“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7
Anyone with school-aged children knows that at some point, they will find themselves trying to instill perseverance into their children’s lives. From finishing their school assignments on time to consistently keeping their rooms clean to maybe even volunteering to clean up the kitchen after you have just cooked a big meal (or maybe that last one is initiative which is another good characteristic trait). J
There are many different ways to go about trying to instill this in others; or even, if I am going to be honest, making it stick in my own life. Yes, there is going to be hard work involved to reach the final goal, but nowhere does perseverance talk about me having it all together. Perseverance is not about perfection; instead, it is about the ability to keep going, keep trying, keep pushing myself to “take it to the next level” (sound familiar?) to reach my personal best, to finish strong.
So what does that look like on a daily basis? And how do I attempt to teach that to my children so that they can internalize this important character trait?
I think perseverance looks something like this: Getting up on a Thursday, after having failed at my latest diet that was started Monday and starting over today instead of waiting for next Monday. It means even though I failed to exercise four days this week, making sure I finish the week strong by exercising the last three. It means taking five extra minutes to straighten up the house before going to bed, laying out my clothes the night before, or packing as much of the school lunches ahead of time so that our morning goes better.
It also means, though, taking a break once in a while. It means rewarding myself (or someone else) for a job well done. It means stopping sometimes to evaluate all that has been accomplished and seeing what works well, what needs to be changed, and what can be done more efficiently. It means not working so hard I am driven to the point of frustration and exhaustion, but not settling for my own sloppy seconds. It means going to bed every night, confident that I did my personal best today in God’s strength, listening to Him whisper in my ear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” And, if I did not meet my own personal goal, figuring out what I can do better for tomorrow, letting go of the failures of today, confident that I have another chance to try again.
I challenge you to look at your life and rejoice in how far you have come with a specific goal you have set for yourself. If you have not set one, I then challenge you to do just that, working toward your personal best.
Then, maybe we can rejoice with someone else about one of their achievements or better yet, offer some encouragement to someone who is struggling trying to persevere over a hurdle in his life.