Archive for October, 2010

Persistence With A “P”

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

“Persistence”.

Three syllables linked together: so easy to say, yet so hard to own.

I’ve been wondering lately about persistence. What is it in a human being which says, “I know it’d be easier to give up, and I keep thinking I should… but I just can’t – I won’t.”

An on hand dictionary says that to persist is “to continue unwavering or resolute or firmly in some purpose or course of action.”

Unwavering… resolute… purpose…. I like those words. I like the idea of their being part of what defines us.

Yes, “unwavering” has connotations of being stubborn, but in this context it implies focus and refusal to be distracted. Sounds good to me: I admire people who have the wherewithal to abstain from three hundred cable channels of inanity and compulsive crossbreeding with their PDA of choice.

“Resolute” sounds like Thomas Jefferson – the good parts. Words like “bold” and “courageous and “intrepid” come to mind. Jeez, wouldn’t you just love for someone to call you “intrepid”?

“The intrepid composer persevered boldly and courageously through the Broadway establishment and found a producer for his new Musical.” ¬†Yeah baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

And last but not least: “purpose”. What’s a life without dreams and goals and destinations? Isn’t your day so much more delicious when you’re on a mission?

And we don’t always have to be persistent on a grand scale, do we? A lawmaker in pursuit of passing an equal rights amendment is really no more relentless than a student studying day and night for her S.A.T., or a teacher who refuses to give up on a difficult child.

Personally, I’m finding persistence to be an elusive suitor. In the last week I’ve experienced moments when heady terms like “brilliant” and “masterpiece” were being heaved at me – yet seconds later when I was still feeling like another nose pressed against the glass.

But though I’ve often felt like saying I’ve had enough, after a few hours of licking my wounds I’ve found myself continuing to try, fueled by recognition that I won’t be able to live with myself if I don’t.

And isn’t that the essence of it for all of us? As usual, it’s about choices. We choose to live either with sorrowful regrets or in the satisfaction of knowing that there were chapters in our personal stories when, despite the odds, we were resolute and focused and determined.

But here’s the kicker: we don’t have to do it alone. We don’t have to take the world on our shoulders in the pursuit of our goals. It’s not our job – it’s God’s.

Oh yeah… “God”. I almost forgot.

Now I remember: we’ve got a God who loves us. We’ve got a God for whom our little goals are less than a snap of His holy fingers. We’ve got a God who has a plan for us – and we’ve got a God with whom all things are possible.

Come to think of it, He’s the One who gave us the gift of persistence.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better now. I’ve got a renewed sense of unwavering, resolute purpose. Of course I have to continue being persistent, because my God’s walking alongside me – and He’s got my back.

I think I’m actually feeling a little bit intrepid.

How about you?