I watched a great TED Talk the other day. Angela Lee Duckworth spoke of Grit being the secret of success. She ended the talk (spoiler alert) with the confession that no one knows how to teach it.
I may not know how to teach it, but I see the secret to obtaining grit in Proverbs 4. The chapter is full of not just obtaining wisdom, but embracing it, praising it, and honoring it. The chapter brings to mind one of my favorite words: Cherish.
Grit is tough and well, gritty, but there is tenderness to the word “cherish.” How can you obtain grit through such a “soft” word? Cherish describes a way to look after what is precious. Whether that is a talent, a goal, your spirit, or your heart, think of “cherish” as you proceed through your day and grit follows.
Grit: Step One
If this is not your first time reading my blogs, perhaps you remember the post on Proverbs 8: Listen In Order To Hear. If not, please read the section under the heading of “Solomon’s Prayer.”
God granted Solomon with the ability to hear Him. Is it really that simple? All I have to do is ask? Yes, you must simply ask, and No, it is only the first step. Just because you hear it, doesn’t mean you understand it. I can hear Chinese, but I have no clue what is being said. In order to understand Chinese, I must study and practice the language.
When at First We Don’t Perceive
The next step is to perceive. “Oh, It’s Chinese. I need a Chinese language expert.” Finding guidance is vital, but something must happen first…
Acknowledge Your Past
In my humble opinion, the secret of grit is to keep your eyes on what you have and not on what is missing. Notice how you have improved. Notice your wins. In other words, acknowledge your past.
The Old Testament is not just full of laws, sins, and rituals, it is full of deliverance, inspiration, and covenants of redemption. “If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us” kind of stuff (Romans 8:31).
Evaluate Your Present
Staying focused on what you have isn’t just picking flowers and enjoying the sunshine. You must have honest evaluation.
Only noticing your strengths and not your weaknesses will destroy you. This is where being humble comes in. That is two fold. If you only see the weakness of others and not in yourself, you are falsely esteeming yourself up and not wisdom (v. 8). On the other hand, if you only see the strength of others and not in yourself, you will crush your spirit. Let wisdom honor you (also v. 8)
Stay On Course
Your future is full of choices. Obtaining daily guidance from the Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to light your path gives your mind focus. Keep you eyes straight ahead, take only ways that are firm, do not swerve to the left or the right (vv. 25-27) and belief in your Guide. That is the Secret of Grit.