October 31, 2022

Just Keep Nugging

by Toby Lofton in Spiritual Growth0 Comments

Every year, hundreds of military personnel enter the elite forces of our military. The doorway into these organizations requires completing some of the most difficult military training in the world.

Some of these schools have an 80% wash-out rate (percent of people who do not finish the course). The courses are hard, difficult, and exhausting.

I know of very few people who didn’t hit the wall during the course. Hitting the wall is when you have this intense battle with yourself. Do you quit or keep going?

Some people quit. Many keep going, though.

It’s these that keep going that receive the reward. They complete the course, receive the badge, and reach their goal of serving in the elite forces.

Despite the hardship, sweat, and pain, I have met no one who told me it wasn’t worth it. They are so glad they sacrificed and kept going.

Years ago, when I was completing my doctoral program, the military sent me to a one-year residency course that required a lot of time, mental energy, and attention. I was in the thesis year of my doctoral program. Research, writing, interviews, testing, and defending your research fills the thesis year. I wasn’t sure if I could do both the doctoral work and the military schooling.

A friend who had already completed a PhD gave me some brilliant advice. He said, “Just keep nugging.” Nugging means put your head down, eyes on the screen, and just keep typing. Don’t think about the work. Do the work.

I must tell you I got very little sleep that year. I was mentally exhausted. But, come summer of the following year, I walked across two stages. One for my degree. The other for the military school. Both required a lot of sacrifice. Both were well worth it.

Both examples may sound extreme and out of the ordinary, however, most people have done something similar in everyday life. Most of us have sacrificed something in order to get, see, or experience something else.

Yours may have been taking a second job to help your family, or so your kids could do something. You may have denied yourself of nice things or simple pleasures so you could save money for something bigger, or even just to build a savings account. You may have said no to something else so you could say yes to a church ministry or mission. Like me, it might have been sacrificing, so you could go back to school.

Do this:

  1. Think back on a sacrifice you made for something (we’ll call this your goal). I encourage you to make a list of sacrifices throughout your life.
  2. When did you realize the scale of the sacrifice required to reach your goal?
  3. Why did you say yes to the sacrifice?
  4. What kept you going?

Here’s the point: Reaching your faith-vision isn’t different from anything else. Living out your calling requires sacrifice. But as we saw last week, and in the stories above, it is a sacrifice that is well worth it.

I have found that, for some odd reason, people give up on their faith much quicker than other things in life. They tell themselves a variety of reasons they can’t have the faith they seek. Yet, they will keep nugging to have a new car, take a cruise, buy nice things, and satisfy their entertainment desires.

You can have the faith you want if you will sacrifice to get it. It’s not that you can’t sacrifice. You can.

For most people, their life proves it. They have the stories of sacrifice. Their livelihood shows they’ve done it before.

You can do it. The rewards are far greater than anything you can imagine, but you must sacrifice.

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