Recently my Facebook memories have been from a season of perseverance 10 years ago, when I was laid off in January 2009 and spent most of that year without a full time job. I often tell people my Facebook posts are mostly for my own memories sake, the goings on of life I want to remember. It isn’t about how many people like or comment to me. Of course, I’m human and love when people relate, comment or like a picture or post. But, most often I look back at memories and can smile at the stories pictures tell, the people who were a part of them and where I’ve come from the hard days.
Today, I sat in a professional development for teaching strategies and the word “grit” was used as a vocabulary teaching example. We shared what “grit” meant to us, how we would define it. Maybe you can relate to a few things shared; potty-training a child, first year as a _______, any relationship, never giving up, and my personal definition was “getting back on the horse“. I’ve applied perseverance to many occasions because of that lesson when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I don’t know what perseverance means to you, but I would imagine something comes to mind from your own story.
As I was writing “perseverance” in my notes today, because I was following the rules and doing what the teacher said, I had to think again how to spell perseverance. If you think about the way we say this word, there seems to be an extra “r” in the spelling; per-ser-ver-ance, instead it is per-se-ver-ance. Severance. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed “severance” is a part of perseverance. It’s stuck with me all day. Side-note, if I have a memory trick like this, I will not forget how to spell a word. So, per-severance is etched in my mind.
“Severance”. It’s very personal to me. If you’ve never been told “we’re eliminating your position and you get __ weeks or months of severance pay” you might not feel this word as deeply. But, maybe something else in your life outside of a job has been severed. And, you’ve had to persevere through that situation.
“Sever”. Something is lost, gone, taken away, or ended. This happens in so many ways throughout our lives. Sometimes it is for our best interest. Ten years later, I would have never guessed where I would be in 2019 based on 2009. There were so many things I held tightly to that year, while so many other things were severed. However, in 2009, I was in the trenches, and nothing seemed to be in my best interest, it all seemed hard, I couldn’t understand what the lesson was in constantly being told to wait. Days, weeks and months were ticking by. Opportunity after opportunity ultimately severed, even though I was their “choice candidate”.
But, perseverance. Every day. And, there have been plenty of lessons I’ve continued to learn through people, circumstances and opportunities being severed in years since then. Believe it or not, severance was again given to me in 2012. There are multiple people in my life right now in deep pursuits of perseverance for a multitude of severance reasons. And, I’m still constantly persevering: in my faith, in prayer, in a relationship, in friendships, in places where I serve and volunteer, in the first year of a job, in grief, and plenty of other things. Grit. Courage. Passion. The things that drive us when everything else around us says “quit”.
Today was a new connection to me of perseverance. For the many things that have been severed in my life, both in and out of my control, and the value of persevering through the severance. No matter how that looks.
If you find yourself in a season of what feels like severance, I hope you’ll be encouraged to persevere. You might feel that you’ve been stretched to the max, you can’t see how the situation could improve. Things will come back together. They may not look like we thought they would, but it will come back together. God does not leave us to walk through these season alone. He gives us scriptures of truth to combat lies, he gives us the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us, we have constant open communication through prayer, and I hope people to walk alongside you and encourage you.
Here are a few truths that I recall in seasons of perseverance:
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Matthew 11:28-30
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5: 1-5
“Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18 (read this entire chapter)
“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer ought to be the first to get a share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” 2 Timothy 2: 3-7
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning; a patient spirit is better than a proud spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8
Ask for help.
Stay with it.
Severed will be restored.
Perseverance is worth it.