When I started the blog for this week, I happened to be writing from home.
And I had a voice echoing down to me through the hallway saying, “I want my bear. My beeeeeaaaaaar! I really want my bear. Can I have my bear? Beeeeeeeaaaaaaar!”
There is just something about persistence that pays off.
I don’t really know.
What I do know is, that if you put anyone in a room with a 5 year old yelling about his bear, they will break.
I’d bet you money.
But tonight as I finish up this blog, I’m thinking more about this season of building that we are in, and just how to bottle up the persistence of a 5 year old hollering about his beloved teddy bear.
It’s powerful stuff.
When he’s 18 and he finds out I blogged about this, I’m sure he’ll be mortified.
But I’ll probably show it to his future wife. . .along with some great baby pictures. You know, those million dollar shots of his cute, naked self sitting in the bathtub with a thousand-watt grin on his face.
I love being a mom.
But I digress.
I’m thinking about just how do we keep our persistence, or as the Finnish say – sisu, on like a 5 year old.
And just how the heck do we keep our hearts blazing in this season of monotony.
We hang in there.
Like Nehemiah, in the Bible, we are rebuilding the walls.
And the voices of doubt and ridicule and discouragement can really hammer around inside a person’s head. And we hear things like:
“What am I doing here?”
“This is not what I was expecting, God.”
“Is this it? Some ‘Promised Land’!”
But Nehemiah had voices of doubt and ridicule hurled his way too, but. . .
We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work.
Nehemiah 4:6 (The Message)
Hmmm, “a heart for the work.”
Maybe that’s the key.
We fight harder than hell for the things we are passionate about.
That’s why a teddy bear can cause a kid to holler til he’s blue in the face – because it means something to his heart. . . and to my sanity.
But what if you’re not seeing the value in what you’re building?
Whether it’s a dream that seems decades away. . .
or investing in the lives of the little people that cling to you like leeches. . .
or working to get out of debt. . .
or being faithful in the little things that maybe no one sees.
How do you get a heart for the work that God has asked you to complete?
It’s something we can’t do.
We can’t make our hearts want something they don’t.
To force our hearts into that shape is religion.
And it usually ends in burn-out.
But, you and me – we’re different.
We have someone who listens to us, understands us and knows our hearts.
Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you;
collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:1-5 (The Message)
Our hearts are changed by God as we search for his insight, his advice, his counsel.
Did you catch that part about not taking no for an answer?
Perseverance. Sisu. Guts.
The understanding will come, we just have to stick it out with God.
Because there is a reason for the season you’re in.
And building doesn’t look that impressive when it’s brick by brick, it just looks like a bunch of bricks until the whole thing comes together and you can step back with everyone else and look and what has been built.
It takes insight and perseverance . . . and that heart change only comes from one place.
That secret place with Jesus.
And there are no quick fixes or easy answers, that’s why it takes heart. Something that sometimes, I don’t have.
But Jesus, he always has it. And he always shares it with me. He helps me see the value in what looks mundane.
But unlike me, he never views spiritual building as mundane.
Because spiritual building is building up people. . . whether it’s through giving money to a mission in Africa or teaching in a school or being an un-distracted, listening ear to someone in need – it all matters to God. This is the stuff that life is really made of and this is the brick and mortar of spiritual building.
Loving people. Listening to people. Meeting people’s needs. Bringing a meal to a family in need. Sending an encouraging email.
But to build long-term, you need perseverance.
Because building is not for the faint-hearted.
But I promise, it’ll be worth it when we all step back together and look at this wall that we’ve rebuilt with God by our side. And instead of bricks, we’ll see the hearts of people we touched, lives we got the privilege of helping to change, and destinies that we helped to shape.
It’ll be worth it, I promise.