Month: January 2020

Long race of perseverance

The year 11s and year 13s are being spoken to a lot at the moment about working hard to reach their goals, but also having to think about what they need to do to achieve. This week our year 9s will be starting to think about what GCSEs they want to take. Our thought for the week comes from Kalpana Chalwa who says

“The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.”

I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a teacher, and most of my academic decisions have been affected by that aim. It wasn’t always as straight forward as I would have liked, but I made it.

Most people have dreams, they might think they are unobtainable, or they are likely to change throughout time. But… that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take them seriously, consider what we need to do to reach those goals and then persevere. It is likely to take time, it is likely to be difficult, you’re likely to want to give up at times, but imagine how it will feel when achieved.

When the letter was written to the early Hebrew church there is a recognition of the things that can get in the way, but the support and perseverance that is needed in the race of life, but also our other races and dreams. The verse says

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2a

May you have the courage to find and follow your dreams and run your races. Amen

Perseverance to weather the storms

We all face storms in life, it is something that we have to accept. We can choose how to respond to those storms. We could just choose to hide away from them until they’re gone… or we could choose to face them head on and walk on through.

If we choose to face them head on then we are going to need to be prepared. Recently I’ve needed to make sure I’ve had decent boots, a coat, hat and hood to face the physical weather, and it is the same in our metaphorical storms as well. To be prepared, but also to know we are not alone. When paul wrote to the Church in Rome he said

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Facing the storms with God, and with hope, patience and faithfulness in prayer. Storms are not easy to travel through, they take perseverance but they are a necessary part of the journey.

Although we could see life as one long journey, if we see each day as a journey of its own, with its own forecast, then that can make things easier.

Our thought for the week comes from Walter Elliott who says

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other”

If you face each day as a new race with faith, hope, prayer you will be amazed at what you can achieve over a month, a year, a lifetime.

Perseverance in the every day

When you describe your characteristics do you ever include perseverance?

I think perseverance can quite often be seen as a negative thing, after all our quote last week told us it’s the hard stuff you do after the hard stuff you’ve already done. However Joseph Wirthlin who gives us our quote this week says

“Perseverance is a positive, active, characteristic”

This quote tells us a few of things

1. It is a positive thing, we shouldn’t think of it as a chore but as something that will benefit us.

2. It is active, it is something that we should choose to do and that we have to do. We can’t just hope that we will persevere.

3. It is a characteristic, it shapes who we are. People will recognise perseverance within us.

It’s difficult though to be positive about perseverance and to actually choose to persevere, EVERYDAY. However we are given lots of examples throughout Christianity of people who have persevered, and people who had to encourage others to persevere. Moses, Abraham, Paul, Joseph, Esther, Ruth. Our verse this week is one of my favourite verses, it comes from the book of Joshua. Joshua encouraged the people to walk round the walls of Jericho to bring them down (a very short version of the story). Imagine having to keep walking round the same area over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. In the first chapter of this book we have one of my favourite verses which is God talking to Joshua saying

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Perseverance is positive, it’s active’ it’s a characteristic, it’s hard, but we’re not on our own!

What is perseverance?

How difficult is it to get up on the first day of term? I know it can be rather difficult, especially the first day after the Christmas holidays – well, let’s face it any morning can be difficult.

However, this term can be difficult because we’ve done a term already, it’s dark in the mornings, it’s dark in the evenings, it’s cold, and there isn’t anything like exams to focus on. Motivation is slim, we may have made New Years resolutions but, how long did they last?

That is why we have chosen perseverance as our value to focus on this term. And our thought for this week as we start to explore the concept of perseverance comes from Newt Gingrich who says

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after the hard work you already did”

Essentially it is keeping going, even when you want to give up, there’s other things you’d rather be doing and when you can’t really see the purpose of it.

As we will discover throughout the term perseverance is an important value, because it makes us stronger people, and if we persevere in the things like waking up, doing our school work etc and we see how that benefits us it will be easier to persevere in the difficult things. In the book of James he says that we should consider it pure joy when we face troubles, that seems odd, but it is because that’s where we develop our strength and courage, and become the people we are.

I’m going to leave it there for this week, but as I sign off think of the fact the church is celebrating epiphany this week which is when we remember the magi visiting Jesus. They travelled from a far away land, following a star and they weren’t even really sure what they were looking for. But they didn’t give up, they persevered, and we still remember them today.

What do you need to persevere with this term? What will help you to do that?

Thank you God that you give us examples of people who persevere and you also provide us with strength. Help us to know that we are not alone but that you are by our side. Amen