I’m no stranger to the temptation to give up, throw in the towel, and walk away when life is too hard to handle. After I was diagnosed with a birth defect that required me to move out of college for the second time and undergo major surgery, I was tired. I wanted to quit pursuing my dream of becoming a writer. I was tired of moving in and out of college, making new friends, dealing with the aftermath of losing my Nana, and the broken relationships that resulted from my grief.
It is hard to persevere when you are worn, tired, and just want everything to calm down in your life. As I spent the summer of 2013 recovering from surgery, I seriously contemplated quitting school and leaving my desire to study English behind. I knew it would disappoint my parents, and if my Nana was still here she would’ve been upset too. But I didn’t think I could keep going, knowing it was going to be a long road that didn’t seem to have an end. Plus, I was worried about what other hard and horrible twists this journey might bring.
But I didn’t give up. I decided to keep going and it was indeed a long, hard road. I enrolled in online classes at Grand Canyon University. Perseverance is persistence in doing something despite the delay in success or achievement. It took me seven years to complete my B.A. in English, but as I write this my diploma is in my hands. I did it!
So, how do you keep persisting and pursuing your dreams when everything in you wants to give up? How do you not lose your goal, but pursue it and live it out? Pursuing perseverance requires perseverance. It is hard to press in and believe that moving forward is worth it when it would be easier to take the path of least resistance, let the ups and downs of life circumstances control your life, and find a new dream.
There are three consistent factors that helped me push through every bit of doubt, insecurity, shame, and the lie that was tempting me to give up on myself and the future.
Take care of yourself, girl. Self-care is a buzzword that has taken on a life I don’t completely agree with, but learning to take a break was crucial for me. Stepping back from the chaos and finding time to relax and have fun was necessary. We don’t need to keep going all the time; we can’t keep going all the time. Perseverance isn’t about how far you can push yourself before you burn out; I believe it is about sustainability. To keep going and growing you have to lay “it” aside and find an outlet to wind down. My outlets have always been art and reading. Getting lost in a story or creating on a blank canvas has always helped me unwind and release the pressure of it all. Finding ways to care for yourself after a long day on the journey to reaching your goals is crucial to maintaining perseverance—the ability to get up and start again day after day.
Find your people, girl. Having my parents and a few close friends in my corner cheering me on helped me stay in the game. I knew they were not giving up on me and that I shouldn’t give up on me either. When I had hard times in my classes or was feeling burned by another rejection, they were there for me. Being in community, even in the midst of mental and emotional burn out of hard circumstances, helps us stay connected with what matters: people. Let them in on your struggle to stay the path and thank them often for sticking by you even when life looks hard. Find your people who point you back to truth and at the same time remind you that you need to take care of yourself. We can’t walk the journey alone, no matter how much we think we can; we need each other.
Believe in God alone, because you will let yourself down every time, girl. What we believe and where we place our trust is crucial to staying the course and not giving up on our dreams. I believed for so long that my faith was a one-and-done belief. The idea of daily needing to be reminded of what Jesus says about me and my future was lost on me. Even after going through the initial loss of my Nana and finding that comfort in Christ alone, I continue to struggle to believe that I’m so weak that I need to remember Jesus daily. Belief that God will redeem all the brokenness and turn it into something beautiful—even faith the size of a mustard seed—fuels perseverance. We have access to a life of grace rooted in peace that surpasses all understanding. We can be successful in pressing on, but only through holding on to truth.
I made it through one of the hardest journeys of my life. I did it and you can too. Sister, above all else stay close to Him and remind yourself of what is true because that is the light that will forever guide you and give you the strength to keep going when all you want to do is give up. Dear friend, you can persevere and press on even when everything in you wants to give up on your dreams. You are an overcomer because He overcame the cross and the grave for you. You can persevere and stay this course with God alone, community in your corner, and by taking care of yourself. Don’t give up! You can do this. I am rooting for you.
For more articles on work and life balance, start here:
When a Strong Woman Is Quitting, But Not Failing
You Don’t Have to Be Strong All by Yourself
There Is Hope, God Is Not Only in the Gaps
Self-Care: What to Do When It Feels Like Another Commitment
13 Things I Need to Quit For Good, Right Now
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