Just Try

I’m not tenacious.

These were the words I uttered this morning that made me stop in my tracks. As the last syllable left my lips I realized just how many things were wrong with that sentence. It’s true, I’ve struggled with tenacity my whole life. I’m not that person who’s going to persistently bug someone until something gets done or continue going down a path that’s full of roadblocks. I stop, I turn around, I rethink; I’m quite skilled in the art of giving up.

However, over the past few years, God has been developing and honing my stick-to-itiveness. Now, though I still won’t continue to reach out after multiple rejections, I have more determination than I did before. If I want something, I now realize that I can go after it. I have permission to pursue the things I want.

God pursued me with fierce determination, while I rejected him over and over and over again for years. I’m thankful that he’s been imbedding that same persistence into me and will continue to do so as I pursue him.

I can’t do it.

Let’s roll back the clock a few years, it’s 2009 and I’m working in a preschool. There was one student in particular who just didn’t believe in himself. He was a sweet, smart, kind, four year old, but there was one problem: he thought he couldn’t do it. I remember one day we were working on a writing worksheet and he was the last one sitting at the table when all of the other kids, having finished, were playing. I sat down next to him and he asked for my help but I didn’t give it. Instead, I told him “You can do it.”

He protested, saying “I can’t” again and again but, instead of giving in, I asked him to just try. He looked at me skeptically, but ended up doing what I had asked. The first letter was almost the right shape, but drawn by a shaking hand that wasn’t used to forming letters. I celebrated. His eyes lit up and he tried again. The second letter was even better than the first and I praised his good work. He wrote another letter and another and another until it was almost perfect and I encouraged him every step of the way.

Many times in life I am that preschooler. Something is placed in front of me, I think “I can’t do it” and just stare at it, soaking in my failure and ineptitude. But the beautiful thing is that God’s right there, whispering in my ear, “You can do it, just trust me.” The terrifying goal in front of me could anything from getting out of bed today or smiling in spite of pain, to pursuing a dream or mending fences. I have struggled with all of those things and more, but every step of the way I hear God’s voice in my ear, spurring me on and celebrating every small victory.

Today, I want to echo the same sentiment to you, no matter what that thing is you think you can’t do, I want to tell you otherwise:

You can do it, trust God and just try.

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