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Let’s dare to succeed

I’m not a huge TV watcher. In fact, I’m much more of a TV listener. If I’m at home you’ll most often catch me listening to cable news or a Food Network personality as I take on housekeeping tasks. If it’s a movie everyone wants to watch I grab a stack of magazines and take in a scene or two between articles outlining how I can better organize my linen closet. My son and husband don’t understand my viewing habits. I think if you were to pin them down they’d confess it is both my topics of interest and the way I view TV that mystifies them.

They are all about watching men slide dangerously across decks as waves of frigid water slam crab boats off the coast of Alaska, how popular products are manufactured, or World War II fighter plane footage. They sit beside each other and stare intently at the screen. Don’t even think about shoving a broom into their hands or inquire about their day. Total concentration is in order.

After 27 years of sharing a TV I realize that the key to another happy quarter century with my husband includes claiming separate sets. That way he can channel surf and stare to his heart’s content. I can glance and mince garlic.

Yet this last couple of weeks we’ve both been glued. Last week it included Summer Olympics coverage. This week it is coverage of the Democratic National Convention in the Mile High city of Denver. A lot can be said of both events. It has been fascinating viewing. But one word keeps coming to my mind: tenacious. You don’t become an Olympian or politician on a national stage without it. You are resolute, stubborn, determined, and persistent. You may also have an ego, ambition and privilege, but we’ll tackle those aspects of the story another time. For today, consider tenacity.

I can’t say I’m a devotee of spiritualist Marianne Williamson, but I agree with her when she says that “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.” With enormous tenacity we’ve seen people jump hurdles, swim into record books, stick landings and stand before throngs of people to give voice to political activism. They have chosen tenacity over fear. Dared to envision themselves in successful activities.

How many of us choose comfort and mediocrity, over plan or vegetate because we can’t seem to take the next scary step?

Bestselling Christian author Max Lucado suggests that people actively engage in five activities when contemplating both exciting future challenges as well as enormous hurdles.

First, recall the times when God was there to provide you with the energy, courage, hope and passion you needed. Write down a situation when it was apparent God was working in practical ways to help in an activity you were involved in. If you are unable to readily invoke a memory of your own, turn in your Bible to the stories where God was actively engaged in people’s lives. Then read God’s promise in First Chronicles 16: “Remember His marvelous works which He has done. God’s attentiveness to your life remains steadfast.”

Second, dedicate time to pray. Not only will it require that you quiet your racing thoughts, but you will experience peace, mental clarity, and a renewed connection with God. You’ll begin to sift through ideas that are worthy of your attention and step away from those that are not.

Third, ask God to help you discover ways to bring honor and glory to himself. Two years ago we learned that my dad’s sudden illness was pancreatic cancer and he had little time to live. Fourteen short days following the devastating news he died and when the attending physician came into the room shortly after his passing, he asked me how I was able to react with such peace when there had been so little time to process the news. I told him God was a faithful companion and I would have fallen apart without Him. It was hard to speak, but I understood it was my moment to represent the truth as I had experienced it.

Fourth, move forward. Get on with your plan. You have probably pondered it long enough. Itemized the challenges. Turn now to your passion and step forward.

And fifth, don’t stop once you get moving. Be persistent. Find a way around and over roadblocks. Never give up. Think about Lo Lo Jones and Hillary Clinton. Lo Lo’s run for Olympic gold ended when she tripped over a hurdle. Hillary’s run for the White House ended when her delegate count fell short of the number needed for a nomination. Yet there is no evidence either woman will stop. They are tenacious.

So is God. Ask Him to come beside you and you’ll see.

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