Saturday, January 26, 2013

If you’re stuck and want to quit

Okay, so, Wilbur isn't really stuck, but I have no idea how he made himself so small.
Lately, I've felt a bit like Wilbur looks--cocooned, stationary, stuck.
In a recent podcast, Michael Hyatt, former Thomas Nelson CEO, and leadership blogger, said, “So often people give up right before their inflection point.”

Inflection point?

By context, I thought I knew what Hyatt meant, but to be sure, I sought out Mr. Webster.
Inflect—“To turn from a course or alignment.”

In other words, right before a significant course change, people walk away.

Beth Moore echoed this in a lesson from Mercy Triumphs. She said, “People give up just before the baby is due.” Another way to see it is like just before a butterfly breaks from its cocoon.

I understand. I spent twelve hours in transitional labor with my first baby. I didn’t even think that was possible. I was near to giving up which would have meant a C-section. The only thing that kept me going was I didn’t want all I’d been through to be in vain.

I’m reminded of a panel discussion I sat in on last year at a writer’s conference. One of the writers said with conviction, “I believe the only folks that don’t get published are the ones who give up.”

Someone will pen their first devotion, first article, first book and send it to a publisher, only to be met with the all too common rejection. Stunned their heartfelt work didn’t meet with approval, they quit. This happens, and it’s sad, but the real tragedy is when writers work long--filling their hard drives with hundreds of thousands of words, studying, honing their craft, and then, after years of work, they despair thinking their time will never come. This is the real heartbreak.

Writing may not be your thing, but probably every person reading this has experienced working toward a goal in the face of unvarying circumstances--circumstances that seem Gorilla-glued into place. Stuck. Unmoving.

As we contemplate our situation, the temptation to quit grows stronger. We take our eyes off the goal and put them on the problem.

It blessed me to hear even Hyatt say he struggles with giving up on a weekly basis, but he offered a tip, which I think goes a long way in helping us persevere. “Take a step forward.”

Not a hundred steps, not run a marathon, just one step. When the urge to quit intensifies, lift your right foot up, and place it squarely on the ground in front of you.


In Mercy Triumphs, we’re studying James. “Let perseverance finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2).

When we walk away, we’re not just giving up on the personal goal for which we’ve been working, we’re giving up on the work God wants to do in us through perseverance.

So, if you’re stuck and want to quit, remember, perseverance starts with one step.

Taking it with you, friends.

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