So many things come to mind when I hear that word.
Enduring. Sticking with it, even when it's hard. Running until you can no longer walk. Pressing on, no matter how tough the situation. Trusting in God, even when your life is completely and utterly falling apart.
I play volleyball. I love volleyball. I'm not serious about volleyball. I play it for fun. I play it simply to play. I have no intention of being the next Misty May-Treanor. I have no intention of playing in college. Honestly, I don't even care if we lose every game in the season. I love playing, and nothing is going to take that love away from me.
However, the downside to not being competitive with a sport is that it makes quitting that much easier. If you take it seriously, you won't quit for anything. In fact, you might even overwork yourself to get better. When you play for fun, you typically only do the bare minimum of work required, because the sport means nothing to you. As long as you're playing, you're happy. Even if you suck.
So, when someone, such as a coach, pushes you really hard to make you a better player, it's hard to endure. Why should you exert yourself to get better at something you don't even care about? Sometimes, it's easier to just say "I quit."
We are supposed to do everything with excellence. Even if we don't like it. Even if we don't care about it. In everything, we are called to do the best we can. If you hold that as a value in your life, then it is pretty obvious that perseverance is more important than comfort.
This isn't to say you should be perfect every time. Am I a perfect volleyball player? Far from it. The truth is, everyone is going to have their days. All you can do is try your best. Some days, your best may not be as good as other days. That's okay. The most important thing is that you try. You give it your all, no matter what. You work to become a stronger player. You may not invest as much time as others, and that's okay, too. But giving up should never be an option.
I hate quitters. Okay, hate is a strong word. But I can't stand it when people quit. Seriously, get a little perseverance, people! Do you know how many times I've wanted to quit volleyball because it got too hard for uncompetitive me? Like, 132,098,876. At least. Yet I never have. And I've never regretted it. And I continue to play every year. In fact, I'm going into my seventh (and final) year now.
I'm proud of myself for sticking with it. It's been hard. Almost too hard, at some times. (For me at least...I'm pretty weak and don't have a high level of endurance, so things get hard for me pretty quick). But the truth is, I love volleyball. Nothing, not even an hour of those horrifyingly painful ab workouts or having to run for 10 minutes straight with a pulled calf muscle, can change that. Perseverance is part of the sport, and if you can master that part, you won't regret it. You'll have fun and be made a better player. Double win.
But don't get me wrong, that may be a double win, but winning is definitely not the most important thing. It's fun, yes. It's preferable, yes. But losing is not the end of the world. I promise.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24
P.S. I use the example of volleyball here, but this post applies to everything in life. School work. Your job. Your chores. Life in general. Everything.
P.P.S. We had our first volleyball game tonight, and won! All the girls did awesome--they definitely played with excellence. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season! :-)