You know how people usually choose a word that is going to be “their word” for the upcoming year while they are making their New Year’s Resolutions? In December of 2019, my bible study group decided to pray for a word for the upcoming year. So, even though I was away from my group this past December, I did this for 2021 by myself. I kept hearing two words starting with “p”, which I adore. The Lord kept sending me the words “persistent” and “persevere”.
I sat with these words and tried to unpack exactly what they are supposed to mean. Of course, part of me was saying “Payton, it is literally like 2 weeks into 2021, you aren’t going to fully understand right now.” But I continued to pray for this persistence and perseverance, and the more I prayed, the calmer I began to feel.
Recently, I have been overwhelmed with life as a whole. I am still processing leaving a toxic environment, thinking about the future of summer internships and career choices even sooner, and finishing a winter class as school is about to begin again. And what are we called to do when we are overwhelmed, fearful, or anxious? We are called to pray and give it to God. So, guess what I did? I prayed over it all, everything that was holding me back and taking time away from the important things in life. And things are changing, BUT this didn’t happen overnight. There is this really great quote I found on Pinterest that said “God’s timing isn’t our timing. It is sometimes inconvenient, often slower, but always better.” That is something I have clung to for the past 4 months, and this idea of His timing has calmed my fear and anxiety. If something is meant to be, He will make it happen, so what is the point of worrying when someone so much greater is in control?
Okay, back to persistence and perseverance, specifically focusing on perseverance. As we all have experienced, we know that 2020 was not the easiest year and there were probably many times when we did not want to keep going. Many times when we did not see the light at the end of the tunnel and we felt broken and were ready to give up. But we continued to persevere, and it made us stronger. Sometimes perseverance doesn’t look like the strength we all imagine, sometimes perseverance looks like crying on the phone to your mom or getting off social media because it is better for your mental health.
You know, there is such a negative connotation with the idea of leaving. For example, if you leave your job, you are viewed usually in a negative light, when really you may be leaving for a better opportunity. I don’t necessarily think that leaving a toxic person or situation is necessarily a bad thing. I think you are strong when you have gone through so much, persevered, but you are still able to stand up, choose what’s best for you, and leave.
Not only has God shown me that perseverance is such an important value to have, but also to be persistent. I have specifically been learning that persistence is especially important when it comes to your wants, needs, and mental health. You have to be able to stand your ground in order to live the life that you truly want to live. Persistence is something that is hard sometimes, especially being a female. It can come off as bossy or bitchy, but we all deserve to have our wants and needs met and sometimes we are the only person who can speak up for ourselves. While sometimes it’s easy to give in and just take whatever is offered, you and I both are worth so much more than that. We deserve a life we want to live. Period.
So, to the girl who found “her word”, I invite you to pray into that word and see where the Lord wants to take you with it. While I have learned how to be persistent and persevere, this is obviously only the beginning of it. So, listen, pay attention, and take note when you think He is using you this year. And if you haven’t asked or found your word yet, I invite you to pray for that word. It may not happen overnight, but God is always listening so you may as well give it a try. I believe this year is one for new beginnings, learning, and growth. I have no idea what this year is going to bring, but I am going to continue to consciously be persistent and persevere and I invite you to do the same with whatever you may face.