Tag Archives: perseverance

Celebrating Our Stories – Words We Long to Hear (Part 2)

Sue’s Note: Jesus cautioned His disciples to beware of the cares of this world distracting them from the message of God. Oh, how easy it is to allow our task-filled lives to distract us from spending time nurturing our soul. Today, my friend, Stephen, describes how his spiritual equilibrium became off-kilter. His words speak volumes to me. I hope you read his post on Monday. I know you’ll enjoy the continuation of his message today.

by Stephen Robinson

     In my post on Monday, I explained how my spiritual routine was disrupted last year when I needed to put my training for the CDA half Ironman on hold. What I realized during this time was that without a fitness goal, I really struggled to reach my spiritual goals. Failure is a great teacher! This lapse caused me to consider which words I longed to hear more:

     “Stephen Robinson, You Are an Ironman” OR

     “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

     So why do I want to share this part of my story with you today? Why has Sue asked me to write about this topic? I believe it is because most of us start our year, month, week or even day with the best of intentions, but sometimes those don’t work out as planned.

     “Today I am going to start my day in God’s Word; I am going to be a blessing to my co-workers;’ maybe I will share about the message from church on Sunday.”

     Then, you rush out the door. Forget your coffee. Worse yet, someone doesn’t let you merge onto the freeway. Seems like your day can’t get any worse. Oh, I guess I just described what my recent Monday looked like! Perhaps a bad day may for you looks even much worse than that!

     What I’ve realized is that after a bad start to my day, I can come up with so many reasons why I wouldn’t want to spend time with God. The truth, though, is that is when I need Him most.

My wife and I started a couch to 10K running program, sometimes we have to squeeze in a run at night.

     The CDA Half Ironman is back again in June. I know I must start training now. It will take some time to catch up to my previous physical stamina, but I recognize if I wait much longer, I won’t be prepared to finish the race.

     Currently, I am 76 days behind on my plan to finish reading the Bible in a year. I realize if I were to try and catch up on my reading plan in a couple of days, it wouldn’t work. (Just as I couldn’t possibly cram and train in a couple of days to be ready to compete in a half Ironman.) But, I also know if I keep procrastinating, I may miss God’s prompting through the “still, small voice” of the Holy Spirit because I’m not trained to hear it.

     So, I’m ready to put forth the effort to prepare for the half Ironman in June. I’m also ready to throw off the hindrance of procrastination and that alarm clock snooze button and return to my routine of spiritual training.

     Hebrews 12:1 has become one of my life verses.

“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” – Hebrews 12:1

     Last fall, I had this verse tattooed on my forearm so I would always see it. It serves to remind me never to give up—whether training for a race or sticking to my scripture discipline.

     Even though I know God loves me no matter what, I also realize that if I neglect the training disciplines, I may miss what the Lord is trying to do in me and through me.

     What interferences are keeping you from your time with the Lord?

     Perhaps your day begins in His Word without fail, to which I tip my cap. But, if like me, you find yourself in an undisciplined season of life, or if you’re traveling through a difficult valley, I would encourage you to start fresh tomorrow.

     I recommend the YouVersion Bible app, which has plenty of different reading plans to choose from. Or, perhaps for you listening to a podcast or worship music is a more helpful way to prepare your heart to hear from God.

My wife and I do our best to start our day in His Word together.

     I don’t know what the next step is in your journey, but I pray you will find a fresh rhythm in your walk with the Lord. I believe if you do, He will begin to reveal himself to you in a new way.

     I hope my words have encouraged you to take whatever the next step in your journey may be…

Stephen Robinson

Perseverance Gets the Job Done…

     I was cleaning my home office the other day and ran across several small scraps of paper on which I’d written what I consider ‘delicious’ words. I’m forever jotting down a catchy phrase or quote worth pondering on whatever is handy—back of a receipt, napkin, envelope, torn-out-page.

     Perhaps not the best habit, but truthfully, one I have no intention of breaking!

     The day I was tidying up my office, I came across a quote scribbled on a now-expired coupon. Right about that same time, I received photos my husband took while he was on a guys’ getaway to Palouse Falls in southeast Washington. This photo seemed tailor-made for the quote:

A river cuts through a rock not because of great power but because of its perseverance.
     Perseverance in an essential characteristic necessary to accomplish any significant undertaking, whether a river cutting through massive rocks, completing a daunting project or changing an undesirable habit. I like how the NIV translates James 1:4:

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

     Are you, like me, involved in an endeavor that will require perseverance in order to succeed? Yeah, it’s hard. At times it’s boring. Sure, sometimes it’s wearying.

