“I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.” ~ Jennifer Yane

That about sums up the stress of the past month. (Wish I was kidding!)

A 6000-page case with a tight deadline at work. A trip to Oregon just in time to say goodbye to my grandmother. Catch up on the laundry. Bake treats for the 3rd grade class Birthday party. Stand by as a routine furnace tune-up reveals numerous cracks in the heat exchanger and an expensive emergency furnace replacement with snow in the forecast. Borrow a vehicle so our family van can go to the shop to get the heater fixed. Juggle the details to take the whole family to California for Grandma’s burial and memorial service … and learn while there that my husband’s 94-year-old grandmother was in surgery for a ruptured appendix. Delay unpacking the suitcases in order to bake brownies for a football awards evening. Catch up on the laundry and bake pumpkin bread for a 3rd grade class party. Plan two Birthday parties. Thanksgiving family events … and then my laptop won’t boot and the error message indicates a hard drive failure. Rush to find a replacement that still has Windows 7 … then spend hours restoring files from backup and installing my programs.

With this in mind, I flipped the page to this week’s character quality and had to laugh at God’s sense of humor and timing.

Endurance. The inward strength to withstand stress and do my best. The opposite of getting discouraged and falling apart under pressure.

The Bible is full of examples of ordinary individuals doing remarkable things under pressure. Take Noah, for instance. He built a boat approximately 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall with three levels … without modern machinery or tools … and then rounded up the animals and enough food for all of them. Huge task. Negative local press. But Noah did his best … and survived the flood.

Joseph had ten older brothers who gave him a hard time … and eventually sold into slavery in Egypt. Once there, he did his best and rose in authority over Potiphar’s household … until falsely accused and thrown in prison. Once there, he did his best and was put in charge of the other prisoners … until he interpreted a dream and was forgotten … and later interpreted another dream and was promoted to Pharaoh’s right-hand man.

David was on the run for his life from Saul … while leading a band of followers made up of “all those who were in distress or in debt or discontented” (1 Samuel 22:2 NIV). How’s that for a stress-free life? Yet, throughout the years that followed until he was crowned King, David continued to seek after God’s heart.

Hebrews chapter 11 is packed with even more people who endured. Not to mention the greatest example of all because Jesus endured mockery, beatings, crucifixion, separation from His Father, and death.

My life gives me LOTS of opportunities to practice endurance. So, like the writer of Hebrews encouraged: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight … and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV)

What about you? How’s your stress level headed into the holidays? Do you have inward strength or collapse under pressure?

Character Matters – Endurance
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