Tag Archive | goals

The Snail Made It!

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By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
Charles Spurgeon

Lately, the word perseverance has crept into my life from various sources like Bible readings, etc.  I decided to do a bit of a word study since there is obviously a good reason for the Lord to have that word popping up over and over. I searched my Bible first, of course and then on the internet.   As I was looking at the word on the internet–its definition,quotes, etc., I came immediately upon the quote above from Charles Spurgeon about the snail and that is where I got the title of my post from.  The quote made me smile because I can relate with that snail!  That is exactly how I feel at times when I want to accomplish something, like a very slow-moving snail, wondering if I will ever succeed at whatever it might be that I am trying to do.

So what is perseverance?  The dictionary gives two definitions.  The first, the secular definition, is “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”.  The second definition it calls the Christian definition.  “Persistence in remaining in a state of grace until death”.    The actress Julie Andrews simply defines it this way:  “Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th!”    That makes sense to me!  There are a very large number of quotes from different folks regarding perseverance, too many to share here but you might find it fun to Google them.

I thought about why the Lord has me thinking so much about perseverance of late and the first thing that came to my mind was my recovery and rehab from knee surgery.  He is reminding me and encouraging me in what I need to do for my surgery  to have had the very best, most successful outcome.  Persevere!  Keep working every day at the exercises and walking–especially practicing walking correctly, not stiff-legged like I did before.  There are times when it would be easy to tell myself I am too tired or it hurts too much today and any number of other excuses I know I could come up with.  After all, I am the master at finding excuses to put off until tomorrow what I should do today!  I’ve joked at times that my parents misnamed me–my middle name is Marie but it should have been procrastinator!   🙂  The Lord knows that all too well I am sure, so He is going to keep reminding me often I am sure!

As I searched through the Bible I found several verses that talk about perseverance and along with it in some cases, patience.  I feel like the two words go together.  One of the best examples of perseverance and patience together we can find in the book of Job.  Everyone is familiar with the phrase “the patience of Job”.  In James 5:11 NIV it says 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”    Somewhere else  I read another explanation of perseverance that states it is endurance produced by trials and tribulations when we exercise faith.  I would say that Job fits that definition most definitely.  He suffered through many things but he never gave up.  His faith in God kept him going; he had an inordinate amount of patience as well as perseverance!

Another who comes to mind is the Apostle Paul, who also suffered many, many trials and tribulations in his life, yet he wrote in his letter to the Romans the following:

Romans 5: 3-5  New International Version (NIV)

Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

There are many other examples in the Bible of course but Job and Paul really stand out to me and grab my attention.  If they can go through all the things they suffered and still persevere then why should it be so difficult for me or any of us to do the same?

Along with perseverance and patience, we must include prayer.  In Ephesians 6:18 it says “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— “.  In my NKJV bible there was a note that said simply that without prayer, all the armor in the world would be of no use.  Perseverance and patience in prayer are essential.

I could go on and on with all the references I found about perseverance, patience, prayer and self-control as well, but I won’t at this time. One of the important things I gained from my short study  is that a person who exercises perseverance will not easily fall into discouragement or be tempted to quit.    The secret of perseverance?  View all circumstances as coming from the hand of our loving Father who is in control of everything in our lives.   I find it very encouraging that God is always in control and that He will help me to persevere in the things I do.   If the snail could make it to the ark, then I should be able to carry out my goals as well.

Oh and I just had to add in this little quote I found by an unknown source that I thought was kind of funny really.  The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.

Have a wonderful day filled with all of God’s blessings my friends!  Thanks for taking time to read my post today!  You are all a blessing to me.

 

‘Tis The Set o’ the Sails – or – One Ship Sails East

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part of a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1916

Another small project completed tonight! Yayyy!  Back sometime in the 1990’s I found this embroidery project and fell in love with it.    I embroidered it way back then but with all the changes in my life at that time, I never got around to getting it framed and it ended up in a box of unfinished projects.  I came across it a few days ago while looking for something and decided to frame it in fabric instead of a regular old picture frame.  A very simple project to complete and I was able to do it this evening.

For your reading pleasure I will copy the whole poem into this post and explain why I like it so much, though I think that is easy to figure out if you have known me for very long.

But to every mind there openeth,
A way, and way, and away,
A high soul climbs the highway,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.

But to every man there openeth,
A high way and a low,
And every mind decideth,
The way his soul shall go.

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
‘Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Though she is not a well-remembered poet and was often criticized for being “too romantic” etc, there is a line from another poem of hers that is very well-known actually.  I was surprised as I was writing this tonight and reading a little about her  when I came across this line from her poem Solitude–“”Laugh and the world laughs with you;  Weep, and you weep alone.”  I dare say there are very few who are not familiar with that line!
I’ve always been charmed by some philosophical poetry and writings throughout my life, though I won’t claim to understand much of what I read.  There are those times, however, when something I read just grabs me and it stays with me forever.  The poem says a lot about our self-esteem and how good or bad, it will determine the goals we set for ourselves.  As she says in the last line, not the calm or the strife of our lives.  We will have those times when trials come our way and times when life is just going along very nicely for a while.   But how do we feel about ourselves?

Self-esteem has always been something i have struggled with my whole life, not believing in myself or in my abilities to succeed at many things.  Sometimes I had help with that self-esteem being even lower due to unfair criticism by another person, but I allowed that to happen to a certain extent so I can’t totally lay the blame elsewhere.  This poem is a great reminder for me that I control how I feel about myself.  I can set those goals and make them!  Not alone, but with God’s help and guidance.

As I have grown older  and developed a closer walk with the Lord, I have seen that become more evident in my life and my self-esteem has actually improved to a better state than it ever was.  Having a better self-esteem also leads to a better attitude about things as well–a more positive attitude that I CAN carry out some of my goals.  I am NOT a failure at life.  As it says in my life verse from the Bible, I CAN do all things through Christ who gives me strength  (Phil 4:13) .   Silly though it may seem finishing a small sewing project tonight that involved a philosophical piece of poetry that I love pushed home that point to me once again.  The Lord works in many ways to get our attention and send us encouraging messages, doesn’t He?

Life begins each morning…

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Life begins each morning….Each morning is the open door to a new world-new vistas, new aims, new tryings.  Leigh Mitchell Hodges

While writing in my journal this morning during my devotions I once again noticed a quote at the bottom of one of the pages I was writing on, the above quote beginning Life begins each morning..  Though I was writing about something very different, making notes for a couple of future blog posts, this quote caught my attention and I just felt I needed to share it. 

I don’t know about you, but quite often I awake in the morning thinking that it is “just another day”, nothing particularly spectacular or meaningful will happen in my day–just another humdrum day.   Somehow if I mistakenly start out with that thought, I can say it will probably be the case of how my day goes. 

The better way to start my day and something I did this morning after noticing this quote, is to decide that today I will take that to the Lord and pray for his guidance today and every day to open my eyes to the new things he will teach me today, to reach out for new things or to make goals for my day and do my very best to meet those goals.  I have to be careful there because I know I have the habit of setting too many goals of things I wish to accomplish that do not get completed because of other things that may come up or because I have under-estimated the time each goal will take to complete.  And if I am to be honest, quite often it is procrastination that gets in the way of completing my goals for the day. That is when I set myself up for failure!  Am I the only one who does that?

In Psalm 32:8 God says I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.    Today I will keep that close to me and lean on God to guide me through my day so that I may accomplish what He wishes to do today, let Him guide me in setting my priorities for the day.  One day at a time – Tomorrow I will do my best to follow the same plan of letting the Lord guide my day as another new day begins.  

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118:24