Intentionailty and the Process of Perseverance

Hi friends,

The Lord is funny in how He tells a story. That's the only way I know how to even begin.

Walking into this year, from the very first moment I had a distinct inclination that I was on the brink of a season of learning like I had never experienced before. I think ultimately, that was and remains to be the heart behind the acts of intention project. I think I wanted to sew seeds into my life so that whatever I was going to learn would have a place to start. And let me just say, its been quite a ride.

A lot of people have asked me how the project is going, mostly because I think I've been rather silent on the social media front. I think the best way I know how to answer that is, it is definitely going. Going so much I haven't had a real opportunity to use my words the way I would like to over social media. Which when you're trying to walk through a social media driven project, that gets a bit messy, but like I said, God is the one who decided He has a story to tell and things for me to learn.

On our first pass with the snow, there was a break in between the slight dusting and the "holy snow, Batman" we were hit with a day later. I was driving to a meeting near Vanderbilt University's campus. It had all ready been an insane week. My email was FINALLY fixed after 10 days of being messed up, I was short on focused work time and heavy on things that required my attention. My heart was overwhelmed, concerned I was all ready failing everyone in my sphere of influence, and I was late to this meeting.  As I was sitting at a stop light, I saw this guy running in the snow. He was clearly not a seasoned runner and in a lot of discomfort and pain.  For some reason, out of the depths of my soul, I had this overwhelming desire to roll down the window and say "Don't stop! Keep going! Don't give up!"

As I continued to drive, the image of the runner was all over me. Why had this struck such a chord in my hurried heart? Why the desire to emphatically cheer on a stranger? As I thought more about it, I think it was because that was the perfect image of how I currently felt. That I was running hard after a new way of living my life and it was not coming easily and it was pushing me and it hurt.  I realized that because my days were not going the way I wanted, I wanted to quit. I struggle so badly with perfectionism. I put my own spin on it and call it doing things well, but its just plain old crippling perfectionism. If I'm not doing something well, if its not matching up to what I think is good enough, or even intentional enough, I want to stop doing it so I don't ruin it.

But as I watched that runner, as I saw him press on, in horrible weather for seasoned runners, let alone a newcomer, I saw that the Lord was telling me to press on, to press in, to persevere.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
— Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

Perseverance is not a pursuit of perfection, its a constant, intentional choice not to give up.

Its finding the small victories in the midst of a botched plan.
Its soaking in the lessons as they all unfold and believing that they are real and lasting even if they don't make it on to your Instagram feed and not one person knows what's happening.
Its sowing seeds in faith and feeling the Living Water starting to make them grow because even when He doesn't have to send encouragement, He does.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
— Philippians 3:14-16- The Message

So all that is to say, I'm still here. I'm still up to my eyeballs in this. There are ideas that I thought were what this project's focus was meant to be that I believe still are, but I think the Lord has expanded it past the start of a new year and a new season. Its opened up my eyes to the process of perseverance and the need to intentionally choose to engage it. And just because the momentum has slowed, doesn't mean I'm down for the count. The race isn't finished. There's more to come. I can't promise it'll be all wrapped up and pretty and on the schedule I set for it, but I'm grateful for a place to share it.

So what about you? On this last Friday in January, where are you? How's your heart?
Whatever it is, the Lord doesn't ask us to come perfectly, He just asks us not to give up.