How to Persevere in Life

Every once in a while we have those brave moments when we openly share our struggles with others because we are so very desperate to overcome.

I shared previously about my fat girl insecurities, and then again earlier this year about setting some personal goals for myself, especially learning how to persevere in this weight loss journey (this isn’t a post just about weight loss, so hang in there).

Yesterday I stepped on the scale for a weight check, hopeful yet worried. I haven’t been able to work out consistently for the last few weeks because a summer cold flared up my asthma. So, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

After taking a deep breath, I looked down to see The Number.

And promptly burst into tears.

How to Persevere in Life, overcoming, weight loss journey, facing discouragement, persevere in spite of obstacles, how to persevere in weight loss, how to be an overcomer

It’s not quite what you might be imagining because these were happy tears, thankful tears.  Tears that meant I really could persevere at this weight loss journey in spite of frequent obstacles.

The Number was the one I had been waiting on, the one that put me under a major weight-loss marker, the one that more than solidified my twenty-plus pound loss thus far.

Seeing that number provided positive proof that the lies I used to believe were just that – lies meant to keep me enslaved.

So when I saw the Number my heart just filled up to overflowing with gratitude. I was grateful for a God who never gives up on me, one who continues to work in my life to free me from myself and my own sin.

See, it’s really not just about the weight for me. It’s about knowing my Father is looking out for me, helping me along the way.  It’s about believing that I can persevere because He’ll help me!

I can lose weight.

I can choose to eat healthy foods.

I can live a healthy lifestyle.

I can get back on track over and over again, after obstacles get in my way.

I can do all of this and more, not by own might, but by the strength that comes from abiding in my Father God.

I can persevere.

How to Persevere in Life

Yes, remember that word from earlier this year that I didn’t really want?  Well, the Father is showing me in a multitude of ways that I can persevere despite incredible difficulty. I know how to persevere because of the power of Christ in me.

Even more, I can persevere because of His faithfulness.

The best part is that all of those things are true for you, too, my sisters in Christ.  If you have that personal relationship with Christ, then you have the power of Christ in you to finish your race well.

Recent world events might have you fearing for the future.

Life circumstances may be weighing you down.

A loved one may have betrayed you in the worst possible way.

Your family may be struggling just to survive.

But it doesn’t have to remain that way, friends.

We are capable of living victoriously even in the darkest of times because of the great Hope we have in an All-powerful God.  

It’s a Hope that never fails, a Hope that remains steadfast and true.

A Hope that tells us we are not alone.

We can learn how to persevere by saying “I can because He did.”

How Persevering Leads to Overcoming

Earlier this year, I wanted a word that sounded a little less like hard work and a little more like a mountaintop experience. To me the word persevere meant “get ready because more trials are coming down the line!”  But to my Lord and Savior it meant, “get ready to see the work I’m doing in you and wait hopefully for victory!”

I failed to realize then how close the connection is between persevering and living the victorious life because truly, one leads to the other!  When we learn how to persevere, we are learning to live in victory, to claim our very own Promised Land right here on Earth.

When we persevere, we develop the character we need to be the overcomer God meant us to be from the very beginning!

When God asks us to persevere in a life situation, it can sometimes feel like we're being sentenced to suffer.  However, according to scripture, persevering has some pretty fantastic benefits!  persevere in life, persevere in hard times, bible verses about persevering, persevering in faith, christian persevering

Listen to what the Scripture has to say about persevering, friends!

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”                              Rom. 5:3-5 (NASB)

Are you low-down and desperate for real hope today, friends? Are you stuck on a plateau, believing the lie that you’ll never find your way forward?  Have you wasted so many years that changing now seems downright impossible?

Read it again. “[H]ope does not disappoint.”  Hope is never wasted, no matter what the enemy tells you.

Lift your head and see the Hope before you.

Persevere and watch His mighty hand at work!

Jen :)

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Sharing with: Make Your Home Sing Mondays, Tell it To Me TuesdaysTell His Story, A Little R and R,  WholeHearted WednesdayGrace and Truth, Faith Filled Friday, Saturday Soiree and Social Media Share

 

Walking Through the Pain

I’ve been walking through some significant pain this week – the kind of pain that just makes you want to up and quit altogether!  My legs ache with extra fluid, keeping me awake at night.

The pain started when I tried to push a little too hard with my workout routine.

Instead of my typical brisk walking, I thought I would jog in intervals, just for a few minutes at a time. I want to reach that goal-line so badly on this weight-loss journey, and picking up the pace seemed like a good idea at the time.

Even though my knees didn’t hurt at all while I was walk/jogging, the pain the next day made me unable to even walk up steps with my left knee at all.  Ever since, I’ve been walking through the pain but the injury has certainly slowed me down. Now I have to walk longer just to reach my Fitbit step goal, let alone get in extra mileage.

I’m fighting weight-loss discouragement.

I thought I was strong enough, but I became impatient and pushed a little too hard to reach my goals.

