When I was little, my big brother used to grab me and start to tickle me. At first this was fun. Then I’d say “stop” and he would say those infamous words “say uncle”. I’d squeal and squirm resisting the temptation to say those dreaded words until finally I’d yell at the top of my lungs “UNCLE!” I never held out very long. It just always seemed easier to just quit.
As an adult, I hate the idea of quitting. I’d rather stick with something to the bitter end than just give up. Giving up makes me feel like such a failure and if there is anything I’d like to avoid, it’s being a failure.
But quitting isn’t always the sign of a failure. Even the scriptures tell us in Ecclesiastes 3:6 that there is “a time to search and a time to give up.” It’s easy to think of times God wants us to search but when would God want you to give up? I can think of two situations when God has told me to quit.
The first and most frequent in my life has been the times I charged off on a new project, job or adventure and I didn’t take the time to ask God for His input. It’s like I see this new way to spend my time, energy or my money and I’m all excited about charging off on my latest escapade I didn’t stop, pray, ask for Godly counsel, none of that stuff. Of course the day would come inevitably when the project would turn into a mess and I’d ask God for help. That’s when I realized that seeking God’s will from the beginning could have saved a lot of heart ache. Then I’d pray for God’s guidance. Many times I felt led to see the mess I started through but sometimes God just wanted me to count my losses and move on. Either way, God used my mess to teach me, one more time, to cling to Him.
The other situation where I have felt God lead me to quit is when I did seek His counsel, I did follow His will and was even experiencing some success but the time had come to move on. May be there was a new challenge the Lord had in mind for me or maybe it is time for someone else to take my role. Too often I cling to success by declaring myself indispensible. But really I am just frightened to start a new path for the Lord.
You may be swamped with demands on your time, energy and life. Maybe, just maybe, God is trying to tell you there’s something you should quit. It’s easy to tune ourselves into trying to hear what God wants us to do. But maybe we should listen for what God wants us to stop doing. Maybe God’s just asking you to say “uncle!”