Jennifer's opening story in chapter ten, "Press On: March On, O Soul", is such a true example of what we (or at least I) do so much of the time. When singing the national anthem, she choked on one word. Her family was very gracious in extending congratulations to her. They saw how she recovered the choke and sang very well. They saw the 81 words sang well, but she saw the one sour note. She couldn't hear the compliments, applause, and consoling. Instead, the one negative overshadowed all of the positives. Is that not all of us? At the least, it is our human tendency and our initial thought, of which we struggle to prevent and reverse such pattern. We are a work in progress so that's okay as long as these initial thoughts don't force us out of the race. "Running the race makes us weary, and sometimes we want to just sit it out for a while."
Oh my, is that ever true for me. In the recent months of this so far 20-month journey, I've felt so much weariness upon my soul. Just as I feel I'm too tired to continue, God refocuses my vision, reenergizes my soul, and refreshes my desires. Many times this process is daily and sometimes of late, can be hourly. One hour ready to give up. The next, ready to run. The next, too tired to get up. The next, running shoes on. Then, sitting down in weariness. Then, a slow trot. You get the idea. Constant. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race mared out for us. Hebrews 12:1
As Christians, I don't believe we can ever give up. We have the hope of Christ and we must never relinquish our hand from God's power to sustain us. We must run the race. Fight the good fight. (Side note: I typed this post Monday night. Tuesday morning in my reading of the Word, I read this. You can imagine my surprise, when the exact four words I used last night are actually words in the Bible. How awesome and timely!...Is that You, God? Your voice?) Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 1 Timothy 1:18-19
In my mind I see 'to press on' as perseverance--going even though there is no more gas for going. But, to march on, seems slighly different. Marching is an orderly fashion, disciplined, determined, and one step at a time. It can be methodical--planned and precise. Jennifer shares how to make perseverance practical.
Turn Your Feelings Into Action
Do something: pen to paper, foot to floor, eyes to sky (praying). All the while, keeping focused on Jesus. Big feelings paralyze us. Small feelings move us. Jennifer quoted an unknown wise soul: "Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble." Ponder that for a moment.
Affirm Your True Identity
"Just because you have frailed at something doesn't mean you are a failure." Sometimes it is very difficult to separate those. We are forgiven by God for our mistakes. Yet, we have a hard time forgiving ourselves and separating our mistakes from our identity. Actually, most all failures lead to some sort of success if we don't give up. "Soul talk will always begin with I am. Remember, I am is not the same as I feel. Don't let feelings define you; let who you are define your feelings."
Speak Truth to Your Soul
Walter Elliott wrote: "Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races, one after another." I believe that is the only true way to survive and thrive. One step at a time, one small race at a time. One day at a time and sometimes it is one hour at a time. "What you feed grows and conversely what you starve dies."
Are those two nasty words, at which we roll our eyes, or what? "Disability rarely hinders us as much as defiance....Small, daily disciplines can develop a sturdy soul--strong and protected from the crushing effects of despair."
"Facing a daunting task--particularly one that involves risk, sacrifice, and pain--can make the best of us want to wave a white flag." Feeling feeble, overwhelmed, weary, tired (emotionally), depressed, and unequipped are very tempting reasons to lay down the sword and give up the fight. I can honestly say that from current experience. But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7
We need to not be too quick to let down our guard when a victory has been won. "The moments following great victories may be the most vulnerable moments you face." We all know that when victory is won, we are relaxed with our guard down, and satan comes to knock us behind the knees!! "If we keep telling ourselves to persevere when we're winning, we'll sing the same song to our souls when victories are hard to find." You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36
When I so often don't see victories in what God has called me to do (stand for restoration) I feel much like Elijah. I have had enough, Lord. 1 Kings 19:4
Richard Nixon said: "Defeat does not finish a man, quitting does. A man is not finished when he's defeated. He's finished when he quits." Wow! That is so powerful. Ponder that a moment.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Suffering--> Perseverance--> Character--> Hope
Tarry on, peeps. Tarry on.
To see what others have to say, go to Lelia's. Scroll down two posts to read my chapter nine.
Pressing On, While Holding On...to HIM,
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Summer Bible Study
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