I was asked, yesterday, the secret of staying in one church for 20 years. the first answer that popped into my head was the one I gave, "Don't quit."
That's it. Don't quit!
The key to not throwing in the towel and quitting on your dream may be as simple as one simple action following a decisive choice.
Decide to do something and then, do something.
In so doing, you will have taken a step. You will have closed the gap between inaction and action and you will have stayed in the ball game for one more inning.
You are staying alive. Sometimes staying alive to fight another day is enough. It's called, "hanging on."
"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. " Franklin D. Roosevelt
Keep on in Hope
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13 (New International Version - NIV - Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society )
God is, among so many other things, the God of hope. He tends to reveal Himself by various descriptive names in order to meet us where we are at our point of challenge.
When you feel like quitting, it is often when you are also feeling most hopeless. There is a remedy. In this short simple verse, Paul describes a Daily Double, a Daily Duty, and a Dependable Dynamic.
The Daily Double
The reality that He is, for us, the God of hope cannot help but encourage us if we believe and receive the hope He gives. He comes to us with a Daily Double - two qualities come to us in abundance when we embrace His hope: joy and peace.
There is no joy for a hopeless person. There is no reason to arise in the morning. Their is no bounce in his step, no light in his eyes, and no lift in his voice. His heart is heavy because he sees a dark, dim, dreary road ahead for years to come.
He is not hopeless; he just thinks he is because he does not yet know the God of hope.
There is hope for your future, hope for your family, hope for your business, hope for your ministry because there is a God of hope who has never relinquished His position as Lord of the universe. He is not the universe; He is its designer and master. He governs the principles that govern us and He is decreed that where He is, there is hope!
He is the grand deal-breaker when circumstances add up against you. Hopelessness does not stand a chance. If there is a vacuum in your life where there ought to be joy, trust God.
In today's Proverbs, chapter 3, verse 5-6, we are admonished, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall bring it to pass."
Jump for joy! Do it on faith. You are about to be filled to overflowing with giddy, grateful joy!
My friend Mahilda just couldn't get it. She scowled and moped all through the day. "I just don't feel any hope," she would complain to any who would listen. Like Paul, her friends started praying that the God of hope would fill her with joy and peace. One day, while reading the Bible, she found this verse, "The God of hope ..."
"If God is the God of hope, and He is present in my life, then I have hope," she thought. And I don't have to feel hopeful to be hopeful. I just have to believe in God. OK! I can do that!"
It made the difference and there was a new bounce, smile, and exuberance in her life and she started to discover opportunities that she had been missing and would have continued to miss. Not only that, her positive attitude made her attractive to people that came into her life and shared her joy, creating a joyful synergy that multiplied.
The second quality that comes to us in abundance when we know the God of hope and He fills our lives with Himself, is peace. Peace is not merely the absence of conflict. Nor is it the cessation of war. Peace is bigger than that; it is the wholeness and well being of a governed life. For the Christian, it is the life governed by God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is no peace for the hopeless.
There is worry, frustration, distraction, despair, discouragement, and bitterness. When there is no wholeness within, there are factions and frictions that develop. There are broken relationships, broken dreams, and broken hearts. The ungoverned heart is never at peace; the hopeless heart keeps its host awake at night in a constant, thought sometimes low level of anxiety and concern.
But the God of hope fills us with peace. We must know Him and trust Him and release our cares into His care.
When He governs us, He speaks to our hearts as Jesus spoke to the stormy waters, "Peace, be still."
The Daily Duty
There is Daily Duty - a qualification to receiving these qualities within ourselves. we must trust. It is as we trust in Him, and specifically, in Him as the God of hope, that we are filled.
When we are filled, we receive the inner resources of joy and peace to resist the urge to quit. We keep on because of something inside us. Paul teaches us that the way we internalize these qualities is by the power of the Holy Spirit, God Himself entering into our hearts and lives as we trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
He comes in power and, as Jesus said, as one who walks alongside of us. In us and with us - what a combination!
Like Mahilda, we must learn to take His presence and hopefulness as a matter of faith and begin to act on it.
Trusting God is a daily duty that brings the richest of rewards to our lives.
K – Kinesthetic http://www.thefreedictionary.com/kinesthetic defines this as “The sense that detects bodily position, weight, or movement of the muscles, tendons, and joints.” Applied to learning of behaviors it is about doing a behavior until it becomes a part of our lives. Some people call this habit formation. Keeping on involves developing behavioral patterns that become a natural part of our lives. Trusting is often manifested in touching. Touch your dream; touch the project; touch the challenge. Keep your hands on what you are keeping on.
TOUCH YOUR DREAM
Touch it with your TIME - Spend time thinking of the desired outcomes. When you are tired from the task, take time to think about why you are doing what you are doing.
Touch it with your OPTIMISM - Peak to yourself and others with wholesome, uplifting, and optimistic words and ideas. Ephesians 4:29 (New International Version) reminds us:
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Touch it with your UNDERSTANDING - Be a student of your mission, dream, and vision. Study it with a passion to learn and grasp the reality in your mind. Get details and concepts. Mull them over and over. Become an expert on your own life mission.
Touch in in COMMUNITY - Stand alone and fall. Stand with others and you keep standing. One of the easiest ways to fall into discouragement and loss of vision is to disassociate ourselves from positive people who build us up. Hang around some people who are on the road to making it and some who have almost . Associate with people who can serve as role models so you can see the fruit on the tree. Talk and listen to people who consistently say, "I can" and keep those who "can't" in the periphery of your circle of influence or outside it altogether. This is one of the inherent geniuses of network marketing and of the church.
