When the Going Get’s Tough…

I’ve never quit anything in my life.  Ever.  And I know you’re not supposed to say “never” or “always” because there are very few absolutes in this life.  But I can say pretty confidently that this statement is true for me,.  Even still, today was a challenge to hold on to this conviction.

My freshman year of high school I decided to try out for the girl’s basketball team.  Now, why, I have no idea, since I was not athletic and was more of an academic.  In fact, choir was my only consistent extracurricular activity in middle school, but maybe I was feeling a little adventurous since I had started a new school.  You know, fresh start and all that.  So I actually made junior varsity team, but mainly because there weren’t enough girls to try out so there was no Freshman team and pretty much everyone who tried out made it.  Even so, I was excited.  Here I was, apart of the girl’s basketball team, and even though I had no experience ever playing basketball in my life, I loved competition and watching the game on tv. So it couldn’t be too hard, right?  Wrong.  I sucked.  And not only did I suck, but most of the team sucked.  I think we won 2 games that season.  It was so bad, my own mother told me I should quit.  And my mother loves me to pieces and would never try to hinder my success in life. But all she saw was my constant frustration at losing a game I sincerely wanted to play well.  As easy as it would have been to quit, especially having her support, my response to her was “I can’t”.  I couldn’t quit, even though every game ended poorly and even in embarrassment for our school.  At 14 years old, I was demonstrating endurance and perseverance without even realizing it.  Even though the team overall didn’t improve, I did individually.  I got in shape, I became faster and the coach noticed my improvement and made me a “starter”, meaning I was apart of the first group of players to open up in the game.  I even became “point guard” which is the player who leads the plays.  Now, I definitely still played poorly but looking back I see that the character I was demonstrating in that time was the real win.  I think even my coach learned some things during that time, that winning isn’t always everything.

I say all that to say, I hate quitting.  It is not even a last resort, because it’s not an option at all.  But today, I hit a breaking point.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted to walk out the door and never come back.  I had given up in my heart and when you lose heart there’s really nothing to keep you in the game.  I’ve found myself looking for various ways out in my life, weather its my career, my place of worship, the city I live in…I’ve been consciously and subconsciously trying to bounce.  “Peace out Jesus, I’ve had enough”.  Whatever gusto I had at 14, seems to have diminished over time and even little stuff has been setting me off.  Thankfully, I didn’t just leave.  I prayed.  And I had others praying.  And God gave me the strength to stay.  Today.  All I can do is stay today.

That saying “when the going get’s tough, the tough get going” I know what that means now.  I also understand where that term “going postal” came from.  Whereas before I wouldn’t have been able to relate.  But now I do. And maybe that is the reason for this season.  For me to relate to others with similar experiences.  Either way, I appreciate the people in my life with their encouragement and optimism when things look bleak in my limited perception of life.  I’m grateful for the love and support and prayers.

I know a large reason I hit a breaking point is because I have this habit of “being strong”.  By that, I mean “trying not to complain”, getting up everyday and completing my expected duties.  And while we really shouldn’t complain, I think it’s important to vent to others who can give Godly counsel and help share the burden, or to just listen.  I’m so used to being the person others share their burdens with, I have to make a conscious effort to open up and let them return the favor.  I think also, balance is so needed in life.  We need vacations, we need rest, we need quiet.  Yet, sometimes I resist the rest.  I like to work and work hard.  But balance is needed so that we don’t get burnt out.  I’m learning I also desperately need balance in my emotions.  My mother and I are very similar in that we are emotional people.  We wear our hearts on our sleeves, we’re compassionate, sensitive and easily empathize with others.  While many of these characteristics are gifts God has given us for our callings, I’m learning how necessary it is to submit my emotions to Holy Spirit and let Him lead my emotions, instead of my emotions leading me.  I keep thinking of the term “emotional intelligence”.  I’m not 100% sure of what this means, but will be doing some research to find out.

My prayer in this season is for God to mature me in my emotions and in these various areas of my life so that next time the going gets tough, I’ll trust Him to lead me, not my emotions.

God Bless.

2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

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