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When Stubbornness Pays Off

| written by Brittany Barbera | 2 comments

I can generate an opinion about almost anything in two seconds flat. That I actually know something about the subject in question is a mere formality.  While maturity has taught me it’s usually best to think before I speak, I’ll inevitably have the urge to share my perspective with as many people as will listen.

In college, I once walked into class completely unprepared for an important debate. Now, I’m typically the overachieving, over-prepared type. Especially when it comes to academics. So the fact that it wasn’t even on my radar is simply unexplainable. At least I had two other people on my team to help my cause. I’m not even exaggerating when I say I didn’t even know which subject, much less which stance, I was supposed to argue.

My original strategy was to listen to the other side and keep them on the defensive by picking apart each and every word. But, when I found out we had to present our side first, I silently panicked. My only hope was to say exactly what my timid debate partner said first, but in a more convincing way. And miracle upon miracles, we won.

I kid you not, we actually won.

I remember thinking, “I guess I’m really persuasive.”  But, I prefer to think of it more as a “passion for sharing what I believe”. It sounds so much more inspirational that way. Of course, spinning it like that further proves my point.

Still not convinced? During a recent conversation with one of my closest friends, she told me I’m incredibly stubborn. And somehow, I turned it into a compliment.

“Oh,” I said, “that’s mostly a good thing.”


Before I try to also convince you that there’s merit to that statement (don’t worry, that will come!), let me first concede the obvious. Being stubborn for it’s own sake is foolish. There are many times I’ve insisted and persisted, to my own detriment. I’m not advocating for stupidity. Sometimes, however, stubbornness pays off:

A stubborn faith and a healthy dose of patience might be just the right elixir for our ailing souls.  And according to Hebrews 6:12, it is the means by which we inherit the very promises of God. 

If you’re like me, you’ve spent a lot of time second-guessing yourself. I’m strong-willed and I’ve been taught to consider my heart as “desperately wicked”. As such, I’ve inadvertently learned to distrust my intuition and at times rationalized away the wisdom for which I was praying. There have been times I’ve known something in the deepest part of my being, but allowed someone to talk me out of what I knew to be true. I’ve betrayed myself, convinced I couldn’t trust my feelings simply because I couldn’t explain them.

I believe we are all fallible creatures, our hearts prone to wander. But I also believe God has replaced our stony hearts with hearts more like his own. And I believe He is willing and able to make us wise. Yes, God will give us wisdom liberally…but there is a catch. We have to “believe and not doubt”, lest we become “double-minded and unstable in all that we do”.

If we sincerely ask for wisdom, we have to believe we will indeed become wiser. So, I am learning to trust my intuition as a form of wisdom, a kind of knowing without actually knowing. 

No, we’re not God. But his Spirit is living in us. In Him, there’s no darkness… only light. Though the secret things belong to the Lord, He’s not the author of confusion.  He delights in every detail of our lives. He’s well able to direct our steps by whatever means he chooses, because his sheep know his voice, even when they don’t know the answers. 

I wish I could tell you I have mastered the practice of discernment. That I’m always confident in my decisions. That I fully trust and understand everything God shares with me. We all know I can’t.

But, I am incredibly stubborn. And God is faithful. So there is hope for us all.

Have you ever known something to be true on a gut level, but ignored it because you couldn’t explain why?

Brittany Barbera is a singer/songwriter based in Nashville, Tennessee whose adventurous spirit, love of collaboration, and a craving for fun inspire her creative process. Her most recent projects are exploratory in nature as she experiments with new questions about identity, faith, and the complexities of human emotion. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter. Her album, ‘The Sparrow' is available for purchase on iTunes.