Ever have trouble sticking with things? Are you the Queen of the unfinished? Do you jump from project to project, never feeling satisfied about the outcome?
I’ve been there, I think all of us have. I wish everything in life were as easy as a Mousetrap game.
From the unfinished sewing project, to the committee you volunteered for but let the ball drop to the promise you made to yourself to lose weight…all incomplete commitments bring shame and defeat. So why do we do it to ourselves?
Good intentions and lack of priorities, for the most part, drive our tendency to over commit. I wrote a series about over commitment here and won’t deal with that topic today, rather I want to discuss the art of perseverance and persistence.
Raising 9 kids with 3, almost 4 teenagers in the mix isn’t easy. Sometimes, when I’m feeling defeated in my parenting, I want to quit, give up and let them raise themselves. It takes persistence and perseverance to stick with a tough job for the long haul.
First, let’s look at a working definition of each word.
Perseverance: to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.
Persistence: to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, esp. in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.
There are several key words in these definitions that I want to focus on.
A sense of purpose in all that we undertake is critical. Asking ourselves “What am I hoping to accomplish here?” will hopefully provide answers that convict you one way or the other. Without true and significant purpose, no commitment is worth beginning.
With my children, my purpose is to raise God-loving, moral, physically and emotionally healthy adults who can see past themselves in life. To see my children grow up to give of themselves to make this world a better place would please me greatly. Now that I see the purpose and goal, my mission becomes more clear. Losing sight of what we originally had in mind can happen, if we don’t clearly define purpose in our endeavorers.
Anything worth doing will likely be difficult. However, I am fully convinced that with all the resources available to me that I can learn what I need to know. There are thousands of parenting books and websites that I can use and glean from. Educating myself on a consistent basis will enable my efforts to stay focused and informed about what I’m aspiring to do.
Finding mentors and/or friends who have traveled the same path are absolutely imperative. Look beyond your circle of friends, make a few phone calls, whatever, but find someone with whom you can talk to. Mothers to young adult children help me so much in lending not only advice but much needed perspective and hope.
People are often shocked to face opposition when trying to work towards a worthy goal, but it shouldn’t come as any surprise. How foolish of me to think that everyone on planet Earth will agree with what I do and come along side me in support. Reflecting on our decision to homeschool our children, we took a lot of flack for it. I expected it and was armed with a few well versed articles, but was also comfortable with “agreeing to disagree”. The need to convince others of my convictions just isn’t time or energy well spent, in my opinion.
With purpose backing me up, I can not only expect opposition but face it without fear. Life isn’t easy and people aren’t always nice, get over it.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Obstacles can be very discouraging. That confidence that you’re on the right path can be shattered by one obstacle or another, and you feel defeated. Here’s the key: Expect them!
When you face obstacles, stop, take a deep breath and think it through:
Is it really as big as it seems right now?
Could it be a ‘clay pigeon’ that doesn’t really deserve your consideration?
How can I best diffuse the situation until I can get more information?
Do you need outside help with this obstacle, like a counselor?
Avoiding knee-jerk reactions can keep you from regret later. Not to minimize obstacles, they can be very real and sometimes serious. However, if you avoid over-commitment in other areas of your life, you will hopefully have the emotional energy to deal with things as they come up. Life is just full of challenges, especially if you are doing good work. Find support and stock up on chocolate.
Once again, I can get so discouraged at times raising our family. Fear of failure can haunt me big time. Coming to terms with the fact that my teenagers aren’t always going to make good decisions, despite my best efforts, has ripped me apart inside. How can a mother not take their children’s poor choices personally? I’m still working on that myself and will be for many years to come as more teenagers fill this home. Each child and experience offers me more strength and wisdom to face the next one, and that’s a good thing.
I am so very grateful for a few good friends who will understand, listen to my rantings and remind me that I am a good mom. Does anyone else struggle with that?
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
This verse in Galatians really sums it up. Doing good will make us weary, but we are not to give up! We will reap a harvest in due time. It is here that I find the strength to persevere.
How about you? What thoughts does this post bring for you?