Sometimes, there are things in your life that you have to let die. Dreams that you’ve held dear for a long time that will never come to fruition. Friendships that seem to shrivel and wither, despite your best efforts. Hopes for certain outcomes that just don’t pan out.
How to know when to let something go is tough. I am a stubborn person. I have tenacity. Sometimes, the emotions are too crushing and that helps me make the decision. Usually, I pray extensively about it before I give up entirely. I don’t want to miss anything, especially if I’m really close to a breakthrough and this last hurdle *is* the last hurdle before I win.
So many things can be done if you’re only persistent. You can learn an instrument or master a language if you don’t give up. Kids know that if they keep asking, they will usually get their way. Not our kids – or your kids, of course, but other people’s kids. Our old cat, Rita, would stand and meow outside our bedroom door for literally hours until I opened it and let her in. Our other cats know I won’t open for them and they try, but I know they will give up. I’ve already been through the Rita-rooter. Didn’t Jesus have a parable about this? A widow who kept coming to a judge to get justice until he finally gave in and listened to her request? A man who kept visiting his neighbor to get bread and wouldn’t give up until his neighbor came down with some? This is how my dad raised me: Winners never quit, quitters never win.
But at times, persistence is not rewarded. It’s penalized. Having desire and vision and purpose is actively put down and called ambition or angling for position. Yes, occasionally, that’s the case. We need to check our motives – always. And yet, I find it hard to stomach and hard to understand. Do we trust people enough to hear from God and trust His image forming in them to believe they can succeed at what’s in their hearts to do?
I find myself in the valley of decision today. I don’t want to be here. Maybe I didn’t hear from God after all; I can admit that. I want to be on the mountaintop of having achieved what I wanted, what I’ve dreamed of for years. Proverbs says “a desire fulfilled is a tree of life”. I want to be joyful and excited. Right now, I am not. Everything in me bucks against giving up.
I believe that God will bring good out of this, for me and for others. He can bring “beauty from ashes” (Is. 61). I trust in Him.