I almost made it completely through chapter two this morning of 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit, by Nicki Koriarz, but there is so much information that I made myself stop to soak it all up in my soul.
One major thing I’ve been letting soak is what she says about desperation. “Desperate situations will either lead us to a greater dependence on God, or they can cause us to detour away from God”(Koriarz). She asks the reader “What makes you desperate?”.
For me it’s, what makes me desperate for friendships, what makes me desperate to finish a job, what makes me desperate to finish things I’ve started? sometimes I long for friendships, and those are the times I realize I need to work on being more social and cultivating friendships better. Or I long to see a project through to completion but I survey all my failed attempts and wonder why I should finish something now, since I’m so good at quitting. Koriarz’s words were like looking in a mirror when I read she felt the same way, “I get too comfortable with this cycle of failure in my life. I tell myself there’s always tomorrow to start over. But time seems to keep marching. And life seems okay. So maybe I don’t have enough desperation to really change”. I’m the exact same way. I remember though one time when a desperate situation pushed me to finish out what I started, to push beyond just quitting.
In my show choir it was all fun and games until choreography camp. Hours upon hours of brutal dance instruction while wearing 3 inch heels, not allowed to show weakness or you’d be cut off and thrown to the hyenas (I’m watching Lion King as I write this therefore the hyena reference). My feet would be swollen and sore for days after choreography camp, and my eyes would be red from crying in frustration, because it felt like I would never learn the dance steps correctly. Two weeks later though I would have them down pretty well and be happy those hours in 3 inch heels weren’t wasted.
I’ve never been the best dancer but I learned how to do my best and do it with facials that distracted from my dancing, but even my facials weren’t enough to have me near the front riser or on the coveted floor positions. I did have a few moments that found me dancing on the floor instead of the risers but they were few and far between. Even my senior year I had to fight to stay in, even over freshman and other girls who I couldn’t figure out how our director kept them on the stage.
I tried to get over not being close to the front, because at least I was on the stage, my practice was paying off and that felt rewarding. Then one day of my last season, our director got into one of her bad moods and decided to cut almost every girl from the girls’ number. She gave those cut the chance re-audition to be placed back in, but they must practice a set number of hours with the dance captains before they could. When she counted me in the number of cut girls my stomach plummeted. Like I said, I wasn’t the best dancer but I knew I was better than most of the girls she kept (just being honest). I went home crying over the fact that I wouldn’t be in the girls number for my last show, and it was such a fun song! But I also left the stage that day with a determination to get my butt back in that number if it was the last thing I did.
I fulfilled my hours of practice with the girl dance captains assigned to me, and I worked day and night on the places in the song I seemed to lagging. Those days were hard, they were frustrating, it was definitely an assignment of refinement. Especially when it felt like I was being taught the wrong way to do things on purpose, and the days it felt like the director was trying to make sure I didn’t get back in the number. In my show choir world this was one time of many in which I had to “fight for my life”.
Oh but it was worth it.
I re-auditioned. Rejected.
Tears ensued, anger boiled.
I re-auditioned again. SUCCESS!
Finally, all those hours and tears and frustration led to success. I knew it wasn’t in my own power but through God’s strength and softening of the director’s heart. She put me in the back but I didn’t quibble because I was just happy to be in the number.
Desperation can push us to do our best or it can push us to give up and leave. Koriarz uses Ruth as an example here, “Do not persuade me to leave you or back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May Yahweh punish me, and do so severely, if anything but death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17). Ruth’s desperation led her to follow Naomi instead of going back with her sister-in-law Orpah, and by following Naomi Ruth was blessed beyond anything she could’ve imagined. She ends up being part of the lineage of Jesus Christ, but if she had given up back when Naomi tried to send her away, she wouldn’t have made it to Bethlehem (spiritually and physically).
I think also of Abraham’s servant, whom Abraham sent to find his son Issac a suitable wife. The servant stops at the well outside the town of Abraham’s brother, and so far he has yet to find a wife for his master’s son. He cries out desperately to God “O, Lord, God of my master Abraham”, he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham” (Genesis 24: 12). God sends Rebekah and the rest is history. The servant could’ve easily given up, found an ‘okay’ wife, but instead he cried out to His master’s God, He had seen what God did for Abraham and that He could be trusted.
What will I allow my desperation to do? Will I allow it stop me or push me. I work with the Youth Group at my church and the youth pastor has been teaching the teens something I find very helpful (and a little convicting).
PUSH. When we are desperate it will lead us to grow or go and hide. Praying until something happens is a good result of desperation. And when we go to Him who can help us in our desperation we wont feel so desperate anymore. “ Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). He’s our safe place. He’ll take on our burdens and when we have this shift in our perspective things will change. The place we run to in desperation will change. Because we’ll be running to Him.
So what makes you desperate?