When I was young, I quit so many things, some of which I regret today. In third or fourth grade, I quit the violin. I had only attempted it for about a year. In junior high, I attempted volleyball and basketball until it got to a point where I felt it was necessary to quit. I remember I wanted to quit in the middle of basketball season, but my father would not let me. Needless to say, I didn’t try the next year. In junior and senior high school, I attempted Teen Bible Quiz. I truly wanted to stick those out. I would do really well for the first five chapters, and then I would just stop going. I had my excuses: “I just don’t have time between school and work” (which was one I would tell everyone else because it was partially true) or “It is just too hard” (an excuse I told myself). Lord knows I never stick to a diet! And then there is the constant “quitting” that I seem to mention in most of my blogs where it is as if my flesh quits pursuing God though my spirit longs for more of Him. That may be the cycle of humanity, but in last night’s Bible Study, Relentless by John Bevere, I felt challenged that I didn’t have to be caught in this quit cycle.
John Bevere asked a question that required some prayer. It must have been moments before I started dozing off because it is what sticks out the most. He had just told about how he was a quitter all his life, but then he grasped a bit of God and never let go. His mother doubted that he would stick to his faith, but God has grown him, strengthened him, and given him a relentless spirit to finish well the race God has for him. Then he asked, “What kind of things have you quit on before?” He went on to encourage us to seek out why we would quit those things. So now I ask myself, I ask God, what is the heart of the issue? Why have I always quit on the “little” things?
I, my flesh, simply decided I didn’t want to anymore. I let what I perceived everyone’s thoughts of me to manipulate me (i.e. basketball). I always reached a point where it was harder to continue than it was to quit. I believe those are all important issues that God has brought to the surface, but the heart of all my quits of life was that I unrealistically expected to reach the end goal without putting in the practice. I quit violin because I wasn’t practicing, but I really wanted to play. I wanted to be perfect at it right away; that never happens. I quit sports all together because I thought the practices were too hard, and that I wasn’t good enough anyways. I wanted to be good, but I didn’t want to truly dedicate myself to practicing it. I loved being in TBQ, but I always got to a point where I stopped practicing, stopped studying. Quitting always trailed behind. Even in my walk with God, I see this issue. I am strong for a while. I read everyday, but then life gets hard. Life gets busy. I live my day and realize that I never said a prayer or cracked open my Bible. I fail to practice my faith.
God, give me a relentless spirit to persevere through any amount of practice, any hardship, and any lie of inadequacy, for I know you have called me, you equip me, you love me.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)