When you feel like giving up…

The age-old question, “are you going to give up?” plagues every one of us at some point and often many times over. We are tempted to ask the words when we are on diets or in the throes of a tough exercise routine or neck and neck at the end of the race. These words pop up during hard discussions with others and offer an easy way out. I have felt the words shadowing me in many places of my life and fortunately am married to a man who helps stabilize me if I start wavering.

However, the words aren’t always terrible.

Sometimes we really are beating a dead horse, and it’s never going anywhere no matter how hard we try. Sometimes, giving up is good if we are surrendering something that needed to be surrendered.

Those words are most dangerous when the spirit of suicide is begging to be let in. I won’t pretend to know much about suicide as I don’t have a lot of experience with it and haven’t entertained it. But I do know that many people have and do. When giving up reaches the point of taking one’s own life, there is no other moment that is more crucial to anyone than that of how they answer the question. “Do you give up?”

My husband and I have been trekking on a journey of financial bondage, different jobs, and business choices, and all the stress of that when it comes to paying the bills. We’ve made some dumb choices and went down paths we never asked God if we should be going down in the first place. This journey has been going for as long as we have been married, with some reprieves here and there.

However, we have matured and made some adjustments and are hopeful for a new season. Whether or not what we have gone through has been the consequence of poor choices or just lessons that God had to teach us or both.

We have many times asked the question,

“should we just give up? Is this entrepreneurship gig really for us?”

Here and there, I have gotten tired and quite exhausted fighting for what I believed I should be fighting for. However, I am naturally not a quitter and will not give up without a decent fight. My issues come with holding onto the pool ledge and becoming overcome with the fear of letting go. I won’t quit, I won’t say the words, but I find it hard to move.

When we fight for the good and fight for the win, its hard work. Excruciating pain from our effort leaves us aching, and we get to the point of thinking we are going to snap into a million pieces. Sometimes we get ourselves so far away from the lifeboat we have lost all hope of survival. And this is why most of us give up, isn’t it? Because we don’t see the hope.

Over everything, Christ’s Hope triumphs. Because His hope isn’t superficial or temporary. It’s not humanistic and doesn’t expire. His hope covers anything our little earthling minds can fathom and invent. Really, God’s hope is like the insurance that covers everything.

On the dark days when the enemies stink bombs have permeated all it seems; Jesus is still there. He is the only thing we can hope in that will never, ever let us down.

When I can’t see hope for our living arrangements, don’t know where the money for this or that is going to come from, or the car is busted. When I don’t see results from my extended family the way I think things should go or be, or when my kid is making poor choices. When the business is flailing or not growing, when it seems as if the word trouble is living in the family room, snacking in the kitchen and soaking its legs in my bathtub.

When the cycle of crazy is stuck on spin and chaos is got peace by the chokehold.

The Great I Am is still there.

Waiting patiently for me to see him and tell him all my woes. And I realize, God isn’t the problem, I am. This realization for me can take place often. And I wonder, can I just quit running into the same wall already?

That’s all great, you say. But how about some practical things? How can I apply this hope that covers everything?

Let me be the first to say, I am teaching to myself. I am still learning and growing. My good habits will never be entirely pure without interruptions. Here are some things I try to do that are practical when I’m feeling like I am losing sight of hope or am trying to maintain it. Assuming you’re already a born again believer, here are my suggestions.

  1. Learn how to pray. Yes, this sounds elementary. The truth is, most of us don’t pray as we should. There are good reasons we don’t. Dirty spirits hanging out around us like to keep us distracted and forgetful. Prayer has some elements to it that have more than just requests. Learn what those are. Prayer is powerful. When you pray, actively listen, don’t just talk. Come on, have you ever had a conversation with someone who dominates the whole time? We need to learn to shut our mouths some and intake what Holy Spirit wants to say. And contrary to what some might think, he likes to speak.
  2. Recognize that if we are being plagued by negative, hopeless, and agitating thoughts, you’re not being spoken to from the Lord. Your being spoken to by the enemy. Learn how to refute these and not entertain these joy stealers. Seriously, I am often catching myself in the act of setting up tea and cookies for these negative spirits. Learn how first to stop the visitation and then kick them out.
  3. Find a church community that has like-minded people to encourage you. I have been a part of many different communities where the Holy Spirit is ignored. I have found a community where the people understand the language of Holy Spirit and know their authority in Christ. Surround yourself with people who are healthy emotionally.
  4. Be real. No one knows what is going on in your head except you. If you can’t share and be vulnerable to others, others won’t know when to help point you back to hope. Just make sure you’re talking to a trusted person, and one you know is solid in the Lord; otherwise, the confidence may just help you sink your lifeboat.
  5. Get professional help if you are finding it hard to move past your issue do NOT be ashamed to ask for help and even pay for it if necessary. Wisdom lives everywhere and especially within other human beings.
  6. Finally, once you have aligned yourself with Holy Spirit and the hope he carries in a more stable way, tell others about your story. Tell others about the times you lost sight of hope and how it came back into view. We need to continually remember God’s goodness and how we overcame by his power. We all love a good success story, and everyone is capable of having one.

Bottom line, we all have been there sloshing around in the puddle of wanting to give up in some form or another. When you’re unsure if you should give up, go find wisdom. She is on every street corner. When you’re uncertain if you should give up, check in with Holy Spirit. He is on call 24-7.

~Prudence

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