You know you’re under a book deadline when…

  • You’ve moved a pillow and blanket to your office.
  • Your plants are wilted and begging for water.
  • Your kids are eating cereal for breakfast—and supper.
  • Your husband’s putting spray-can whipped cream in his coffee because we ran out of creamer four days ago.

It may be comical, but I’m grateful to my family for their sacrifices so I could hit my deadline. I hit the send button at 8 pm on Friday the day it was due.

Finishing isn’t easy. It takes grit, endurance, and persistence.

There are times when the finish line looks out of reach. It’s when the self-doubts plague us, and everything becomes hard. When things that are supposed to make your life easier, decide to test your endurance.

There is nothing that tests your patience like the labyrinth of phone system prompts. They are meant to direct to the proper department but always end up re-routing you back to the beginning. The poor ladies in my office quickly leave for their lunch breaks when I start screaming into the phone: “Operator… Customer Service… Representative… Help… Let me talk to a human, please!”

Man yelling at phone

I love technology. I wouldn’t be able to be a writer if it weren’t for computers, spellcheck, and grammar check. Sometimes, however, I feel like technology likes to mess with me. It taunts me when things that have always worked suddenly give an error message or decide to no longer show up. It seems to usually happen when I’m in a rush and need something quickly.

As isolated events, these little things aren’t a big deal, but when they compound piling up on top of one another, to the point, you’re so distracted by all the small technical issues you forget what you were trying to do in the first place. Frustration rises until it’s teeming over the brink ready to spill out your eyeballs, or even worse, explode from your lips.

How do we keep from letting our frustrations get the best of us? How do we keep from throwing up our hands and walking away when it feels like everything is conspiring against us? How do we become an overcomer and not a casualty?

“I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

Paul understood what it was like to have obstacles stacked against him. He’d been arrested for preaching about Jesus and thrown into jail for several years while the Jewish and Roman leaders decided who had jurisdiction. Eventually, Paul was shipped off to Rome, but on the way there, a huge storm kicked up, and he became shipwrecked near the island of Malta. If all that wasn’t enough, after swimming to shore and lighting a fire to stay warm, a poisonous snake jumps out and bites Paul’s hand.

Coral snake

Paul, however, shook off the snake and eventually continued onto Rome, where in Acts 28 it says, “He [Paul] proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”

I can hear the satisfaction in Paul’s words in 2 Timothy when he says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness… and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” Paul persevered through trials that make my issues with tech and phone auto attendants seem like eating cake in the park. He’d be the first to tell me to shake off the snake, stay strong in weakness because God has a plan, and to focus on the importance of finishing the race.

We might run out of energy, strength, confidence, but we will never run out of God.

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