Reasons or Results? We can't have both. Grandma would always say, "You can't have your cake and eat it too!" I thought that was a pretty lame saying for many years. It made no sense and provided no real insight. Until it did. Until I learned that I am that person who likes convenience over character. 

Which, I believe, is exactly opposite of God's best for me. I'm fairly certain, He is more interested in my character than my comfort in the areas where I most need to grow. Besides, if I had all I wanted, anytime I wanted it, would I have what it takes to manage it well? 

Part of the process in our journey to our desired destination, is learning the lay of the land, not just enjoying the fruit of the land. It is easy to find excuses for quitting something that once seemed to be of the utmost importance to us. We may feel tired, rejected, or judged, or we may be dealing with personal pain. However, laying a solid foundation is in any pursuit where we desire to be successful is imperative.

We don't start out on a cross-country trek or even across the state, within considering what we need for the trip. Ok, I know some of you will likely be thinking, "Well, if I don't have it, I can always go buy it". Yes, this is true. But lessons are not always available for purchase.

When we were in school, we got the lesson and then the test. It is not always the same out here in real life. It's more like, we get the test and then the lesson. Either way, when we accept it for what it is, we can gain valuable insight into preparation for creating what we need most to be successful in life's most important pursuits.

Surprisingly, the greatest time of temptation to quit, is in the early phases of developing the game plan or the groundwork. Why? Because it appears to be all work and no fun, and perhaps little, if any, compensation. Ideas may come readily, but when we move from visionary to implementer, the tide turns and so, does the commitment requirement. Now we may be playing in a bigger league.

It may be that we have to continue working a "real" job to build a bridge to get to the place to realize the dream that we believe God has called us to.

It's often easy to find the right things to tell ourselves that will "allow" us to quit. We don't have to look too far to see the challenges we will face if we make a commitment to see this dream to fruition. 

Some of the biggest areas we may get hung up on are the things we cannot change, all the while making excuses for not changing the things we are able to change.

Stage One: How often have you felt empowered to do something, having ideas coming at you at rocket speed? So many, in fact, you barely want to sleep, but rather you want to write them down and proceed on everything that will lead you to this place of success. 

Stage Two: Enter Discouragement. We begin to see all the obstacles when we take our eyes off the desired goal or destination. We are tempted to quit because it is just too hard or we don't have enough money, or so-in-so said this or tried that blah blah blah. Our thoughts can begin to echo what our friends are saying, "What was I thinking"? 

All the while, it seems to feel better and easier to think about what other great endeavors we can accomplish, if we just abandon our efforts and move on to the next bigger and better thing.

So we may elect to tell ourselves we will be happier now, having tried, and even though our efforts didn't produce anything of lasting value, we're better off, right? 
Heads up! We don't fail until we stop trying!! Yep, that means when we give up, stop, cease, quit doing or making the effort, we have successfully failed at realizing the dream or plan what we had hoped to see happen.

Sometimes we may feel a little jealous that someone else pursued where they wanted in life and it seemed to fall into place for them like a well-greased gear. Like clockwork. Why them. we ask. Why not us? Consider that it is best not to compare what is going on inside of you, your feelings of disappointment, overwhelm or even giving up, with what others' may 'appear' to be on the outside. We all have our struggles and challenges!

Other times, we may want too much too soon. We overextend our time or finances or abilities. Enter: stress trying to manage where we have bitten off more than we are able to chew.

Growing in any facet requires a unique stretching, a building of integrity and ingenuity. It requires levels of flexibility and adaptability. We must be able to bend a little without breaking.
True success doesn't come easily. It isn't free of hurdles. It won't feel good all day, everyday.  It will be work and it will take patience and determination, creativity, sacrifice and moving beyond mistakes. It requires failing forward. 

I have a really good definition of what success is. It is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. 
It will require changing all we can, accepting all that we can't change and continually seeking God for the wisdom to keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

Many times we may have to surrender our "agenda". After we've done all we can do, we may have to look to God to show up and do what ONLY He can do.

Carving out the life we want is not for the one who doesn't have staying power. It will require more of everything than we have ever given before. It will stretch us many times to the point of feeling confused and into seasons that come with many questions and few answers.

The good news though, is that if we continue working our plan, success will come! The secret? 

P E R S E V E R A N C E .   

That little extra something that wins out over affluence, education, natural ability or even status. It is the thing that separates winners from losers.

It is what the tortoise had over the hare.  
It is where the rubber meets the road. 

So, the question isn't "IF" we can succeed at something, but "HOW" will we succeed at it? How many ways will we choose to not give up until we reach the point that defines what we believe we need to do and to be for success to happen for us personally?

When you find the answer, you, my Friend, will have found out just what you are made of?  Enjoy the journey of self-discovery! 

It is the path to the best of life.
Sheri Geyer is a Boundaries Coach for Women

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