Are you persevering well?
It’s been about a year since the word “covid” entered all of our vocabularies. And what a year it has been! A year of ups and downs, to be sure - mostly downs if we are all honest. But I finally feel like there is light. Spring has sprung. Vaccines are coming. And generally, it feels like things are starting to feel lighter, and for that I am hopeful!
As I currently sit in a state of hopefulness, I think that is partially due to what I have learned this past year about perseverance. The Greek word for perseverance is hupomone and the definition is literally “to remain under pressure.” We’ve talked about perseverance multiple times at church over this past year and I’ve been thinking about it again recently.
I’ve been asking myself deeper questions about it. Like, what does it really mean to persevere well? Like practically, what does it look like? To not just survive, but to really hang in there well when the going gets tough. I certainly do NOT have all the answers at all, but I can tell you there have been some things that have brought me sanity, joy, life, and just generally helped me to persevere, or remain under pressure, this last year. Some of those are:
Creating a rhythm of bi-weekly exercise and investing care into those people in my group exercise class - love my Zumba ladies!
Finding things that are funny like “Fresh Off the Boat” and uplifting like “The Chosen” to watch
Reaching out to people when I am hurting, either by text, call, or as much in person as possible – and usually, this has looked like being in the moment and letting myself feel all the feelings, good or hard
Limiting toxicity in relationships and putting up boundaries where needed
Acting on a spur of the moment food craving and bringing back food for all my coworkers
Bringing fun things that make me smile like llamas or Wonder Woman into the everyday!
Dancing whenever possible, and following the crazy fun thought (as long it's appropriate)
Finally having some plans to look forward to for my 30th birthday - I can’t wait to go to Dollywood with friends and see Annie F. Downs!!!
Being excited for new life and new marriages in my family, even when there’s been a lot of hardship – there is growth!
Being faithful to my church, even when I’ve felt like not going or not pressing in to try and get to know people – thankful for the worship and truth that comes out of COTC
Taking time to listen to my body and take more naps and walks
Leaning in (with reluctance at first) and taking advantage of counseling and spiritual direction – thankful for these spiritual advisors!
Discovering new music that is sometimes fun, sometimes chill, sometimes worshipful, sometimes crazy, and always good for the moment – here’s a new great one by Lauren Daigle called “Hold on to me”: https://youtu.be/R1EwKwayzLM or another one I just found while writing called "Reasons" by Hulvey: https://youtu.be/EvzJsh-SwUo
Finding creative ways to connect with and bless family and friends far away and close by, whatever way possible – grateful for video chat technology!
Learning ways to limit my work schedule to be most healthy for me, but also coming up with new ways to grow at work and in my own career outside of my regular schedule
Reading books and articles that intentionally help me pause or tackle a subject that I’ve been wrestling with
Listening to podcasts that make me think and help me apply truth – like “That Sounds Fun,” “The Glorious in the Mundane,”
Learning more about myself…. it’s so fun to me to discover my personality, likes/dislikes, and what makes me happy, and even sad – it all matters!
Finding joy in nature and taking pictures of beautiful things (see below)
Those are just some of the things that have helped me to remain under pressure practically. Here’s the thing: This past year has been hard in a TON of ways for most of us, but I also think we have to practice remaining and looking for the good, training our eyes to turn to Christ with hope instead of staying in despair. I am learning to see some good that has come about from this past year, and I am hopeful for what is to come!
Overall, I know that God has been SO faithful to hold me, even when I felt like I was falling apart, and for that I am grateful. I KNOW that it is through Him alone that I have and can remain under pressure. He helps me, holds me, and sustains me. But all these other good things haven’t hurt either!
Tell me, what is helping you practically persevere, or remain under pressure?