Perseverance – Guest Post by Stacy Hart

There’s a mole in our yard. How do we know? Snickers!

Snickers is my brother and sister-in-law’s dog. We’re currently keeping her while they’re working in Chile as missionaries. Snickers loves to dig holes especially when there’s a mole in the area.

I’ve been learning about perseverance as I’ve watched her try to catch the mole.

1.) Perseverance sometimes involves being still and listening.

Snickers spends a lot of time listening to the mole as it moves underground. She’ll turn her head this way and that way. Her ears will perk as she hears different noises. She’s still and quiet as she waits. She doesn’t get in a hurry.

When I’m working toward a goal, it’s easy to rush ahead and stop listening. Whether it’s writing goals or goals for my personal life, I need to take time to step back and evaluate how things are going.

Am I still headed in the right direction? Do I need to change my goal or my plans to reach my goal? Is this what God wants me to do?

2.) Perseverance requires focus.

No matter how many times I called her name or tried to get a better picture, Snickers had only one thing on her mind…the mole. A couple times she got up in exasperation and walked past me. I’d turn and call her name and try to get a better picture of her muddy paws and mud-covered nose, but she’d move further away. Once she had me away from the hole, she’d return and resume her work. I was simply too much of a distraction.

We can never rid our lives of all distraction and sometimes distraction is good. I don’t know how many times an unplanned distraction has kept me sane or provided the laugh I desperately needed.

However, sometimes it’s worthwhile to see if there’s something you do have control over that is keeping you from your goal. Am I obsessively checking my email/Twitter/Facebook account rather than writing? Am I believing lies about my ability to do something or who I am in Christ and allowing them to hold me back?

3.) Perseverance requires throwing yourself 100% into your work even when you’re getting tired or losing hope or wanting to quit.

Snickers works toward her goal with tenacity. A week ago, she was chasing a mole in a different area of the backyard. The day was warm and I’d see her walk to the shade and collapse from time to time. I figured she was about to give up.

But her focus stayed on the hole as she panted and rested. Then, after a few minutes, she would be digging again. Her goal was to catch that pesky mole and she was giving it her all even after several unsuccessful attempts.

4.) Resting doesn’t mean you’ve given up. You have to take care of yourself in order to persevere successfully.

Even the most dedicated and enthusiastic workers need a break from time to time. Learn to recognize when you need to take a time out.

While Snickers may ignore lots of things while she’s chasing moles, she doesn’t miss her meal times or try to work through the night.

As night falls, she shows up at the back door ready to call it a day. I have no clue what goes through her mind as she sleeps, but I know she looks quite peaceful stretched out on the couch. She seems to let the mole go for the time being and focus on the rest she needs. Then the next morning, she’ll run out and check the area and the chase begins again if the mole is still there.

So, take a break from the dream or goal as you need to. Take a nap. Listen to some music. Get outside. Try something new.

But don’t give up on your dream entirely until you’re 100% sure that’s what God wants you to do. You may be closer than you think to reaching your goal. And you never know when you might hear it calling to you again.

Stacy Hart blogs at http://writingbyhart.wordpress.com

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