Saturday, March 31, 2018

Terca!

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. (Henry Ward Beecher)

Boy, is that ever the truth! The strongest thing to overcome is our "won't" moments - those times when we dig in our heels and just determine we "won't" change the course of things, or the behavior we are being challenged to lay down. The more we determine we "won't" do something, the more we desire it! There are lots of times we label our obstinacy as being sort of something we have no control over, like a force that is 'forcing' us to do something. The root of the issue is our stubbornness, not our commitment. We commit very well to pursue something - we are just choosing the "wrong something" to pursue!

First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. (Proverbs 16:18 MSG)

Obstinate people aren't going to compromise - they are unyielding, dug in, there for the long haul. The hallmark sign of an obstinate person is that they are not easily controlled. They will not hand the reins of control over to anyone else and they make that quite plain. Some call this stubbornness, but there is a degree of obstinacy that goes well beyond just being a little stubborn. The determination to always be right, in control, unyielding to any idea other than their own - these are symptoms of an obstinate heart.

Some label obstinacy as being "determined", but it is really nothing more than being "self-willed" and "strong-minded". If we could manage our will well enough, would we ever need a Savior? No, because we wouldn't get ourselves into places of unyielding compromise if we had a will that always functioned by making the choices that God's will declares to be right for us! Ego may be a small word, but it is a big problem! It keeps us doggedly determined to do some things in ways we choose to do them that may not be exactly correct.

Headstrong individuals are all around us - even right before us in the mirror looking back at you know who! The more headstrong we are, the more independent we attempt to function because we see little need for others to ever lend their help, ideas, or plans. There is no room for 'deviation' from one's own plans and that can be the greatest battle for us at times. As Beecher said, the will isn't the issue most of the time - it is the won't that messes us up more than the will. We label it being 'willful', but maybe we'd be more accurate if we labeled it as being 'won't-ful'.

Every now and again, my BFF reminds me I am being a little "mulish" in my behavior. She calls me "terca" (stubborn, mulish, obstinate). It is usually because I am refusing help, but the truth of the matter is that she is probably a little bit right - I am being "terca". While stubbornness to avoid the wrong stuff is not bad, carried to the extreme of thinking we can get past all the wrong stuff on our own is quite arrogant and 'mulish' indeed. We might just do well to examine our 'will' and our 'won't' now and again - because I think it is possible to get those two mixed up now and again! Just sayin!