This week was supposed to be awesome. It is the first full week of the year which means goals and checklists should be in full force. Instead of working on goals, I am simply surviving. A common cold went rogue on me. I have struggled to breathe and stay on my feet. I tend to push through most hardships, my eyes firmly fixed on the finish line. I didn’t have the heart or the energy for determination this week. It got me thinking, when is it ok to rest and when should you persevere?
For today’s #FridayFive, I am working through five questions to ask when stuck between rest and perseverance.
What does my gut say?
“If it’s not a ‘heck yes,’ then it’s a ‘no.'” I try to apply this bit of wisdom to decide when it is time to sit and when it is time to go. I also consider my dreams and goals when faced with a decision to quit or keep going. If I have my eyes firmly fixed on a goal, I will have the internal drive to hang tough.
The disciples must have felt that heck yes in their gut when Jesus asked them to drop their nets and follow Him. “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (Matt 4:20 ESV). Moses’ mother, Jochebed, went with her gut when she decided to stop hiding Moses and float him down the Nile (Ex 2:1-10). She had no assurance he would survive. She acted on faith and God’s promises.
An opportunity to serve came up this week. While my heart wanted to jump on the chance to help, my gut told me I wouldn’t have the time or energy to fulfill the request. It was a small no, but it was a pivotal choice to rest instead of go for it.
Am I doing this to please others?
In her book, The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst points out the four traps of people pleasing:
- The fear of rejection
- The fear of disappointing people
- The need to manage perceptions
- The need for approval
This got some early believers tripped up. They opted to step back instead of push through the resistance.
Many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. (John 12:42-43 ESV, emphasis added)
I opted to go to work this week, even though I felt terrible. I am in a decision-making position that few people are trained to do. No one could cover for me and I didn’t want to let my employer down. If I had gone through these five questions, I may have decided to stay home and rest. Or not. Just as The Force is strong with young Skywalker, my need for approval is pretty strong.
Is there a promise or covenant involved?
One of the most beautiful covenant relationships in the Bible is Jonathan and David (see 1 Sam 18:1-5). These men stayed true to their friendship, even when King Saul, Jonathan’s father, sought to kill David (1 Sam 20). After Jonathan’s death, David upheld their covenant relationship by taking in Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth (2 Sam 9). It is such a lovely example of persevering for the sake of a covenant.
There are days I would like to take a marriage break, a parenting break, and even a Christian break. These relationships all involve a sincere promise and covenant. Perseverance is my only option. Take the covenant away and you have some leeway. Don’t feel chained to a commitment when it is not the best thing for you right now. If you feel compelled to take a break, do so with grace.
What are my truth-tellers saying?
While out in the wilderness, Moses served as the judge over the Israelites. People were standing around him from morning until night. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, sat him down and gave him a little advice.
What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. (Ex 18:17-19 ESV)
He advised Moses to delegate some of his responsibilities. Moses listened to Jethro and chose to rest.
On the other side of the wilderness, Moses put his arm around his successor, Joshua. He gave him a go get ’em speech that stands the test of time. “Be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6 ESV). Moses encouraged Joshua to keep going, even when he faces opposition.
Those people that tell you the truth no matter what—what are they saying about your decision to rest or persevere? My husband advised me to stop trying so hard and rest during this illness. Other times, he has nearly pushed me out the door when I didn’t feel like running. He knew how important it was to keep the routine up even when my heart wasn’t in it.
What is God asking of me?
God did a lot of work between the first and sixth day of earth’s existence. Each day He ended with, “this is good.” After the work of creation was complete, God chose to rest (Gen 2:1-3). He asked His creation to do the same (Ex 20:8-11).
There are times God calls us to persevere. He asks us to keep hope and hold firm to His love.
We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Rom 5:3-5 ESV).
At the end of our questions, God’s direction matters most. Is He asking you to press into Him for the strength to persevere? Or is He asking you to take a step back and rest in His presence?
#FridayFive Link Up
I need a good word on perseverance, friends. The antibiotics are doing their job, and I will start all of my best-laid plans next week. Give me your thoughts on perseverance in the comments. Or, better yet, link up your persevering post using the button below. I am ready for a good dose of encouragement!
Be sure to come back next week. We are sharing five adjectives. What five words best describe you? Or what five words would you like to describe you? This will be a great way to get to know you!
I am linking up with Suzie Eller who has some wise words about saying “no.”