Ever felt like quitting? If I may be honest, I have… at least a time or two. Or several. I’m sure somewhere along your ministry or leadership, you have too. There’s no shame in feeling this way. It’s human nature. There are times that we simply lose the wind in our sails and we question our purpose. In my experience, these moments come out of nowhere. One day our vision is crystal clear, our tank full of vigor, and we’re ready to slay giants. The next day, our drive is stalled, the volume on our moxie is muted, and our get-up-and-go seemingly got-up-and-went. There’s no other way to put it, these moments stink. But they happen.
What do we do when we feel this way? Here are a few ways I’ve learned to combat these feelings and stay in the fight:
- When you feel like quitting, think about why you started. Oftentimes, when our vision starts fading, it’s because we’ve forgotten the “why” of what we’re doing. Reignite your passion by revisiting the reasons you began the ministry or vocation God called you into. Tony Robbins once said, “Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship and there will be no end.” What did God stir inside of you when you began this journey? It may be time to revisit ground zero.
- Take a break. I don’t mean a lengthy sabbatical (unless, of course, that’s necessary). I’m talking about hitting the pause button momentarily. Quitting and pausing are two different things. The feelings of “throwing in the towel” are often the result of being intensely involved. Sometimes we need to take a vacation, a long bike ride, or even a coffee break to break out of that debilitating mental tail-spin.
- Encourage someone. As counterintuitive as it may feel, get up and do something to bless someone else. While our flesh tempts us to give in, the Spirit of God empowers us to give out. It is remarkable how quickly a spell of discouragement can lift when we begin to pour out. Think of someone to text, email, or call and just let them know you’re thinking of them and believing in them.
- Turn to someone. I know of some pastors and leaders that feel the need to project an image of invincibility. In fact, sometimes I’ve found myself pretending to be Superman. But discouragement is powerful and loves to live in the dark. Sharing your struggle with a trusted friend or another pastor exposes the matter to the light, which then diminishes the darkness we feel.
- Remember that God is still in control. Things don’t have to be flowing perfectly in order for God to be perfectly in control. Even in our darkest moments, The Lord remains king of our universe, orchestrating every detail and every season for our good according to his purpose. If nothing else, just trust in that.
As we cross over the midway point of 2014, I just want to encourage you – leaders, pastors, parents – to not give up. When those moments of despair or exhaustion hit you, know that you are not alone. We’ve all been there. More importantly, God knows exactly where you are and He is with you. He has called you for such a time as this! So stay the course, my friend. Do not, do not, do not GIVE UP! The world needs you! The Kingdom needs you!
1 John 5:4
For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.