Years ago, I worked for a medical equipment company. The division I worked in sold oxygen equipment. Yes, you heard that right, I sold oxygen to people having difficulty breathing due to a variety of health issues. One of my colleagues would always say to me, ” you are like a pit bull, just point you in the right direction, and you will get it done.” She would also say, “Girl, you got grit.” Today, with everything going on in our world, I think many of us need to find our “grit!”
What does it mean to have grit? Strength of character, courage, fortitude, passion, moral fiber, steadfast, and tenacity are a few of the characteristics I found. I thought to myself, who have we studied in the bible that carried these characteristics. I bet most of you initially think of David. Maybe Paul comes to mind. Why do you think they had such perseverance? Paul speaks of running the race in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” (NLT) I think it was because they knew without a doubt what God had called them to do.
What sets some of us apart to have the tenacity and perseverance to keep pushing forward in our lives when faced with difficult times while others lay down and quit. Is it something inherent in us? Is it learned behavior? During my lifetime, I have often heard how strong-willed I was as a child. Many times, if I had a desire within me to accomplish something, I had such determination, and a never quit attitude. I also found myself easily bored and ready to move on to the next thing.
Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about who I used to be and who I am today. The tragedies were the catalyst that stole my dreams. I started thinking about how many dreams I and so many others have lost because we quit life. I thought, how do we inspire others to find that passion and desire buried deep inside the darkness of pain and suffering.
Last week after speaking at a church, a young woman approached me. Visibly shaken and crying uncontrollably, she shared with me how she had been praying for God to soften her heart to feel again. She knew her heart was hard, and she couldn’t change that on her own. Something I said caused the dam to break, and all the unforgiveness, hatred, and pain left her body like a dam giving way in the aftermath of heavy rain. She hung in my arms and cried. Another man shared how he harbored that same hatred within himself. He said, “I know the bible teaches us we need to pray for our enemies, but I couldn’t understand, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it and, tonight, you have made it so simple for me.”
During my testimony, I shared the importance of forgiveness in our lives. I spoke on how I was able to forgive the drunk driver responsible for my son’s death. You see, I came to a place where I had to give him to God. I didn’t want him to have a place in my heart and drive the very essence of life out of my soul. In God, I was able to replace my bitterness with forgiveness.
When I think of David, I think of the story in 2 Samuel. David fasted, prayed and begged God to spare his child. The elders of his household were asking him to get up and eat with them, but he refused. Then on the seventh day, the child died. His advisers were fearful of telling him because he wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill. David was astute enough to understand what had happened and asked if the child had died. When they answered yes, he got up from the ground, washed, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. David then went to the tabernacle and worshipped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and served food and ate. When I read that, I think about how I laid in my grief and misery for years! How did he just get up and go about life? David then says, “Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.” In other words, what are you going to do about it? I can’t change what happened to me, but I CAN control how I react. He continued to do what God had called him to do. He still loved the Lord and trusted him with all his heart.
Please hear me when I say not me, no way, never in a million years could I have immediately gotten up after news of my son’s death and do what David did! But there was something deep within me to persevere and push forward. I never quit. My soul didn’t die inside me. I let go of all the pain and suffering. I did get up and trust God and step out into where he has called me. I chose to live life fully as my son would want of me.
I know what it means to have “grit” and pit bull tenacity once again. And, you know what, it feels pretty darn good!