Perseverance. Two definitions:
Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
Continuance in a state of grace leading finally to a state of glory.
After days of trying to get this post written, I am not feeling the steadfastness to push through; instead, I am feeling more like settling into a state of grace. Does this make me a bad person?
As I have been thinking about perseverance the past few days and after a couple of false starts at writing this post, it occurred to me that there are two kinds of perseverance ~ one that requires action and one that requires patience. Sometimes I need the first kind (like now) and sometimes I need the other ~ and sometimes I need both.
I was re-reading a story from Chicken Soup for the Soul, Family Caregivers the other night and ironically the story was placed under the section entitled “Peseverance”. Penelope, the author of the story, found herself in a season that required both steadfastness in doing and continuing in a state of grace. A young married woman with an infant son, she unexpectedly found herself acting as a caregiver to her 28 year old husband who suffered several devastating aneurysms. I had a chance to meet Penelope in person at an author’s luncheon and I can tell you that she exuded peace, trust and hope, in spite of the life detour she found herself on. She and her husband were steadfast in his recovery process, hoping for complete healing; but resting in a continued state of grace, not knowing what the actual outcome would be. Her story and her countenance were an inspiration.
Maybe persevering isn’t about everything looking pretty. Maybe I have been placing expectations of perfection that have kept me partially paralyzed. Maybe I have been just feeling lazy. Whatever the case, perseverance this week has meant stringing a series of words together. Maybe not the best words in an amazing order or with profound content ~ but words on the screen nonetheless. The action is complete.
But, truthfully, the spirit is in a little bit of a funk, feeling a little apathetic. I am sure it will pass but until it does I will persevere by remaining in a state of grace, trusting in the One who gives the grace to persevere. My challenges aren’t life threatening, not even life altering, so a part of me feels like saying, “Curly Girl! What’s your problem?” Does that make me a bad person? I hope it just makes me human. So I will be inspired by Penelope, who embodied both kinds of perseverance, I will accept that I am a flawed human being, and I will rejoice in a fresh start tomorrow.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9