Cultivate Endurance To Win!
When we think of building endurance, we think of training for marathons and cross fit challenges, but we often don't think about what it takes to build spiritual and psychological endurance or what it takes to endure trials in a marriage or in families.
I don't know about you but I try to avoid pain as much as possible. I don't like it, it hurts and I would much rather be happy now. I don't want to train for 6 months, 9 months, 5 years to get the mind I want, or the marriage I want, or the success I want. I want it now and I don't want to endure through anymore trials!
So how do you develop the ability to endure through times when you feel like it is impossible to go on one more second?
You train your mind to focus on the prize!
James 1:12 says: "Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him."
Not rocket science, but not easy to do when the pain of the present moment is bearing down on you and you're tired of suffering. The prize feels like it will never get here.
To endure means to have the ability or strength to last especially despite fatigue, stress and other adverse conditions. According to William Feather, "Success is largly a matter of hanging on after others have let go." Persevering when you feel like giving up is what is necessary and will require your full trust in God.
Hebrews 10:36-39 puts it this way: "For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised. For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay. But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him. But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul."
Whether we are enduring getting through a time of great sadness, a marriage that's not living up to our expectations or pain in our bodies, whatever situation we may presently be in, we do not throw away our confidence. We build character, strength and perserverence through focused confidence in God and His ability to help us, heal us, restore us and renew us!
Remember Romans 5:3-5, "Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.
And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.
Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us."
We fight! We fight with our faith. We stand on God's Word and we fight through the temptation to cash in our chips and give up. We keep our minds focused on the end result and trust God's ability to bring it to us. What does your end result look like? A marriage in which both partners are fulfilled, a career that brings a sense of accomplishment and purpose, a body that cooperates with you, not against you?
Is there a part of you that cannot fathom how God could possibly bring it to pass? After all, it's been so long?
Nothing is impossible with God. Get rid of doubt. Maybe God has been nudging you to step out of your comfort zone, get into the battle and start your training. The training will be different for everyone. How long it takes often times depends on your willingness to learn. And yes, it probably will be painful, and it may require some suffering. Change is never easy.
But know this, if nothing changes, nothing changes. Something about how you do life will have to change in order for something different to happen and you will need to endure through that change process. Maybe you don't know what that change needs to be, seek answers, ask for help, step out in faith, your teacher will come.
With your mind firmly fixed on Jesus say: "I am willing to be led and trained and renewed by you Lord, I can and will endure not by might , nor by power, but by Your Spirit, as you lead me, you will carry me through to the other side and when its done I will receive my victory crown of life."
-Christina Samyan, MSW, LCSW