Don’t quit

How often have we heard some kind of an admonishment not to quit, that we never know when the breakthrough (or whatever we are hoping for) will happen. Sometimes, the result is not what we might have hoped for, but it still is something worthwhile that would have been missed if we had quit. In the last two day, two things brought the idea of don’t quit to mind.

Thursday morning I was at the gym and going through a fairly routine workout. Honestly, its was shear discipline that had me there. In my second set of exercises, my lower right back started to tighten and I couldn’t get it stretch out. I kept going. By the time I got through the next two exercises the pain had moved into my hip and I was feeling quite old. Next up was 30 minutes on the elliptical. I got on and started and it hurt. It took every ounce of will power within me to keep going as time slowed to a crawl. Every second on the timer just hung there. After about 15 minutes of talking myself into continuing, it became clear that my back was starting to loosen up. The next 15 minutes were far from enjoyable, but by the end most of the pain in my hip and back were gone. Had I quit and gone home to “nurse” it, most likely the pain would have remained all day. Obviously, I am quite glad I did not quit.

On Friday, I was watching the football bowl games. There were some great games played. In the Outback bowl, it seemed quite apparent at halftime that Northwestern was out of the game. They couldn’t move the ball and they didn’t seem to be able to stop Auburn. They didn’t quit. They came back and tied and the game went back and forth right into overtime. On more than one occasion it looked the game was lost, but they kept going. Yes, they did lose in overtime, but it wasn’t because they quit. The result wasn’t what they wanted. It’s doubtful that too many Northwestern players are pleased at losing, yet they can hold their heads high and know they gave their best. Also, they made ESPN’s top plays. That game is being called by some analysts the best game of the day. It wouldn’t have been had they quit when it looked like it was over. Auburn was on their way to a blowout victory, yet Northwestern found a way to rise and not quit. The result wasn’t what they wanted, but it was definitely worthwhile in so many ways for those young men as individuals and as a team.

Many times we run up against obstacles and circumstances in our lives that seem insurmountable. Often, we can feel overwhelmed and outmatched. Most of the time in those circumstances regret only comes to those who quit. Rarely does someone persevere through adversity and come out the other side saying, “I wish I had quit.” There are times to stop pursuing something and times to let something go, that’s where we let the Holy Spirit guide us. However, we should never quit just because something is hard, pain is involved, or the situation seems hopeless. The breakthrough, the relief, the lesson, the victory may just be around the corner.

In one of the postgame interviews, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow talked about the importance of finishing. It is a value of their team. It shows. There is no substitute for finishing well. That can’t happen when we just quit.

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