I believe two of the most difficult disciplines in life are being patient and persistent. We want success right away. We want to achieve our goals on our timeline. Instant gratification is the strongest conviction and temptation in our culture today. Life sometimes has a different agenda. Unexpected obstacles show up in our pathway to achieving our goals or living our purpose. When this happens we are left with a choice. We either give up or patiently persist. When you read those words and examine the two choices, you might think, well that’s easy, just keep pressing on and moving towards your goal. Like many things in life though, that is easier said than done. Fighting through the discouragement that comes from seeing your vision so clearly but just not being able to grab hold of it can take its toll on your emotions, personal relationships, self-confidence and focus.
So how does one patiently persist when obstacles arise between you and your vision for success?
- Keep doing what you need to do even if you don’t feel like doing it. There comes a time when delayed gratification can lead to bitterness and a feeling that you are “victim”. Don’t buy into this lie. You are a person with a purpose and calling. Master your emotions, don’t be mastered by them.
- Seek the support of people you trust and who care for you. We are surrounded by people that love drama, gossip, and feed off people’s struggles. Avoid these people like the plague. Instead, spend time with people that encourage you, remind you of your gifts and talents, and challenge you to review your vision and adapt your strategy based on the obstacles you are facing.
- Find time to think creatively and strategically about your vision. The result you are looking for may remain the same, but how you achieve those results and start to live out your vision may require creative thinking in light of your current reality. Taking time for focused-uninterrupted thinking will provide clarity of the direction you need to be headed.
- Look for opportunities to grow and learn from the obstacles you are facing. Perhaps there is a new skill or discipline you need to learn. Is there an opportunity for you to serve in a new and unique way you did not see before? Don’t take the obstacle at its face value. Most likely there is an opportunity; you just have to discover it.
- Don’t give up – hold fast to hope. Giving up is the easiest choice. You may not understand the "why" behind the obstacles, and you may not know the reason for the delay. You can still engage those you serve and love with the talents you've been given. I personally find comfort in the ancient Hebrew book of Habakkuk where God reminds us of his sovereignty and perfect timing.
"These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" Habakkuk 2:3 (LB)
The most important things we accomplish in life take time, determination, and perseverance. Don’t be discouraged; be patient and persistent as you run the race of life.
Make it a great day!