My children are squabbling. My 4-year-old needs his breakfast. My 7-year-old is playing up to get my attention. My 10-year-old has been on the computer too long. My 12-year-old wants me to help her find something. My husband has just asked me a question.
Me? I'm preparing a Bible study / reading a Christian book / writing a blog post / pursuing an interesting train of thought. I need to study a few more verses / finish my chapter (and then another) / get this paragraph right / work out what it is I'm thinking. I've run out of concentration / read more than I can bear / written more than I have time to /twisted my brain into knots, but I know I can finish this off / go one more / get this right / figure this out.
Meanwhile, things are falling apart on the home front, I've worked myself into a state of irritatable exhaustion, and everyone's frustrated because I can't hear a word they're saying.
Tenacity is a Christian virtue. Commitment to relationships, perseverance through suffering, the disciplined pursuit of godliness, a life lived for Christ to the very end - we could all do with more tenacity of this kind:
determination, firmness of purpose, perseverance, persistence, purpose, resolve, steadfastness.
Tenacity is not a Christian virtue when it shades into this set of synonyms:
inflexibility, intransigence, obtinacy, stubbornness, wilfulness.
In my case, it's blended with a few other character traits (I'm sure you can come up with your own):
- tenacity - the stubborn determination to get something done, however long it takes
- perfectionism - a commitment to getting everything exactly right, whatever the cost
- vagueness - the academic's ability to ignore everyone and everything around them while pursuing a line of thought
- workaholism - an inability to trust God and rest.
Hmmm...sounds just a little too familiar...
A few months ago, after a week of this, I knew something had to change. I went for a walk, sat by the lake near my parents' place, stared out across the water, and prayed. I asked God for a little more wisdom, a little more trust, a little more rest. When I returned to the car, I wrote a new resolution in my journal:
Enough is enough. The world won't fall apart just because I don't push myself as hard as I can. It's time to listen to the small voice of conscience saying "Get off the computer and rest", "Stop reading and serve", "Put it aside until later". Learn when to stop. Trust God. Everything and all is in his hands. Rest in his love, grace and sovereignty. Recharge. Refuel. Take refuge.
Because sometimes enough is enough.
Synonyms are from thesaurus.com combined with definition from thefreedictionary.com.
images are from khrawlings, Dana Lookadoo - Yo Yo SEO and Cuba Gallery - Now on Twitter! from flickr