I’m admittedly fairly stubborn and can be known to dig my heels in on things. However being married for nearly thirty years I’ve discovered and had to learn the difference between stubbornness and tenacity. Stubbornness is to have dogged determination – not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so. Other synonyms and descriptions for stubbornness are obstinate, stubborn as a mule and difficult to move, remove or cure.
Whereas tenacity by definition is to be persistent, persevering, to have strength of purpose and to be determined.
God talks about this sort of tenacious perseverance in a good way and that we are to endure and be patient. It’s by faith and patience that we inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12) and by not growing weary in doing good that we reap the harvest (Galatians 6:9).
“We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy always.” (Colossians 1:11-12)
I’ve discovered that some of the greatest character traits and gifts in our life can also be our greatest downfall if not channelled and exhibited through a pure heart and motives. God wants to use our gifts and who we are for good, but the devil is also at work seeking to use and direct those same gifts and traits for evil.
I can be persevering, display incredible endurance and refuse to give up on my dreams and people, but I can also get offended, hold a grudge and not want to budge on things, which is stubbornness. I actually asked my husband today if I’m stubborn or tenacious and He looked at me with a look that men usually reserve for when their partner asks, “Do I look fat in this”. He carefully replied, “You’re both”. “You can be very stubborn, especially when your’e wrong, and also extremely tenacious which is an amazing part of who you are.”
God is always seeking to prune us and causing that which is fruitful in our life to increase. He wants us to keep growing and developing as people and to reach our full potential. But that means allowing Him to direct our characters and gifting in the best possible direction, so as to get the desired result and a blessed, full life. (John 15)
Today, if you know you have a tendency towards being stubborn, don’t stress. Determine instead to cultivate a soft, willing heart as you seek God for His wisdom and humility as to how you can direct that stubbornness into tenacity. For then your enduring, never quit characteristics will bring out the best part of who you are in all your relationships, dreams and pursuits and everyone will truly be blessed to know you.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. (2 Peter 1:5-6 NIV )
Prayer: Lord thank you for the gift of perseverance and tenacity. Please help me to always be open to your correction and to have a soft heart so that you can correct and redirect my focus and attitudes when necessary. Create in me a clean heart Lord and a right spirit in me. In Jesus name Amen.