My friend Wendy is a therapist. It’s a good thing to have a friend who is a therapist because they will often swap therapy for pool dates or homemade dinners. Free therapy at its best.
The other day I was struggling. I was trying to stick out a commitment I had made but I was miserable. And I mean, m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e.
It seemed like no matter how much time I spent with God, filled myself with good thoughts and made good choices, my soul was just in turmoil. My head felt like it was always spinning, my heart was frequently racing from anxiety and all I wanted to do was quit and sleep.
Misery often multiplies the desire to quit.
One afternoon, I texted Wendy and asked if I could talk to her for a few minutes. She called me right away and it wasn’t long before tears were dripping down my cheeks.
First, I asked her to not be my friend for this conversation. I needed someone to look into this from an outside perspective. Then I just started talking. And I didn’t like the words that were coming out of my mouth.
I was honest with her about this place I just wanted to quit.
You know how some things you quit and it’s not that big of a deal? Well, quitting this commitment just wasn’t an option without major negative consequences.
She asked me some hard questions and I gave some hard honest answers.
Wendy gave me some great advice that afternoon. But the most important thing she said to me was, “Nicki, sometimes you just need to look back and remember the places God has brought you though.”
There’s a quote that says, “The greatest teacher in life is your last failure.”
After Wendy said those words to me, I took a moment to think back on the last time I quit, the last time I failed, the last time I gave up. I remembered how I felt when I quit.
I didn’t want to feel that way again. I wanted to be someone who could stick out a commitment, even when it got hard.
I’m all for setting goals and making plans for the lives we want to become a reality. I love vision statements and life-maps, but I have also discovered the power of a person who just keeps moving forward.
Moving forward often means to just keep doing the next hard thing. And sometimes taking the time to have an internal dialogue is one of the best-hard things we can do.
So, here are a few hard questions to ask yourself before you decide to drop out of that next commitment:
Have I Accepted the Hard Places This Commitment Needs to Take Me Through?
Let’s just be honest and confess that we often wish our commitments had one of those beloved Staples “easy buttons.” But the reality is, every commitment worth sticking out will have some hard places.
Are My Feelings Keeping Me From Following Through?
Feelings will always try to convince us to quit. We can’t just stick out commitments when it’s 70 degrees and sunny out. Feelings will try to fog our focus. But focus fuels our faith to keep going. Don’t let your feelings order around your obedience.
Am I Willing to Lay Aside My Agenda?
When we make a commitment to God or to someone else, there are going to be some places we have to walk through with humility and surrender. Bringing our agenda to the table and asking God to bless it is dangerous. But staying open to what we need to learn and experience through a commitment is a place full of hope.
Am I Being Emotionally Generous With the People Involved?
When commitments get sticky, it’s often because we are not receiving what we need from it. And usually, this comes in the form of another person withholding something from us. But we don’t have to wait on someone to be emotionally generous with us before being emotionally generous with others. Giving others what we need emotionally is a life-giving concept—one that will help us stick things out.
Is My Faith Moving Me Forward?
I know this sounds super cliché. But the Bible tells us that faith is the substance of things we hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). And often, when we can’t see how much our commitment is impacting our lives, that can become the place we want to give up. But faith gives us that determination to keep moving in the same, long direction.
Commitment is the process of learning to choose what we want most over what we want now.
I’ve not perfected this process. But each day with a little determination mixed with these directional questions, I’m becoming a woman who doesn’t quit.