What’s the point?

Last night was my monthly women’s huddle. I have the great pleasure of leading a small group of Impact Women who are bound and determined to change their life! No small responsibility, I assure you, but I am learning just as much as they are on this path to self discovery and self mastery. And recently, God has put such a strong message on my heart about struggling.

Last night, we talked about Grit. A book by the same title was recommended to me in prepping for this months teaching and although I’m not far into it, I will say that I’ve already come to confirm what I knew for sure- all you need is NOT love! Those Beatles are wise, don’t get me wrong, but they really miss the mark when it comes to what we actually need for life. But they were right in that, what we do need is very simple, and actually attainable for everyone.

All we need is GRIT.

My favorite definition for grit comes from one of my favorite Arbonne celebrities, Miranda Burcham, and it goes as follows:

Grit is a passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

I love how she says ‘sticking with your future.’ Isn’t that kind of a cool idea? Grit is sticking with the future that your heart desires, day in and day out, until that future is your today. THAT’S SO COOL and worth sticking to, right? I mean, if anything in this whole world is worth sticking to, it would be YOUR OWN FUTURE, wouldn’t you agree?

In the book titled ‘Grit’, it talks about how the only accurate way to predict who will be successful in any given pursuit, is the measure of how ‘gritty’ a person is. It’s actually not intelligence, a skill set, any test scores, physical aptitude, background, culture, financial standing, education… surprisingly, it’s NONE of these things. The book starts out by digging into West Point applicants. You know, West Point? The big deal military college! Well, apparently, there is always a huge pool of people accepted to West Point each year, and of course West Point goes to great lengths to try to determine who really has what it takes to make it through the program before they send out acceptance letters, but they haven’t yet discovered an accurate assessment to determine who will actually stay until the end and make it through the program.

Some fail out and can’t keep up, but most quit or leave on their own accord. WHY IS THIS? And how can we determine ahead of time, who will do what it takes to make it until the end- to be successful at what they’re pursuing.

The author of this book argues that the only determining factor is this grit thing. Well, according to her magical way of measuring grit in an individual- she has not yet revealed to the readers of her book what the equation is to determine your level of grit is- she was able to predict ahead of time who would make it to the end of the West Point program. She has studied this in many other areas of the military as well. And not just there! She even gives examples of the level of grit in 8-15 year old kids who participated in a National Spelling Bee. She was able to determine who would be the most successful in the competition, not based on how many bee’s they had been in in the past, nor how many overall words they had already gotten right on their way to the top, but ONLY based on this measure of grit she has devised.

You guys, I find this fascinating. Because in my line of work, I have to say that I don’t know how she is measuring this grit in people, but sometimes you can just sense when someone has grit, right? Sometimes you just get a feel for someone, and you just know that this person is in it for the long haul. This person is going to make magic happen, not because they’re better at this than someone else is, but just because they refuse to give up, and they embrace the obstacles that are going to be inevitable in ANYTHING we do in life.

Have you ever seen the movie Rudy? Yea, that’s GRIT!!

In the past I’ve heard people say that they know the right path to take because it’s without obstacles. I’ve heard people say that God must not want them to continue down any given path because it’s blocked with obstacles. He’s trying them too much, He must be suggesting they go back.

Look, I’m not God, and I don’t know what He’s telling you, but I do know that struggle does NOT mean God is trying to get you to turn around. Actually, the opposite is true almost every single time in my experience!

You guys, what on earth are we learning from things going smoothly? Have you heard the saying, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor?” God uses struggle in our lives, in our work, in our relationships, in our parenting, in our faith, in our finances, in our physical and health journeys… he uses struggle to grow us, because there is NO OTHER WAY to grow than through struggle.

James 1:2-4 says: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

First of all, don’t miss this- it is the testing of your faith that produces perseverance. Nothing else. The TESTING is what produces it. And we’re asked to ‘Let perseverance finish its work!” In other words, DON’T STOP! DON’T QUIT!! Give this thing time to let it do it’s work in you. And then do you see the promise at the end there? ‘You will be mature and complete (and my favorite part), not lacking anything.’

Not lacking anything.

