Saturday, January 5, 2019

My Word for 2019: ENDURE

Now that we've entered a new year, I have been contemplating what my word and verse should be. Several different words have come to mind...marathon, fortitude, patience, persevere, resolve, resignation, forbearance.... but the one word I finally chose was endure. Two verses are the sources for what I base my word on: 

 "...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,," ~ Hebrews 12:2 

"being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great ENDURANCE and patience", ~ Colossians 1:11

In my youth, I excelled in sports that required being fast...and sprinting. In track, I ran the 400 meter dash. In softball, I ran the bases faster than any of my teammates. I've also been one to be more interested in getting things done over doing them slowly and more precisely. I've always hated anything that required long, drawn-out activities. I get tired, impatient, and bored easily.  

Of course, God has a way of strengthening us in our weaknesses by allowing us to endure through different experiences. And I definitely have experienced having to "endure" waiting for many things in my life. Recently, I went on a weight loss journey, and was determined to lose 50 lbs in 6 months. Of course, that journey has taken much longer and, even though I have lost 35 lbs, I'm still working on  the last 15 a year later. I think this journey will continue through the rest of my life. I have also struggled with the disappointment of not meeting my goals on my schedule. I've  struggled with waiting for God's timing for me to be able to travel with my hubby, following his retirement. But most difficult for me has been waiting for the Lord to open my son's heart and invite Him into his life. So, needless to say having "endurance" is what I feel God is trying to teach me about every day!

When I think of endurance and what it means:
Endurance is the power to withstand something challenging. If you decide to run a marathon, you will need lots of endurance to run many miles.(source)

Endurance involves our mind and heart, or the way we react to hardships. A person who endures manifests courage, steadfastness, and patience. Endurance is “the spirit which can bear things, not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope and keeps a man on his feet with his face to the wind. It is the virtue which can transmute the hardest trial into glory  Endurance  can also be used when discussing an exhausting mental situation or stressful time — the endurance to bounce back! (Source)

I know most all of us have felt like giving up at one time or another. I've prayed many prayers over the years. I've waited patiently for God to answer those prayers. Some, He has answered. Most of them, though, I'm still waiting for His answer. Even though it's not been easy(and many times I've wanted to give up). The strength to patiently endure only comes through the power of the Holy Spirit in us!  It is only through Him that I could have endured over the years in many areas of my life. 
caregiving for my mom for 3 years
waiting to travel in our RV
Waiting for the bond of a shared faith with our son.
“The Christian life is not a 100-meter dash but a marathon. Those who lack patience, endurance and discipline will drop out of the race.” 
–Randy Alcorn, 90 Days of God’s Goodness
Endurance builds character and integrity in us. Scripture speaks of this process of character development: 
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). 
"The life of endurance requires us doing many hard things and often suffering. But these hard things are the very ones that bring purpose, joy, and satisfaction to our lives." (Source)

I've learned that when you hope for something, it seldom occurs as you expect. I must not let my level of satisfaction and accomplishing my goals depend on people who may or may not have direct impact on what I do or how I do it. Often I find myself either feeling disappointed or stressed that something hasn't happened yet or that others who have made promises to me haven't followed through with them.  But, I'm learning that I cannot let other people make choices about my life. 
“Don’t let the expectations and opinions of other people affect your decisions. It’s your life, not theirs. Do what matters most to you; do what makes you feel alive and happy. Don’t let the expectations and ideas of others limit who you are. If you let others tell you who you are, you are living their reality — not yours. There is more to life than pleasing people. There is much more to life than following others’ prescribed path. There is so much more to life than what you experience right now. You need to decide who you are for yourself. Become a whole being. Adventure.” ― Roy T. Bennett

When I start to feel unsure of myself, aimless, or can’t find anything  that makes me lose myself, I have to remember that I need to always turn to Jesus who is the "Author and Finisher of my faith". I should not depend on anyone else, but only God, to come through for me. 

This isn't easy to do. When we make a decision that goes against what others expect of us, we usually will be choosing an uncomfortable and even painful journey. Sometimes, the burden will be so enormous that we will have three options every step of the way: give up, give in, or give it all we’ve got. I hope I will be able to choose the latter. 
Becoming a more resolute person will require me to dig deep and find the will to overcome any obstacles in my path. I cannot change outside circumstances, so I must change my response to the events. Going against the current is tough. When you start doing something different, you’re pointing out where other people are going wrong — so they may get angry and defend why they do what they do.
I know that all I can do is continue to be hopeful and persistent that He will answer in His timing. As I continue to wait, I also must resolve myself to accept this moment and to appreciate that my present circumstances are just as important my future experiences. I need to appreciate and be thankful for all He has done, in spite of what I have to endure. Ways that may help me through this would be to write down my goals everyday, focus on the task I wish to accomplish, and maintain my resolve even when times get hard. If I see something in my life isn’t working, I must be willing to change it up and be flexible, or be willing to embrace my conditions, and to be kind to myself and know that building resolve is a work in progress. 
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

What is meant to be invites me to let go of the mental struggle that opposes the natural flow of life's events. Life proceeds, regardless of your resistance to it.
"The Christian life is not a sprint ... it is a marathon. Training for one is far different from the rigors of preparing for the other." 

“Jesus has called you to run a race. It’s a faith race. It’s long-distance and multi-terrain.”

Other encouraging verses to help us to endure in our lives: 
  • "But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” (2 Chronicles 15:7)
  • So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Cor. 9:26-27)
  • forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13)
  • “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:36)
  • “Let endurance complete its work, so that you may be complete and sound in all respects, not lacking in anything.”​ (James 1:4)
  • "Don’t waver in resolve. Don’t fear. Don’t hesitate. Don’t panic. God, your God, is right there with you.” (Deuteronomy 20:3)
  • "Strengthen your resolve and do what must be done." (2 Samuel 2:7a)