     Despite all these inconveniences, how about we agree to hang in there and let perseverance finish its work?

I’ll be cheering you on each step of the way…

Sue Reeve

Persevering and Remaining Faithful…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
and I have remained faithful.
2 Timothy 4:7

Sue’s Note: There’s something quite remarkable about a person who trains for a big athletic event. I’m always impressed when I hear about the rigorous process and discipline—setting and achieving one ambitious goal after another—running one more mile, cycling a steeper hill, swimming another lap, rising an hour earlier.

     Even if someone trains for only one event, deciding that was “one and done,” I’m impressed, but my admiration deepens when an individual perseveres and repeats the process. 

     My friend, website manager, and today’s Listening on the Journey… guest blogger, Stephen, is one who not only perseveres and finishes races, but he is also a man who remains faithful to friends, family and faith in the process. I know his words today will inspire you.

Stephen writes:

     As I stood on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene waiting for the start of the biggest race of my life, IMCDA70.3, my mind was racing. I knew I had put in a lot of time training, but would it be enough? Before coming to a definitive answer, the horn blasted, and I ran into the frigid lake for my 1.2-mile swim.

     Before I continue, I would like to share about the journey to IMCDA70.3 and how it would not have happened without a ton of perseverance and prayer.

     The day I signed up for this race, I sat in the dining room of our rental house. I remember feeling a mix of nerves and excitement. I felt guilty about the cost of the race and the time it would take not to just finish but finish well.

     What I didn’t realize is all that would be involved in the journey I would take on over the next 6 months….

     We began house hunting in March and had almost given up. The housing market in Liberty Lake was very tight, and we couldn’t find anything that met both our needs and budget. After a few near misses, I found a house that turned out to be “the one.” The Lord blessed us with a house that turned out to be more than we could have asked for.

     Anyone who has moved knows how much time it takes. Time, I needed to be training was instead spent packing boxes, cleaning and moving.

     Training for a half Ironman takes an incredible amount of time. Working from home afforded me the flexibility I needed to maintain this rigorous schedule. In April, I accepted a new job which meant I would no longer be working from home, and this impacted my strict training schedule. Nonetheless, keeping my goal in mind, I needed to adapt, be flexible and train whenever I could squeeze it in. The same spiritual discipline I had built up last year, spending time in the Word before training, was applied to this rigorous training schedule.

     Months of hard work and preparation all came down to this day. I felt great in the water and even tried to keep an eye out for Ron who I knew was in his kayak, out there somewhere along the course.

     Running through the transition area to the bike, I saw my wife, Jamara, and three girls cheering for me, along with my Dad and Pastor Gary. I get chills now thinking of them being there to support me.

     As I reflect on this journey, I remember them cheering me on along the CDA Marathon course last year with cow bells, gu gels, water and every other crazy thing I needed along the way. They have been at every race, cheering me on. When I was tired and just wanted to be done, they were there to pick me up. This is no different than our walk with the Lord. One famous poem, Footprints in the Sand, is a reminder that God never leaves us; He is always by our side.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:9

     The bike is my favorite part of a triathlon. This is where I am strongest, and usually, where I make up time. This year I have battled issues with my right knee and hip, but not on race day. It wasn’t until I was flying down Mica Bay on my way back into town that I realized my knee and hip felt great. I knew a lot of people were praying for me that day. I recalled Sue’s email with an encouraging word, and it meant the world to me. The sun was beating down on me during the run, but I stuck to my plan.

     My training paid off.

     I finished!

     No matter what race you are running, goal you are trying to achieve, mountain you are trying to climb, you will get there much faster and arrive in one piece when the foundation of your training is in prayer.

     What are your dreams?

     What is the one goal you would love to achieve if nothing held you back?

     Don’t give up. Don’t listen to negative messages from others.

     Just remember to persevere and FINISH!

Stephen Robinson

My amazing support crew after completing CDAIM70.3. I could not do this without their support and encouragement. #CDAIM70.3 #FINISH