Taking Quit out of Life

Writer and minister Matt Tullos tells of the time he asked his grandfather where his 72 year-old grandmother was. His grandfather, whom he called Goodbuddy, responded, “She’s gone to the beauty shop. She never gives up.”1

While Goodbuddy’s words bring a smile to our face, hidden beneath the humor is a sense of admiration regarding Tullos’ grandmother’s persevering spirit. “Never gives up”—such commendable words to be spoken about a person. “Never gives up”—a character trait which more times than not separates winners from losers. “Never gives up”—the by-product of that admirable trait best known as perseverance…the willingness and ability to hang tough when circumstances, others, or even we say, “Quit.”

How do we take the quit out of life?

While no means exhaustive, let me share some suggestions.

  1. We must believe in the ultimate value of what we’re doing.
    We must believe in the mission, believe in the purpose, believe in the outcome, believe in the possibilities, and believe in the good that will come from not giving in nor giving up. For example, belief in the good outcome of a stronger heart, greater lung capacity, and increased physical stamina is what will keep a person going to the gym, cycling, or walking his/her neighborhood. Belief in the good outcome provided by a steady income will keep a person on the telephone making calls, when fatigue or discouragement are whispering in his/her ear, “Hang it up for the day—or maybe even for good.” Value perceived is motivation.
  2. We must be willing to slug through discouragement.
    Failure is a prime promoter of “quit” because failure is a prime source of discouragement. Thus it is essential that we realize failure is only fatal or final if we choose to allow it to be. Thomas Edison was one who absolutely refused to give into failure. He once said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."2 He also said, “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this…you haven’t.”3 How does one overcome discouragement? He goes back to #1 over and over, and reminds himself of the value of the desired outcome to him and others.
  3. We must believe in ourselves.
    Another powerful promoter of “quit” is a loss of self-confidence. Nothing attacks our self-confidence like personal criticism, which if not handled well, can sabotage our desire and willingness to persevere. Evidence of the power of criticism to pull the rug out from under our motivation is an observation by one of the most awarded Christian singer/songwriters in history, Steven Curtis Chapman. He once said, “One thousand compliments plus one criticism equals one criticism.”4 Who cannot relate at least somewhat to that observation? While it is unwise to totally ignore criticism if one expects to grow and improve, it is also unwise to totally ingest criticism if one expects to remain emotionally strong. When criticism comes our way, we would be well advised to sort out the jewels from the trash, then keep the jewels and trash the trash—just not in a recycle bin.

As important as these motivations are for promoting a persevering spirit, ultimate motivation for taking the quit out of life comes when our prime purpose for whatever we do is to bring honor and glory to God. The Apostle Paul spoke that truth in Colossians 3:23 when he said, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (NASB)

Nothing more than that can give meaning and value to desired outcome. Nothing more than that can help encourage us when failure happens. Nothing more than that can give us a sense of self-worth adequate for handling criticism as it comes our way.  

1 Homelife, December 2014, p. 72
2 37 Quotes From Thomas Edison That Will Inspire Success, www.inc.com/Kevin Daum
3 Beaumont Enterprise, 12/6/17, p.2A
4 Between Heaven and the Real World, Steven Curtis Chapman, 2017, p.182

Jerry Long

Jerry Long is a retired minister [38 years] living in metro Greenville, SC. He and his wife Lynne have two daughters and three grandchildren. He holds degrees from Clemson University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He may be reached at gotigers73@att.net.