As I write this column, I sit in one of the most gorgeous and rustic cabins in South Alabama. I am on a deer hunt on the outskirts of Selma, AL with the good folks at Tatum Creek Outfitters. This plantation offers everything a hunter could hope for; trophy bucks, an abundance of land, first class accommodations, world class food, and close to 100 deer stands, many of which overlook vast green fields teeming with wildlife.

However, not every hunt goes as planned. Some of you know that I have had lower back problems since May 2013. Well, on the second day of the hunt, my back took a turn for the worse. Some folks do not understand the debilitating effect of back pain. I did not appreciate its ability to reduce the quality of one’s life until I was diagnosed with arthritis in my back.

Because of this, I missed 2 hunts and lied in the bed at the cabin for almost 20 hours. I realize that this pales in comparison to many hardships that I have seen others go through. However, the logic I wish to discuss is the same.

Thankfully, this morning the good Lord (and some Bengay) provided healing. The pain has moderately decreased. I have decided to “get back in the saddle” (perhaps with some extra cushioning) and get right back up and pursue the great American whitetail.

This experience reminds me of how different people deal with adversity. Politicians lose elections, lawyers lose cases, businessmen fail, addicts relapse, and all of us have personal battles through life. The man who tells you otherwise is less than honest.

Each of us faces a choice when adversity strikes. You either give up or stand up.
Sadly, I have witnessed men and women who have chosen to give up. It is the most heart breaking thing you will ever see. To look into a man’s eyes who has chosen to give in to whatever adversity he is facing is like looking into a black hole.

Always remember there is hope. As a Christian, I look to God for perseverance when faced with obstacles in life. Am I perfect in this approach? No. Humans are not made to be perfect. But, each of us possesses the ability to get tough when the tough gets going.

2013 is now at a close. I am grateful for the blessings that God has bestowed on me and my family. 2013 was not without its challenges. But, those challenges have strengthened me to take 2014 by the horns.

In 2014, look to God’s guidance for your life. Don’t be afraid to take risks and make life improving changes. Build on those challenges that you faced in 2013.

This applies to every aspect of life. Be the best at your career. Make a commitment to put forth 110 percent to become the best at your profession, job, career, or service to the community.
Every family has issues that they must face. Use God’s strength to persevere to be the best father, mother, husband, or wife in 2014. Don’t let past hurts get in the way of positive growth in this area. Family is more important than just about anything else in life. (I particularly need to remember this).

Lastly, pursue your dreams in 2014. Whether this is involves business goals, running for public office, furthering your education, being a better father, starting a new business, or tackling those personal character defects that have held you back for so many years. You can do it today.
Endeavor to Persevere in 2014.