When Mike Thompson and I wrote Forging Grit, a fictional story that illustrates this critical quality for leadership success, here’s how we defined it: Grit is a passion for getting something done and the fortitude to see it through even when obstacles seem overwhelming.
Sound like something you need as a leader?
We all need grit to see us through the ordinary challenges of life, and we especially need it when those challenges take us so far from our comfort zone as to leave us feeling helpless and hopeless.
As followers of Jesus, we often find ourselves outside our comfort zone when we’re at work. After all, we exist in a world that is not our home. We might have our health and our skills might be amazing, but we’re in a world that constantly and vigorously fights against our values and beliefs. So how do we develop the grit we need as followers of Jesus in the workplace?
Here are three principles that can shape your grit for Christ:
Serve the Real Boss. We live to bring glory to God, not glory to self. Our daily decisions should reflect that passion. And remember, passion literally means “suffering” and “enduring.” Jesus, of course, never allowed Satan to distract Him from the purpose God had given Him. He never lost sight of Who He served, even when His passion led Him to the cross. But He knew the truth of Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (KJV)
Lean into God’s Playbook. The Bible is filled with wisdom and illustrations to equip us, strengthen us, and inspire us when we find ourselves outside of our comfort zone. Need an example of someone with grit? Read a little about Joseph, Daniel, Esther, Job or any of the prophets. Need some nuggets about perseverance? Spend some time in Proverbs, Psalms, or James. Need to sharpen your core values? Grind them on the Word of God.
Remember How the Movie Ends. I’ll never forget hearing the fiery Fred Luter preach about Psalm 34:19, which tells us, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” (KJV) Luter compared our inevitable troubles to watching a movie when you’ve read the script. You know things will work out in the end. Why? It’s in the script! We’ve read God’s script, and we know the ending. As Jesus put it in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (KJV)
We all need to develop grit in our work lives, so remember this: If your passion is for the things of God, your life is built on the Word of God, and your faith is in the hands of God, then you’ll have the grit to do the will of God.
Stephen Caldwell is a follower of Jesus, husband, father, writer, editor, and entrepreneur. He is the co-author with Mike Thompson of Forging Grit: A Story of Leadership Perseverance, and the author of Grow Like Jesus: Practicing Luke 2:52 Discipleship. You can learn more about Forging Grit at forginggrit.com and subscribe to his blog growlikejesus.com. Follow him on Twitter at @growlikejesus and on Linked In at WordBuilders and on Instagram at caldwellwriter.