It feels like just over a month ago maybe that I drove into Raleigh for the first time. And yet, my 9 months here is coming to an end. And as it does, Ecclesiastes 3:1 comes to mind, “There is a time for everything under heaven,” and for me, these last 9 months have been a time for endurance.
Endurance in a whole host of ways.
Endurance in a spiritual sense – as I’ve become aware of and fought the lies to entrap me and tell me that I am not beloved, and I don’t belong. As I’ve been prayed over and prayed against these lies. As I’ve spoken truth over myself against these lies. And newsflash: I still fall into lies. Mess up because I’ve fallen for those lies. It’s happened this week. and I’m embarrassed about it. But I keep preaching to myself the truth: I am not clothed or bound by the mistakes I’ve made, but by Christ’s righteousness alone. And I let that sink in a little bit. It’s true, and it brings freedom. But this is a process of endurance, it’s not fast, nor is it simple or easy. The Lord’s redeeming work is a process, but a beautiful one. And slow is fast, as I’ve wisely been reminded, so hang on for the ride. We aren’t riding a train to the top of the mountain; we are ourselves are the mountain climbers, taking one step at a time, and not wavering from the end goal.
Endurance in a relational sense – this season has not been particularly easy for me relationally. I came out of strong college relationships, and those people will always be my dearest friends. But this season has looked like letting go a little bit of those expectations. Being willing to embrace people that I wouldn’t have befriended in college (probably), and seeing Christ in them. This endurance has also been tied with my spiritual endurance – letting go of the lie that I don’t belong, and having the confidence to say, because I am in Christ, I do belong and I have a voice. And every other person here belongs and has a voice that matters too. I have also witnessed the generosity of the church community through this year – both generosity towards me, and generosity towards others — both have shown me Christ.
Endurance in a physical sense – This one perhaps informs the way I view endurance. I was a high school cross country runner, and despite injuries, never fully stopped running in college either. So you’d think physical endurance would come easy, right? wrong. I learned that one while training for and running the beloved Tar Heel 10-Miler this spring. Running is not easy, and doesn’t feel so good. But mentally, once you tell yourself you’re in it, you should be ok. Well, usually. Unless there’s a 3/4 mile hill at mile 8.5 on the 10-mile course. But even then and there, as I dragged myself to the finish line from the top of the hill (which in itself was harder for me than the hill itself – go figure), I told myself not to quit. Even if I did a slow sprinter’s shuffle the rest of the way, I wasn’t going to quit. And so, I finished. Got myself over that finish line. Not fast, not glamorous (especially at the end there), but endured. And this informs so much of how I view endurance. Keep going, don’t quit, it may not be pretty, it may not be fast, but you have to keep going and not quit.
Endurance in the job hunting sense – yes, I wish I could tell you that I have a job lined up, I’ll start June 1st, and everything is neat and clean. It’s not. I honestly don’t have a clue what I’m going to be doing. And as I’ve loosened my grip on my plans a little bit and given the Lord control, I’m a little bit less sure where I’ll be too. But it all comes back to endurance: enduring through the process and trusting that the Lord is faithful in that. That somehow He is refining me through the tedious process of writing cover letters and filling in my employment history even though the company also has my resume. He who has promised is faithful, though, and He will surely do it. So this endurance race, should have an end soon. At least a temporary one.
So here’s to endurance – the gift it is to know that in the pain, in the difficult times, in the unknown,that still He is faithful, and He is good, and He is in fact the strength in our weakness who Himself gives us endurance.
“being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have endurance and patience.” (Colossians 1:11)
Peace out for now y'all. Thanks for following along with my fellows journey this year!