By the way, I am not writing about those circumstances that are soul-piercing on a regular basis. In some situations, it is wise or necessary to walk away. In those cases, I recommend seeking Godly counsel.

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—Proverbs 1:5

I am writing about situations that are difficult, but beneficial if we hang in there. A good friend of mine told me of a lesson she heard once. The speaker encouraged listeners if they found themselves in a place of discouragement or just too tired, all they should do is take “two steps forward”. And then after that take another “two steps” etc. This was exactly what I needed to hear at a time in my life when I was tempted to quit what I was doing because it was so hard. Looking to the Lord for guidance and strength, I took “two steps forward” and then “two more”. It helped- a lot.

The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Isaiah 58:11

I appreciate the parts of my life that have been “tough” and made me “tough”. I loved teaching. I am so thankful for the many years I persisted. The rewards for that have been a joyful cup that overflows even to this day. I love golf. It challenges me in countless ways and is good for my mental and physical well-being. I love writing. While at times it tests my resolve to the core, it has become a new friend for me, a companion willing to listen to my thoughts no matter how many times I hit the delete button. I am thankful that when these life-parts that bless my life get hard, the Lord becomes my strength.

“My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Dear Lord, Thank you for the lessons in our lives which build perseverance. Bless us all with encouragement to have the strength to persist in those areas where we may be tempted to give up. Thank you for each and every reader of this blog. In Jesus’ name, Amen

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

3 comments on “Keep Swinging- A Lesson in Perseverance”

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