Has anyone tried to get you to quit?
When I was in college, I wanted to graduate as quickly as possible. I had taken college courses in high school. I did not join a sorority or athletic team. And I took more than the required number of credit hours each semester. Why did I do all this? Because I was passionate about the dream God planted in my heart. It was a dream to teach, write, and study literature in a classroom where I could share my love for written words. Along the journey, I heard from many who questioned the path I knew I wanted to take. Many people advised me to quit.
College is meant to be a time for fun and discovering who you are. Stop working so hard.
You want to teach high school students? You look like one yourself. Won’t that be difficult for you? You seem more suited for teaching at the elementary level.
Then there was the time I received an essay back with a large red “F” and notations ripping my words to shreds. The teacher might as well had shouted I was thoroughly unfit to teach any class of students in the future.
And, in a few of those moments, I did want to quit.
Have you had similar experiences?
Come on! Eat cake with me. No one keeps their New Year’s Resolution.
He’s no longer romantic? You should leave him. You deserve better.
They didn’t give you playing time? You should quit the team.
Do these statements sound familiar?
I am currently enjoying a wonderful study called: A Woman Who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz. This study focuses on Ruth and her godly trait of perseverance, but I seem to keep focusing in on Naomi. In the story we see Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, persistently asking Ruth and Orpha to leave her as she travels back to Bethlehem. Naomi has lost her husband and sons. In her grief, she decides to travel back to her hometown and urges her widowed daughters-in-law to go back to their families, false god, and land:
Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me! (Ruth 1:12-13)
Naomi is really trying to persuade Orpha and Ruth to leave. Her argument is convincing. She reminds them of the home they can return to, the lack of a future that seems to await them if they stay with her, and it is clear Naomi’s attitude is one of complete bitterness. Even I must admit, traveling with a bitter mother-in-law would not be my idea of fun! Orpha agrees with Naomi’s pleas and leaves her dead husband’s mother. But Ruth stays.
Sometimes people will try to convince us to quit. Even the actions of others might convince us to quit. I am sure when Ruth saw Orpha leave, she questioned if she should follow and flee as well.
Oftentimes, words intended to sound like encouragement are spoken from a place of personal pain. The one persuading you to quit might be like Naomi and has experienced loss, hurt, and the feeling that God’s hand has turned against her.
What a difficult time it is for one feeling as Naomi did. But we must be sure to abide by what God wants us to do and not anyone else. No matter how convincing their actions or words sound, only God is the perfect guide.
Instead of listening to those advising us to quit, we need to cling to God’s plan and guidance— as Ruth clings to Naomi, even after Naomi tries to persuade her to leave (Ruth 1:14). Faithfulness to Naomi was part of God’s plan for Ruth, and despite those telling her to quit, Ruth continued ahead. Because Ruth does not quit, she ends up marrying a wonderful man, Naomi comes back to the Lord, and Ruth becomes the great-grandmother of King David— establishing the genealogy of Jesus. Ruth’s obedience led to abundant blessings.
Before we quit eating healthy…
Before we quit our marriage…
Before we quit a team…
And before we quit a dream…
Let’s consider what God wants us to do instead of listening to the comments of people like Naomi.
There were times I wanted to quit following my dream of becoming a teacher. I wanted to give up and reconsider an easier path. But I didn’t, and I am glad. When I stand in front of a classroom or Bible study to teach and share, I feel complete. I feel I’m making a difference. I feel happy. And God has given me many amazing blessings as a result of the dream He planted and I pursued.
You see, the plans God has for us will lead to the biggest blessings we can imagine. Blessings we might not receive if we listen to those who tell us to quit!
A Prayer for the Woman Who is Being Advised to Quit
Lord, thank you for being the ultimate Guide. You want to advise us in all we do. I pray we ultimately listen to Your voice when it comes to matters of quitting. You have plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11), and we want to follow those plans while showing Your Godly characteristics to those around us. May we be like Ruth in this world, and cling to what You want us to follow (Ruth 1:14). Allow us to recognize when those like Naomi try to discourage us to quit. We lift to You women like Naomi who are feeling bitter right now. Like Naomi, may they turn back to You when they see the faithful God You are. Should we begin to turn into bitter women who try and convince others to quit against the plans You have created for them, I ask the Holy Spirit to stop us. I pray the world begin to see more women who refuse to quit what God wants for them, pursue the big plans He has laid out, and shine bright in Your glory. Amen.
This post edited by the wonderful Jennifer Hacker, who is continually helping me become a better writer. She is the founder of The Center for Help and Hope. Check it out!