We’ve all had days when the road ahead looks daunting. We feel pressure to turn back because we don’t understand what lies ahead. We feel like we have been walking along without any end in sight and we want to stop. We are ready to give up and turn back to what we know. I recently had a real-life experience that inspired me to think about this.
My six-year old daughter and I drove down the East Coast of the United States heading for a town I had only been to once before. The road was smooth, well lit, and nice to travel for most of the ride. However, we hit this one point in Georgia, on Rt. 16, where it was just scary. It was late at night, we had been in the car for two days, and we were ready to stop for a hotel. Our destination was 4 hours away but I didn’t have that much driving time left in me without risking an accident. I became very scared when I was still seeing only complete darkness and no signs for chain hotels more than an hour after exiting 95 for Rt. 16.
I knew that Siri was saying it was 3 hours to my destination but I also knew that I didn’t see anywhere to stop between that moment and the destination. I called my father panicking, almost in tears. Surely he would see something from the internet at home that I couldn’t see while driving. He helped me to find a location up ahead, within a half hour, and I was able to stop for the night.
The next morning, I was still feeling uncomfortable about the lack of stops on the route and feeling like I was in the middle of nowhere so I decided not to continue toward my destination for that night and instead turned back toward 95. What I saw as we drove back spoke to me about the times we give up too soon in life.
The road was clear, the imagery beautiful, and the land bountiful. There were crops, there were lakes, and the sun was shining. The land that was so scary the night before was breath-taking during the day. This experience got me to thinking: How many times in life do we turn around too soon?
Are You Tempted to Give Up?
I get it… sometimes you just get tired. You want to be pampered, not pushed. You want to be held, not moved. You want to be blessed, not stretched. While we ended up at our ultimate destination, we also missed a wonderful opportunity to spend an evening with a friend who we have missed since she and her family also moved from CT. We stole from ourselves the opportunity to talk with friends that night, for Ali to run around the next day with a friend her age, and for me to enjoy a home-cooked meal and neighborhood cooking party (something I love to participate in). If you are on a path that you feel tempted to stop walking – a path on which you are purposed – please do not give up. Remember that the view when it is dark often looks much different than it does when the light is out.
Strategies for Continuing Your Journey
Here is the insight I gained from our experience.
1. When you feel lost – call your Father.
When I looked back on the experience, I realized there wasn’t a doubt about who would be able to help me. I called my dad. He is well traveled and had access to the internet. I knew if I told him how I was feeling, he would help me through it. The same is true of God. When you are scared, call your Father. Yahweh (God) knows all about us – He created us. He knows when we feel like giving up. Call out to Him and share what is on your mind.
2. Continue despite feeling afraid.
When you walk in the midst of adversity or your own desire to give up, something happens. Though I called my dad and he helped give me confidence that something was ahead, he didn’t see a specific hotel for another 50 miles. By trusting what He told me despite being afraid, and continuing on the journey, I was able to find an exit only 20 miles up the road that had a chain hotel I was comfortable with and knew would have a clean room for us to stay in for the night. We were blessed to get the last ground-floor room and the lady gave it to us for $100 less than they were charging that night! When we walked in and saw it was a suite, we danced in celebration of how God provided for us. We pressed through the fear instead of turning back to 95 that night and we were blessed with a wonderful night’s sleep because of it.
3. If you do give up, be sure to learn what you can.
Though I gave up the next morning and didn’t move forward to my original destination for the day, I learned a lot from the experience. In fact, I learned enough that I am going to try to make the journey again within the next month! I saw how beautiful the road was the next day as I traveled back toward 95 and I realized that it really didn’t need to be a scary experience. So I called my friend and asked for another opportunity to come visit her. She understood why I turned around and invited me up again. Sometimes we do get second chances.
It is scary to venture toward the call, but as Anointed once sang to us: It is all about moving forward and not giving up. (Listen to “The Call” here.) Don’t give up – keep moving forward. Know that when you are moving toward the destination at which you are purposed to arrive, you will be challenged, stretched, and tested. You will face opposition and you will experience moments where you want to give up. But if you press forward, continuing standing your ground and knowing why you are doing what you do, you will get there and celebrate your strength and resilience. (But if you have already given up, or do end up giving up in the future, remember you may still get another chance if you reach out and ask for another opportunity to walk out your purpose.)
I’m rooting for you.