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As a kid, I was always told that quitting is terrible–even if you hate what you’re doing. If I quit, people would think I was a failure. This type of thinking applied to everything in my life, especially sports.
I joined the swim team because it was something my dad had done growing up. I never thought swimming was all that fun, nor did I really think I was any good at it. I joined the team anyway, in hopes that maybe something would change. It only took one swim match to realize I wouldn’t.
Whatever hurts you makes you stronger!
These statements echoed through my head as the water splashed over my face. The backstroke had never felt so good as my hands sliced through the crisp water, and this was only the warm-up lap.
Sharing the lane with three other swimmers was a new experience, but hey–I’m flexible, right? I continued down the lane, not feeling my body slightly moving toward an angle instead of a straight line.
Splitting pain shot into my skull, down to the tail end of my spine. Throbbing pain echoed through my body as I started to sink to the bottom of the pool. What just happened?
Turns out, my head had made contact with another swimmer in my lane.
I was furious. I wasn’t upset with the other swimmer, I was upset at myself because it was my fault that I couldn’t swim straight. I stood up, head still pounding, screaming,
“I’M DONE WITH THIS FRICKEN’ SPORT.”
My mother looked mortified in the stands as she saw me lashing out. I got out of the pool, looked her straight in the eyes, and screamed, “I’M DONE.”
Not one of my finer moments.
Needless to say, I quit swimming that day.
I should have quit weeks before the meet when I knew swimming wasn’t for me. Instead, I kept pursuing something I did not love which left me to RAGE QUIT. This isn’t the way to quit something at all.
In this passage, we have Jesus advising His followers to flee from one city to the other if persecution was on the table.
He wasn’t being a coward, He had good sense. There is a balance to quitting. Facing adversity and “pushing through” can build our character and our reliance on God. But sometimes, knowing when to quit can be even more powerful.
Knowing when to quit takes every bit as much courage and quality of character as it does to never stop.
Winston Churchill was asked to speak to a group of graduating college students. During his message, he leaned into the microphone, took a large breath, and screamed, “Never quit! Never, never, never quit!”
The applause was thunderous and people clung to every word.
That’s the same commander who ordered the retreat from Dunkirk in World War II. He understood the need for great determination but also had wisdom when to retreat and fight another day.
Here are three questions you can ask yourself to know if it’s time to quit:
What am I sacrificing? Is it worth it?
When you’re a hopeful person, it’s easy to convince yourself that “just a little bit more” will result in a payoff. But here’s the thing: You and I only have a finite amount of time each day. If your business is succeeding, something else is failing. What are you choosing to sacrifice in order to make your business a reality?
Are you passionate about it?
I wasn’t passionate about swimming, whatsoever. And it showed–abundantly. Is your hustle something that still gives you joy? Is it fun for you? Is it hard for you to admit that this is fun for you anymore? If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to quit.
Is God calling you elsewhere?
Just because you’re “happy” with where you are doesn’t mean it’s the perfect fit. This season of your life could simply be a stepping stone into a more magnificent season that God is planning for your future. Sometimes God brings us through places to prepare us for what is coming next. Some things have an expiration date for a reason and nothing is meant to last a lifetime except eternity with Him.
Today, may you have the wisdom to know when to quit. May you realize there is no failure in quitting. Seeking change is OK. This is how we learn. May God prepare you in this season to leave the “good” in order to enjoy the greatness He has called you to.