Friday, March 6, 2009

Stubbornness or Determination

There's a fine line it seems between stubbornness and determination. The one quality that separates the two, according to dictionary definitions, is thought process. Stubbornness arises from unreasonable and unyielding decisions. Determination arises from a careful thought process. Stubbornness is viewed as a weakness in one's character that often leads to problems or loss. Determination is strength of character that leads to victory.

Consider this true story; I grew up with two older brothers. I loved and adored them and did my best to keep up with them despite the age differences of five and seven years. Anything they could do, I believed I could do.

One summer day, when I was about eight years old, I set out to prove this - to myself mostly. We lived on a high bank of the Vermillion River. On the bend of the river, my brothers had set up a diving board where they skillfully dived into the deep water and with powerful strokes swam easily to shore. I, on-the-other-hand, was skilled at floating and dog-paddling.

As my brothers stood on the sandy shore, talking and laughing, I walked boldly unto the diving board on the oppostie shore and dived. I surfaced quickly but the current was surprisingly strong. The deep dark waters swirled pulling me under and quickly down stream. I didn't have strength to swim across to the sandy shore where my brothers stood; therefore I headed for the high bank which was a little closer. Although I feared drowning, I did not cry for help. As I dog-paddled against the angry current trying desperately to reach shore, my brothers were unaware of my dilemma.

Today, as I look back on that incident, it's clear to see that it was stubbornness that got me into the swift current; into trouble and almost cost my life. Determination got me to shore; to safety although not totally on my own power - God strengthened me.

We go through life stubbornly (or stiff-necked as the Bible puts it) doing what we believe is right, unwilling to look around and see that God is there for us. He has great plans for us; plans to prosper us; plans to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) But it takes determination to hang unto our faith.

What a foolish little girl I was; I amost threw away my life because of stubbornness. I would have lost the great plans God had in store for me. I'm glad He saved me because today I live the victorious life He had planned just for me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Away We Go No Matter What

One day as I sat in a coffee shop observing people and writing, I jotted this into my journal;

An older well-rounded man rolls into the cafe in his wheelchair. He's wearing a green spring zippered jacket and a ball cap. He grins as he says, "And away we go no matter what." to no-one in particular. Then he wheels over to an elderly man with grey hair dressed in blue and also wearing a ball cap. He is seated at a small table near the counter. They appear to know each other. They poke each other and laugh like little mischievous boys. The one in the wheelchair attempts to crumble the newspaper his friend is reading.

"Go away," the man reading the paper says softly. "You're bothering me." He doesn't sound angry.

His friend in the wheelchair ignores him and continues pestering. They both laugh. Then the wheelchair man quotes words from a 60's song; "Hit the road, Jack and don't ya come back no more, no more, no more, no more." After he finishes "singing", he wheels out. I hear him say, "And away we go no matter what."

I watch him leave. Yes, there he goes, no matter what.
Sometimes we're rooted to the ground by fear, unable to move forward and do what we ought to do. The fear might be one of failure or of certain people and the power they hold.

As the young man David ran from the crazed King Saul who hunted him relentlessly, he feared for his life. Each time that he feared, he encouraged himself with these words; "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" David also penned the famous words of Psalm 23 that often is referred to as the Lord's Prayer; "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me..."

When we have a true relationship with Jesus we need not be afraid for He is a faithful friend who sticks close by always. Can you bravely say; "And away we go no matter what."?

Psalm 27:1
Psalm 23:4