Updated: Dec 7, 2018
I used to think of perseverance as a mostly inspirational word – like one of those posters that hangs on the wall of many a high school classroom with a picture of someone standing jubilantly on a mountaintop, the rising sun in front of them and the grand mountain range all around, or maybe a marathon runner bursting through the winner’s tape, arms in the air, an expression of pride and relief on his exhausted face.
I’d read Scripture verses like Romans 5:3-4 (“…suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”) and think of Christians being beaten and martyred for their faith, refusing to renounce the name of Jesus in the midst of intense suffering.
That’s perseverance, right? Crazy odds, brutal circumstances, incredible character and strength.
But what about our normal day-to-day? Does perseverance apply in the mundane and ordinary?
My little family recently finished a four week-long stomach bug that cycled through our children over and over, bringing long nights of sleep loss and long days of cleaning puke out of bed sheets and carpets. Somewhere in there, the word perseverance came to mind – a quiet, gentle whisper from God in the midst of another frustrating, exhausting day – and I began to realize something. Perseverance is a quality that we practice daily. It applies to our now, and we can grow in it. We can learn to persevere better. Suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance deepens our character. Now, I’m not at all trying to compare an annoying stomach bug to the deep, heart-breaking sufferings that so many endure. What I’m saying though, is that even the small things, the unseen things, the monotonous things, the day-to-day trials of marriage, motherhood, jobs, family, household…all of these things are an opportunity to practice perseverance.
The baby cries for the fourth time that night, and you wearily climb out of bed to hold, comfort and feed her.
Despite countless explanations and consequences, your toddler still thinks it’s a good idea to throw food across the kitchen when he’s upset.
A misunderstanding with your husband leaves you with negative feelings and a sullen attitude.
You persevere toward communication, forgiveness and wholeness in your marriage.
Two little whining voices threaten every last ounce of patience you contain.
Your manager at work irks you at every turn.
You persevere in Jesus-like love and good workmanship.
You climb in bed feeling like you’ve done everything wrong that day.
Tomorrow is a new day. You persevere.
We persevere. We continue on. We try again, despite the challenges, failures, and resistance in the way. And as we persevere, our character deepens. We learn of strength, we learn of hope, we learn of love, we learn of God Almighty.
So press on, precious ones! Even in the times when no one else sees the inner struggle of your daily difficulties, what you do matters. Know that you are seen, you are valued, and you are loved.
Perseverance: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition (Merriam-Webster)
To remind myself of practicing perseverance throughout the day, I made this bracelet:
It has the Greek word for perseverance (as seen in Romans 5) burned into wood, and the adjustable strap is leather. I made some extras in case any of you would like one for yourself or someone you know! Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or just fill out the contact form here if you want one; I'm asking $10, which includes shipping. Each one is etched, burned and put together by hand. Quantity is limited, so let me know soon if you want me to send any your way. :)