Admit it, you have them.
You have those days where no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to work. Relationships aren’t on par. Work stress is so overwhelming it is blinding. The overall anxiety of society is enough to make you sick. Oh, yeah, and you have a toddler.
These days carry with them a vast amount of emotions from moment to moment. We experience anger, grief, sorrow all within five minutes. The chains of anxiety result in suffering. The shackles of stress issue depression.
There are countless people in our communities who go through this on a regular basis. The single mother working three jobs to ensure food is on the table. The adult child caring for a parent with dementia. The young adult living with a mental illness, on edge more than he is relaxed.
What are we to do in such a time as this?
If you are a fan of Dancing with the Stars, you will recognize the name Noah Galloway. Noah was the army vet who had lost his left arm and leg from a car side bombing while serving in Iraq. He did not let his injuries slow him down, as he took third place in the dancing competition in 2015.
Noah tells his story from Iraq to the dance floor in his memoir, Living With No Excuses. People who watched Dancing with the Stars did so with awe as he danced some pretty difficult dances without his prosthetic.
If you read his book, you’ll soon see a theme arise. There are few challenges that Noah will not rise to meet. In his memoir, Noah is brutally honest not just about his war injuries but also his broken relationships. He writes openly about both of his divorces, the struggle of heeding a call to serve and raising children, and the failed relationship with his ex-fiance Jamie Boyd, whom he proposed to on Dancing with the Stars.
“…for though they fall seven times, they will rise again….” (Proverbs 24:16a)
We read Noah’s story and marvel at how he was able to keep going. Noah’s life, however, was not without its shackles of stress and chains of anxiety. There was plenty of that. In fact, Noah is just as honest about his depression as he is about the rest of his life.
Through it all, Noah was persistent in rising above the current challenges of life. He worked hard to get rise up out of depression. He worked just as hard to get himself back in shape. He worked hard at his relationships, with his family, his children, and his spouses. He was persistent and did not give up.
But being persistent is not the end game.
Even though he was persistent and he did not give up, there was still brokenness in Noah’s life. He worked hard at relationships that ended. Yet, he was able to find enough shattered pieces to foster friendships. Even in the brokenness, he did not give up.
” . . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. . . ” (Romans 3:23)
Noah is a reminder that bad days are not the last days. His story is a story of persistence. More importantly, Noah’s life is a story of grace.
You see, each time we fall, we rise because of grace. We do what we do everyday because of the unmerited, undeserved gift of grace. And when we have days – and we will have days – when it will feel easier to give up than to be persistent, do not give up. There is much to be done with each day, especially in these days. Be persistent, and may God’s grace guide you.