Have you ever wanted to quit? I have, actually just this last week. It seemed one frustrating moment was followed by another, one disobedient child motivated the next and one feeling of inadequacy multiplied into many. After a couple of days of this I was discouraged, impatient and lacking joy. I was ready to quit motherhood, marriage and ministry. I felt like a failure and honestly I struggled with these feelings because as a Christian I know God's Word tells me I am more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)
Believe me I felt anything but a conqueror. Thankfully though I've been reminded that feelings do lie and I've been encouraged not to quit the roles God's given me to play or the life He's created for me to live, but friend there are some things I need to quit.
So today I will share them with you because chances are you and I may be tempted with this thought again...
Let me begin with this - quitting is a choice and it's often the easy one, initially at least. No one ever said this life would be easy, but the Bible encourages us to persevere, fight the good fight and finish the race. As we do this, we will be tempted to quit, but we must also look to His Word. Through it God will strengthen us and equip us to complete the work He calls us too.
Once you and I make the BIG choice not to quit, we must continually choose to quit doing some things.
The first that God has brought to my mind in this recent battle is - Quit listening to lies and meditate on Truth. As our frustration builds Satan's voice gets louder...he tells us we're not good enough, we don't matter, we'll never get it right, we're failures and on and on. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), but friend Jesus is Truth and "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Sometimes the temptation to quit starts with worry. Friend when you feel yourself worrying don't let it take over instead listen to Paul's advice to the Philippians, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (4:6-7) Remember listening to this advice and memorizing this verse is not enough, we must apply it and live it out! So will join me in making a commitment to quit worrying and start praying?!!
This next piece of advice comes from my son - Quit thinking about it and start doing it. I don't know if you're like me, but sometimes I'm tempted to quit before I even begin! God calls us to some tasks that are hard and bigger than we are, but if we spend all our time thinking about them, we'll never get it done! This is one that applies to me right now, but I'm praying I accept my son's wisdom so that I can live out Matthew 5:16 - "let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Most deeds begin in our thoughts, but they'll never lead to others giving God glory if they stay there!!
A few hours into day 2 of frustration, I began thinking about what would go wrong next and found myself looking at a half empty glass which only fed my desire to throw in the towel. This leads me to our next point - quit dwelling and start thanking! Even in the chaos and complaining, painting messes and potty training accidents there was much for me to be thankful for, but did I focus there? No. Looking back, I think things would have been different if I would have pushed pause to thank God for the child I loved and the role I enjoy. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 puts it quite well, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
The other day as I struggled and wanted to quit, I found myself thinking of others. A friend who is persevering through pain as she waits for surgery and a local couple who was burying their young son...these thoughts caused me to beat myself up more as my mind thought, "What's wrong with you? You're life isn't hard." Friend, comparison is a sin - it always leads to pride or self-pity, neither are Godly things. So please join me as we quit comparing and start remembering. We each are given our own life to live and will all face ups and downs, joy and sorrow, but God is always the same. He is loving, caring, sovereign and has a plan. In those moments when you want to quit, I encourage you to think about what my husband told me, "We trust the God who never fails." Psalms 73:26 echoes that quite well - "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Finally, the last and perhaps the most important point - quit focusing on self and start focusing on God. When I feel defeated and want to quit, my eyes are on myself - what I'm doing wrong, how I messed up, what's too hard for me, the list continues, but I'm reminded of God's words about my weakness - "When I am weak, He is strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-11) Once I attempted to live this point out God led me to Psalms 16:8-11...may these words encourage you as they have me! "I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."