I ran ahead in the journey, so to speak.

Walking Through Pain 1, walking-through-pain-in-life, trials, discouragement, persevering, weight-loss journey

We often walk through pain in life, not just physical pain, but emotional and spiritual pain, also. In fact, the Word tells us to expect it!

 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you..” 1 Peter 4:12

Yes, that’s often how it feels at first, isn’t it – a strange thing? We’re walking down the path of life and suddenly an insurmountable obstacle stands in our way!

And because we dislike pain, we try to rush the process in order to escape the difficulty. We want a quick fix! Amen? :)

Or perhaps in our attempt to rush, we start pretending that there is no pain – there is no problem. We deny the truth of where we stand in our journey because we so desperately want to be further along in the process. We don’t want to keep persevering. Instead, we want to be able to say, “I have overcome!”

So we buy into the lie.

We hide our heads in the sand; we put on our rose colored glasses and call sin and self-reliance “okay.” We convince ourselves that we’re okay, they’re okay, it’s okay – whatever the situation might be.

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But often the fix isn’t quick. Often the lesson drags out and pain is prolonged.

Sometimes the best way forward is to take a step back, to slow down long enough to build some real spiritual muscle.

When we deceive ourselves into believing we are further ahead than we really are in our current trial, we step into dangerous territory. We open ourselves to injury or to trickery on behalf of the Enemy. The best way for him to ensnare us is to convince us that the way ahead is clear, is it not? To keep us from crying out to our Father for rescue?

The trick is not to be defeated by the pain, but to persevere in spite of it. Not to be deceived by sin nature nor the Enemy, but to humble ourselves before the Lord and allow Him to lift us up in the proper time.

“…but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” 1 Peter 4:13

We must slow down enough to build the muscle, but not enough to the point of quitting altogether.

We must be truthful about where we are at, so that we can look to our Savior for the grace and strength to get where we want to be. Wait for the Lord to signal “full steam ahead!”

We may not get “there” as quickly as we’d like to. We may take two steps forward and one back, but we will reach our destination eventually as long as we stay focused on the Sustainer of Life!

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

My sisters in Christ, let’s be content with the pace the Father sets for us. Let’s not rush ahead of the lesson. Let’s not grow weary in doing good nor grow discouraged by setbacks. Instead, let’s persevere in this journey.

Run that race.

Walk that race.

Whatever your pace may be,

Keep pressing on!

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, A Look at the Book

The Relief of the Fitbit Buzz

Relief – a de-burdening of sorts. A happiness that follows difficulty or worry.

I know it sounds silly, but this weight loss journey has been no easy thing thus far. The bad thing about that is it makes me want to give up – yes, already I want to give up some days.  The good thing about wanting to give up and knowing that I cannot, I just cannot, is that it draws me nearer to the Lord.

It’s no small thing that His word for me this year is persevere. Because lately every single day when it’s time to go for a walk, I have to push through this mental block.

I just don’t want to go for a walk today. My knees hurt, so I should rest. I don’t feel like it because I’m so tired. Maybe I can skip today and just work harder tomorrow. 

The thing is, I know that if I make excuses for one too many days, I’ll have fallen off of the healthy wagon again. And I can’t fall off again, at least not for good. This is the year, friends, that I persevere, that I rely on the Lord and His power to carry me through, no. matter. what.

There is no giving up this time around. 

And on most days when I’m walking harder and longer not because I want to, but because I need to, I’m just waiting. I’m waiting for my Fitbit (read “really cool pedometer”) to buzz.
I’m waiting for that sweet relief that says I’ve made it. I met my step goal for the day. I persevered through those 2 miles or 3 miles, or whatever mileage it takes to get me to that point.

It’s a relief.

And even though it seems silly, it means something to me!

I’m ten pounds in now, with a long, long way to go. But I’m learning more and more that He’s with me each step of the way. He provides the strength. He provides the nudge to get up and move. He provides the encouragement. He provides the will to persevere.

Relief of the Fitbit Buzz, follow me, persevere, weight-loss journey

And I just follow. It’s what we were born to do, really.

For His glory!

Jen :)

I’m joining my Five Minute Friday friends again this week (albeit a day late!). We gather at Kate’s place and free-write for five minutes with no planning, no over-thinking, no editing – just words. Come join us if you like!

Also sharing with: Grace and Truth

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My Fat Girl Insecurities

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me.

He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,”  the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.

I always was a strong girl, a tom-boy with a hearty appetite, a girl who loved sports and climbing trees and running races.

My feminine side appeared on occasion, though, and like every other girl, I wanted to be pretty, to be liked.  I never saw my body as much of a hindrance to those desires until that day, the day he called me fat in front of the whole lunch table.

I acted like I didn’t care about the word, but my eyes burned and so did my face.

I stuffed the word way deep down inside of my junior high self and tried so hard not to hear it anymore.

Not long after that, I remember surpassing my own mother’s weight on our bathroom scales and shame nearly smothered me.  How could I, at thirteen years old, weigh more than my mom?  It didn’t seem fair, somehow.

