Encourage me today about: Perseverance

I’m once again in a challenging part of the year concerning weather. I can’t think of a lot of places that don’t have them, but some places are more extreme than others. It’s so hot here that I equate it to the other extreme of being snowed in, except that it is a lot easier and safer to drive around town. Add that to being in town a little more than usual this summer, and I am having a hard time getting through this particular season this year.

Yet, in the winter, I love it here. I brag on the mild winters and enjoy the sunny days in December, I go swimming around New Year’s Day. My “heavy” jacket is laughable for most people – I’ve worn it in Washington in the summer, with the optional warmer liner zipped in, because it is relatively so cold there.

Come winter, though, I’ve forgotten how hard it was to get through certain days of the summer. And in summer, it’s hard to imagine cold days and long sleeves and having to turn the heater on. I spend summer frustrated, a little dehydrated, and focused on how I’m feeling right now.

Persevering through the harder parts of the year gets me through to the easier parts of the year. The seasons do come and go. And for the most part, so do our problems. For those type of problems, I want to look at what I’ve learned from getting through decades of extreme summers and how it can apply to persevering through problems in life, drawing on our power in Christ.

In dealing with frustration over extreme heat or other temporary circumstances, I’ve got to ask myself: do I have control over any part of this? What can I do to make my situation different? Am I assuming that aren’t true? The truth is, I probably could find ways to stay cooler, more distracted, and happier. I could probably even find a way out of town for a few days! But if I just wallow in the heat and complain, it isn’t going to help anything. We can approach our problems the same way and take steps to change what we can and not worry about the rest.

I don’t like drinking the amount of water that I should be drinking, so I get dehydrated, depleted of a necessary ingredient for life. I know the problems that this can cause but I still don’t like it. Why don’t I do what I know will make me feel better? We live by the flesh so often.  In the same way, why don’t we do the practices that we know will give us power? Read the Bible. Go to church. Read a book by a solidly Biblical author. Pray by ourselves and with others. Some of these are easier than others. Pick the one that is easiest for you and add the others as you can. Romans 7:18 says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.” God can give you the power to do the good things that will keep you spiritually healthy.

In situations where we need to persevere, it helps so much to have a better attitude and not focus so much on feelings of the moment. I did not grow up here in the heat, and was very concerned about fitting in once I moved here. One thing I learned is that locals do not like it when an “outsider” complains about the heat. You can mention it once, in passing, but you don’t keep harping on it. Locals are, in general, strategic about the heat, trying to get outside activities done early in the morning or later in the evening. Some activities shut down for the summer and others take their place. With our problems, we can also be strategic, minimizing their impact when possible. We too can learn to mention things but not dwell on them all the time, every time. We can learn to rejoice through these situations. Philippians 4:4 encourages us to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”. We always have a reason to rejoice because God is with us.

Of course, there are big, big problems that don’t fit these steps so neatly. But at least some of our trials are just a matter of endurance through a season of life. Persevere through the season you are in through the power of Christ!

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