Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a movie on the lawn of a friend’s house. We had so much fun eating tacos and watching Back to the Future. Do you remember that film? Honestly, what I had remembered was Michael J. Fox shredding Johnny B. Goode on the electric guitar.
What I didn’t remember was that his character, Marty McFly, wanted to give up music at the beginning of the film because one person had criticized him. I could sympathize.
I have always been sensitive to the criticism of others. Growing up as both a people pleaser and a creatively-minded person, I found myself creating things that I would never show to other people for fear of what they might say. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, so I would often use the excuse that my work wasn’t “ready” to be seen yet. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
Working in a creative field requires a great deal of confidence, vulnerability, and perseverance.
One of the major lessons I’ve been learning in this season of life is perseverance. The same night of the movie, I was talking to a friend about a dream I’ve been pursuing and I found myself saying, “I want to do this but it’s going to be really hard. I’ll probably have to focus my whole life on it for a few years if its going to happen. I just want a little assurance that it’s what I’m suppossed to do.”
It was a very truthful and vulnerable statement, and I found myself dissecting it for a few days after I said it. It got me asking myself, “Am I afraid to do hard things?” Or am I being wise and seeking to make an informed decision? Maybe a little bit of both. Maybe I’m afraid that I’ll do the hard things only to be rejected in the end.
But I want to be made of sterner stuff. I want to be a person of perseverance. I think of world changers who persevered, and William Wilberforce immediately springs to mind.
Wilberforce had a dream to see slavery ended and he was foolish enough to think it could be done. He is quoted as saying, “We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible…So we will do them anyway.”
This man lobbied for abolition for 18 years before the slave trade was abolished.
However, his work wasn’t done there. He continued to tirelessly work for the freedom of those already in slavery and only saw these dreams come to pass shortly before his death–26 years after the slave trade was abolished. Now that’s perseverance!
Conviction and hope seem to be the keys to perseverance. I suppose that’s what I was saying to my friend. I have enough hope and vision for what could be, but I’m seeking the conviction that will keep me strong when things are hard.
I don’t have the answers yet. The Apostle Paul said to run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Well, I can’t quite seem to make out the trail. But until I do, I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other–keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus. At this point that is what perseverance means to me.