Are you fatigued, scared, or just done? I think most of us have hit a wall of some sort.
I know I have. It’s a strange feeling approaching the holidays. After a summer of some predictability, winter looms with rising illness, negativity, and an unknown future. We’ve adapted to masks and mandates. School has mostly been stable whether your kids learn in person, hybrid, online, or home school.
But heaviness lingers. I work as an elementary school counselor. Kids are shutting down as they carry fears inside of them. They mirror the emotions and outlook of parents and caregivers. They don’t have the capacity to naturally handle uncertainties we’re facing.
As parents or grandparents, how are you handling the trials before you?
A word came to mind when I was fatigued and wanted to give up. Persevere. We lived a life of prosperity and leisure before 2020. Your kids felt the softness of that. Do you and your kids have the grit to persevere even more in 2021?
Perseverance is defined as continuing in a course of action, even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. The caveat of little or no prospect of success is the quality our culture lacks. We’re conditioned that hard work pays off with a trophy or reward. It’s a message we tell our kids.
But difficulty may still be ahead, even though we’ve endured 2020. As we prepare for the holidays, persevering is hard to embrace. 2 Peter 1:3 says we should add perseverance to our faith, in progressive measure after goodness, knowledge, and self-control, and before godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. God calls us to persevere.
Romans 5:3 says we are to rejoice in our trials because it produces perseverance. Perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. We must walk through this process to receive the hope God provides. You won’t receive such hope from human nature and secular solutions.
Let’s consider why you and your family need perseverance for the long haul, beyond 2020.
- Perseverance helps our physical, emotional, and mental health. It propels us to overcome obstacles. We’ve persevered through the pandemic because we’ve done what we must for the safety and health of ourselves, our families, and our communities.
- Perseverance builds strength. Weak muscles collapse under weight and pressure. The same is true for mental and emotional muscles. Your thoughts, attitudes, and resilience strengthen when you endure pressure and problems. Most kids, teens, and young adults lack these skills. There’s a breadth of options to consider when it’s time to give something up. Usually, it’s when you’ve exhausted your choices and know your limits. Perseverance takes you to those ends.
- Perseverance guides you through pain. Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, or relational pain, endurance takes you to the other side. Perseverance teaches you how to overcome challenges. You consider and try every possible option. You learn what works and what doesn’t. You acquire new skills you didn’t think you had. Modeling these for your kids gives them strength and hope.
- Hope and perseverance coincide. There’s a fallacy that when you get through hard things, the adversity goes away, and life is good. American culture has lulled us into the cushion of prosperity, while our Christian brothers and sisters worldwide live in adversity. We can learn from them how to live, love, and to have joy and hope in Christ, not our circumstances.
This holiday season, ask the Lord how and where to persevere. Witness it in your words, attitude, and action for your family. It’s possible. Look around at all you have. Focus less on what you’re missing, giving thanks in trials.
Perseverance is the gift for Christmas 2020 and word for 2021.