When I was a teenager, I had a bunch of sappy posters with inspirational sayings taped up like, “Sail on to the end of your dreams,” “Take your passion and make it happen,” from Flashdance, my all time favorite movie in high school, and many more sayings that I won’t bore you with. (Thank you Hallmark store for having provided the wall decor during that oh-so important time.) But there was one poster hanging with a saying that we all know is true that I find myself thinking about, not only in my own life but in the lives of my children: “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” In layman’s terms: don’t give up.
Endurance: withstanding lasting difficulty.
There is a tough decision between the act of forging ahead or throwing in the towel, and again, each circumstance has its own factors that support either argument–only you as the parent can be discerning enough to know what a situation calls for through prayer, wisdom and personal insight and perspective from your own life experiences. Wanting to bail out can present itself as an option in many situations that are challenging; there is no shortage of them. There’s the not-wanting-to-participate on a particular sports team with a screaming, strict coach, challenging relationships, working for a poorly run organization, a disparaging boss, the list goes on in our lives and in the lives of our children.
We have all had those times when we are called to endure yet when it comes to our children, we want to protect them from hardship. I know I need to be careful of that line, for protecting might mean they don’t develop a character trait tied to the lesson of seeing something through with the realization that there are difficult and challenging people and situations in life, throughout life. The world is not perfect. Man is not perfect. The ability to endure has to be taught by pressing on and through. (And please know I am not advocating remaining in situations that are just plain inappropriate, hurtful, unjust or go against your values, ideals and morals. Again, you know what’s what.)
Where in your or your child’s life is God asking you to endure a difficult situation? If there is a place, let Galatians 6:9 encourage you: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will recap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Father, I pray that you would gently build endurance into ___________’s life. Give ________a heart that helps her to keep on pressing on even when she/he faces discouragement and is tempted to give up. (Adapted from While They Are Sleeping, by Anne Arkins and Gary Harrell, published by Family Life, 2010)
“Endure hardship as discipline: God is treating you as sons. For what sons is not disciplined by his Father?” (Hebrews 12:8)
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…” (Col 1:10)
“Truthful lips endure forever.” (Proverbs 12:19)
And finally, as we endure, “Let us encourage one another.” (Heb 10:25)