It’s Tuesday again (already?!) and time to share thoughts on chapter ten of Jennifer Rothschild’s book, Self Talk, Soul Talk.
Chapter ten: Press On, March On, O My Soul
Who hasn’t felt like giving up?
Crumbs, who hasn’t actually done it at some point?
Once again, these words are timely for me.
Struggling with my job lately.
Last week, Jeff says, “Well, just quit, if you want to.”
This gave me pause. And also caused me to listen to the loud whine eminating from my mouth. (Did I sound that bad?)
How would it feel to quit?
I turned it around and around in my heart. Took a little nibble. Tried to taste. Chewed on it. Spat it out. Picked it up. Felt the weight of it in my hands.
And I knew it wouldn’t feel good.
Crumbs, I’m still burning with shame for quitting band in the fifth grade.
I don’t like to give up.
Because I have learned the hard way that making it through the tough stuff makes what’s on the other side all the sweeter.
Truth is, I don’t have permission from God to quit (but I think He’s really close to granting it :)). And that is what really counts. If I felt Him telling me it is time to go, I wouldn’t let the door hit me on the behind on the way out.
But I’m just not hearing that.
So how do we make it through these tough times when we feel God calling us to stay put?
That’s what this chapter is about.
Jennifer gives us some sound advice to speak Press On to our souls. She outlines some steps to “Practical Perseverence”.
First, she says, Turn Your Feelings Into Action. Let your feeling of being overwhelmed be a signal to start making small steps toward achieving your goal.
If any of you have ever read Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott, you understand this lesson. Ann tells the story of her brother putting off writing a report on birds until the last minute. The boy frantically asks his father, who is a writer, how he can ever possibly complete the report by the due date. His father wisely replies, “Bird, by bird, buddy. Bird by bird.”
Break it down. A little bit at a time. Slow and steady. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
You get the picture.
Next, Jennifer says, Affirm Your True Identity. Don’t let the struggle fill your self-talk with words of defeat that generalize to your identity. Jennifer says, “Remember, I am is not the same as I feel. Don’t let feelings define you; let who you are define your feelings”.
And who are we, friends?
We are daughters of The King.
The next two steps, Speak Truth to Your Soul and Exercise Discipline, are fairly self-explanatory.
We will get nowhere if we listen to lies based on feelings or refuse to do the work required for success.
I remember my freshman year of college. First semester, my car caught on fire, in which were all my newly purchased (and very expensive) school texts. The books did not burn up, but when the firemen came to extinguish the fire; my already heavy books were water-logged and swelled to amazing proportions. (I had many similar traumas all through college, but perhaps we’ll save those for another time?)
I could not afford to buy new books. I was going to have to make do.
My biology text was the most troublesome. Already huge, the book had swollen to three times its normal size. I laid it in the sun. I tried ironing the pages.
But it was still a heavy mass of charred and wrinkled words.
One day–after a particularly frustrating study session—I threw this boulder sized book up against the wall of my bedroom.
It shook the house.
My mom poked her head in to make sure I was okay.
When I expressed my aggravation, mom said, “Why don’t you quit?”
At this point, no one in my family had a college education. My sweet mother simply could not understand why I would put myself through so many struggles for something that seemed pointless to her.
Let’s just say that mom’s words opened my eyes in many ways.
If we want the victory, we have to do the work, Beloved. Sometimes there is no easy way to get the job done.
Just press on. March on, O my soul.
The prize is waiting.