For When We Really Want to Quit

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-4

Some days I really just want to quit. I want to quit writing, quit trying so hard, quit doing hard things, and instead just hull up in my room and read books and have everybody leave me alone. I’m laughing to myself as I write this, because I see how ridiculous that is, but I really feel that way sometimes!

I find that so many people I know genuinely want to change the world and make something beautiful with their lives, but so many times, there’s something that’s holding us back. I think it’s a lack of perseverance, which is brought about by fear. And I’m the guiltiest of all. I’ve started so many things only to stop early on because I’m not immediately good at them, and therefore I should just stop before I fail.

Doesn’t that sound so ridiculous? But so often I let it be true!

When the going gets hard, when we’re scrubbing toilets and doing homework assignments and running errands instead of having an “instagram-worthy” life, we feel like something has gone awry. This is not where we thought we would be. And that stinks.

For so many of us, the “truth” we’ve internalized is that we have to have a perfect life to have an impact, and that reaching perfection is easy and attainable.

But can I just say that our lives are never going to be perfect, even when we believe that they are? What I’m learning instead is that in order to truly live, I have to give up my ideal and demand for perfection.

And not only am I going to have to change my ideals, but I’m going to have to persevere: because the places I want to go take a whole lot of time and effort. I will not wake up tomorrow ready to run a half-marathon. I will not wake up having everything that’s been happening in me all figured out. I will not wake up with a full novel already done and plopped into my lap. And while those things would be nice, the truth is they rob me of any responsibility, any strength, because if I never had to work, if I never had to persevere, would it really be worth it?

It’s not glamorous learning to do things. It’s hard work. It’s often hidden work, so much that no one will ever see. But is it worth it? Absolutely. And will we look back one day and be thankful that the perseverance and hope and character built led us right to here? I believe, and I hope, yes, yes it will.

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