Only through trials, through struggle, can we expected to be grown and strengthened!

Now, it’s easy for me to say, right? I don’t know what you’re walking through. I don’t know what pit you’re in. I don’t know what attacks you’re enduring right now. You’re right, I don’t. But God does. And here’s the hardest thing that I’ve had to wrap my head around this past two weeks as I’ve walked through some of my own mental battles…

God put this struggle here on purpose. He started it. He created it. He doesn’t just know it’s there and is walking along side it with me, but he actually is at fault. He PUT the dang struggle in my dang life.

What the heck, God? I mean, right? Leave me alone! I don’t want to struggle anymore! But as much as we praise God for the good, we’ve got to remember that He is in charge of the bad too. He gives it to us as a gift, to strengthen us. To make us better.

Romans 8:28 says, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

This is just the most condescending verse to hear when you’re struggling, though, right? You’re like NOT Romans. Don’t give me Romans right now. I can’t Romans.

I’ve been there.

But here’s the deal… I used to think that this meant that God work work things out how I wanted them to work out. ‘My good.’ That’s supposed to mean the way that is good for me. But each day I learn more and more that my view on my life is so immature. It’s so underdeveloped. Because I can’t see what’s the come or what I’m going to face next, I can’t see how these small struggles are actually preparing me to take on the bigger, more scary struggles. They’re developing my faith, and more importantly, my character.

You guys, this life isn’t about where we end up at the end of it, but rather who we’ve become. I mean, really think about that for a second. You can’t take it with you… so it doesn’t matter how big your house is, or how much money is in the bank, or how many kids you had, or how many titles or degrees or life experiences you stacked up. None of that counts or matters when you sit on your death bed and look back.

It’s WHO YOU HAVE BECOME because of the STRUGGLES you’ve faced that you will reflect on in those moments. It’s who you are, who HE has made you to be. And it has and will always be, for your good in who you’re becoming, that you should ‘consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds.’

Otherwise, what’s the point?

If everything was just hunky dory all the time, and you never struggled or faced adversity, how would you grow? How would you learn? How would you even have a story to tell? Because a life without struggle and lessons learned and growth, does not make an Academy Award winning movie, if you hear what I’m saying.

So take courage, Readers, because this struggle, this mountain that you’re facing, it’s there for your good. Now it may not turn out ‘good’- the way you’d define anyway, but it is FOR YOUR GOOD. That, I know for sure.

Tori Hein- oh how often I quote my dear, young, brilliant friend- gave me this verse recently and I love it.

Consider the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent? In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider– God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.… (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14).

If you’re in a season of being ‘bent’ or your path seems crooked, it does not mean that God doesn’t want you to walk the path. He bent it, right? He gave you- GIFTED you- this struggle, this journey to walk. And it’s FOR your GOOD. He’s already promised that. And as much as you try to straighten it, good luck, you won’t be able to. It’s bent for a reason. So walk on, Readers!

And remember that just as God has given you the many blessings in your life, he has also been the cause of the struggle. ‘God has made the one as well as the other.’

So choose to be gritty! Choose to persist. Choose to have FAITH and keep walking, prayerfully of course.

I used this example last night, and although it’s a touch silly, I love it all the same. We were all born with grit. It’s a natural instinct! To stay the course, to push through obstacles, and trials of many kinds, to overcome… we’re born with Grit! Know how I know? Not one of us were born walkers. We, each and everyone of us, had to fall again and again, get back up again and again to accomplish the ability and the skill of walking. We’re too young, at that age, to understand what it is to consciously face our bent path. We’re not making the choice to be gritty in those younger days of our lives. We just have the natural instinct to be gritty, and to get back up as many times as it takes, until we grow. Until we learn. Until we become that much more of who He’s predestined us to be.

So you’re in luck! Everything you need to be successful in this life- it’s already in you. You’ve got grit. You were born with it. And if you’re a grown adult who enjoys walking, you know that you’ve got the exact ‘stick-to-it-ness’ that you need to chase down any dream. You just have to choose it. It may not be such a natural instinct anymore. You may have to enact it on the regular to make it through.

But you will make it through. And you’ll be all the better for it. I’m sure of it.

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