Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Power of Perseverance

I have a confession to make:  I have Olympic Fever.  It’s true.  I love the pageantry, the drama, the amazing feats of strength and skill.  Most of all I love to hear the inspiring stories of athletes who overcame incredible adversity to win or even simply compete at the Olympics.  There are so many examples but I am most inspired by those who endured tremendous physical pain and emotional loss and still never gave up.  They just kept going as though they didn’t understand the concept of stopping.  I think about difficulties I have faced and how I responded.  I realize there are times I have given up short of the Gold.  Most people have.  So what’s the difference between those of us who throw in the towel too soon and the Olympians we admire so much?  It boils down to perseverance.  Most of us are not training for the Olympics so why does this matter so much?  Paul answers this question in Romans 5:3-5.  He says that perseverance produces proven character and proven character produces hope.  We all need hope.  It’s what keeps us from slipping into depression or pulls us out of depression if we are already there.  It keeps us from being paralyzed by fear and anxiety. It’s what we cling to when life in this fallen world is hard.  We have hope that we can trust in God’s love for us and that the eternal life He has waiting for us will be so glorious we will forget all the difficulties of life on earth. 
So how do we develop perseverance?  Our Olympic heroes seem to agree with Paul on this.  It starts with learning to exult in, or happily embrace, our trials.  Any Olympian will tell you that athletic performance is 90% mental.  It’s all about the messages we give ourselves and how we think about our challenges. We must view them as opportunities for God to make us stronger and grow our perseverance, proven character and hope.  God desperately wants to give us these gifts, but it can be hard to rejoice when we face seemingly overwhelming struggles.  When we focus on our difficulties and not our loving God, we can lose our motivation to persevere. But God has given us His Spirit to help us, if we will only trust Him.  These seem like fairly simple answers, but changing the way we think and where we place our focus requires discipline and practice.  Its hard work but it is well worth the effort.  Just ask any Olympian.
If you are in the midst of a trial and you are having trouble persevering or you find yourself without hope, please reach out for help.  You don’t have to face your struggles alone.  At Kim Humphries and Associates, it is our joy to walk along side you and your family as you learn to persevere through trials and find hope.

By Wynne Shaw