Temps were in the 40s and a wind was blowing cold. We layered up and set off as the trail wound down into a ravine before pushing uphill.
The first waterfall – St. Mary Waterfall – was small but mighty as it roared into a green-blue pool before rushing away.
Further up the trail I was pretty sure the second waterfall was our destination because it felt as if we’d hiked a long way.
“Are you sure this isn’t it?” I asked, not wanting to trek upward. Again. More.
Dan: “There’s no sign here. I think it’s up further.”
We continued pressing uphill. And after a mile or two, the trail ended. At a small pool. At the base of a 50’ waterfall.
If we had stopped short, we wouldn’t have reached this majestic place.
Not stopping short of reaching a goal takes stubborn determination. Saying, This is good enough, doesn’t take much determination at all.
INSEAD, a non-profit business school, has this to say about the upside of stubbornness:
Because stubborn people know what they want, they tend to be more decisive. … Qualities like vision, grit, resilience, and persistence are derivatives of stubbornness.
The INSEAD article goes on to note the downside:
Stubbornness is often a sign of insecurity and a way to hold on to a very fragile mental equilibrium. Stubborn people are often fearful of change. … Truly strong people know how to compromise when necessary.
There’s a difference between stubbornly closing our minds to anything new—This is the way we’ve always done it—and stubbornly holding on to our God-inspired purpose in life, even when doors shut in our faces.
In instructions to First Century Jewish believers, the author of the book of Hebrews gives us an example of persevering stubbornly:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.HEBREW 12:1, New International Version
Here’s how it’s translated in the New Living Translation:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.Hebrews 12:1
Perseverance. Endurance. Tenacity. These are some of my favorite words.
May we know the difference between the downside of stubbornness … and stubbornness for the sake of not shorting the experience, the learning process, the entrepreneurial idea, the calling God has on our lives.