Today's Devotional Thought
January 03, 2018 by Rachel Piferi
Grit and Grace
I love, love, love the New Year. Almost like a new school year, it feels so fresh and clean and primed for a new thing. We get to make new plans. Set new goals. Achieve new dreams. See God work in new ways.
Its actually quite funny to me because its purely psychological. Very little is actually new now. My kids are in the same grades they were in in December. My husband is in the same job and has the same deadlines he had before the turn of calendar. Our finances are the same. Our health is the same. Our relationships are the same.
And yet, it all feels new. Ready for a fresh start. A fresh perspective. A fresh "go at it" if you will. The simple change of the date from 2017 to 2018 awakens our hopes, dreams, goals, and gives us a boost to set out strong in our very same lives. Its invigorating and renewing.
If you are anything like me, you likely have some things you've committed to improve in this new year. You have some new goals, desires, and commitments. Even if no one else knows them, I dare say there is some new goal tucked deep in your heart.
Something you want to work towards.
Something you'd like to see change or grow or improve.
Something that will take some work to achieve.
Something that feels exciting and fresh right now, but that will require some perseverance come about...February.
Researchers report that about 50% of adults make New Year's Resolutions and only about 10% of them are still pursuing them within a few months of making them. The reason for giving up is reported as it getting too hard, results coming too slowly, and the goal becoming less exciting than when it was formed.
We've all been there with new plans. And not just new plans at the New Year. Abandoned diets, relationships, money saving plans, and discarded dreams litter our histories. Goals and plans that started with full vigor are left lifeless on our paths when it got too hard.
90% of those who make New Year's goals abandon them.
But, do you know what research also shows?
Research has also revealed what is going on in that 10%. Those rare few who don't give up.
Simply put, they have grit.
Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance according to University of Pennsylvania researcher Angela Duckworth. It is what we see in those who can endure hardships to get to the goal. It is what she saw in everyone from 7th grade inner city math students to West Point cadets to salesmen in terms of determining success in achieving goals. In fact, in all of her research, the only thing that predicted success in achieving goals was this combination of passion and perseverance.
It was not intelligence or health or social standing or money or any other noteworthy psychological variable that predicted achievement of long term goals. It was grit.
It is being passionate about the goal and having stamina to keep moving towards it despite momentary challenges. It is a commitment that no matter what today looks like, you will keep moving towards fulfillment of your goal tomorrow. And that on the days that perhaps the excitement is low, the commitment to the goal remains high and propels you forward.
As you look forward to 2018 and you think of that thing that you have committed to work on and towards this year, I'd like you to add one more thing to your planning. I'd like you to add some grit.
Are you going to grit it out when the newness of January 1st wears off? When the new gym membership is not so new or the new Bible is not so crisp or the new budget is not so freshly penned in your calendar, are you going to continue pressing on to the goal? Are you going to forsake momentary desires so that you can keep working towards long term rewards?
It's time we get some grit in our walk. It's time we decide to push through the hard, persevere in prayer, and do the thing even when we don't "feel" like it, being more committed to our long term goal than our temporary moods. And not just in our New Year's resolutions.
It's time we get some grit in our lives.
Like I said, I love, love, love a New Year. I love the freshness of it and the new dreams and goals and energy that emerge. But those emotions will subside. And January will fade into February. I don't want my passion or perseverance to fade too. And I don't want yours to either.
As you are setting new goals, choosing words for the year, creating new habits, and adjusting things that need to be adjusted, think of ways you can build your grit on the journey too. Memorize some verses on perseverance (I've put a few below for you!). Write yourself a note to persevere on the March 1st spot in your planner. Create an event in your phone that will pop up in February and May with a reminder to persevere and a verse to provide the power to endure. Find an accountability partner and verbalize your dreams for the year and ask her to push you to endure when you start to give up (and do the same for her).
And pray for the grace to persevere when things get tough. When the goals for the year are less sparkle and more struggle, pray for the grace and the grit to endure. Nothing worth achieving has ever come easy. And nothing amazing has ever come without struggle.
It's gonna take some grit this year.
Some grit and God's grace.
So commit your new year to the Lord. Lay your heart before Him and the ways you would like to grow and the things you would like to accomplish this year in your health or relationships or work or life.
And don't give up when it starts to get hard. Because it will. Keep pressing on friends. Don't be the 90% who give up. Be the 10.
With some grit and grace...
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
I Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession before many witnesses.