“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all,” said author Dale Carnegie. Remembering this helps me to not quit when the going gets tough. I have also learned some other pointers that have helped me to persevere when tempted to quit.
1 – Just because we fail at something does not mean we are a failure.
God never sees us as a failure. The Bible tells us, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Hebrews 12:1). When we feel like a failure—refuse to quit! Charles Spurgeon said: “With great perseverance, the snail finally reached the ark.”
2 – Don’t waste mistakes—learn from them
Biblical leaders Moses, Joseph, Paul, Esther, Joshua—all made mistakes and battled through to the end. They were tested but persevered. Thomas Edison tried more than two hundred different elements before he figured out the right element to invent the light bulb. He could have quit 199 times! Instead, he learned from each of those supposed mistakes!
3 – Understand your present season of life
We usually go through three seasons of life when we are focusing on fulfilling a dream or a vision—the honeymoon season, the problem season and the perseverance-to-victory season.
- The honeymoon season is the send off, the initial start when all is new and exciting. We all love this season. But when the reality of the struggles involved in relationships, family, ministry or business hits us, we enter the next season.
- The problem season includes a period of confusion, disillusionment and conflict. The future is uncertain. Problems we never thought possible arise and sap our energy. During this season, we may find it helpful to confront one problem at a time. It helps to separate them, so they are manageable. Often during this season we feel like quitting.
- The perseverance-to-victory season comes for those who refuse to quit and abort the plan of God but continue in perseverance until they experience the blessing they anticipated when they began. They maintained in the perseverance stage the discipline to “not look back.”
4 – Refuse to look back
When we are driving, we keep our eyes on the road ahead—that is if we want to reach our destination intact. If we focus on what is happening behind us, we could end up wrapped around a telephone pole or plowed into the traffic in front of us. Focusing on our past failures and problems is mostly counterproductive and prevents us from moving forward. We can all look back at our lives and say, “If only I had done this or that in a particular situation, maybe things would be different now.” But when we understand that the Lord uses our mistakes and trials for His glory, we will be able to move forward.
5 – Learn from others who have walked the path before us
Down through history have been many people who seemed like world-class failures to their peers, but they persevered, and success is their legacy: George Washington was a general who lost two-thirds of all the battles he fought in the American Revolution. During his career of twenty-one years in baseball, Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs but struck out 1,330 times—almost twice as often as he hit a home run. He once said, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from taking a swing.” R.P. Macy failed seven times as an entrepreneur in retailing before establishing Macy’s department store.
Paul the apostle declared, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Notice the progression in this verse. When God calls us to start, He will see us through to the finish, but there is always a fight in between! Let’s purpose in our hearts to continue to obey the God we serve, refuse to quit, and receive our legacy.