“There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.” Author Unknown
A marathon is 26.2 miles. I had no idea how far that really was until I trained to run one. If you were to ask me how in the world I did it, the simplest answer is, one step at a time. Believe me, the hours spent in training, the sacrifices made and the pain felt are not worth the t-shirt and medal. But the satisfaction that you did it, and knowing you obeyed God, is well worth it.
Like so much of life, running a marathon requires the character trait of perseverance. I’ve always looked at perseverance as a negative, something I disliked. The other day though, God showed me that in reality, perseverance is a gift.
For over twenty years I’ve been pursuing God’s call to write. It’s not a dream to fulfill, but an issue of obedience. There have been numerous times when I’ve started and stopped; just ask my friends that have interceded. My journey with writing is much like the ups and downs of a roller coaster ride as I’ve faced fear, pressed through discouragement and refuted the enemy’s lies.
The other day the Lord was explaining to me some of the reasons behind the slowness in the fulfillment of His writing call. He explained to me He’s been working on developing the character trait of perseverance; to see how far I was willing to go to simply obey Him. His other motive had to do with my identity and in answering a prayer of mine. Several years ago when I taught a women’s Bible study, I asked Him to take me out of it if I began to steal His glory. I was well aware of how pride can sneak in unannounced and cause me to place my self-worth and value in ministry.
God began to show me that getting something published does not make me have great value. Listen in to what I heard His voice say. “You’re special to Me because you’re My daughter. It’s our relationship that makes you have great value, not anything you do. But in the past because of your struggles with shame and hooking into performance to help make you feel okay about yourself, I couldn’t allow you to be published because then your identity would be in being an author, not in Me, not simply because you’re My daughter.”
God continued to give me a game plan of writing simply out of obedience, not for any other reason. He said if I felt okay about myself “as is,” because of my relationship with Him, then I won’t feel the need to perform which always stifles creativity. He encouraged me to reflect on how far He’s taken me in the writing realm and it’s in part due to me not giving up. I keep on keeping on in my pursuit of God and His calling on my life.
Let me ask you. How far are you willing to go to obey God’s call on your life? The latter half of Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Even though I haven’t finished the race nor fulfilled His call on my life, I know one thing. It’s worth the wait. Guaranteed.
“Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.” Oswald Chambers
Relevant Reflections: 1. How are you growing in the character trait of perseverance? 2. Recall a time when you persevered and you saw it was well worth the wait. 3. In what or in whom have you placed your identity? 3. Remember, in order to finish a long race, it takes just one step at a time.