Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Don't Quit!

 One of the things many of our parents tried to teach us is how to know when to quit. We learned as children that it was important to know when we were in over our heads. Say no to that extracurricular, that kind of thing. It was important for our parents to teach us this, because we need to know when our limits have been reached. As adults we need to know not to take on too much, not to overwork ourselves. It's easy to bite off more than we can chew! Especially once we start working a job and our competitive natures kick in.
But do we often quit too soon? 

I think so. We stop asking for that raise, stop working hard to earn the promotion, stop trying to lose the weight or beat the addiction, stop looking for the opportunity that's going to help our dreams come true. We even stop praying for healing, or favor, or guidance, somehow believing that God doesn't want to give it to us. 

In the Bible, Jesus talks about the importance of persistence in getting what we're after. He tells the story of a widow who was treated unjustly and came to a judge to have the problem handled. He wouldn't listen to her, he didn't have time for her and he tossed her case aside. But she wouldn't leave him alone. She went to him every day to plead her case. After a while, he just couldn't take it anymore! Just to get her out of his face, he took care of her problem. 

What if, on that last day, she gave up? What if she stayed in bed, thinking to herself "It's been six months. He's not going to listen to me. I might as well stop wasting my time. I spend every day at that courthouse when I could be spending it gleaning in the fields so I have food at home. I'm just not going to go anymore." Well, she wouldn't have her answer. She wouldn't get her justice. She would have gone through the rest of her life without this situation - whatever it was - fixed. 

Too many times in life, we give up just a little too soon. Our answer is just around the corner and we stop walking. It's too hard. It's taken too long. So we stop, we turn around, and we walk away in defeat. 

I've experienced both sides of this one. When I first moved to Seattle I had no identification. No state ID, no drivers license, not even my social security card. I hadn't needed all of those things before moving here, a school issued ID was enough for everything I needed. Unfortunately, without parents around, to get a job at 18 you need a state ID or a driver's license. To get a state ID or driver's license, you need a social security card. To get a copy of your social security card, you need a state ID or drivers license. 
It took me nine months. I went to the DOL every day. I talked to the people working there every day. I explained my situation over and over and over again, begging again and again for just a little bit of grace, a little bit of leniency. 

And, eventually, I got it. 

I've also given up too soon though. Many, many times. I am part of a mentorship organization, and there are various meetings once a month. Sometimes, although I shouldn't, I get distracted. And then I get bored. And then I want to leave. Too many times I have. I've quit too soon only to hear about it later from someone else who was there - and usually the part I missed is exactly what I needed to hear, because it dealt with what I struggled with. 

Your answer is just around the corner. It may be a two day corner, or a nine month corner, or - as in the case of my husband's health problems - a two and a half year corner. It could even be longer. But it's a corner. And if you give up you'll never, ever, see the reward you're after. 

Sure, we all need to know when to stop. We all need to know when to say "I just can't take on any more right now." But let's not get ourselves confused! Let's remember that persistence is the key, and two words can make all the difference in our lives: