It's been a while now since Finding Nemo came out, but my favorite character in that movie was always Dory. She was a fish with short-term memory loss, yet she was cheerful and encouraging - even if she couldn't remember who you were. One of the little things she would sing in a tough spot was, "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."
I'm afraid I tend to be a bit more like the dad in Finding Nemo - sort of grounchy at times and always looking at the worst-case scenerio, ready to give up. Without Dory, I doubt Nemo's dad would have found him.
This has been a somewhat tough week. I pray for things. God answers my prayers and I expect things to be easy after that. But they aren't all the time. Sometimes, the answer to our prayer is actually hard and difficult. That is what I am finding out this week - the week I started writing for the newspaper. Nothing has gone smoothly.
But God didn't call me to easy - He called me to perservere and He called me to excellence. It's funny (well, I should really expect it by now), that this week, the final week of my character make-over Bible study, is the trait of perserverece. How ironic - how totally God's timing. I can almost hear Him chuckle and see Him give me a wink.
To be honest, I approached this difficulty with my auto pilot response - which is to whine and complain. This is hard. So and so is being difficult. Why can't anything go right? (can you hear the whiney tone?) Today in my quiet time though, God gently showed me that difficulty is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, He even orchestrates it for our good.
The author challenged the reader to think of a difficult thing in their lives at the moment (it only took me a second!) and to think of three things I am learning or could learn through that circumstance. It was pretty easy to see the glaring lessons that I can learn through this.
The first is patience - patience with others. This led me back to my week on generosity. I need to be generous with my patience towards other people. Generous in giving them the benefit of the doubt. Generous in reassurance.
The second lesson is humility - humility in that I still have a lot to learn. Yes, I take pride in my craft of writing, but that doesn't mean I don't have a lot to learn and improve upon. This took me back to my very first week of study. Pride is something I think I will always have to be on the lookout for in my life. It can creep in so very easily in unlooked for places. It is hard to have to "prove" myself when I feel I should be past that at this point in my life, but I can either chafe against it or look at it as a challenge to live up to.
Finally, the third lesson I can learn is diligence to detail. It's not enough to just do enough. I need to push myself to excellence. I have the unique opportunity to help people - both those reading and those I write about - through my weekly religion column. I need to be sure that all the details are in place, that each sentence is polished to a shine. I need to push myself to interview more people than I think necessary to give each article depth, not just width.
I am not much of a perseverer by nature. I tend to give up and quit far too easily. God is teaching me that the easy path is not always the best path to take. Some great things in my life are hard and require work and diligence and yes, perserverence. Parenting comes to mind. :) The following quote in this study brought me up short. I think we put stock in things like talent or education when those are really just tools, not the actual answer. I realize that just "pressing on" in our own strength won't do it either. We have press on with Jesus, but the idea behind the quote really spoke to me. I hope it speaks to you, too.
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful individuals with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. The slogan "Press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." ~ Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the U.S.
May you and I continue to "press on."
~ Blessings, Bronte