Have you ever been close to quitting? Or perhaps, as I have in other areas of my life, decided that it was necessary to quit? Are you on the verge of quitting now, and you’re looking to the Lord for answers?
I recently dove head-first into an extremely intense ministry with high responsibility that was having me question if I had what it took, and as I wrestled with insecurity, my stomach felt twisted in knots. For a few days, I was even having a hard time sleeping. I thought the best option might be for me to quit.
I knew a lot was riding on my involvement and that the effects of me quitting would be significant, so I decided that I’d do my due diligence to see if a therapist could help me sort my feelings around the ministry. After talking with someone outside of my situation, I’d be able to better determine if God was calling me to stay in this ministry or if it was time to let go. I told the Lord that I would wait another week until the therapy appointment.
Sure enough, the therapist was able to help me gain a renewed perspective, and I was able to connect with other supportive resources, as well. I decided to continue and not to quit! Now, I check in with the therapist as needed, and she’s committed to helping me with additional challenges in the ministry going forward. Just knowing that I’ll be going through those upcoming challenges with a safe place to process makes me feel more confident that I can handle it well and stay committed.
God has grown me, taught me, and stretched me more than I ever could have imagined through this ministry, and I feel God providing for me and holding my hand every step of the way. The renewed faith and perspective is informing other areas of my life, as well, and the blessings are overflowing! I’m so grateful that God gave me the strength needed to stick with it.
Will the challenges produce growth if they’re endured, or will they break you?
In my situation, I realized that I was afraid of feeling uncomfortable, inadequate, or taking on the suffering of others. I could learn how to address my feelings and submit them to the Lord. Now I know that God is using all of this to teach me more about His heart and to grow my own:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
However, there was another time in my life where I had to let go of a position because it was preventing me from living out my values the way that I desired. This was causing significant strain for me on a daily basis and began affecting my marriage. Quitting provided immediate relief and freedom. Ask God if the challenges you are experiencing will produce something godly in you or if they will be harmful to you.
Are there resources that could renew you?
I wish I had had the courage to seek therapy and counseling earlier in areas of leadership where I was struggling. Leaders carry heavy burdens of responsibility, and it can take a toll without the proper care. Therapists, conferences, friends who understand your area of leadership or field, and sufficient breaks for refreshment might be enough to help give you the perspective you need in order to make a thoughtful decision.
My husband is a pastor, and for a couple of years, I met monthly with two other area pastor’s wives. Our time together wasn’t a ministry meeting, and it wasn’t at a church; we primarily got together just to feel understood, and having that kind of support allowed me to continue in several leadership roles with confidence and enthusiasm.
How will your decision affect others?
I recently received a lovely text from a friend saying, “Every day you’re being intentional… and it’s not only affecting [the people you serve] but others around you for watching what you guys do.” My decision to keep my commitment to a difficult yet critical ministry is a witness to those around me, especially those close to me that know the internal struggles. On top of that, I have the privilege of seeing the direct effects of the ministry on those that I serve and know that it is life-changing. God has chosen me to be a part of their story!
This doesn’t mean that sometimes quitting isn’t the more loving thing to do for others. My husband had to leave a leadership position in a place he loved when he was unable to adequately provide for our family. Will your decision to quit leave people you care about in a tough spot, or will your staying create hardship for people you care about?
Have you prayed and submitted your leadership to the Lord?
Sometimes chaos can cause us to go into fight, flee, or freeze mode. When we feel flooded, we might want to flee the situation as quickly as we can so that we can feel stable and safe. Perhaps you’ve even walked in the door at the end of the day and announced to someone in your family, “I can’t do this anymore! I want to quit!”
Ask God if He will heal the wounds and feelings that are clouding your area of leadership so that you can make a decision to quit or stay with a clear mind. By not quitting as a quick reaction but waiting on Him, you are saying to God, “I trust You to give me an answer. I will wait to see how you plan to work with this issue.”
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Believe that He will hear you and take your burden! Perhaps His answer will be that the issue is resolved. Perhaps His answer is that by working on your heart, you can stay in your position. Or perhaps His answer will be the presentation of a new and different opportunity that allows you to let go with confidence.
When you’re overwhelmed, God will lead you to His loving, secure arms where you can rest in Him and allow Him to speak His plans to you. No matter where you’re serving and leading and no matter how long you’re able to lead, He is actively working out good for you. Take time for evaluation before you quit, and God will give you peace.
Our Lead Like Jesus Revisited 6-Week Study Guide provides daily lessons to help you discover leadership from the inside out. A great start to give your leadership to the Lord.