Perseverance is a crucial word for me this year. So far I’ve semi-finaled in the Genesis, but didn’t place in the Frasier, though I’d worked hard and believed I’d done my best work. As my Scottish friends say, “There was a slip between the cup and the lip.” I can quit attempting novel-writing and change directions. Or analyze weak spots and work until my writing demonstrates honed skills.
Success reflects how hard we want to succeed. Young Abe Lincoln longed to read and write but had no teacher, and no materials. So he painted a wooden shovel white and wrote on it with blackened sticks to practice writing letters. The result? A man who grew in expressing thoughts and devotion until he penned the lasting words of The Gettysburg Address.
I also love the true account of a teen-age Jewish girl who worked hard to become an accomplished pianist. Just before her scheduled debut, the Third Reich locked her and her parents away in a Nazi concentration camp. She refused to abandon her dream. Instead she found a large throwaway cardboard and drew piano keys with a piece of coal. She kept her dream alive by running her fingers over those keys every spare moment until the war ended. After her family’s release, when she could again play a real piano, hearers agreed that her skill had increased. The girl’s concerts received wide acclaim, but I believe her greatest feat was keeping her dream alive. Not letting her spirit be defeated.
What price will we pay for success? Plan, pray, dream. But also put fingers to keyboard or hold a pen for minutes or hours a day until God-given stories are captured and blessed with favor to reach the audiences He intends. We are changed and blessed during that process.
What about you? What renewed commitment will you pursue with God’s help and direction? (I'm not quite ready to quit pursuing novel-writing, though I may also try some other writing projects.)
What encouraging signs does He give along the way?