Last week I shared that it hasn’t always been easy for me to decipher one word for the year, not to mention an unusual word that stuck out to me. I’m sharing another word this week that I believe is one that will stay with me for as long as I am breathing in and out.
There’s a specific day where I remember seeing a woman who possessed real tenacity and perseverance. It was a glance at what I had desired to be for years but never felt was possible to attain.
At the moment of this sighting I was taken aback, because, surprisingly, it was the face peering back at me from the mirror.
To see these character traits in myself was shocking because giving up used to be so natural.
It’s what I did for quite a bit of my early life.
I gave up when things got tough. I’m not proud of this fact, but it is a fact nonetheless.
When life became difficult or uncomfortable situations arose, I wanted to throw in the towel.
Then when my 20’s arrived I battled a foe that left giving up impossible without giving up on everything. I suffered from daily panic and anxiety and it became as much a part of me as my hair and eye color.
So where did this persistence and resolve come from?
The acknowledgment of this woman I now saw in the mirror wasn’t about self-love or patting myself on the back. No, it was more about the truth that was right in front of me but I had missed for so very long.
It was the simple yet life-changing truth that Jesus died so I could live.
His strength—His endurance—was mine.
He didn’t give me life so I could just survive as I had been doing—to allow it to be stolen and suffocated by anxiousness and fear. He gave me life to live abundantly. *John 10:10
In the greenish-blue eyes staring back at me from the mirror I saw something I had missed before:
I saw that his strength was already mine.
It was not my own, but his perseverance gazing back at me.
There are no words—and oh how I love words—to do justice to the grace of a savior that takes the very thing you need and places it within your soul. *Romans 5:3-4, NASB
It was as if for the first time I really saw him looking back at me. I was no longer the person that James spoke of in the first chapter of his book. The one that beheld their face and then forgot who they were as soon as they walked away. *James 1:23
I was guilty of forgetting who I was for a long time. But now I knew what I hadn’t known for so long, His image was my image.
Every day I chose to get up and stay in the fight of faith and remember my true identity meant I was never a lost cause as I had once believed.
On the contrary, James 5:11 says we consider those blessed who remain steadfast.
These are certainly two words I would’ve never thought to use in the same sentence.
And yet, here I was—having a conversation with the God of the universe about how holding on to a faith in a God I had yet to lay eyes on meant I was blessed.
Perseverance is so much more than just sticking with the hard and not doing the bad.
It isn’t about beating the addiction—not taking another drink, another look, another bite, or one more time.
Enduring isn’t about being a perfect mother, wife and the very best church girl—gritting your teeth and just trying a little harder.
It’s not about achieving some lofty goal—although this can be a good thing—if your only focus is not doing or being something you will fail every time.
Because, really, it’s not about you.
Persevering is actually about beholding your natural image—the one that has Him in it—and not forgetting it when you walk out that door and life attempts to slam you down with astonishing force.
In fact, the testing of your faith actually produces perseverance. So, don’t forget whose you are in the trial—get up, run that race and remember whose name is on your jersey. Let him finish the work so that you will then find yourself complete. *James 1:2-4 & Hebrews 12:1
Remember whose you are.
Weakness may appear to be unable to walk right alongside perseverance, but this is exactly the opposite of the truth.
Persevering in this Christian walk isn’t about fighting tooth and nail to be who you think you’re supposed to be.
It’s remembering whose you already are and persevering in this truth—when you abide in Him you are under the shadow of the Almighty. *Psalm 91:1
It’s falling down ten thousand times and choosing to get back up every. single. one. Not because you’re a superwoman, but because you have his super strength.
Perseverance is where the rubber meets the road in our daily battles that we face.
Perseverance produces Character
We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4, NASB
Perseverance is all about hope.
Hope in a God that says he has given us everything to live this life. *1 Peter 1:3
And hope in the fact that one day soon we will stand before him while he gazes lovingly and beholds what he’s seen in us all along—the image of his son.
“Well done my good and faithful servant.” *Matthew 25:21