Persistence Pays Off
Some time ago, I read the story of a very successful CEO who had everything most people dream of having: a great marriage—a great family—a great job—a great home—and a great future. The irony was that his past included a long-term battle with alcoholism and numerous affairs. In an act of desperation, he finally confessed to his wife, and he joined a recovery group where he had an epiphany about the way he wanted his life to be. He began to move in a new direction, and he longed, as many of us do, for all of the circumstances and for his character to just change overnight— for everything to be instantly okay. In that moment, his entire way of thinking changed but the circumstances in his life would take over 20 years to change.
Have you ever been there? Where you find clarity and change is necessary but the reality that real change, real healing takes time can be a painful truth.
Back to the CEO, he had to start reinvesting in his marriage—one step at a time—one day at a time. He had to start spending real time with his teenage sons who resisted for a while, but he was patient. He gave them time. He had to make the hard decision to end his work day at 5, even if it meant risking career advancement, so he could spend time with his family. Interestingly, none of these changes made any dramatic difference at first, but he kept at it trusting, “A time is coming when this will all payoff.”
Eventually, that time came. Years later, his old life was hardly recognizable. He felt like his perspective changed, his circumstances changed, and ultimately, his character changed. He had healed and his family healed. This took time and persistence.
I know this isn't the news we want to hear. It isn’t the great, grandiose, movie ending that someone was spared cancer or someone saved a life because he turned his life in a different direction. In this example, this CEO decided he wanted change and he stuck with it. The changes that occurred saved his soul and kept his family in tact. This took time.
We are often looking for big gestures to equal big payoff and immediate reward. However, what we can count on is that persistence and conscious decisions to make life more meaningful will lead to slow, persistent change. Persistence is the firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Another definition: the continued or prolonged existence of something. There is really nothing instant about it. With our hurried pace ,it is hard for us to imagine anything that requires an extended period of time, years even.
The desire to grow a business or the desire to change a bad habit, these can be quickly thwarted by the reality that meaningful change, meaningful growth, and transformation takes time. There really are no short-cuts or quick-fixes. It usually just starts with a decision, a decision that now is the time to start, and then more importantly, today is the day to stay the course.
Yes, today can be the day where things change—but it is going to take time.
We just have to name that. We have to see that. You’re going to have to stick with it tomorrow and the next day and the next day. You may need to ask for help—or get in a community or group of supporters—or talk to a mentor or counselor. But always remembering, “A time is coming. Even when the road is rough and I’m ready to give up, a new day is coming, and it will be worth it.” One day you’ll look back and it will come to you that today is different than when you started the journey.
Written by: Dan Hall has a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Masters of Divinity. With over 25 years of ministry experience, Dan has served as a Pastor, Church Planter, Transitional Leader, Mentor, and Coach. Follow more of his writing on his blog, Voce.
Written by: Josi Garcia is the Co-Founder of ZimZum Consulting Collaboration. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, holds a Masters degree in Special Education, and has experience working with schools and families supporting individuals with special needs.