How to… Be Persistent

So many times I have said, “I give up.” Yet, I never could quite follow through. Something inside of me always refused to ultimately quit. Emotions led me to a place of despair, but I would always start up again when my feelings subsided.

Persistence is just one of the essential elements that allow us to Be Victorious. Persistence is, simply, the refusal to give up, and sometimes that’s all I had.

In my health journey, which really began in early childhood, many unknowns led to constant frustration. Chronic depression plagued me and gradually worsened with age. When I became a parent, persistence finally awoke in me as I realized that depression was not a legacy I wanted to leave my children.

So I began researching, seeing different doctors and exercising more. I played around with different eating plans and different medications and vitamins. Very gradually, answers came.

The way to a victorious life over depression and general ill health came largely through the role persistence played, lessons that anyone can learn to apply to any situation.

  1. Root out the root cause. Our culture likes to treat symptoms, and true wellness continues to evade us because we fail to dig out the root cause. Through a lot of research and digging, I finally discovered that the root cause of most of my health problems – including depression – was an undiagnosed food allergy and several intolerances. Once I started addressing this root cause, health like never before became the norm for my life.
  2. Realize that no one can be persistent for you. Not my husband. Not my pastor. Not any doctor. Only I could push through in my life to discover what I needed to in order to be healthy. Once I quit relying on others to find answers for me, the answers began to come. This does not mean others don’t help, but the persistence must be your own.
  3. Review your motivation regularly. For the first twenty years, I was just miserably depressed half the time. Eventually, I wanted health because of what it would do for me and the happiness it would bring. God changed my motivation to wanting to be healthy in order to be a good wife and mother and even more so to glorify Him. Motivation provided fuel for my persistence.
  4. Remain in Christ. For as long as I can remember, I have felt a pull toward studying the Word of God. And gradually, I learned to not just read the Bible but to apply it to my life. I learned that my physical and mental health was intimately intertwined with my spiritual health. True health and wellness comes through Christ and relying on Him. As I learned to focus on His will for my life, I discovered that a healthier life existed within the path He directed me down. In other words, my focus determined my reality.
  5. Remove emotions from decisions. For over 20 years, depression ran my life. How I felt mentally determined my every action. In other words, I was miserable most of the time. Gradually, I learned that even when I was tired and weary, I could put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. When I learned to make plans and then let the Lord direct my steps, I learned that I could make right choices outside of my emotions.

Throughout this journey, I remained driven to discovering the root cause for my ill health. Turns out that the concept of a root cause exists for most areas of life in which we struggle, and my struggle to victory in the area of physical health really created a template for discovering victory in other areas as well.

While so many people supported my journey, no one could be persistent for me. Persistence led me not only to victory with my physical and mental health but also with my spiritual health too because I learned to rely more and more on Him – the True Vine – to bring my health and wellness.

DISCUSSION: What role has persistence played in your life?

Related Post: What Does the Bible Say About Persistence?

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17 thoughts on “How to… Be Persistent

  1. I've always been "blessed" with persistence. Maybe my motivations weren't the purest – it was often so that I could achieve and be competitive – but fortunately I've been able to apply persistence to other areas of my life.
    As I read this, I think about my two little sons. I want to teach them to be persistent. We've been trying to train them with such little things as sticking with difficult tasks (like building a tower out of legos) and have been praising them a TON when they are persistent.

    • Being persistent certainly can be a true blessing, especially when it comes naturally. It felt "natural' when it was finally switched on for me, but like you, my motives weren't always the greatest. BUT, my motives are changing, as I'm sure yours are as we let the Holy Spirit work in us. Teaching our kids to be persistent is definitely an important part in training them. My oldest is truly getting the idea, but he didn't always. Maturity is developing that in him for sure. My youngest came from a background of giving up on pretty much everything, so much of what we do with him feels like reprogramming. BUT, he is so receptive to learning, and he truly is learning to push through and finish strong. So glad you are getting this principle in your kids when they are still young.

  2. Kari,

    We too often treat the symptom instead of the cause and we seem to be ok with that… just treat the symptoms until they get better instead of doing away with them. A good reminder by you to look deeper and see if we can find what they are. We need doctors to do this more too. Look for the cause don’t just make me better now. Make me better period.

    I think persistence or perseverance plays a big role in accomplishing anything worthwhile. I do tell my children that the toughest thing to do sometimes is to start. To remain persistent you have to be willing to start something everyday or frequently. It helps to have a end game; a goal where you will be finished with something or a step along the way to measure progress. This helps not get frustrated with lack of progress. Take that first step and then take it most everyday to move towards your achievements.

    • As is probably obvious, I am a BIG proponent of finding a root cause. I think this is possible in virtually every of life, and I think people avoid doing the hard work of finding that root cause. Covering up symptoms is WAY easier. One of my biggest approaches to accomplishing almost anything is to "Do what's next." I am planning to write a post on this approach because it has been so effective for me. Essentially, it's what you're talking about with just taking a step. And, quite often, that is the most difficult one. I find, thought, that there are a lot of first steps within every goal.

  3. I listened to a man recall a high school state championship mile he ran as a junior. He won the state championship as a freshman but didn't do as well his sophomore year (not that he didn't improve, but the field improved and caught up with him). He and another competitor ran step for step to the very last surge. It was the fastest mile he had ever run but … he came in second. The other guy was persistent and wouldn't give in. The difference between 1st and 2nd was 7/100ths of a second.

  4. This is a great post, Kari – I think your five points could be used for so many different things. Whenever we have something big in our life that's messing us up in some way it's complicated to overcome it. I've been doing those five things with writing for the past year on and off, mostly on for the past six months. God keeps giving insight but not living in victory yet.

    • My health journey was a process of persistence and insight for almost 20 years before I truly found victory. Even within that victory, there are still struggles to face. I think that persistence is at work in some area of our life pretty much all the time, at least I know it is for me. I think it's all a part of the process of sanctification. I wanted to write a whole section on what the Bible says about persistence, but it became way too long as it is. I saved that information though and may have another post on that topic with that information in it. Anyway, keep pressing onward. The victory will come!

  5. Kari, I think you hit it on the head when you said we don't want to do the hard work. Whether it is finding the answers to our spiritual or physical well being, or our financial needs, or having a good marriage or friendship we want it to be EASY…we don't want to have to do the hard work. Or we want someone else to do it for us. I am thankful you are so willing to share your struggles and your victory. I pray you will continue to allow God to guide and heal, to direct and bless your life each day. For me I find praise and worship of God helps me, but sometimes that takes persistence also, it is easy to not do it and then wonder why I have a bad attitude. So thanks!

    • Change is hard but necessary. Plus, we live in a society that wants everything now. Anything that takes time is just too hard. Praise & worship is so healing, isn't it? My bad attitude usually comes when I slack off on basics like that. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

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  10. Persistence is probably the most imoatrpnt trait in any small business owner and real estate investor. When I look at what has led me to succeed or even better what’s led big guys like Richard Branson and even Donald Trump to succeed it is that they did NOT give up.Happy Holidays to you Rachel! You’re awesome!!!!

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