Touch it with HOPE - Never lose hope. Always keep hope alive. This is the Spirit's function in your life.
E – Enthusiasm – Literally, from the Latin, enthusiasm mean having God within us. You must remain enthusiastic and nurture the spark of life and passion within you even when you are emotionally and physically drained. That requires connecting to God’s power at the very depth of your being, His Spirit within you. It takes faith and lots of it.
Paul's prayer for the Romans was based upon the reality of their relationship with God and he trusts that God is in them through the Holy Spirit and that God has the capacity to fill them with these qualities.
The person who experience real enthusiasm would be advised to make the dreams and goals of his or her life matters of instense and satisfying prayer - not only when thinking about the outcomes, but when strength is needed for the daily grind.
God is present and God will help and renew your enthusiasm
E - Elevate – There is much to elevate. Elevate your feet a bit for one thing; take a load off and relax. You must also elevate your mission in your own thinking. Elevate the importance of what you are doing in your own thinking.
Dale Carnegie said, “Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves. "
And never feel ashamed of who YOU are. You are a person of significance. Never let anyone make you feel small because of your dreams or life mission :
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
P – Persevere – Press on with consistency and commitment. It is all in the PRESS.
Press on with the POWER of God. Apart from that power, we do not have the strength to press anything. Press without stress.
Press on with RESOLVE - Sing with the old spiritual, "A'int nobody gonna turn me 'round." Press or regress.
Press on with ENERGY - Energy is a strange thing. If you don't use it, you don't conserve it. You lose it. If you're not pressed, you'll get depressed.
Press on with SINCERITY - Have a sincere and purposeful focus at all times. We will scatter without sincere and pure goals. Press or digress.\
Press with SUCCESS - The real success is in the journey. Press toward success.
President Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
O – Orientation – The scriptures point us to a righteous life. Righteousness is about right relationships, especially about being rightly related to God and about moving in the right direction. Check your compass spiritually and in every other dimension of life and makes sure that your movement is oriented toward your goal. You are on a path. You are not at your desitination. Don't judge yourself by where you are, but by progress and vision. Orient yourself in the direction of God's best for your life and keep on keeping on - even if today's step is a baby step.
Ella Fitzgerald said, "It isn't where you came from, its where you're going that counts."
N – NEVER – Never quit. Create momentum in your life by simply not quitting. Make that a decision and even if you can ‘t do much, do something. Perfectionism is not your friend. It will whisper in your ear that because you are not the best yet, there is no point. Don’t listen. Listen instead to Sir Winston Churchill:
“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense”
There will be some setbacks and step backs. There will be some mistakes and failures. Never mind them.
You were made for a purpose. Keep on keeping on.
The Dependable Dynamic
Finally, there is a Dependable Dynamic that makes it happen, the power of the Holy Spirit. We have already spoken of Him, but this is major.
We can do all the right things all the time, but if there is no power that enforces the spiritual laws and graces that we affirm, there is no hope. We are promised that we will overflow, into other people’s lives and all around, with boundless, bountiful, audacious hope and that the river flowing through us will never run dry.
How does that happen? It happens through the power of the living, ever present, all powerful, presence of God through His Holy Spirit. In Him, we have plugged into the endless source and we never have to economize when we tap into Him.
It takes submission, sincerity, and celebration to fully realize what it means to be filled with Him, but we have a lifetime to learn and now to begin.
Jesus said two things about the coming of the Holy Spirit. One was that in the Spirit, He would not leave us comfortless, but that he would come to us. The second was that because He went to the Father and would send His Spirit, we would do even greater works than He did among us.
If that is not a cause for hope, nothing is - and He is the God of hope. And He sends His Dependable Dynamic, from Himself, to fill us and govern our hearts, setting them free from all despair, defeat, and worry to become great and mighty forces for His good in the world.
You have a bright future because you have God of hope! Don't quit; Keep On!
The opposite of keeping on is not so much turning off as it is neglect. “Keep” suggests vigilance and attention. "On" is certainly across the chart from "off", but the pathway to off is inattention. It is not taking the next step of vigilance.
KEEP ON KEEPING ON!
Pace yourself, relax, give yourself a break, but do something for your business or ministry today. Do it consciously and give yourself credit for it. You may fail. When you do, keep this in mind:
"When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time.""
- Author Unknown
"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. " - Ralph Waldo Emerson
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13 (New International Version)
The pathway of perseverance may not always be dramatic action or massive results, but it will always involve a choice and a response. On that pathway, there is hope. Where there is hope there is joy. Where there is joy, there is energy. God is the source, but if we are not open to trusting, we will dam the source of our power. The keep on, we must move forward.
Bonus Quotes on Perseverance
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. – John Quincy Adams
Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties
It is the curse of talent that, although it labors with greater steadiness and perseverance than genius, it does not reach its goal, while genius already on the summit of the ideal, gazes laughingly about. – Robert A. Schumann
Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little. - Plutarch
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. (Ephesians 6:18)
Genius is divine perseverance. Genius I cannot claim nor even extra brightness but perseverance all can have. – Woodrow Wilson
Listen to and read stories - nonfiction and fiction. Collect stories. Learn to tell them. Have enough of them to illustrate your big ideas.
I have been impressed with the stories that successful entrepreneur and bestselling author Andy Andrews tells. Perhaps you will be too.