Generally speaking, I’m an easygoing person. But in certain situations, I can be downright stubborn and tenacious.
Take caffeine, for example. Each morning, I insist upon getting at least one cup of coffee into my system before I do anything else. I’ve been known to go to great lengths to make this happen. Coffee is my mission; I won’t give up until it’s accomplished.
Then there are the times when I’m driving through a busy parking lot looking for a space. I see someone walking towards me and realize she is heading to her car. On goes my blinker, and I sit and wait. Even if there is a line of people stuck behind me, I’m not budging until I get that space.
On some level, then, I can relate to the tenacity of the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel. (Matthew 15:21-28) She is a woman on a mission. She wants healing for her daughter, and she’s willing to do the equivalent of holding up a whole line of traffic to make it happen. Her tenacity is admirable. In the end, it gets her exactly the outcome she desired.
But her story also challenges me to think about when and how I’m choosing to be tenacious. The quest for coffee and a parking space is fine, but I have to ask myself whether I am committed to the things that really matter.
Am I tenacious about fighting for peace and justice?
Am I tenacious about advocating for those who don’t have the rights that I take for granted?
Am I tenacious about deepening my relationship with Jesus, and making that a priority?
Am I tenacious about sticking with prayer even in the dry periods? Is it as important to my daily routine as caffeine is?
The answers to these questions are a little sobering. Okay: they’re a lot sobering. I need to be more like the Canannite woman. I need to be stubbornly tenacious about what really matters: advocating for others to God and in the world, and drawing closer to Jesus.
And that’s why this Gospel story is a humbling but powerful mirror. It shows me both who I am, and who I want to be.
What do you need to be more tenacious about? Ask God for the wisdom to be stubborn about all the right things.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is a mother, high school English teacher, and BBC period drama junkie. She is the author of Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses and Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood. Ginny lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two boys, and about thirty thousand Legos. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Seven Sacraments found here.