My kids are teaching me.
Samuel is one determined little guy. When he decides he wants to go upstairs that’s all he thinks about. If the gate is left open (or rather the row of 18 gallon Rubbermaid totes which make a barrier on our non-gateable stairs going up) he immediately stops what he’s doing and makes a beeline for those stairs. Every. Single. Time.
A couple of days ago Samuel decided he wanted to stand on his own. So then he practiced all day long. I’d look over, and there he was, standing up — of course waiting for some applause — but standing. Over, and over, and over. And now, today, he’s decided that he’s going to try to take a step. On his own. If I take his hands, he pushes them away, he’d rather fail and fall — as long as he’s still trying.
Fail and fall. Keep trying?
How many times do I shy away from doing the hard things? How often do I let the fear of failing stop me from trying? If Samuel let every time he fell deter him then he’d never learn to walk. The pain of falling doesn’t stop him — he’s moving to the goal of walking. Every day just a little bit closer.
Is it really failing, this falling?
I’d argue no. With each attempt, each fall to the ground Samuel is one step closer to his goal. I think I’ve forgotten this lesson in determination. Determination is not a one time event. It’s a mind-set, a life strategy. If I cling to the fail/fall times and let them decide my outlook for the future, then I won’t move, won’t change. I’ll be stuck living in a mind set that hinders. When I recognize that determination equals perseverance then all the attempts, all the brushing my self off moments — they’ll keep propelling me forward.
I know there will be days. Days where I’m ready to throw in the towel at nine am. Weeks where I feel like I’m moving nowhere. Seasons in life that seem so challenging. My goal — to learn from Samuel. Instead of quitting, or defining it as a fail I aim to learn, to readjust, and to try again. One step in front of another.
It’s easy to look at the hardships of life and use them as definers of ourselves. Those are the days when falling feels like failing. Those are the moments when my vision is earthly focused. When I live in Christ and look to him for my identity, and allow the hard times to mold me then I no longer live defined by the earthly label of falling as always failing. My label? Perseverance. Determination. Winning – in Christ.
Thanks, Samuel, for reminding your mother just one more time of this truth.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12