Endurance - Do You Hang On because of Fear or Trust?
Updated: Feb 26
Last year, I had a tough time dealing with some tasks I really wasn't sure I could accomplish. I should say, these tasks were also something absolutely essential. I'm normally super confident in my ability to learn whatever needs to be learned, but nearly six months of searching for someone to even teach me what I needed to know had me increasingly stressed.
I wasn't handling my feelings well and decided to speak with a counselor.
Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash
In our second session, we had the following conversation:
Her: "What would happen if you could not do this?"
Me: "Well, I mean, I'd just figure out a way to do it."
Her: "No. I mean, you absolutely could not do it."
Me: "I guess we'd have to find a professional who could." (Which I wasn't even sure was possible since no one seemed to want to tackle it.)
Her: "Imagine you can't find anyone to do it. It's not getting done."
I won't bore you with the rest, but I can tell it took the majority of our session for me to even admit I MIGHT be incapable of making this absolutely essential thing happen.
Turns out I had (have) a real problem with failure - a lot of fear, and a BIG lack of faith that God was in control of the situation.
The other day, in my devotional from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, the words called me out on this behavior.
"Tenacity," he says, "is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered."
I'm grateful Chambers put this behavior into words. I wasn't giving up. I was 100% dedicated to making this thing happen, but it was for the wrong reasons. I was afraid of the consequences, afraid of my own lack. My tenacity was totally based on fear.
That scenario is the main reason I started writing Wandering with God.
I want to trust God even when something seems impossible, to hold onto that hope he asks of us - "yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience." (Romans 8:24b-25)
I've recognized in the past that my relationship with God seemed to suffer when I felt bad about my personal actions. If I was doing well emotionally, being consistent, working hard, and doing all the right things, then I'd also feel good about my spiritual life. But when those things declined or in their inevitable wax and wane, my feelings about God would change as well.
This made me realize that my faith was not in God, but in myself. Somewhere deep inside, I believed I could be enough, do enough, become enough.
Logically, I knew this wasn't true, but my deepest concerns were still about how -I- was doing, not about what God was doing or could do.
This last year showed me that though I've moved a little past this in my spiritual walk (see my post: God Never Said You Were Good Enough,) I still very much hang onto my ability to achieve in other areas - for instance, work. My own inability sent me to counseling, after all. That should've been a clue.
So, here's to hanging on to my hero - Jesus - in ALL areas of my life instead of hanging on out of fear or desperation.
Interested in updates on my bookish wanderings and adventures?
You'll get the first chapter of each of my books free (even my work-in-progress!)