Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Endurance, my word for 2015 and what I'm still learning from it...


I knew that the Bible had a lot to say about endurance by the way God led me to it as my word for 2015.  You can read about that here.  Still, throughout the year as I've been reading through the Bible with the She Reads Truth 365 Days of Truth reading plan, I've been surprised to stumble onto even more passages about endurance than I first thought.  I've found endurance mentioned in the book of Lamentations, in Luke, in Romans, 1 Corinthians, Colossians, Timothy, Hebrews, Peter, James and in Revelation. Finding an emphasis on endurance in the book of Revelation, the last New Testament book I'm reading before year's end,  gave me the understanding that patient endurance is essential to our spiritual survival in these tumultuous times that will be getting even more chaotic in the last days.  

Truthfully though, the way I've practiced what I called endurance has been all too frequently resentful resignation. When I've come up against a trial, circumstance or relational difficulty I couldn't change, I'd pray, I'd recite scripture, I'd relinquish it to God, but when things didn't change, I'd grit my teeth and endure, while harboring frustration and resentment in my heart.  This was especially true if the situation involved another person, who, in my opinion, wasn't cooperating with what needed to happen, with what I perceived as God's plan or purpose,  or with how God wanted to change them, (or maybe how I wanted them to change).  Mostly, the battle was in my own heart, but I know that my lack of true, godly patient endurance became obvious at times.

I think, for me, it all boils down to a lack of trust in God, a failure to trust that no one or nothing can stop Him from working all things together for good in my life.  I know that the caveat of that verse is that God works all things together for good for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose. It isn't a blanket promise for everyone on planet earth.  Individual choice to love God and cooperate with Him is needed. However, I somehow put a mental addendum onto that verse that said that everyone connected to me must do this too.  In other words, how was God going to work out everything in my life for good if my husband or kids or my friends or the people in our church, etc. weren't cooperating with Him in a way that affected me in some way? My subconscious thought was that other people could rob me of God's highest and best for my life.  In recent weeks, the Lord has been gently correcting that wrong way of thinking, a mindset that I wasn't even fully conscious of having.  He's been talking to me about His sovereignty,  about His promise to fulfill His purposes in my life, about how patient endurance in trial and suffering is what He went through for me and a part of the life of a Christ follower. I feel like I've failed at patient endurance more than I have succeeded this year, even in superficial things, like messy house renovations, not to mention the more challenging things. So, I've got a lot more learning and growing to do in the area of endurance, especially patient endurance. I'm glad God patiently endures working with me.

still following,

  


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18 comments:

  1. I am also thankful that He has patient endurance with us. I may have given up on me a long time ago, but He sees us beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I am encouraged to press into the new year with a word for 2016. Be blessed always. Misty.

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    1. Thank you, Misty. God has already given me a word for 2016, though He's certainly not done teaching me about patient endurance!

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  2. So grateful you visited my blog today which gives me a chance to meet you! I relate to this so well--having endurance with a bad attitude..I've been in a career transition that has been most perplexing and frustrating and hasn't worked out my way at all..I've fretted and complained more than trusting God has it all handled! And I really get how have expectations for others to follow our walk and way..the frustration we have when our expectations aren't met. Thanks so much. I needed to read this tonight!

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    1. Kathy, transitions are hard, even good or beneficial ones, because change is hard. I'm blessed that my blog ministered to you. I'm still learning and growing and I'm glad that even in that others can be encouraged!

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  3. Patient endurance is something I need a lot more of. It's one thing to endure, but another to endure with patience. Thanks for sharing what God has been teaching you this year.

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    1. Barbie, yes, it's that patient endurance part that's so hard! I definitely need God's supernatural help with this.

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  4. Elizabeth, What strikes me most is your humility. You are open to questioning your own motives and this self-awareness is where the heart of change lies. I've been doing a lot of reading lately about the value of waiting and patience -how to cultivate it and why it's important - and I struggle, too. Your year of endurance was a wonderful start to continued growth and faith, and that is cause for celebration!

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    1. Thank you for encouraging me, Donna. You are a blessing.

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  5. The year isn't over, my friend :)
    It was a well-chosen word/trait to concentrate on. It takes a lifetime!
    I look forward to hearing your word for 2016.

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    1. I'm thankful that God gives me more than just one year to learn what He wants me to learn!

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  6. I think learning to endure (kind of like the waiting room of a prayer sent out) is kind of like learning to surf - you fall off and have to keep getting back on. You make progress only when you keep getting back on. I think you're doing that - and that you are enduring longer each time. I'm kind of with you - I wish people would cooperate and just go ahead so I could check it off the list as, "Done" - and I keep falling off that "surf board" - maybe that's what friends do when we lift each other up when we fall down - meaning get discouraged in the wait of the prayer sent out. Standing with you, Elizabeth - believing whatever it is with you - and lifting you up in prayer! I don't think we were designed to perfectly "surf" overnight! :)

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    1. That's a really good analogy. Thanks so much!

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  7. Elizabeth. Good words!! My word is fulfill & it's been challenging. Thank you for sharing. God Bless you!❤️

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    1. Fulfill seems like a beautiful word! I'd love to hear more about how it impacted your year.

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  8. Just becoming aware of {and being willing to change} certain wrong thinking is huge, Elizabeth! We all have bent attitudes that need to be repented of, set aright and turned away from. Thankful that God is patient in His mercy and abundant with His grace. Blessings on your Friday.

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    1. I will be working on changing this wrong mindset even after the year turns. I'm so thankful God doesn't expect me to get it all together in 12 months!

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  9. Yes! guilty as charged! I grit my teeth, take a deep breath and think this "_____" is something I must endure, so I do. Not with a joyful/peaceful spirit. That is not a really a Godly endurance ...I have failed the test, once again. Then with realizing I have fallen short.... I crumble with disappointment in myself. Thank goodness we have a merciful God!!!
    I really don't know how unbelievers manage to survive in this crazy world.
    I am so very grateful to know my Heavenly Father listens and puts his arms around me.
    Addie

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    1. Your description of how you endure sounds exactly like me! At least we're here learning, growing and hopefully changing together!

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