I have no idea where Indy picked up this little gem of a phrase, but he uses it quite liberally throughout the day.
Not able to get his toy to do what he wants? Sigh. “I quit.”
Can’t convince me to feed him candy for breakfast? Mumble. “I quit.”
In fact, he throws it about with all the drama of a Broadway actor in just about any situation…regardless of whether the words “I quit” actually apply or not. “I quit” seems to mean everything, “I am hungry, tired, angry, frustrated, sad, annoyed, bored” and so on. Whatever the situation, he quits. He doesn’t want to feel that way and so he quits.
I used to think of myself as a quitter, someone who just couldn’t stay the course when the going got tough. I think it dates back to the moment that I decided I just wasn’t cut out to be a teacher and dropped my education degree two weeks prior to the start of my student teaching in my final semester of college. Four years of work and I quit. My mother’s first words were, “I always knew you couldn’t do it.” And thus was born the portrait of me as a quitter.
For years after that I saw every decision in the light of that phrase. Every time I quit something meant that I had failed, that I lacked perseverance.
I worked for ten years in a dental office and then quit to get my accounting degree (well, actually I went to part time…but my brain was in ‘quit’ mode). After working in public accounting for seven years I quit to stay home with the boys. In my first few months at home I tried teaching accounting at the community college level and quit after one semester. Not only was it too much of a burden on my time, I also realized it just was not the direction I wanted to go with my life, it wasn’t fulfilling my deeper purpose. And that is when my view of myself as a quitter began to change. As I discussed it with the department head, she trying to talk me into staying because she believed I was good at it and me trying to explain why I couldn’t do it, she said something that surprised me. She told me that although she wished I would stay, she understood my reasons for leaving and she respected the fact that I knew what I wanted and stood by it, because very few people do.
As I look back at all of the times I felt I was quitting I realize how much I allowed a negative viewpoint to color them. And I realized that far from being a quitter, I am someone who will relentlessly pursue my true purpose in life even when the way isn’t clear, even when it means discarding things that I thought were part of that purpose, even when it makes the way more difficult. I know that God has a calling for me, a plan that is still unfolding and I will continue to strive to lay aside the things that hinder me from that purpose. I challenge us all to be willing to realize when something has become a hindrance rather than a help, to be willing to lay aside even the things that we have worked for when we sense God saying, “That part of the plan is done, it’s time to move on.”
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12: 1,2 (NIV)