Sydney Paige McCutcheon
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Perseverance

Perseverance: steady and continued action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite difficulties or setbacks

Perseverance

If we give up, then we choose to accept the long life of regret, bitterness and heartache. Which is worse? To try and continue to fail, or to not try at all, extinguishing all hope of victory?

I remember in my history class in middle school we watched this video with different animations that involved problems we the students needed to solve using math. One I still remember.

There is a frog in the bottom of a fifty foot well. Each day he climbs up three feet and each night he falls back two. How many days will it take him to reach the top?

I am that frog, and the opening of that well is the opening of my dreams coming true. But I have fifty feet of resistance ahead of me, fifty feet of work before I can get to that place. What can I do?

I can give three answers:

A) Pump up.

– There is no question as to what to do because the answer is simple. My dream is up ahead and the only thing I need to do to get there is climb this wall. If you ask me, I will tell you that I do know the risks (falling and breaking apart, physical and mental strain and struggle, exhaustion) but that they are irrelevant – I’m climbing this wall.

B) Give up.

– There is no way. This wall is fifty feet high and besides, I couldn’t make it anyhow, each stone is covered in slime from years of neglect – why even bother? Even if I did make it ten feet, there is another forty I’d have to go. No – I won’t do it. There is still water here, I can make it a few days and see if someone comes by to get me out.

C) Climb it.

– My mind says, three feet up each day and two down each night? I have to work three feet’s worth every day, slip and almost fall two feet each night, to gain one step toward my goal?  My emotions cry out against the injustice of my coming struggle. My heart has fainted with the sweep of my eyes upward; and my spirit asks, is this worth it?

But you see, I answer to a Higher Authority, a Higher Calling. One that speaks to my spirit and says, Yes, it is worth it. This life was bought with a high price and the race must be run with perseverance. Do not give up, your reward is ever-present.

I have three options. I can pump myself up, as I have done in past moments, and jump headfirst into the shallow pool of ignorance, thinking that no challenge is too great for me, if I can think myself there then I will get there. It doesn’t matter that I must climb three feet a day and slip two feet at night every night and every day to get to my goal. It doesn’t faze me, I can do it because A+B = C and that means if I just climb up then I can get out.

I have come to realize and must remind myself often that such thinking does not work. If I choose option (A) then, what happens after the excitement wears off, the bravado dies down and I’m on day three and only three feet up this wall? I’m sweating. The first and second day went good but my arms are getting sore. I tell myself, I just have to get up this wall, then I’m out, I made it. I just have to get up this wall. Day twelve comes (remember, I’m a frog) and I’m only twelve feet up. My arms aren’t only sore, they’re stiff and my legs are beginning to shake – and I still have thirty-eight feet to go.  By day fifteen I am back at the bottom of the well.

Why?

Because when you’re on the ground you have a perfect view of the top. I don’t see the sweat it takes, I don’t feel the pain such a climb inflicts when I’m standing at the start line. But as I get farther along, it’s harder to see that opening of the well, that dream come true because where once I saw the goal, I now only see the next forty feet of wall ahead. My body weakens, my heart has given up and my mind only repeats the same formula of A+B = C as discouragement clouds all thinking, and only my spirit craves to go on until that part of me too is squelched.

Mental picturing can get me only so far.

My next option is more desired. I can sit at the bottom of this dirty well and look up. I still get to see the stars come out at night, but only within the limited view of the well’s opening. I never get to feel the caress of a cool breeze nor experience the true beauty of stars – their magnificence that comes with their enormity. I have thrown out the possibility of climbing and will wait for someone to come by so that they can pull me out.

Some of us are looking at our dreams through a windowsill and waiting for another to pull us out of our well. I can call this hope – hoping that someone will come and rescue me – but I know the only thing keeping sitting in this well is fear of climbing that wall; and even laziness. I don’t want to climb, I shouldn’t have to because other people are up there and never had to be in a well. Other people didn’t have to struggle to get to their goal and yet neither have I simply because I chose to sit down and not even try.

I can’t waste forever waiting on someone else to do what is meant for me to accomplish.

Last option.  I begin the climb. And in less than sixty days, I make it.

How?

I listened to what I was told and not to my thoughts, physical feelings or emotions. Because these things failed me. My strength gave out, my mind went frantic and my heart weakened.

Yet something within me kept going.

Perseverance  – but not in myself. My spirit knows I can make it, my body and mind do not. So I must listen to the first and push past the latter, no matter how much it hurts, because I believe in something Higher and that is God. Through Jesus Christ, I am strengthened. He is my hope and my deliverance, He keeps my spirit going; and He’s right there with me the whole way up the wall.

Sometimes, I rather have no climb but just be placed at the top of the well. What I don’t always realize is that it is the climb that makes us worthy of the opening of the well. Because when I am a frog and I climb fifty feet up a well, I will not be the same frog I was when I first started.

The climb is hard, but the goal is worth it. There are things we have yet to do but can only begin once we finish this first wall. Don’t give up. I said it took less than sixty days instead of saying it took only fifty because sometimes on our climb we take stops along the way, but as long as we keep going it’s okay. The reason the first option failed was because the frog was a lot closer to the ground than he was to the goal and he let fear choose his destiny.

We must keep going, but in order to keep going we must have something that strives us forward and sustains us along the way.

Next weekend is Mother’s Day – I hope you get time to spend with your mothers, love them, forgive them and remember them, and let your children remember them too. I am excited as well.

My parents, sister and I have started our church this past Sunday May 6th and will be excited to hear my Dad’s message for Mother’s Day. If you are interested in service times or more about our faith you can visit our website www.spiritoffaithaz.com

I hope everyone had a great weekend and rest of the month of May!

Sydney