The thing to do anymore is pick a word for your year.
It’s kind of silly, but I like the thought and intent of it. Last year, Paul and I defined our previous year as “Growth” and said we wanted 2016 to be the year of “Health.” It truly did end up being exactly that for us. I set up a doctor’s appointment in early May that I had put off for months with a crazy scientist doctor I had heard about from multiple people who happened to practice in Mckinney. The earliest he could get me in was November, but I got a call in July saying he had a spot open up for that night and I could have it if I wanted. I dropped everything I was doing, and found myself in his Bill Nye-esque office that evening. Literally magnets everywhere, test tubes of different ingredients spread out across his very dated shelves and cabinets.
I came in hoping for the best but because of the last 5+ years of my life seeing multiple doctors unsuccessfully… I had half-hearted expectations. I ended up leaving with answers that have completely changed my life.
I feel healthier, I look healthier, I have nails again, my hair is growing. …Someone at church thought I had in extensions yesterday! THIS BLEW MY MIND. I literally have never had hair, it’s never grown, and it’s never been worth mistaking for extensions.This made my day, and it’ll probably last me in compliments for at least the next 6 months. 😉 HA
Paul’s story is his own to share, but in short he has not been able to eat dairy because of a weird allergy to casein for two years now. He went to my same doctor last month, and was told he CAN EAT DAIRY AGAIN. What the?! We are reintroducing it slowly, but we are so excited for him.
Health indeed was accomplished in 2016. We worked out consistently. Found our groove for eating before 10 PM. (AMEN TO THAT ONE!) And we are healthier today than we were one year ago- mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. Praise God for his faithfulness.
So new year, new word. What’s my word?
Persistence is what I have chosen to define my next year.
Persistence means running the race, and finishing it. It means consistency. It means fighting through even in the mess, fear, anxiety, and failure. It means when I fall, I jump back up with new lessons learned to keep fighting for the end goal.
Because of grace, we are allowed persistence.
Persistence is the key to bringing to life all of the things we may have on our “list of resolutions”, if you will, but it is so much more than that. It goes so much deeper. The Bible speaks a lot to endurance, fighting the fight, never giving up.
Perhaps you’ve heard this verse found in James 1:12,
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life the lord has promised to those who love him.
This is specifically talking about your purpose in life. How even when it is hard and makes no sense at all, we hold to the truth that Jesus is who he says he is and that we are in a constant process of sanctification thanks to the work done on the cross, so that when we die we will meet our maker face to face and receive the words “well done my good and faithful servant, welcome.”
I want to flesh this verse out a little more, though. How do I apply this text to my daily life? The perspective that if we are persistent in the pursuit of a relationship with Christ, always remembering that final day when we will receive our crown of life, then our daily trials of this Earth will be handled with more grace and endurance because we are becoming more like Christ. You follow me?
Our level of persistence to pursue all things we do on Earth with excellence is a direct reflection of our persistence in pursuing Christ. How is your reflection looking?
Applying this to our work and relationships means that in everything we do, we do it whole heartedly and with excellence. It means giving it all we’ve got, whatever it is that God has entrusted us to do. Remembering, of course, that the most important race of all, the one that defines everything in life, is the race of faith we are running. It’s not always an easy race, it’s not always fun, it’s not always satisfying, it won’t always give us the answers or responses we want… at least not immediately. But, again, the race of faith will always end well for the believer. Likewise, even when aspects of life might not look like how you thought they would, things are going to go well for you in the end.
Check this verse from Ecclesiastes 9:11:
I have seen something else under the sun. The race is not to the swift or battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant, or favor to the learned. But, that time and chance happen to them all.
This is written by a king, Solomon, who seemingly had everything. The world convinces us “if I just had more money”, “if I just lived there”, “If I just could do that, I would be so much better off”. But, chance and time will take their turn for all of us, meaning the things of this Earth are fickle and will take whatever turns they feel like. And, even more so, absolutely NOTHING is promised to us. We are entitled to nothing. “The race is not to the swift”, the race isn’t won by the fast just because they are fast. We must work hard, and EVEN STILL the things we are fighting for might not happen how we wanted. Even when we follow all the “rules and steps” to success, even when we had everything theoretically working for us in our favor, it won’t always pan out like we thought it would.
But, God always will. Thank goodness that, as believers, we have one thing that is constant, good, and always will be what we wanted it to be in the end. We get to hold to that promise and celebrate it daily!
This is why our persistence, our endurance in the race with the cross is most important. It is in our failures, our less than perfect attempts, that our true heart is often exposed. And, it ain’t always pretty. Where do you run when things don’t look like you wanted them to? Do you fight harder for the world’s definition of success, or are you reminded that Jesus already accomplished everything worth succeeding in on the cross. And you get to fight your other fights with that battle already won.
I have seen where Satan attacks me most, and it is in my thoughts. Usually at about 1 AM. I experience the most warfare inside of my head. “You can’t do that. You’re worthless. You will never be ______.”
When I listen to these lies is when I back off and shy away from the dreams God has placed on my heart. That’s exactly what the enemy wants. This is why prayer and scripture is so important, a constant pursuit of Jesus. To counter the attacks of the enemy on our goals and persistence, we need truth. Real truth that is written on our hearts by a God who loves us so big. If we don’t have scripture, we start to believe the lies of the enemy to BE truth. You must know truth to believe truth.
So, here’s to 2017. Here’s to persistence in my relationship with the Lord. Here’s to persistence in the dreams he has laid on my heart. I cannot (and will not) have the second without the first. I am cheering you on in YOUR dreams you’re pursuing this year. Be persistent, don’t feel like a failure when you fall. Work hard, learn from it, and move forward.
And when you start to hear those whispers of lies, tell Satan to ‘back off, bro.’
‘Not today, Satan, not today.’
‘Just beat it.’
And then moon walk off.
Love y’all so big.