Perseverance is having a steadfastness in doing something despite any difficulty or delay that may come about while trying to achieve a goal. Even when faced with challenges research suggests that strong leaders do not let adversity defeat them. Empowered leaders have the determination and faith to rise to the occasion again and again. Having a solid belief in their goals and dreams are what make true leaders stand out from the crowd. Worthy leaders persist in the face of adversity. Many leaders are able to positively inspire and influence others as they have the faith to believe in the unseen.
The famous basketball player Michael Jordan is an example of a powerful leader. He has stated that he has missed more than 9,000 shots in his career, he has lost almost 300 games and on 26 occasions he was entrusted to take the game winning shot… and he missed. Michael said that he has failed over and over again in his life, but that is precisely why he succeeds. Michael Jordan never gave up! He knew the true meaning of perseverance and being faithful to his goals and dreams. What are you facing today that has caused you to stop persevering and to give up?
As I was sitting on a lawn chair at the cottage watching my daughter and her grandfather trying to catch a fish, I began to reflect on leaders who demonstrate perseverance. This scene of my daughter and her grandfather reminded me of an image of what sheer determination looks like when faced with adversity. Sara and papa were enjoying the fresh air, water, and each other’s company, hoping and believing that one or both of them would catch a fish.
With the hot summer sun beating down upon them, they remained steadfast for several hours, having faith in the unseen, hoping that they would eventually catch a fish. The clock kept ticking. Finally a shriek echoed across the lake as Sara yelled, “I have a fish on the line”! Her bent fishing rod confirmed this fact. As Sara and her grandfather giggled with excitement, Sara was able to reel the fish up to the side of the boat. Her grandfather scooped the fish out of the water with a net.
Now they were both screaming with joy as they exclaimed their feat! I could definitely hear and see all of the commotion from where I was sitting on shore. I started cheering them on! Finally the hours of patience, perseverance and hope had paid off! They were positively reinforced with the satisfaction of catching a fish! Their faith in believing in the unseen eventually came to fruition.
I wondered what would have happened if they had not caught a fish that day? Would have they persevered the next day continuing on with the same faith in the unseen by believing that they would eventually catch a fish? Or would have they given up all together in despair, not having the faith to believe in the unknown? I began to reflect on the times that I have given up on a dream and not persevered because I was not seeing the results fast enough. How many times have you given up on a dream before it has become reality? Have you become discouraged, given up hope, become impatient due to disbelief and lack of faith?
We live in a world of many instants; instant coffee, instant communication and instant on-line shopping. Many things now in life are so quickly accessible that we no longer have to wait patiently. If we are hungry we can grab some food at a drive through. If we need to communicate with someone half way around the world we can instantly e-mail, text, fax, skype or phone them. Our lives are built around instant gratification. I believe to our detriment, as we are not learning the art of patience and perseverance.
As a result of living in this world of instants, we do not need to keep persevering as instead we can give up and move on to something else. Why?…because we can! In our current society most of our human needs and wants can be met fairly quickly, and if they are not, we can change our course or direction and replace our needs with the next best thing. We can all too easily fall into the habit of accepting the next best thing. By accepting the next best thing we are not accepting the best or we are possibly letting a dream and vision die, something that we are destined to fulfill. We are compromising.
How many of us have missed out on a blessing or blessings because we have given up too soon and we have not persevered with our God given visions and dreams? We have succumbed to instant gratification and fear instead of placing our faith in the long-term goals and dreams that have been given to us by God. We need to develop a faith that believes in the things that are unseen. Many of us may not be walking by faith and instead we are relying on our sight and logic to direct us. We need to believe that we will be more than conquers. We need to believe that we will prosper and flourish because that is what God has destined for us.
As the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3:13-14,”I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (NIV). Paul pressed onwards towards the goal. He knew that the ultimate prize was living eternally in heaven with his Father. Therefore nothing could deter him from venturing off course. Paul knew that faith and perseverance would see him to the finish line. We all need to embrace this heavenward view of our circumstances. If we do, faith, hope and perseverance will become an automatic process that will eventually turn into a habit.
Questions to reflect upon
- What are you facing today that has caused you to stop pursuing and to give up?
- How can you believe and have the faith, hope and perseverance in the unseen as the Apostle Paul had?
Rekindle the dreams and visions God has given to you. These are your destiny. These God-given dreams will forever alter your life!
Prayer to reflect upon
God help us to continue to Just Say It! with praise and thanksgiving through the generations, as we continually persevere with our calling here on earth. Help us to not give up too soon! Help us to live and walk by faith declaring hope in all things that you have given to us, which includes our dreams.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father Which Art in Heaven
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Will Be Done
On Earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this Day our Daily Bread
And Forgive Us our Trespasses
As We Forgive Those who Trespass Against Us
Lead Us Not Into Temptation
But Deliver Us From Evil
For Thine is the Kingdom
And the Power and the Glory
Forever and Forever
(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)