Goal setting has been a part of my life for years. Checking off lists and projecting work assignments began at an early age for me. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from making a mark straight across the item-don’t you think?
My family jokes a little about my lists. I’m about to make a confession: Sometimes I write down items I’ve already completed on my to-do list just so I can mark them off. But I’m a list person. It’s a part of what makes me tick- a part of who God made me to be. So I keep making lists.
There’s a problem with being a list person though.
What happens when you can’t check an item off the list? You’ve tried and tried, but you just keep falling short.
Last year about this time, I was feeling like throwing in the towel on a running goal. Feeling old and slow, I was doing my best to push forward in preparation to run a half marathon. I couldn’t seem to keep going like I had for previous races and the list wasn’t getting checked off. As a writer, my first reaction was to write about the life experience. But the night I attempted to express my words, they fell short. And I wound up writing that the best thing I know to do when I feel like giving up is to turn to God’s Word. A list of 12 Bible Verses for when you feel like giving up was born.
I muddled my way through the training and completed the half marathon, though not with a personal record by any means. It rained the ENTIRE race. I don’t mean a light sprinkle. I mean my clothes were soaked, my shoes slopped like 90 year old sponges and it.was.miserable. So the half marathon seemed quite the failure to me in many ways. The goals I expected to meet were ambushed and my spirit felt crushed.
But I still know that the best place to turn when you feel like giving up is God’s Word. Apparently a whole lot of other people have realized that since last January. Because the verse list God had me join together in the middle of my sorry pit has been pinned over 122,000 times. That’s just how big God is. His picture is more than 3D.
I’ve learned a serious life lesson from this story. It can be summed up in three words:
Never give up.
When I read Psalm 31 not long ago, I was studying in more detail and decided to read The Message version of the Psalm. Verse 24 arrested me and I stared at the breathtaking beauty of four bold statements.
Don’t give up.
Expect God to get here soon.
You see- there are really 4 parts to never giving up.
We have to be brave and courageous.
The battles are fierce but as Christians, we’re not fighting the battles alone.
The battle is the Lord’s. I Samuel 17:47
We have to be strong.
The strength doesn’t come from ourselves.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Eph. 6:10
We need to never give up.
Because God never gave up on us.
Blessed be God, who has given peace to his people Israel just as he said he’d do. Not one of all those good and wonderful words that he spoke through Moses has misfired. May God, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors—may he never give up and walk out on us. May he keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors. I Kings 8:56-58 MSG
Expect God to show up in your pit.
This is where I was a bit confused that night I made the list of verses for when you feel like giving up. Isn’t God everywhere? Doesn’t he already know everything? Of course he does. But his timing is impeccable. His way is the best way. And sometimes we are waiting on Him to move. At this point, we have the privilege of anticipation.
My husband and I take a trip as a couple each spring. Alone. Without children. Can I tell you that I anticipate that trip like no other? I take so much joy in knowing that the time is coming and we both look forward to it like giddy students on the last day of school before summer break.
Psalm 31:24 is telling us to anticipate God’s work. We know he is good. We know he will work all things for our good. With joy, we can expect and anticipate that his work is going to be more than we can imagine.
Never give up-
God is always at work.