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The Art of Not Giving Up

In the first chapter of his letter to the church at Philippi, the apostle Paul wrote "...And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." What powerful words of encouragement for those of us who at what time or another may have struggled against disappointment or fear as we pondered giving up on something! I am very thankful to have God's word to rely on when those times come.

That hasn't always been the case throughout my life. Rather than reading the Bible, I have been the recipient of advice and counsel by many well-meaning folks. If you're like me, when friends or family members have offered me encouragement during very trying times in my life (solicited or not), I, candidly, have had the momentary thought that "they have no idea what I'm going through". I am sure they care and probably want the best for me. But their words sometimes fell far short in consoling or healing the wounds I was enduring.

I suppose it could be said I had a lot of growing up to do. The fact is, I probably still have a lot more to go through. Thankfully, though, I can look back and see that while the encouraging words I received may not have hit their intended target of healing, the motivation behind the words demonstrate the love and empathy these folks had for me.

Continuing on in whatever you started out pursuing when adversity comes is a decision that should be made well before you even start. Yes, before you start! You may ask, if you allow doubt to enter the realm of possibility, isn't that just setting you up for failure? What does a decision like that demonstrate about my faith?

Great questions. I ask folks who may pose those questions if they have life insurance or health insurance or any other kind of insurance. Why do we buy things like that? Obviously, it's to cover the risk of loss if you're involved in an accident or get sick or, of course, die. You probably don't plan on any of these events. But the insurance is a good investment for those possible incidents.

The same is true when deciding ahead of time that regardless of what happens, you are never going to give up. By doing this, you become steadfast and resolute no matter what arises.

So, here are a few steps to take in your path to achieving your goals in the face of adversity.

1. Make the decision ahead of time that you will not quit.

At the risk of sounding redundant, this always bears repeating. Decide now!

2. Surround yourself with positive influences.

Having those people in your life that encourage and motivate you is a must. Likewise, there are plenty of folks around who do just the opposite. They're the ones who pull you down, criticize and make excuses. Tough talk says, separate yourself from them.

3. Feed your mind and heart the right things and stay positive.

In addition to being careful about the kinds of people you hang out with, pay careful attention to the things you read, the music you listen to and the shows you watch. All of these can be just as influential in forming your mindset.

4. Stay strong.

An anonymous writer once penned, "The strongest people aren't always the people who win, but the people who don't give up when they lose." Watch and you'll see people who rise to the top are often those who simply did not quit. They just stuck to it, even when another "great opportunity" arose.

Finally, remind yourself of the apostle Paul's exhortation: "God..will continue his work until it is finally finished..."

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