Wednesday, March 23

When Staying is Harder Than Quitting

Ever so often, I have the overwhelming urge to quit.

I want to quit mothering when I'm mega-overwhelmed with all the ages, stages and issues under my roof. Bolting out the door seems to be the only answer.

I wish the exhaustion would cease and the fruit of the effort would magically settle in.

I want to quit speaking into anybody else's life. I want to be done working toward a life of ministry writing and speaking. And I want to be done having people know more about me than I'd prefer.

I want to be quiet. Obscure. Under the radar.

But then again I don't.

Because even if I chose to figuratively stop doing the hard and draining work of mothering all these people and literally stop speaking into the lives of others, I couldn't.
It's in my nature to do so.

I'm drawn to be intentional with my kids and be with my kids, even when it's mind-numbingly mundane.
I'm beckoned to sit and tap on the keys and fill notebooks, even on the days when I see no purpose in it.

Even if I chose to stop formulating messages, I couldn't.
Because they involuntarily run through my head each day, and are frantically written down lest I forget them.

But most importantly, I couldn't stop because I'm wired to do these things. Quitting would be like attempting to unravel my DNA and manipulate it into some balloon animal creation that slightly resembles a wiener dog. It just wouldn't work.

I'm wired to mother and to minister to other women. Even when it all feels like it's going nowhere in the fast lane most of the time.

When I remember God wired me to do these things, my heart is hushed. My resolve is strengthened and my eagle-eyes reset their sights on the far-off finish line God has set before me. I'm in this for the long-haul because He is asking me to be.

Plus, all of the hard stuff can also be gloriously fun and rewarding in the very same day. Like, crazy good.

What do we do about those days when we want to quit doing the things we're called to? Those days where our lives aren't gloriously fun or rewarding, but instead are downright hard and depressing? Staying feels harder than quitting on those days.

Working at that marriage. Parenting that child with needs so far above your ability to deal. Showing love to that friend whose life has taken her down a different path than our own. Taking those college classes. Running that business. Taking care of that aging parent.

Stay is a powerful force.

It's tempting to look around and notice how easy life seems to be playing out for everyone else. It can be so deceiving.

When things appear to be stable, good, and thriving in the lives of those around us, it's definitely not because it's been easy for them. Truly healthy individuals, truly strong relationships, and truly successful ventures are only such because someone spent a good portion of their time and effort working at it.

Thriving doesn't come easily. Healthy relationships don't come without an investment.

We've all heard triumphant stories of people who didn't give up. Like the Cliff Youngs of this world and household names who have persevered against crazy odds.

These verses in James 1:2-4 have been encouraging to me when persevering has felt impossible:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

The hardship we experience as we keep at it isn't where the joy is found. I've often been confused by this, or felt like I'm some lousy Christ-follower. The joy comes through the persevering. It's in the reward that's found as we keep at it. Faith results in perseverance. Perseverance produces maturity and completeness. I can thank God for trials because of what they produce in me.

Faith. Perseverance. Maturity. Completeness. 

Staying may be harder than quitting, but the results speak for themselves.

** A wee disclaimer: I am not advocating for staying in abusive situations. Please get help. Speaking to someone from your church or a trusted friend or family member is a good place to begin. xo

1 comment on "When Staying is Harder Than Quitting"
  1. Hi Amanda,

    OOoohhh yes, so true. Staying is definitely way harder than quitting. I found this out the year I was a Children's Leader for Bible Study Fellowship almost 4 years ago. For the first 6 weeks it seemed like something would happen every week to throw me off or that caused me to mess up in some way. The thing that topped it off was my grandmother dying at 96 and doing her memorial service. The morning after her memorial service, I was still in bed and Mom came into see me and say good morning. I told her that I was going to quit Leadership. I think she was surprised at first, but then said, "You need to stay with this, you committed to this. So and so won't be very happy to hear that" I protested that I couldn't do it anymore. Our main Teaching Leader for Bible Study Fellowship was just going to have to find someone else to fill my position. Finally Mom convinced me to stay with it. My folks were going for a day outing and convinced me to go with them. I protested again because I had so much to do around the house that day. I spent that previous week helping to get things ready for my grandmother's service that I pretty much neglected everything else, my Leadership assignments included, and it was already Friday morning and nothing for class that next week wasn't even started on, let alone done. As I said, Mom finally convinced me to just get out of the house with her and Dad stating that I would be able to get my assignments completed in a more timely period than if I just stayed home at the house. I went with them that day on the outing and I did get my prep work done for Bible Study Fellowship, and I did stick with Leadership that year, even though it was hard and stressful. Now I can look back with a clear conscience and I can say with confidence that I finished and I finished strong! However, the easy thing for me at the time, would have been to just quit and say it was too hard. The hard thing was to stay with it, but I stayed with it for that year, and didn't cop out. I now feel satisfied and gratified for having stayed.
    Thank you for the post!
    God Bless!


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