“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Corinthians 4:7-10 ESV).
I don’t have the greatest track record when it comes to persistence. I admit it. The annals of my life reveal a tendency to give up when I should persist. While I can attribute some of the blame on ADHD, there is no excuse that can wipe away my culpability.
That is my past.
We all have one, and no two are exactly alike. There are ups and downs in every one, but we have not all responded to them in the same manner. Some people thrive under adversity, while some fold. Some people handle success with grace and humility, while some are destroyed by it. Some are able to see the good in everyone and every situation, while some look feverishly and unsuccessfully without realizing that they are blindfolded by past failures, hurtful words, or devastating abuse.
Some carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, a weight never intended for anyone to bear. And there are some who walk on mountain tops with their fists in the air ready and able to take on any obstacles that rise to obstruct their view of the sun (Son!).
The rain falls on Christian and non-Christian alike.
Have you ever felt strongly that God wanted you to do something in particular, a calling? I have. And I have been dedicated to fulfilling that calling for quite a while, but when success didn’t come I assumed that I had misheard God. I became discouraged, and I quit.
I’ve written in the past about how my mind has been opened through participation in various endurance sports. They changed my way of thinking. They helped me understand that there’s nothing that is impossible for me. It was largely due to this paradigm shift that I began this blog. As a child I can remember having a desire to write. Then recently I felt a draw in this direction again. I believe that part of my calling involves writing. So I write.
If I were committed to write only while I enjoyed success, I would have quit a long time ago. But I’ve come to realize that my success paradigm was faulty. If I define success by my stats page in WordPress, then I am trying to please man and not God (Galatians 1:10). If I define success by reaching masses of people, then I’m a failure. But if I define success as potentially reaching one person in a way that impacts their life for good and for God, then I am a servant of Christ.
I still get discouraged. And during those times I wonder why I continue. I amuse myself with thoughts of other ways I could be spending my time. But the truth is, we weren’t put on this earth to amuse ourselves. I write because it helps me better understand God. I write because it helps me better understand myself. I write because of the hope within me that one day I will hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21 ESV).
If you have ever believed that God has called you to something, do it with all of your might. Resist the impulse to turn your back on the plow. God doesn’t usually call us to do something easy. That’s because He wants us to understand that we can only succeed in His power. You may feel, as I often do, that it is just too hard. You may wonder if you are doing any good at all. I often feel that way…
Yet I persist.