When you’re five, school is a challenging experience. My friend Emily’s son, Charlie, is learning wise ways to cope. One day, he confided to his momma, “When we go outside for recess and run our laps, I whisper to myself, ‘Never give up…never give up.’”
Imagine a five-year-old with that kind of courage. Imagine a five-year-old with that kind of determination.
I would love to infuse my life with Charlie’s attitude, yet so many times I fall short. It’s much easier to complain rather than buck up and forge on.
Recently, my sister-in-law, Jody, and I were talking about dreaded household chores. For her it’s cleaning the oven. She said that if she lets herself think about it, the chore looms larger and more terrible than if she just goes ahead and gets it done. Her philosophy has become a mantra for me, especially with a few of the tasks that come my way as primary caregiver for my father-in-law, now age 96. He’s a great guy, but sometimes both of us become weary of everyday tasks. Like Jody, I tell myself, “Don’t think about it. Just do it!” Like Charlie, I whisper, “Never give up!
I also find myself using excuses in my spiritual life. Those excuses generally fall into the “poor me” category. As in, “Poor me, Lord. I worked so hard last week, I’m too tired to go to church.” Or “ I have a horrible day ahead of me, Lord. I think I’ll skip my devotions this morning and sleep in…”
If I had to run laps like Charlie, I might say to my teacher, “Wait a minute, you expect me to run in these old shoes!” Because I can always come up with a good reason to wimp out.
The wonderful news is that even in “wimp out” times, God stays close, and He has given us a Bible verse that both encourages and strengthens. II Timothy, chapter 1 verse 7.” For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
What a wonderful assurance that God will provide the courage we need to do what we must do, that through His power, we will have the strength to echo Charlie’s whisper, “Never give up!”
[Story used with permission from Charlie’s Mom, Emily!]