When We Want to Quit
It’s easier to dream than to do. Have you noticed that? It’s common that enthusiasm, excitement, and effort all tend to wane at the halfway point of any given project.
We can anticipate the victorious end of a project with ease. When we cross that finish line, we get accolades and awards, and that’s something fun to imagine. But in the messy middle at the halfway point of the contest, perseverance is painful. Enduring from one step to the next can be agonizing.
Michael Hyatt, a former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, tells the story of a father and daughter who were running a marathon. At the beginning of the race, they were both eager to run, excited to start, and dreaming of a big finish.
But then, they reached the halfway point. Legs were cramping. Muscles were inflamed. Drawing each breath was an exercise in agony.
As they struggled to keep going, the daughter gasped to her father: “Tell me again why we chose to run in this marathon?”
I’ve had moments like that. In those dark, challenging moments at the halfway point, I wonder what I was thinking. I ask myself why I agreed to take on the project in the first place. Why hadn’t I foreseen how impossible this was? If I had only known how difficult it was going to be, I would have never started this.
If you’ve ever asked yourself those questions, you can relate to what was being said in Judah in the days of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 4:10 ESV): “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing.”
Nehemiah and his people were rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. The entire community was united behind Nehemiah’s dream of seeing their great city restored, and they all pursued it with passionate devotion. They were willing to work and do all that was necessary to complete the tasks before them.
And then, they reached the halfway point, and their strength began to fail.
That’s why pursuing any dream, any great thing, shouldn’t be done in human strength. We need God’s strength to carry us through the challenges we face at the halfway point.
We all hit that halfway point. It’s a critical time when we second-guess our decisions. It’s the moment when it feels wiser to give up than to press forward and risk loss when the burden of seeing the dream through to the end is too heavy to bear.
Are you at a halfway point in your life right now? If you are, maybe you’ve recognized your strength is failing, and the opposition to your vision seems greater than your power.
The daughter who was struggling to run that marathon began to question why she had chosen to do it in the first place, and her father had a wonderful answer for her:
“We’re doing this so we can practice NOT quitting.”
When you quit at the halfway point, you’re telling the enemy that you’re an easy target. The halfway point is messy and uncomfortable and unpleasant. It’s not a happy place to be most of the time, but if you call it quits there, you’ll never know what God might have accomplished through you.
The halfway point offers us the opportunity of NOT quitting so we can discover perseverance. Choosing not to quit gives you an opportunity to show God that you can be faithful to His calling.
So don’t quit. Keep running. Keep pressing forward. The road may be difficult, but you don’t have to run it alone. Let God help you carry the weight.
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