Well, I finished Nicki Koziarz’s book 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit and let me tell you it’s sent me on an emotional roller coaster. I’ve learned that I have a quitting problem, that I am not emotionally generous as I should be, and that through all my mess God is still working through me and I’ve come to cling to this promise from Philippians,
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
God nudged me to read this book, He’s been working on me as I read through it, and I know He’ll keep working on me.
Choosing to step out in faith and not quit is something I believe is a daily discipline because life is rough and you never know when the roller coaster is going to jolt you down a hill or bring you up to the top for a wonderful view.
Sometimes though don’t we all wonder if it’s worth it? I know when I’m running, especially this morning, that I asked myself is it worth the pain in my side, feet, and lungs to keep going? But when I finished and went inside my warm house I knew it was worth it. It’s easier to see the worthwhile on the other side of the pain and struggles.
It sometimes is hard to go and be there for the middle school girls I lead, and last night it felt like the easier option was to just stay home. But would the quitting be worth it? At the beginning of the book Koziarz asks readers to look back on things they’ve quit, and as I looked back I realized I quit because it was the easy thing to do at the moment, but now I wish I hadn’t and I know if I had stuck it out it would’ve been worth it. Even if the perseverance doesn’t give the results we want it’s still worth knowing we didn’t quit. Koziarz puts it like this, “Perseverance doesn’t always guarantee the desired results. But whenever we have the chance to do good things, we should”.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
I’m claiming this as my mantra, my go-to verse when my day gets hard and I just want to give up. God calls me to give my best (Colossians 3:17) so that’s what I’m going to give. It’s not easy, following God isn’t easy, He even gives us this heads up “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble…” But thankfully to those of us who are His children, it doesn’t stop there, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” And because of what He did, His children can live a full life (John 10:10)
EXAMPLES OF FAITH
Faith doesn’t grow overnight, it takes hardships, it takes throwing away our desires for His, it takes us giving up our pride to allow Him to chisel away the bad so the good can come through “See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting”, (Psalm 139:24).
Koziarz takes readers to the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, how they stepped out in faith. She highlighted verses 4, 7, and 11, and as I read them for my self here’s what I learned.
3 Things to do When We Step Out in Faith
- Trust God with Your Dreams 11:4 ” It was by faith that Able brought a more acceptable offering to God… Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.”
Able brought His offering in faith, which is how all offerings are to be given. An offering is a sacrifice, whether that leave you sparse or you have enough to where it’s not that noticeable, it’s still giving something of yourself. Able gave the best he had not only in obedience but in that faith that God would honor his obedience as well. I want it said of me that my example of faith still speaks long after I’m dead. What a testimony! It makes me think of Billy Graham, who recently passed away, and how his funeral brought together thousands of people from all walks of life, many who were probably unsaved. How through his descendants his legacy of faith will continue to speak and spread the good news.
This will require me to persevere, not fleeing to the familiar; basically, it will require stopping quitting. It’s going to take exhibiting all 5 habits Koriarz has listed out, in faith.
2. Trust God with the Unknowns 11: 7 “… He (Noah) obeyed God who warned him about things that had never happened before.”
We live by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). God rarely, if ever, gives us a synopsis of what’s about to happen. Ruth had to go to Bethlehem, a place she’d never seen before; Esther became a queen, something she wasn’t born into; Abram and Sari had to go to an unknown land, leaving their family and everything familiar. And there have been many times God has taken me into the unknowns, but like Noah, I trust that He knows the way, the best way. Do I live this out as well as Noah and these others in the “Hall of Faith” (Hebrews 11)? No! It’s a struggle for me to not know exactly, or a brief summary, of what’s ahead of me. He’s constantly teaching me to trust Him with the unknowns, and the quicker I trust, the quicker I stop this cycle of quitting.
3. Believe in God’s Promises 11:11 “… She believed that God would keep His promises.”
The “she” here is Sarah, Sari at the time God gave the promise for her to have a son in her old age. The same Sarah that laughed when the angels of God told her husband the promise was still going to happen, even though it was years since it had originally been given. She’s mentioned here in the Hall of Faith still after that, and I love it! It means we’re never to far gone for God to use us. All this faith and trusting through the unknowns mean we have to believe His promises but to believe them we have to know them.
God gave Abraham and Sarah a promise for a child and many descendants from him. I’m sure it’s a promise Sarah either physically wrote down or she memorized it and kept it in her heart, replaying it in her mind when the days got long and it seemed like God would never fulfill His promise.
“Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” Proverbs 7:1-3
God has so many promises for us and if we don’t know them, memorize them, repeat them in our minds, then we’re definitely more likely to quit because we’ve forgotten who’s on our side and what He promised to and for us. As I’ve been starkly reminded the past 11 days now, politicians break promises but God does not.
The Other Side
I wonder how many times the people listed in the Hall of Faith asked themselves is it worth it? Is it worth it keep following and obeying God? It would be so much easy to quit, to do things my way. Let me tell you it’s worth it. It’s worth the rejection from the world, friends, maybe even family. It’s worth the weird looks when you declare you’re a child of God. The emotional generosity is worth giving. The sacrifice of time and comfort (when I’d rather be curled up at home wallowing in my bad mood) was worth following through with my commitment to my girls despite how I felt ( Habit 2). I wanted to stop running and go home this morning because I just couldn’t breathe, and though I did stop to catch my breath I still finished my run. We may to stop and rest sometimes when we step out in faith, God is there to help and restore us when we do, but at some point, we have to get back to moving and finish whatever it is we need to finish. And when we do finish we’ll be glad we did, it will worth it.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8