on diligence part two

Would you like to play the organ?” After hearing what the music instructor could play, my little eight year old heart was shouting, “Yes!”  The idea of my hands being able to create that kind of sound was so attractive.  I was all in.

Nobody said anything about the fact that my fingers would not do what the instructor’s fingers could do.  After the first lesson, I came home and set out to practice my lesson.  I still can remember trying to get my fingers to move independently.  Somehow, I couldn’t put one down, pick it up, and then put the next finger to the keys.  They were all mashed together. When I moved one, two responded!

In every new endeavor, there’s a honeymoon period when your heart is all in. That length of time when the newness is pure adventure– you’re learning, you’re growing. Life is rosy. And then when you least expect it, you hit a hard patch– where nothing is easy.  Life is all obstacles.  Or it’s just not new anymore. The excitement is worn off.  Whether it’s a new relationship or a new team, a new job or a new place, at first, everything is good.  Then little by little you see the reality of things and realize that there’s more to this situation than meets the eye.  No easy answers, no clear way forward.

Choosing diligence in this place is hard, and the temptation to give up is strong.  Questions like “is it worth it?” surface in your heart. The grass looks so much greener on the other side and all.  Young leaders might view the difficulties as a redirection of their call.  Maybe.  But more often, the obstacles, crises, or challenges are a positive affirmation of one’s call and an opportunity for increasing the leader’s capacity.  A crossroads of sorts.  The Hebrew word for diligence means to sharpen or cut, figuratively, a decision.

Persevering requires a confidence in the Lord’s calling, timing, and agency.  Continuing forward means that you believe He is at work, despite the circumstances. This is the cry of the psalmist.

“I would have despaired unless I believed that I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living.”

This is the place of testing, the place where diligence decides the outcome. Committing to moving forward means I believe that God is more worthy, greater than the obstacle or crisis or challenge, that He will be true to Himself.  And He always is.

What keeps you going when you feel like quitting?

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9 Responses to on diligence part two

  1. Great thoughts here – I would love to link this site to mine if it ok with you, Andrea,

    Your word “diligence” reminds me of Heb. 12:1-2
    Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
    let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
    and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
    looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
    who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
    despising the shame,
    and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    • Thanks so much, Vivien. Linking up would be fine with me, thanks. Here’s the funny part- I was working on this one a week ago and had it just about finished. As I went to save, I didn’t notice that I had lost my internet connection. I lost the whole blog post and had to start over. As my friend said, “good object lesson!” We get them in all different ways, but continuing as Jesus did in going to the cross takes us all to new places.

      • That happens to me more than I care to think about. I am not as gracious as you where I find a deeper meaning for the loss! Sometimes fresh things come out during the “do-over” and I am happy in the end.

  2. great post. I think what helps is looking back to the other times you stuck with it… and how it felt during and after.

  3. Sheri Onishi says:

    These were God’s words to me, Andrea. Each line stuck a cord and related to where I am right now. Yes, I have thought “Is this worth it?” also, “Is is important?”, “Does anyone else value this?” and “Is this what I should be investing my time in right now?” Which is a legitimate question and has brought me to that crossroads where I need to make a decision to persevere and be diligent or….not. The verses are wonderful and I am going to look at them more closely. I am at the place of surrender again, Psalm 131 again and again.
    But the line that really stuck me and is giving me hope is “Continuing forward means that you believe He is at work, despite the circumstances.” Yes! The Lord is always at work, He is the one moving His plan forward. I only need to listen and pay attention to what He wants my little role to be, do it faithfully and find my joy in Him and not the circumstances. Thanks for sharing!

    • isn’t the Lord like that- to take these words written some days ago and bring them right when you need them? your comments just make me thankful that we can trust Him, regardless. He is faithful to His promises. He is true to Himself. He can’t do anything other. Keep on, Sheri!

  4. Steve Morgan says:

    Hope keeps me going. When I sense that maybe God is up to something bigger if I just stick it out and wait to see what it might be. Also seeing movies where the characters are transformed in some way–that gives me hope that I can also change.

    • Thanks, Steve. it seems like hope grows stronger the more and more we see His faithfulness to us in the long run. Sticking to it brings us to a new experience of His greatness through the tough places.

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