For much of my life, I struggled with my fat girl insecurities. I learned early on that I would never be the skinny girl.  But I'm learning that I'm not the sum of my insecurities, that my worth comes from Christ alone!

 

During my high school years, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn’t built to be tiny.

I would never be a size 2-4-6 girl.  My healthy hangout would be the 10-12-14 range.

But my legs were built thick and strong for soccer, volleyball, softball, and basketball, so I called a sort of truce with myself.  I ignored the word within me and began to find things I actually liked about my body.

I liked my blue eyes and  long, dark hair.  I liked my smile. I even began to like some of my curves.  I liked my brain (it’s a good one!) and my athletic abilities.

So the word remained hidden for the most part, only whispering to the surface when my friends were all asked to attend banquet (missionary kid date night) and I sat at home by myself or when we tried on clothes at the second-hand shops in town, shops filled with clothes from China and other countries where my size seemed non-existent.

Nevertheless, by junior year, I was growing in the confidence that comes from Christ alone and the word bothered me less and less. I thought I had won the battle, defeated the Enemy.

When I met my husband a few years later, I never felt more beautiful.  Even though I couldn’t call myself thin, I knew I was healthy, and I was alive in Christ.  He was tall, dark, and handsome, and he loved the Lord and he loved me.

And then I conceived our firstborn not long after our summer wedding and I found myself alone in our country home. My parents and siblings had returned to the mission field, and my husband kept busy with classes and work and ministry.

I grew depressed.

I used my pregnancy as justification for eating anything and everything I wanted.  

Instead of filling myself with Christ, I filled myself with food.

I had already gained about 20 lbs. before our wedding because like any girl in love, I spent all of my free time with my soon-to-be husband, not realizing I was failing to take care of my body.  By the time our sweet son was born, I had gained about 80-100 lbs. (give or take) in a little more than a year.

I can’t really be certain because at some point, I quit weighing myself.

I just gave up.

For much of my life, I struggled with my fat girl insecurities. I learned early on that I would never be the skinny girl.  But I'm learning that I'm not the sum of my insecurities, that my worth comes from Christ alone!

Then, one year our church offered a First Place for Christ class, focusing on putting Christ first in all areas but especially in the areas of nutrition and wellness.  It was just what I needed.

The idea that my body had been purchased at a price convicted me.

I knew I needed to quit filling my God-sized hole with food.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,

who is in you,whom you have received from God?

You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Since then, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of healthy eating and exercise… and fallen right off again. And back on, and then off, and back on, and so forth.  Healthy living will probably be a lifelong struggle for me, my personal thorn in the flesh. It’s been a lesson in perservering, overcoming obstacles. :)

In the meantime, I’ve birthed three more children, including a set of twins, my body changing with each pregnancy.  My weight and health are still a work-in-progress, and I’m okay with that.

The word still haunts me on occasion, it does.  It sneaks up on me when I walk at the gym or play soccer with my kids.  Occasionally, I hear it faintly in my ear when I look in the mirror, tempting me to give up, quit fighting, resign myself to the word.

Fat.

But I recognize the Enemy for who he is and even more, I know the power of Christ within me.

I know the Father promises to never give up on me, but to complete the work He started (Phil. 1:6).  I know that man considers the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. I trust in my new creation status.  I believe His Word when He calls me “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He says the same thing about you, too, my sisters in Christ!

We are not the sum of our insecurities, for we were created for more than this!

We’ve talked before about how insecurities keep us fearful, and that’s just how the Enemy wants us to feel – alone, afraid, unworthy.  My sisters, our God is greater than he who is in the world.  He is greater than our deepest shame and insecurities.  Our God loves us, pursues us, redeems us, and calls us His beloved.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

Nothing can separate us from His love, not even our layers of fat. :)

We are daughters of the One True King, and the value He has placed on our lives is the blood, the life force, of His one and only Son.

Let us then live as children of the Light!

Jen :)

Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions

The Loft is open, come on up!

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
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UPDATE: The Loft is now hosted by Leah Adams.

Now it’s time to link up!

This Week’s Topic: “Greatest Insecurity” (We are going vulnerable here, asking you to share your greatest insecurity. How do you recognize it when it creeps up? What does insecurity sound like to you? What do you do to silence it? Any scriptures that help you fight it?)


Next Week’s Topic: “Something Funny” (Laughter is good medicine and after this week’s topic, we all need a belly laugh. Or as one co-host put it, we need to spit in our coffee. Tell us a funny story, share a funny quote, post a funny picture or video, crack a funny joke. Just be careful with that coffee because this is going to be good :) )

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Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions, Jennifer Dukes Lee, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Wholehearted Home, Teaching What is Good, Sew Crafty AngelMessy Marriage, Missional Women, My Freshly Brewed LifeBeauty Through ImperfectionsRich Faith Rising, Beautiful Ashes, Grace & Truth Christian Living