(If you haven’t read about our Family Attitudes, you’ll want to check that out first).
This is a big word for our family.
Initially, it was an easy word for us to relate to because Brandon and I run marathons. Persevere!” “Let us throw off the things that hinder us and run the race set before us…” Typical, “Christianese”, runner mantras.
But truth be told, coming from this perspective, my picture of persevering was quite contorted. It was driven through my ability, my passion, my desire and it was all singular. I would persevere, on my own, and no one needed to help me.
Perseverance, though, isn’t about gritting your teeth till you make it through. Nor is it bulldozing everyone and everything in your way. It’s not about if you have willed enough to conquer, or if you are strong enough to fight. It’s something much different.
Think about when kids learn how to ride a bike. I’m not sure about your kids, but mine wanted to quit pretty quickly. It was scary, they weren’t sure they will make it on their own. As parents, our response wasn’t: Come on! Get on your bike! You can do it!
No, because that was not how they were going to learn to ride a bike. Our response was us running with them, holding onto their bike until they have stabilized and then letting them fly.
Perseverance is about knowing who is running with you.
This is why I love Psalms 23. David, who lived a life full of trials, obstacles, and plenty of uncertainty – knew who was running with him. He writes, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
He knew God was with him, leading and guiding him.
He knew God placed relationships in his life, to restore and encourage him despite his circumstances.
And He knew he could trust God even though life itself seemed to be falling apart.
Perseverance is about knowing who is running with you.
My brother passed away 5 years ago. Being that he was an avid runner and triathlete, it was very natural for one of our pastors to challenge my family to persevere. To run together, to keep going, keep fighting. He also gave us a finishers medal, with my brother’s name on it, as a reminder of our challenge.
It was if my pastor had read Psalms 23 beforehand.
I quickly learned grief and heartache weren’t meant to be carried alone. My heart was literally bursting and my emotions were spilling into every aspect and every relationship of my life. I was a mess and rightly so.
When the shadows of life were almost unbearable, God reminded me He gave me family and friends to run with me. One friend literally came over to my house once a week, to sit and talk with me – so I wouldn’t be alone. I didn’t ask for her to come, I’m sure it wasn’t always convenient, but her presence helped me persevere through one of the most trying seasons of my life.
Whether it is through challenging circumstances, new experiences or trying seasons of growth, we realize that God has given us a family to “run” with. We want our kids to know how to run. We want our kids to know someone is running with them.
So here are three ways we have keep perseverance as a leading attitude in our family:
Songs have a powerful ability to imbed words into our hearts and souls that otherwise would not stick.
Songs have a powerful ability to imbed words into our hearts and souls that otherwise would not stick. That is why we often use songs as a teaching tool in our homes, and you’ll see how with each attitude, we have chosen certain songs that help communicate those values. Typically, we sing these different songs at bedtime. Yes, they include motions, and yes, our kids get to create the motions, which means they don’t always make sense. But at least they are sticking in their hearts.
For perseverance, we sing the classic chorus, God will Make a Way. Many times, after reading a Bible story about someone who persevered in faith, this song is a great way to bring it back around to our kids and emphasize how we can trust God is with us and will make a way for us as we persevere.
2. “Yes, this is hard, and we do hard things.”
We all have to face challenges. We all have difficult relationships in our life. Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s not worth the fight. We can’t let fear drive us. The fear of failure, the fear of not being good enough or not being good at anything- they are all real fears. Perseverance speaks to those fears, and says, I’m not running alone.
In our family, we say, ‘yes this is hard, and we do hard things’ because we want each other to know we see you and we are with you. We choose the word and strategically because it partners with the emotion not minimize it. More on that in a future post.
3. Modeling Perseverance Intentionally
Recently, we talked around the dinner table about a race I was about to run. Everyone got to ask me questions about running, and one of them was why do I run… Running for me is a time I can pray and listen to God’s voice. It’s a chance for me to pray for people I am holding in my heart and I have had some incredible prayer times while running. It is a literal reminder, that I am running with them, praying and persevering.
Running a race created the space for me to share these things with our kids. And then the next day, Brandon had the kids there on the sidelines, cheering me on and celebrating at the finish. They were persevering with me.We are intentional about the activities and experiences we include in our life so that we can teach our kids these values.
We will all face something we aren’t strong enough to carry on our own. Our kids will too. Perseverance is an attitude that positions us to respond differently. And if our response to ‘hard things’ is conditioned to perseverance, we are positioned to see God’s faithfulness and hope in a new way.
So, I simply ask, do you need to add perseverance to your attitude?
Do you need to know someone is running with you?
Is there someone you need to run with?
It’s never too late to start something new.
Make every effort to add to your faith …perseverance
2 Peter 1:5-7