Just keep at it. That’s sometimes easier said than done. I ran across the “just keep at it” words this week in The Message rendering of 1 Timothy 4:16. “Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it.”
Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Lately, I feel diverted by distractions and the drudgery of to-dos. I know much of my ho-hum focus stems from my recent thumb joint replacement surgery and my collie Maisie’s knee surgery. But languishing in sick bay is not the place for me.
Park It and Take Stock
How about you? Can you relate to being a bit weary, maybe even diverted lately? Just look around at our world and our country and it’s no wonder we may feel less than gung-ho about keeping at it. Heavens to Murgatroyd! (I’ve never used Murgatroyd in my writing before, but it sure fits right now.) The COVID pandemic. The Russia invasion. Refugees suffering. Inflation stifling. Gas prices soaring. On and on it goes until we want to close ourselves off from all the depressing news and unending drama.
Maybe it is time we all got off life’s maddening merry-go-round to sit still a bit. Actually, you’re doing that now as you read these words. When the wacky, wild times accelerate, it’s time we park it. When our responsibilities overwhelm, it’s time we shift to neutral and take stock. I know it may feel counterintuitive to slow down when life speeds up, but this respite in the rustling is how we can “just keep at it” in the long-haul. We learn to bend on instead of break under.
Reach the Summit
We just celebrated Women’s History Month and I love the story of Katherine Lee Bates Katherine was a college English teacher and poet who taught at Colorado College in Colorado Springs during the summer of 1893. To better enjoy the Rocky Mountains, she rounded up some of her colleagues to travel by prairie wagon to the top of Pikes Peak. Near the top of the 14,115-foot mountain, the group was forced to ditch the wagon and climb aboard mules.
Let me interject here, I climbed Pikes Peak in eight hours the summer I turned forty. No wagon. No mules. But I do concur with Katherine’s comment on the Pikes Peak trek. “I was very tired. But when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.”
If Katherine hadn’t endured with a “just keep at it” perspective, she would have never reached the summit and written the lyrics to our beloved “America the Beautiful.”
Hitch Up Your Bloomers
When the wagon failed, Katherine and her group improvised, hitched up their bloomers and rode those sturdy-legged mules. We may not always find mules at hand when we feel like ditching our wagon, but there is another way. Marshall Lucas let us in on a secret when he wrote, “God doesn’t always smooth the path, but sometimes he puts springs in the wagon.”
With all the rough, jarring paths in our world today, I need some fresh springs in my wagon. How about you? Stop the mules. Hold your horses. Let God outfit your wagon with some easy-on-the-tush springs. Sit a spell while He does. Grab a sports drink and chill. Then hitch up your bloomers . . . don’t be diverted and just keep at it. I’m right there with you.