“… let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Heb. 12:1)
Sometimes the gap between giving up and succeeding is as little as 3 minutes.
Here’s the scenario…
Our 18 month old, having just gone down for a nap, has been woken up by the noise of his siblings arguing about something vitally unimportant. Said siblings are told to be quiet and sort it out calmly. I go into the bedroom and attempt to put our baby back to sleep. As I almost have him asleep the noise and arguing escalates again and he is now wide awake.
At this point I have two options:
a) give up; or,
I want to take Option A. I want to give up. I’m cranky. I want to storm out of the room hand our baby over to his squabbling siblings and say, “Here! You look after him!”
I sing softly and nuzzle him into my chest.
I relax. He relaxes.
3 minutes later he is sound asleep.
Sometimes the gap between giving up and success is as little as 3 minutes. Sometimes it’s longer. 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months. Sometimes it’s 30 years.
I call this the perseverance gap.
Had I not walked through the perseverance gap my day, my families day would have been vastly different and far more stressful.
This principle applies not just to sleeping babies, but to business, work, personal pursuits and life. There are points in all our endeavours where giving up seems the most immediate and necessary response. We think to ourselves or we proclaim, “I’ve had enough! This is just a waste of time!” And yet walking through the perseverance gap is precisely the opposite.
Yes, it involves time but it is almost never wasted. At the very least we develop resilience and the increasing capacity to respond well in the face of difficulty. But often as we persevere success is just around the corner. Even if it’s a small win that gives us enough encouragement to walk through the next gap.
If we can recognise, work through and overcome the desire to give up success is often a lot closer than we realise.
Knowing what to do as you walk through the gap is the next challenge. Often it requires a lot more than just breathing and relaxing. Often it requires difficult decisions, altering our direction, discomfort, or growth in character. But the first step is to choose to walk into it and through it, and often we get the answers as we go.
PS. Our 18 month old woke up 20 minutes later. But it was a blissful 20 minutes and enough of a victory to get me through the next gap. 🙂