Everybody has them. You know, those days, sometimes weeks, months and even years when the things you hope for, wish for, pray for and even work for, just don’t seem to happen.
Recently I have been involved in an employment search. I am graduate level educated; I have not only skills, but experience; I have sent resume after resume and received rejection letter after rejection letter. Truth is, there are days when I simply would prefer quitting, giving up and being done with the search for that place where I can do great work and make other folks lives better. During these moments, as during other moments in my life, the one thing that keeps me hanging on is “DETERMINATION.”
We all need it, especially when losing heart is presented before us as a viable option and the intensity level of the discouragement we feel nearly overwhelms us and sweeps over us like an ocean wave.
Where does determination come from? Where do you get it? Usually for me it involves:
When we are hungry enough for what we are reaching for, determination becomes more powerful than discouragement and we press on, we move forward with every ounce of strength we can muster. Hunger/desire will take shape differently depending on the person, but for me, during this job search it means improving myself while I wait – reading, listening to helpful audio, cultivating my writing skills, and of course continuing to send apply for jobs. There are some things that I desperately want in life, so I keep going and also look for different strategies and approaches to take to get me where I need to go.
I realize that not everyone who will read this shares my Christian faith tradition. If you don’t perhaps for you it is important to tap into whatever source of strength and hope that is a part of your faith practice. For me, God is everything – life, breath, hope and strength that far surpasses my limitations. Looking to the God of all creation and trusting this Gods’ accessibility and provision is what helps me continue during tough times.
The truth is that we all have something(s) to offer the world. The truth also is that we all can be better versions of ourselves. Taking time to assess strengths and the specific areas where we need to grow is all part of the determination process. Need a class? Need to read a book or article? Need to connect with folks who know differently than you know? Growth is ALWAYS an accessible option – even with limited financial resources, there is always a way.
So, when all else fails keep holding on. Even when you claim strength, take a risk and then fail, and it causes you to doubt your strength/capability, and entices you to give up and refuse to try again; cry if you need to, regroup, get back up again (whether on your own or with the assistance of some friends), dust yourself off and keep trying.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact some days are just plain hard and make you want to throw up both hands and just scream! But after you do that, keep pushing forward – be determined!
Listened to an online message by Craig Groeschel regarding “Toxic Words.” In his message he referenced an old phrase that many parents, mine included, teach their children – “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” The reality is that words are powerful and can be used for good or for evil, for good or for bad – they have power to build us up or tear us down.
- We can decide to use words to build up or to tear down in our relationships with others
- We are not in control of what others say to us, but we can choose whether or not to internalize the words others speak.
If I were to be honest I would have to admit that in the course of my thirty plus years of living I have internalized many negative words spoken to me – it’s hard not to. But I have also crossed over to a place where I am more embracing of the words God says about me. I started a practice not long ago of affirming myself each day and have found self affirmation to be helpful in combating the negativity that I encounter at times. As a leader this is important (every leader has her/his critiques). The following are a list of affirmations that I speak over myself on a regular basis. Perhaps they will help you too! Here they are:
I am a woman/man of God clothed with strength and dignity
I have God – given strength
I will stand up and speak up until God says shut up.
I am equipped for good works and responsible for developing others rather than be the celebrity that does it all.
I am God’s daughter/son – deeply loved, eternally forgiven, and this is the greatest aspect of my identity. I belong to God!
I move forward in His name, not with arrogance, yet with confidence [in whom He’s called me to be]
I will experience fear, doubt, confusion, discouragement and depression, yet not be controlled by these experiences
I will speak the truth in love rather than lie because of fear
I choose to believe God in the face of uncertainty
I am just as qualified as anyone else to be a servant of God – faults, failures, and all
I am beautiful inside and out, uniquely created, and becoming better
I will remember my past, and not be controlled by it as I move into the future
I reject rejection and embrace the acceptance of God.
I will remember that God places value on me not because of what I do but because of who I am
I will be boldly vocal when it’s time to be vocal and verbalize thoughts, opinions, facts and ideas, and silent when it’s time to be silent
I will listen for God’s voice, watch for His direction, and follow His instructions in and through the help and power of Holy Spirit
Because of Christ and the indwelling and empowering of the Holy Spirit, I am neither inadequate or incompetent
I will at times need to tackle tough issues, take some hits for doing so, yet I will trust the One who sends me and calls me and the One on whose behalf I speak
I am lovely! I am beautiful!!! Because I am a place where God dwells!! (Psalm 84:1; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19)!!!
God has not called and commissioned me to impress people, so I’ll stop trying.
Life can sometimes cause all of us, leaders included to dump all over ourselves and feel less than capable or simple focus on the negative rather than the positive. The above affirmations were developed to help us keep our identity in God at the forefront when life gets crazy. What life giving words do others in your life need to hear in order to be built up? What affirmations would you add to this list?