I thought about giving up, I did! It actually felt like the easier choice. I asked myself, why is that? Why is my default response to give up? For every challenge that I’ve faced, giving up was somehow a prominent option. I think that our first instinct with any challenge is to evade it. I don’t think that I am alone though; I believe that many of us prefer to walk away from anything that interrupts our ‘normal’ lives, or from the things for which we have no ready solution. Sometimes we even believe that we have given enough time and effort to a situation, which then justifies our decision to give up.
When you are in the valley of indecision, contemplating your next steps; wisdom truly is the principal thing. Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment (Proverbs 9:10). Most decisions to go on or to give up are hardly ever straight forward or simple decisions. It is usually one with significant long-term consequences.
Proverbs 2:2 says that we ought to incline our ear to wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding. Proverbs 3:7 also admonishes that we ought not to be wise in our own eyes and verse 13 says, happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.
Do we use our own wisdom to determine when it is best to give up, because maybe you believe that you've done enough and can no longer cope; or does your own understanding determine whether you ‘dig in your heels’ and keep going. We come face to face with this question when for example, we are choosing to stay or leave a particular career, to stay or walk away from a relationship, to stay in a state of hurt or to forgive. Do you keep fighting against that injustice or do you give up. You may have started a business but it is not performing as well as you thought it would. Do you stay or do you walk away. How do you know that you have stayed long enough or that this is the time to walk away?
Sometimes, a person may have solid mathematical or logical information that helps to guide his/her decision or maybe there is strong factual information about what is the right thing. However, I am talking about those times when the grey is much wider than the black or the white and making a decision is difficult. The pros and cons of either decision appear to be equal and no one direction seems to be the clear winner. The times when you have to choose to preserve your sanity, over continuing in a situation that causes immense stress, is also a consideration.
Each time that I am in this place I usually need to get back into the Word, simply because no two decisions are ever alike. We may be familiar with many of the scriptures about God’s guidance but I always feel as though, for these “go, no go” decisions, I need a fresh perspective. The word of God is living and applicable to any situation that you may face or any decision that you will need to make. Nobody wants to make the wrong decision, so we ought to stop and enquire of the Lord.
Before you decide whether to stay or go, run to the Word, so that you can rummage through the pages of the bible and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you. The Word of God is always present and accessible and better than any advice that you can get elsewhere. Get to the root of the issue - maybe it is loneliness, brokenness or a financial investment - there is something in the bible that will help with the decision. Note that I said that it will help you with your decision, because ultimately, you will need to actually decide and then act on the decision.
My husband says that in the past he heard the Lord several times when he needed to make an important decision. For example, prior to commencing his undergraduate studies he received acceptance letters from two universities and after praying and seeking God’s guidance; he was eventually told by God which he should choose. On the other hand that has never happened to me! Lol. I cannot recall a time when the Lord has specifically said “Krystal do this or that”.
Does anyone use a concordance anymore? You know that index of key words at the back of the physical bible. Well I did a few weeks ago. I know that I can just ‘Google’ what I was looking for, but I didn’t want to filter through the preambles or anyone’s perspective, I just wanted the straight scriptures. I needed to make a really important decision whether to continue or to walk away from a transaction and I knew that “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach [me] all things” (John 14:26).
We should try to avoid making decisions while overly emotional, whether that emotion is frustration, sadness, discouragement or fear. Wait a while and talk to God. I examined my heart as I contemplated this decision and I realised that fear was a significant motivator for my inclination to give up. This pandemic has changed so much of our perspective on life but I knew that fear should not be the reason for such an important decision. I was reminded of the scripture in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I know without a shadow of a doubt that I cannot make a decision based on fear of lack or fear of failure. That is contrary to the Word of God and contrary to the Truth of His perfect unconditional love. So check your emotions, check what is driving your decision to stay or to go and see whether it aligns with God’s word.
To go on or to give up both require faith. Knowing when you’ve come to the end of something and therefore need to move on requires faith. Choosing to stay and choosing to do so with the right heart attitude, also requires faith. The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way (Psalm 37:23). God is interested in every aspect of our lives and in every decision, big or small, he wants to direct us. Don’t lean on your own wisdom and your own understanding, instead trust God with your decision, let him direct you (Proverbs 3:4-5) and He most certainly will.
At times like these my decision-making process tends to be a bit more protracted. I go to God in prayer, but I primarily consult the Word. I cannot tell you that there is a secret recipe, as it may be a combination of everything: prayer, the Word, advice from godly friends or moving in faith, even amid uncertainty. For the latter, it is always a comfort to know that “He preserves our lives and keeps our feet from slipping” (Psalm 66:9).
If you are not sure, whether it is time to leave something or someone behind or whether you should stay and continue to give it your all; talk to God, seek His wisdom and then trust that He will never allow you to fall. If He gives you a direct answer then great, but if He doesn’t, know that He is interested in every detail of our lives, regardless of the decision. He is supreme, omniscient and will always uphold you.
Even if it turns out that your decision was not the right one, He will make a way to get you right back to where you need to be, because all things do work together for the good of those who love the Lord, to those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). You are an important part of His plan and He will always bring you to the place He predestined for you.