Is it time to quit?
I want to quit. I don’t want to quit. Should I quit? Is God telling me to quit? If only deciphering God’s will was as simple as plucking the petals from a daisy. We alternate thinking, “Is He saying yes?” or “Is He saying no?” The writer’s journey takes many twists and turns. We travel through low valleys and high mountains. We follow God through crowded thoroughfares, along still waters, through deserts, and around mountains. No two writing journeys look the same, although the calling might be the same.
The calling to write our story rests in the seed of a dream that God places in our hearts. It’s the place from Joel 2:25 where we reap a bountiful harvest after the locusts devastate. And where God turns our Valleys of Baca from Psalm 84 into places of springs. Writing is where the experience of our lives intersects with our purpose for the present.
There’s nothing more joyful than knowing our stories affect healing in someone’s heart. Hearing stories of how God moves, heals, and comforts, energizes us as writers. But discouragement plagues us as well. The unsubscribes or the no subscribes. The weeks of silence or the deluge of criticism. We question whether our writing will ever shine with brilliance. Or will it stay stuck in the sludge between where we are and where we want to be?
And so we sit at our keyboards day after day. We shift between staring at the blinking cursor and listening to our fingers tap, tap, tap the keys. We pull elusive words from the deep, or we scramble to catch up with the rush of them. But what happens when the work feels burdensome and the responsibilities bothersome? Voices begin whispering, “Quit, quit, quit.” So what do you do when you feel like quitting?
When You Feel Like Quitting, It’s Time to Refocus, Reframe, and Reset
When I hear the voices in my head telling me to quit, I need to ask myself, Quit what? Quit real-life? Quit writing? When these questions about quitting rumble around in my heart, it tells me that my focus might be off. Is my focus on following God onward through this writing journey, or is it on my perceived failures? Failure upon failure adds up to question upon question about quitting. But when does failure get to dictate our future? And could it be that what we perceive as failure isn’t failure at all, but opportunity?
Failure gives us the opportunity to learn and is proof that we tried something new. It’s proof that we’re putting one step in front of another, following this call that God gives us. When I’m tempted to quit, I have to reevaluate my definition of success.
Success is not numbers, popularity, shares, and clicks, although they do matter. But we lose sight of God when that’s all we focus on. God reveals Himself in the hidden places of trust and obedience. And that’s our motivation: trust and obey. But it’s tempting to replace these with what we can see because we tie evidence of success to what we can measure.
Yet, when we read Hebrews 11, we discover that although some didn’t receive the promise, they endured. Faith motivated them. Faith prompted them to trust and obey. When we’re faced with the temptation to quit, let’s step away from our angst and refocus. When we feel like quitting, let’s refocus on what makes writing a ministry. Let’s also reframe it through the lens of trust and reset our obedience prompted by faith.
Ministry to God
Our writing, first, is to God. To glorify Him and bless Him. He’s given us the gift of words. Nothing pleases Him more than when we offer those gifts back to Him for Him. Romans 11:36 tells us that everything is from Him, for Him and through Him. When we’re tempted to quit writing, remember that He calls us, so He equips us. He delights when we offer our words back to Him.
When you feel like quitting, glorify God through your obedience to continue. These words are the “pour out your heart” kind of words. They’re full of honesty, worship, heartache, and praise. This pleases God.
Ministry to Self
Next, writing is a ministry to ourselves. It’s in writing that we discover the depths of our hearts. For some of us, writing teaches us to slow down to figure out what’s going on in our hearts. For others, it teaches how to process emotions in a life-giving way. Once we understand our hearts, we’re able to receive the healing truth that God desires to bring to us. This type of writing is the kind that brings revelation and those “ah-ha” moments.
Ministry to Others
The final part of writing is ministry is to others. This is where our pain and purpose intersect in a way that brings a healing balm to another person’s heart. Words of hope are a powerful ministry. The pain of yesterday becomes priceless pearls of wisdom for today. Our stories can provide the outlet for someone else to put their pain into words, and then they know wholeness.
Discouragement is part of the writing life. It might be the writing itself, the marketing of writing, or the deferred dreams. But let’s allow our discouragement to encourage us to hit the reset button. Sometimes in the metamorphosis of becoming a writer, we lose sight of the reason we began writing: to know God, to have God know us, and to make Him known. Those whispers you hear? Use them to draw you nearer to God’s heart.
It’s tempting to get caught in the swirl of questions circling like buzzards. We question and wonder; wonder and question, over and over again. It’s okay. Like the old song, “Mama said there’s gonna be days like these.” But don’t let those annoying buzzards steal the opportunities those questions present. When you feel like quitting, reframe them as opportunities to reset and refocus on trust and obedience.
More on Soul Care
Writing is where the experience of our life intersects with our purpose for the present. What we perceive as failure is really opportunity. God reveals Himself in the hidden places of trust and obedience. Yesterday's pain becomes today's priceless pearls of wisdom.