Do you ever feel that you’ve fallen so far away from a practice – whether it involves diet, exercise, good work habits or even writing – that it feels nearly impossible to get back to where you were and that it just seems like it would be easier to give up altogether?
I have done this, I realize, with this blog (and I apologize) up until now. The excuses are many…I got busy with work and life, I got sick with a bad virus and fell behind, family matters took precedence…the list goes on. But I reminded myself I was not raised to give up or quit…fortunately, my parents instilled in me a sense of fortitude. I also remembered the quote by President Calvin Cooledge: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
The bible also reminds us to persevere despite our setbacks, difficulties and challenges: “Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us…” (Romans 5:4)
I was also recently reminded of what a spirit of fortitude looks like in watching the movie “Hacksaw Ridge.” In this extraordinary true story, conscientious objector Desmond Doss saved 75 men in Okinawa, the bloodiest battle of WWII, without firing a single shot, winning the Medal of Honor for his incredible bravery. What struck me most were two comments Doss made: “What do you want from me?” he asks God after already experiencing suffering – and then he apparently “hears” the answer, which he keeps repeating, “one more,” saving one more man and another until he can no longer go on. His faith, hope and fortitude see him through.
Still, it is hard, but then again, God never promised us life would be easy; He does, however, promise us it will be rewarding if we press on. Winter is on its way in many parts of the US, a time when many of us feel like hibernating, isolating, and maybe even giving in or giving up on good habits and practices, trading them in for what’s easy and comfortable.
But as Christians, we know that we must press on to do and be our very best each and every day, to fight that feeling of malaise, weariness or apathy, and to try to help or save “one more.” I pray that despite the difficulties we face, we press on with renewed strength and perseverance to follow God’s call to be our best selves and do His will here on earth, never giving in or giving up.
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