Have you cons
idered the notion that maybe you should walk away? If people have made choices for you that you wouldn’t make for yourself, maybe it’s better to just quit.
Having said that, let’s recognize a few things: No one likes a quitter and no one wants to be one; quitting is complicated – it comes loaded with a lot of consequences.
Another thing we need to see is that there is too much quitting in our lives. Quitting is the inevitable byproduct of living in a culture with too many options. Walk onto a car lot and you could find yourself talking all day with a salesman about options. Walk down the grocery store aisles and you may find yourself spending far too long reading how much fiber is in the various brands of granola.
Even better, if you make a mistake in what you choose, you can usually undo or replace your choice. When a dog chewed up my LL Bean briefcase, we mailed it off and they replaced it.
All the options make commitment itself optional. In a society where every website seems to have a shopping cart and filling them takes just a few clicks of your mouse, we teach our children to keep their options open. And in doing so, we inadvertently teach them some lessons about quitting.
Think of all the things we quit that used to be considered permanent but now find optional: our homes, our churches, our marriages and our jobs. Join any of a hundred club-like organizations available to you: Delta Skymiles Club, Costco, or Facebook, to name a few, and you’ll find yourself reading the fine print at the bottom of the agreement you signed, wondering about the penalties for quitting.
But quitting can be a good thing too. What if you make a mistake – a really serious life-altering one? Like the choice as to how you see yourself and where you get your strokes from. When you sign up for a lifestyle that locks you into an identity that feels false, you may find yourself wondering how to get off the merry-go-round. When you feel trapped by having to live up to other people’s concepts of who you are, quitting may be exactly the right thing to do.
Waking up and seeing yourself as a part of a crowd of lemmings moving toward a precipice is better than actually going over it. At some point, it makes sense to abandon your current course of action. And it’s in that light that Jesus is calling many of us to walk away from the career track that others have mapped out for us. The price of going with the flow is just too high.
This is the only life we’ve been given – we need to figure out how to live it to the fullest. God has a purpose for our lives and we may not have fulfilled it yet. We may need to quit the safe path we’re on to follow one that appears more dangerous and narrow.*
*”But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a
few find it.” (Matthew 7:14)