-firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
-the continued or prolonged existence of something
I have been thinking a lot about persistence lately. With it being the beginning of a new year, you've most likely reflected on what you accomplished last year while dreaming for what's ahead. ((I spoke a lot about doing this myself in '2015 Recap.')) However unfortunately, doing this can easily lead to feeling discouraged or defeated. Did you think you would be at a different place in your life than you're at right now? Have you been working tirelessly towards a goal that hasn't seemed to make much progress? Are your relationships ((with friends, a significant other, or a family member)) not in a place you would have imagined?
These are the exact moments when persistence is key. The word itself can be annoying... especially for the discouraged. But to be honest, I have seen countless times in my life when persistence made all the difference. Even when it feels like things are stagnant, I firmly believe that if you're pursuing something day after day, you are making much more progress than you can sometimes see in the moment.
*KEEP GOING— You are growing!!*
One of my favorite passages of scripture is this--
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." -James 1:2-4 (MSG)
You may not believe what I believe, and that's okay, but this idea is what I cling to. Knowing that when I'm working towards something and opposition comes (because it always does!), I know that I will get through it and end up better than before through my faith in Jesus Christ. The opposition cannot and will not take away from the goal I am working towards.
*KEEP GOING— You are moving forward!!*
"So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever." -2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)
Be persistent in pursuing your dreams. In the world that we live in today, it's easy to expect "big things" in a moment! We want things FAST without hesitation. From the little to the big things...we want to eat now, we want to be entertained now, we want results now, we want success now. But please let me encourage you to believe that sometimes the very best things in life take time, a lot of hard work, and most importantly persistence!
Try something new: Look to other people for inspiration and motivation, not for comparison in a negative way, which leads to belittling yourself and jealousy. Things might look dull right now. It might feel like nothing is progressing, but when you look back you'll see that you were actually moving forward little by little. Each day that passes means you're one more day ahead on your journey than you were yesterday. Don't take that lightly and be encouraged!
*KEEP GOING— You are getting stronger!!*
"Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, "God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind." -Isaiah 40:28-31 (MSG)
I moved to NYC when I was 18 years old with big dreams of becoming a model. I was barely 5'7 and every agency I saw requested 5'9+ girls, I had bad acne and everyone told me I had to have clear + flawless skin, and I was told I was "curvy" even though I was a size 2/4. I don't say all of this to make you feel sorry for me or to say "look at me," but I want you to see that it would have been super easy to give up. To be honest, it made much more sense to not pursue a modeling career because of how uncertain and far-fetched it was. However to make a long story short, I kept persisting and now 7 years later I work full time as a model! I never expected to be in NYC for this long doing what I'm doing. In fact, my plan was to only stay in New York for 3 months...but God had other plans for my life. There are so many other gorgeous models in NYC, and I am not fulfilling a job that couldn't be done by hundreds of other girls. But for whatever reason, I have the jobs that I do with the clients that I have built relationships with. There is nothing special about me, but I have been very persistent in pursing this career. There have been many ups and downs, but as I look back over time, the most consistent part of it all has his been the constant pursuit. All of that to say that there is something unstoppable about a persistent heart. You end up in places you never expected to be, doing things you aren't qualified to do, and having an adventure of a lifetime!
There are many other dreams I have and am working towards that I needed to remind myself to stay persistent in pursuing. If this post was for nothing other than reminding myself about how to KEEP GOING, I am thankful because I am reminding myself that I am growing, moving forward, and getting stronger- no matter what! :)