"Come back." The coach's voice was stern. "Come back this minute and let's try it again. We never say that in this class. We only say, 'I can't do it yet!'"
The firm voice that called our son not to quit, to try again with his best effort, has stuck with me for twenty years. It has nurtured a stubbornness to do better, to try more than once or twice, and to persevere to accomplish things I believe in.
One of my work supervisors did not always agree that my ideas were worthwhile. "What's the point?" she'd say. "I'm not convinced." Or more bluntly, "You're wasting your time."
"Let me go back and rethink this," I would say. "Obviously my argument wasn't good enough."
If the supervisor's reason seemed sound, I happily abandoned the action. I also backed off if she marked it as someone else's turf or pulled rank on me.
However, I rarely tossed an idea just because she didn't like it. She had hired me to complement her skills, after all. I also had a lot of experience with our clients and their interests. Part of my job was to act on their behalf within the company. When I got back to my office, I would pull out my to-do list and write, "Review Idea X."
"You can be really irritating," said my supervisor. "Dogged and determined. You don't quit if I say I don't like something."
If the proposal was core to my service goals, I reworked it and returned for another try. Often I passed the idea to a colleague, who would present it in a way the manager liked. I got a lot done by not giving up.
Our faith requires perseverance as well. Whether our church, our family, or our employer supports us or not, we are called to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Being a Christian requires a close walk with God, intimacy with scripture, and faithfulness in morality and good deeds. Not everyone will like the emergence of godly character as we are molded into the image of the Son. We fail often on the way to success, and our flaws and weaknesses make the journey a messy process. But putting in the effort brings God pleasure.
I remember the smile on the coach's face as our son put his head down, gritted his teeth, and charged. "Well done, son!" as the coach patted the thin shoulders of our little boy, who proved that he could do it.
I'm hoping to hear those words, "Well done!" from my Coach some day, too.
*The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves. Proverbs 14:8 NLT
*With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone. Proverbs 25:15 NEV
*For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-11 NIV