As Christmas of 1940 approached, German bombers blanketed the sky over Manchester, England. Relentless waves of bombs pounded the city from 8:00 pm on December 22nd to 6:00 am the next morning. In total, 684 people died, 2,300 were wounded, and over 8,000 homes were destroyed. One in 10 victims of was under the age of 13.
At age 13, my mom (David) spent those 10 hours huddled in a family bomb shelter dug beneath their back yard.
She lived through six years of war and terror as a teenager—bombing raids, severe food and fuel rationing, tragic deaths, and the constant threat of German invasion.
This became the training ground for grit: “unyielding courage, resilience, perseverance, and hope in the face of hardship or danger.” My mom had grit, and for the rest of her life she didn’t blink an eye at bearing down and leaning into whatever challenge came her way.
Current research indicates that grit is a better predictor of success than incredible talent or high intelligence—it is a key factor in who succeeds and who doesn’t. (Angela Duckworth).
And here’s the kicker: Grit is a choice. That is, it’s not what happens to us that matters as much as how we choose to respond to it. You can have grit. You can choose courage, resilience, perseverance, and hope.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys – we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance: this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.
— Romans 5:3-5 (Phillips Translation)