Thursday, February 21, 2008

Persistence and Determination

My Adventurer spotted my camera on the chair, where I had tossed it after snapping photos of her climbing onto my lap. She did not miss a beat, she simply headed after it, eager to attain the coveted chew toy.

I’ve had the box pushed up against the chair for a few days now, to give it stability for her to pull herself up to standing, something that is the highlight of her day. Today, however, she was not interested in standing next to the chair; rather, she was interested in getting ON the chair. After-all, the camera was ON the chair, therefore she must be ON the chair. I watched with interest as she repeatedly pulled her knees up and fell over, the box rolling as she shifted her weight onto it. This did not slow her down; she had her eyes fixed on that camera! Eventually, (with Mama holding the box with her foot) Bella achieved her goal of standing ON the box and was able to grasp that coveted camera!!! She was so happy – right up until I tried to substitute for another option, but that’s beside the point.

I was watching this process with great interest – here is my 7 ½ month old daughter, who spent a good 10 minutes working hard, determined to achieve her goal. This stepping block she was using became a stumbling block at times, and yet she did not give up. She pressed on with determination.

Are we that determined to achieve our goals in life? Specifically, are we that determined to reach the Ultimate Goal, the Pearl of Great Price? 10 minutes is a long time for an infant to work that hard at anything, and yet in her little mind that camera was worth it. Is our relationship with our Lord worth it to us? Worth it enough to press on with the same determination for as long as it takes?
Too often I find myself giving in to the stumbling blocks, certain that I don’t have time to be that persistent. But God is not an easy Pearl to reach; it takes persistence and determination to reach Him.

It was also interesting to me that the same box that was helping Bella up flipped and caused her to fall; still, she did not tire of the pursuit. We have lots of boxes in our spiritual journey, don’t we? The things that when used wisely help us up, our stepping stones, can turn into stumbling blocks when used incorrectly. We can be climbing up that stepping stone, but if we turn our eyes we lose our balance and that stone becomes a stumbling block. If we fail to use a God-given talent in humility, and instead give into the pride of glory, then that talent impairs our journey to Him. God blesses us with lots of gifts and opportunities that can be either stepping stones or stumbling blocks; it’s up to us to make the distinction.

Then, with His grace, it’s up to us to keep that persistence and determination that we need in seeking our Lord.