I've been known to set my face like a flint when going after the things I wanted. In my quest toward the goal, giving up was not an option. The words of my mother to this day still ring in my ears, "If you get your will going in the right direction, everything will be all right." I didn't really know what it meant then. I am beginning to now.
I remember early on in my years of parenting being given the advice, "you have to break the will of the child." I look back now and see the absurdity of those words. You cannot break the will of a child, it has to be given up. It cannot be forced. It must be chosen.
Life often feels as if it asks more than it gives. Difficult days find their way into our lives. Aren't I supposed to set my face like a flint to keep walking? Aren't I supposed to persevere? Yes, but somehow, somewhere in the mix of it all something can get so cunningly twisted. It's a subtle thing you know. I had been told to hang tough, keep at it, fight the good fight. Life often requires that to some degree. But what about God?
How does all this balance out? Christ is the hope within me. He is the lifeline extended to me every single day. Where do my self-willed efforts hinder His?
It's so easy to find myself much like that young girl on her tricycle. Push forward, hit the obstacles, turn around, and keep going. I find myself now questioning where does that leave me to look for the strength of the One who is my strength? Whose strength does that leave me enduring in, really? Where is it me instead of Him?
In some hidden, subtle way it's easy to find myself living in the old way of the self-willed life.
Barriers fill our road these days making it difficult to maneuver around. My husband just lost his job. There is no income coming regularly into our home. We have no clue what to do next. What now God? Will we choose to endure for the sake of endurance, setting our faces like a flint or will we cling to the One who endured it all needing His perseverance to come in us? There's a subtle difference there. One requires my efforts and disciplines. The other requires His.
Life often comes around full circle for me. Need suddenly opens the door for humility extending an invitation that readies my heart to receive. I cannot, nor do I want to do this life alone. It's starting to make some sense to me now. I'm understanding more and more the words my mother once spoke.
Life's obstacles are awakening a place within me, allowing my will to be placed in the right direction. I'm learning to receive what Christ waits to give to me; all that He accomplished for me when He walked out of that grave. He, is my perseverance. It's not up to me. He perseveres in me, through me, into life around me. He is my hope, my endurance, my strength, the one who keeps me hanging on.
I see Him there. He rides on the heavens to help us and underneath are His everlasting arms. He invites me to fall into them allowing their strength to move me forward. I need Him, oh how I need Him. I am convinced it's the invitation He's been waiting for.
©copyrighted: 2011; Julie L. Todd