If you’ve ever wanted something noble that felt completely beyond your ability to lay hold of, then you’ve also struggled with the overwhelming desire to quit. You know the feeling well: it’s the nagging, anxious moment in which letting go of your dream seems far more appealing than the reward that awaits if you press on. Inadequacy pulls at your emotions. The finish line, once an obtainable ideal, now seems reduced to mere fantasy. Insecurities that you did not know you had explode from your soul unexpectedly. The worst part about that moment, for me, is the feeling of powerlessness that causes real anger and frustration to take root in my heart.
The most common place these feelings rise up within us are in a pioneering context. We attempted something new: new job, new business, new ministry, new relationships. At other times, we are reaching for something even higher: a desire to be more committed to a biblical lifestyle, a commitment to lay hold of our calling in Christ in a new way. Whatever the context, staying with a lofty dream that we are pursuing for a long time is one of the hardest things to do.
How do we stay with it? How do we not quit?
I find that the first thing that happens to me when I want to quit, just before that wave of inadequacy hits, is that I suddenly lose perspective. Emotions always follow belief. Therefore, when I feel like I can’t do it, that my goal is unreachable, it’s almost always because hidden insecurity and fear crept in and changed my goal. What seemed like a good idea that was going to work suddenly becomes a terrible idea that has no chance of working. What seemed like the most important thing suddenly decreases in importance compared to a newly alluring option of comfort and risk avoidance.
One of the most important ways we can stay in the fight long-term is to continually refresh our perspective. Our end goal has to be clear and the value of that goal for our quality of life has to stay prominent in our thinking. I’ve found that those moments of fear, insecurity, and inadequacy are best conquered through wrestling in prayer. As I talk to the Lord, I thank Him for His leadership over my life and ask Him to speak to me again about my future and what I am reaching for. I ask Him to renew me in more than the “what” of my goals, but the “why” of them. That is the most important part of the wrestling match for right perspective. If I can get clear again about why I am doing what I am doing – not just what I am doing – then I can actually settle down the traffic in my soul and press on.
I’ve found that right emotions almost always follow right perspective. I’ve also found the value of fighting for that perspective connected to the heart of Jesus in prayer versus trying to find it on my own.
How have you renewed perspective in your journey? Do you have stories about finding it again in prayer?