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To be stubborn is to cling to the status quo, especially when it’s not optimal. Stubbornness is the approach of people who do not like change. If there is a good side to being stubborn, that’s called being tenacious. Tenacity is perfect when what is already in place is the best. Tenacity is also perfect for an unwavering pursuit of the truth.
Stubbornness has a negative connotation of holding onto something that isn’t worth it. Tenacity has a positive connotation of holding onto something worthwhile–the truth. The truth can be in hand or out of reach. Either way, the tenacious person lets nothing stand in the way of the truth.
What happens when a life event challenges your belief system? That’s an identity crisis. It can be extremely disorienting. The most positive outcome of an identity crisis is the establishment of a firmer grasp of the truth. Of course, then, a negative outcome would be to lose the truth–to spiral further away from it into chaos. Such a person is truly lost.
A lack of identity feels like sinking without reaching a firm bottom. You feel squishy, inadequate, and ashamed. A crisis can help strengthen your identity. In this sense, what doesn’t disorient you only makes you stronger.
To be truly stubborn is to cling to your biases even when they are irrational (and false). In this sense, stubbornness chooses self over God. It’s also a cry to be recognized for who you are.
Choose Stubbornness For Stability
Change can be stressful. Sometimes the status quo is a valid choice. Life can be intimidating sometimes. It’s okay to stop and catch your breath. But a quick fix won’t last long. A consistent pattern of avoidance isn’t healthy. Because the need for stability is so strong, it’s possible to settle for a false sense of security.
Stubborn people pursue self-protection even when it costs them their integrity. They might lie and people-please to minimize their contact with reality. Stubborn people are foolish (prideful). They are like the people who build their houses on the sand instead of the rock. Their houses might go up quickly, but they won’t last nearly as long as the houses built upon the rock.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”Matthew 7:24-27 ESV
Stubborn people are short-sighted. They cling to what is immediately good at the cost of what is ultimately good. The need to feel gratified creates a strong temptation to remain biased. People are irrational. They can believe that right is wrong and wrong is right when doing so validates their current behavior.
Experiencing inner stability is essential. You should seek to achieve it first. But then, if you want life to be meaningful, the next step is to seek the truth. Stability is not an end in itself; it is only a place of rest on the way to the truth.
Choose Tenacity For Truth
As disruptive as the truth might be, it’s the only way to construct a firm foundation. In order to seek God and His truth, you must be willing to give up the false security of your biases. To be tenacious, you must humble yourself. The good news is that God accepts the humble person, giving them grace (James 4:6).
Tenacity has positive, forward momentum. A tenacious person pursues a higher goal without ever giving up. Sometimes the truth stings. But the tenacious person welcomes the truth even when it produces a temporary wound.
Tenacious people are willing to look at whatever inaccuracies, faults, or flat-out lies are preventing them from moving forward. They care more about the higher cause than how comfortable they are. Therefore, they are willing to give up their self-protective pretenses.
How about you? Are you willing to sacrifice your comfort in order to build something lasting?
If so, it’s okay to start small. The direction you travel is more important than your current position. Take the risk to be tenacious and you will never be lost.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.