Endurance Is Not Acceptance

My daughter runs five to ten miles at a time. Anything else is just not a workout for her. She’s training for a half marathon right now, actively working on building up her endurance and speed.

It will be painful. It will push her to her limits. She will have to endure. Her approach to the race could hardly be called passive acceptance.

But when we have something painful in our lives that we have to endure, we often think of it in terms of something we must accept. Like so much rain or detention or long winter nights. Not that I know much about detention . . .

I say that our approach to difficulties determines the quality and meaning of our lives.

Please note, I carefully avoided the word attitude. People spend a lot of time talking about having a good or bad attitude. Attitudes are emotional things that come and go with the time of day, fatigue, hunger and circumstances.

Attitudes require self-discipline and self- control, which I have in limited supply. Just let me get hungry or tired and they evaporate. If life depends on constantly keeping a good attitude, we are all in trouble.

Our approach to handling difficulties is a different thing. It is a way of looking at things that doesn’t change with our mood. This subtle difference makes all the difference.

Rebekah’s goal of running a half marathon does not change with her attitude. Rain or fatigue or a bad day at the office don’t matter because her goal is bigger than that.

She expects rain to come. Bad days at work are inevitable. Getting tired is just part of getting stronger. She is prepared for ups and downs, good attitudes and bad.

She has a training plan that takes these things into account. She knew all of this coming in. This is her approach.

It is strategy instead of tactics. It is big picture thinking. It’s how she takes on the difficult task of long distance running. It goes beyond attitude.

And it is very active. Which means you control your part of the equation. It is acting instead of being acted upon. Rain or shine. Up or down.

You may not get to choose what you must endure. But you can choose how.


Photo by by Stijlfoto via Flickr