Christian Living


Giving Up Can be a Good Thing

young woman daydreaming about her future

"...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."—Hebrews 12:1

On a recent train ride, a stranger shared that she'd been with her boyfriend for over twelve years. He doesn't want to get married although she does, despite some shortcomings in the relationship that have yet to be addressed. "I don't want to give up now," she said sadly. "I've invested so many years." So she insists on persevering - toward what she is unsure. She doesn't like to quit, she explained. And moving on would mean quitting. Of course, not moving on means she might never have the marriage or family she hopes for either.

Perhaps you've never been stubbornly persistent in her type of situation, but there may be other areas—large or small—in which you have held on to the belief that quitting is always bad. This week, I want to remind you that giving up is not the same as changing directions. You've got to get clear about the "race marked out for you." What's your vision? What are you meant to be doing? Persevere in that, and let everything else go.

On a few occasions recently, people have told me that they were hanging on to an outdated goal or staying involved in an activity because they didn't want to "give up." While it is true that persistence and perseverance are admirable character traits, they should only be applied to endeavors that empower you to become more of who you are meant to be.

There is a difference between giving up and changing course. It is imperative that you distinguish between the two and exercise the wisdom to know when it is time to do something different. For example, when I gave up a public relations career to follow my passion, it wasn't about quitting. It was about focusing my energy on the best use of my gifts to help others.

Sometimes, giving up one thing makes room for something more meaningful. Today, I invite you to consider that perhaps it is time to change course when it comes to a particular endeavor or activity. You may have lost a passion for it. Maybe it is no longer a priority in this season of your life. Maybe there is something better in store for you. Learn from the experience, then seek divine wisdom for a new direction. This may mean slowing down enough to hear that still, small voice whispering in your spirit.

Whatever the case, know that it's OK. You were not meant to persevere in all things. You were meant to persevere in the things you are uniquely meant to be doing, the "race marked out for you." Use these coaching questions to help you determine whether it is time to change course:

1. What do you sense God telling you?
The answers you need lie within you. Pray for the wisdom to make the right decision and trust that you will receive it. When that guidance comes, follow it!

2. What is the purpose of continuing down the path you are currently on?
Live your life on purpose. The choices you make will either fuel your ability to live on purpose or detract from it.

3. If you continue on this path, will it lead to your vision?
It's hard to make decisions if you don't know where you're going! Have a clear vision for the kind of life you want to live. Then you will know what fits and what doesn't.

4. What would it look like to change directions?
Consider your options. Daydream for a moment. If you stepped onto a new path, what would it give you that you don't have right now? And what would you have to give up?

5. What is the most important lesson being offered to you in this situation?
Learning empowers you to grow. In the challenges and experiences of life, we often discover who we truly are, what we are willing to do, and what we are not.

Perseverance is a key to success. It takes a lot of energy to persevere. Passion and purpose give you the fuel to persevere. So be sure you spend that energy to persevere toward the goals, purpose, and vision that truly matter for you.

My challenge to you this week:

If it's time to change course, do it! Don't allow what others think or misconceptions about "giving up" to keep you from stepping onto a better path.

Journaling assignment:

When it comes to a matter in which it may be time to change course, what is your intuition telling you? What would be the purpose of continuing down the path you are currently on? If you stepped onto a new path, what would it give you that you don't have right now? What lesson is being offered to you right now?

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