Problem: I think about quitting a lot.
I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve talked to other people that want to quit too. But sometimes, it goes beyond just thinking about quitting. It’s gets dangerous.
I start wanting to quit. Thinking about something is one thing. I think about aliens from Naboo running out of resources and occupying Earth because of the similar ecosystems. That doesn’t mean I want that to happen or it’s even probable (or is it…). I think about what it would be like to hit the lottery all the time. Doesn’t mean I buy a ticket.
That’s usually where it stops. It was a thought that popped in my brain that turned in a desire that I ignored and moved on with my life by making a PB & J. But not always. On some occasions, the next step occurs.
I start thinking about how I would quit.
You see that progression? I’m not actively imagining how it’s going to play out. What I would do, how I would I do it, who would be involved, the effects, etc. It’s gone from a whim to a conscious progression in my head. I’m devoting brain power to this. Contemplation mode: engaged!
Once I’ve thought about how enough, then I can figure out the best option. Then the desire to take that option begins to grow and grow and then bam. I quit.
When I was a kid, I went to boarding school. My dad said that if I didn’t like it after a semester I could come home. Well at the end of that semester, I told him in no uncertain terms, I didn’t like it. He wouldn’t let me. I kept saying “Why can’t I quit now?!” And he kept saying how I didn’t need to quit. I wanted to quit him in the face with my fist (but he was bigger than me and had my Legos held hostage).
What activity am I thinking about quitting, you ask? Well blogging, for one. Some people (that probably don’t read this) would be pretty happy about that. Blogging is hard. Words are hard. Thinking is hard. Coffee makes it better.
I’m thinking about quitting important things. I don't know about you but I never want to quit things that don’t matter. I never think “I want to quit watching Netflix for 7 consecutive hours (I know, seven is amateur zone).” I would thoroughly enjoy being able to do that free of the guilt of being unproductive and a total slob.
Usually, the things I want to quit are the things that really really matter. Like loving Jesus and being a part of the ministry He’s called me to.
There. I said it. I want to quit. I want a divorce. I want to do whatever I want when I want it and not feel bad about it. I want to quit believing and ignore God completely!
I recognize that this is altogether impossible. I can’t stop loving Jesus. I can’t ignore God. Sin is real. Hell is real. More importantly than that, Jesus’ love is real. God is real. Grace is real.
I love Jude 1:1. Go read it (or click here) but it says that we are called, sanctified, AND preserved by God. One of my favorite preachers says, “we don’t keep our salvation, our salvation keeps us!” That’s good stuff.
What would I even go back to if I quit? Peter went back to being a fisherman when he quit. He denied Jesus, Jesus dies, Jesus comes back, Jesus appears to the disciples, Jesus commissions the Apostles, then Peter quits and goes back to Galilee. That’s pretty funny to me. Peter didn’t just think about quitting. He straight up peaced out! Chose to try to find Nemo instead of stay in Jerusalem and wait on the Holy Spirit (maybe my chronology is off but you get the idea).
I don’t have a boat to go back to. I guess I could go back and try to do something with football or video games. That would probably be me going back. But I’m being ridiculous. There’s nothing back there for me that I’m passionate about.
Ultimately, quitting is completely selfish. It’s all about me. It’s all about my feelings. My comfort. Me being in charge. And me being in charge would be a really bad thing. I’m kind of mess on my own (humanity is dumb like that).
I mean, what’s the point of not quitting? Is it being successful? Nah bro (or chicka). I’ve read enough success stories to see that success is a lonely spire of sadness if it’s not done to help people. We live in a culture that is dominated by people who give up too easily. For every success story, there are millions of stories of people who quit. Nope, there’s a reward for not quitting, but success isn't it.
Becoming more like Jesus, that is both the price and the prize of not quitting.
The price is that Jesus had so many opportunities to quit before the cross, but He endured both the temptation to quit and the pain of His purpose. Many people talk about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That wasn’t His sacrifice, that was His purpose. His sacrifice was in the Garden when He chose to go willingly. In plain words, He didn’t quit.
The prize is that we get to know Jesus on a deeper level. I gave up all that inferior stuff (the quitting thoughts and desires) so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. That’s actually the MSG version of Philippians 3:10 (snuck that in on ya).
Frankly, quitting isn’t an option. There’s nothing to go back to. There’s nothing that will satisfy me. There’s only Jesus. Jesus ahead. Jesus now. Jesus forever.
I say all that to say this. If you want to quit, you’re not alone. I want to too. If you choose to look deeply into the eyes of Jesus and see His love for us in the Garden and His love for us on the Cross, the want to quit fades away.
In other words, Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Got you again… Hebrews 12:2-3 MSG).