what happens when determination doesn’t work?


I have really struggled with the topic this month.

Don’t get me wrong I think determination is wonderful. It is that inner grit, that drive to get things done.

It is the impetus that keeps you moving ahead even if you hit a problem. It is the energy that helps you think things through and find your way around a roadblock. It is a necessary quality of life.

But there are situations where sheer will and determination doesn’t work.

What about the person who was determined to beat the illness, and yet didn’t?

What about the person who was determined to have a child and yet couldn’t?

What about the person who was determined to remain married and yet finds herself divorced?

I like the rest of Australia woke to sad news this morning.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were determined to fight the death penalty. Their families were determined. The Australian government was determined. A large portion of the Australian people were determined. Other countries joined the appeal. And yet all that determination did not yield the desired result.

There is a point where determination is not enough. A point where it is not enough to sustain us and there are times when no amount of determination will yield us our end goal.

What do we do then? Because those times are the dark times, the hard times, the lonely times. Those are often the “dark night of the soul” where we beat our chests and wail and scream out in the night “Why?”.

Those times are the times when we find actually we have come to the end of our self and our strength and our capacity. Those are often the times when we need to acknowledge someone bigger than us has our life in His hands.

Those are the times, when despite how much hurt and pain we are enduring, we can turn to a Father who says:

I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

And that is the key, even when times are hard, and our own determination is simply not enough to enable us to reach our end goal. Even in those times there is still a hope and a future.

So despite my struggles with this topic, I have determinedly wrestled with it. Because sometimes you have to walk the dark path. Sometimes you need to fumble your way along. Sometimes you need to be led.

But eventually you get to the place where you see a glimmer of light. Because there is always hope.

So as I with many in Australia mourn the passing of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Let us remember their determination and their hope.

As our foreign minister Julie Bishop stated this morning:

They were examples of hope and transformation.




About Jodie McCarthy

Jodie is a writer, speaker, poet and mother. An unashamed words girl who writes to process the myriad of experiences of life. In her writing and on her blog she investigates the journey of life: the beautiful; the painful; the everyday; and the mundane. She has a heart for encouraging women on their life journey, particularly when that journey traverses the harder places of grief and pain. On the days when she is not writing you will find her in her kitchen, usually licking the beaters from a chocolate cake. You can find her books and follow her journey at jodiemccarthy.com