If there’s one thing I hope to say about myself by the end of this year, it’s this: I’m grittier than I was.
When I say grit, I’m talking about courage and resolve, showing up and staying in it for the long haul, doing the hard things that get you places you thought you couldn’t go.
I’ve learned, in the last year, that I am not a naturally gritty person. I like safety and comfort. I like staying in the known places where I’m doing well.
The problem is, not much happens in those safe, comfortable places.
You know who has grit? Moana. I’m in love with this character from Disney because she is a great picture of the rewards of being gritty.
Moana lives on an island, where she is destined to be the next leader. Their island is slowing dying, food is scarce. The people are getting desperate.
Moana suggests they go beyond the reef to look for more fish, but her father tells her, “There’s nothing beyond our reef but storms and rough seas. As long as we stay on our very safe island, we’ll be fine.” He tried to go beyond the reef before and found nothing but heartache and an unforgiving ocean.
Moana tries to stay as her father asks, but the desire to save her people, and the call on her life to be the one to help them compels her to go.
Throughout the movie, we see her waver between doubt and courage, resolve and giving up. In the end, (spoiler alert) her perseverance pays off.
We all have a safe island where we could stay. And we all have ways God is calling us to live out who we are, asking us to venture into new waters. He calls us to places that test our resolve, places of potential failure, but also great reward.
For me, writing has been that call onto the water. It’s been a challenging and anxiety-ridden ride at times, full of temptation to compare myself to others, wonder if I have what it takes, and be discouraged.
I have tried to be courageous and put myself out there, but often I have wanted to give up and walk away, back to my safe island. To be honest, I feel that right now, today, as I write this.
When we attempt to do something that calls us beyond our comfort zone, it’s tough. We get tired. There’s heartache and failure. Sometimes it feels like the world is against us. Our dreams seem just out of reach. We doubt it’s worth it.
The question is, “Will we keep going?”
It takes grit. Leaving the island takes grit. Staying the course takes grit.
But what’s the alternative? If we stay, our worlds get smaller, until we are stuck on our islands. We are safe, but we aren’t living. Comfortable, but accomplishing little. We miss the call.
So what does it take for us to leave the island, to stay gritty?
In my experience, it’s a combination of being desperate enough to leave where we are, and a clear vision of where we want to be.
It’s the conviction that where we are is not where we want to be in the end, and where we would like to land is worth the risk and the effort. That’s where we stay laser-focused whenever we are ready to throw in the towel.
It’s also the conviction that this is what God has asked us to do. And if He has asked us to do it, He will equip us for it. He doesn’t promise it will be easy, but He promises He will be with us. Grit takes faith, in ourselves, yes, but even more so in the One who called us.
I don’t know what God is calling you to right now. Maybe it’s starting that ministry that’s been gnawing at your heart. Is there a relationship God calls you to fight for when you want to leave? Maybe it’s that book you’ve always wanted to write, or the job you’re not sure you’re qualified for. It might be literally leaving this land and venturing across the sea to a new place. Whatever it is, it’s worth the risk.
Stop staring at the edge of the water. Go. Stay the course. Be gritty.