Have you ever started on a project, but months (or years) later, it’s still unfinished? Do you have supplies from a hobby you enthusiastically picked up that now sit abandoned in a box? Whether a home renovation, project car, painting, tennis, or something else, we have all experienced the desire to give up. Maybe that’s where your dream is today. At one time, you passionately pursued your dream with all the discernment, hard work, and devotion talked about in this series so far. But now, you’re tired and frustrated — you’d rather say, “let it die” than “let it live.” Letting our dreams die is often the easy and obvious solution when we feel this way, but God tells us that in order to experience the reward of a dream come true, we must have the perseverance to push through the desire to give up. Perseverance requires us to give more time and effort when we’d rather give less.
Scriptures – Hebrews 10:36; Matthew 11:28; James 1:2-4; Deuteronomy 31:8; Romans 5:3-5
Verses – You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what he has promised. (Heb 10:36) Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Mt 11:28) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (Jms 1:2-4) The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deu 31:8)
Thought – How do you persevere when you feel like giving up on the dream God has given you? Usually, discouragement comes from fatigue, frustration, and fear. Fatigue is the most common cause of giving up. When you begin pursuing a dream, you’re full of passion and motivation, but after a while you get tired. The newness wears off, and the finish line seems too far away. Mental, spiritual, and physical fatigue is important to address because perseverance requires energy and hard work from all three areas. Pastor Rick Warren says, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just go to bed.” Burnout and exhaustion are serious inhibitors of dreams, and it’s important to take the time to rest. Take a nap, meditate, and pray. Rest is so important, God put it in the Ten Commandments! Frustration comes in many forms. You get overwhelmed with the amount of work your dream takes, distracted by everything else in life, and angry when things don’t go according to plan. Frustration leads you to blame yourself and others, complain, feel discouraged, and want to give up. Perseverance means seeing these “roadblocks” as challenges that can be overcome, not as dream killers. To do this, you must regroup and reset. Are your priorities in the right order? Are you prioritizing time at church, in prayer, and with family? Are you leaning on the Lord or yourself? When you rely on yourself instead of God, you get frustrated much easier. What can you change in how you’re pursuing your dream? Often, dreams need to be viewed from a different angle and worked at in a new way. Maybe this means a shift in lifestyle, budget, habits, schedule, etc. Fear causes you to bail and abandon your dream before something bad happens. Fear of failure, embarrassment, sacrifices, hard work, criticism, and more can leave us looking for the emergency exit. Like with frustration, we become afraid much faster when we lean on our own abilities instead of on God to sustain us. Remember the Lord goes before you and will never leave you. Do not be afraid, for God is with you, and has given you this dream.
Questions – What have you given up on? Which of the three causes of discouragement (fatigue, frustration, fear) is most challenging for you? What fear is getting in the way of your dreams? How can you gain the ability to persevere?
Response – Prioritize time with God, people who encourage you, and care for your mental, physical, and spiritual help. Then persevere and push through so you can let your dream live instead of letting it die.
Prayer – Lord, give me the energy, patience, and courage to keep pursuing my dream. Help me persevere when I am discouraged and want to give. Remind me to lean on You and seek You in all things. Amen.