Like many of us I like to believe I am not given to giving up easily but like most I have to learn that the quest for tenacity is not without caveat. For those who pride themselves on going the distance, of sticking in there and of never giving up there is a check against which ‘pause’ is an appropriate response. For without it your determination for success, if left unchecked could lead to frustration, disappointment or burnout.
I mean how many of us are fighting battles that are not ours, managing projects for which we are not gifted or setting goals that are outside our gift set. Admirable in many respects – dangerous in others. And for those of us keen to preach destiny and purpose we do well to frame our fervour in the context of both the gifts we possess and the season of life we are in, for without giving attention to both of these we can lead people to believe they can conquer the world without first conquering their own world. We do well to remember that we are each slaves to that which we have yet to master.
Not that we are after perfection but there is a place for sound reasoning in the management of life. And that is the point – sometimes you have to ask the question: Are you trying too hard?
Is it possible that we are creating stress for ourselves by dealing with things for which we are not gifted? Fighting for relationships that have long since died? Holding on for a breakthrough that is never going to, well, breakthrough. Time to move on my friend. Let’s not cast pearl before swine – life is too short and other opportunities too great. So why do we do this so often – hold on when we ought to let go. Fear. I think in its simplest observation – fear is the reason. Fear of failure, fear of others, fear of rejection – it’s all related to fear.
Now don’t misunderstand me I am not writing about the need to work hard, persevere – to never, never, never give up. What I am referring to here is when we become too stubborn to know when to call it a day. And that’s a hard call to make. When do you let a dream die, a project flounder, a relationship fall by the way side?
Well for those who have, are or will be facing such a dilemma here are a few of my thoughts to help with process.
- Life doesn’t work one way – any relationship, project or dream will reciprocate given time – if it doesn’t then move on.
- If you are doing all the giving, all the running, all the investing then something is wrong.
- If managing a project or person leaves you constantly stressed you are probably working outside your gift set. Take external advice from a trusted friend and give them permission to be honest with you.
- If sustainability can’t be achieved within an agreed time frame – chop it – its’ asking too much of you for what its returning. Something more worthy is waiting for your time and energy.
- If people gather to you for what they can get from you then you are wise to be cautious.
- If you are operating in your gift set, then handling negativity will be kept in perspective with all the positives you are working with. The positivity will draw you forward.
- Be flexible around change – that way you will bend rather than snap.
- Hurt people hurt people – get honest with the level of your own wholeness before attempting to lead others.
- Recognise that there will be an ease in the way you feel about your progress even when you are carrying heavy responsibility if you are operating in your groove.
- You will not always feel like you are running on empty. You should not always feel drained.
But never stop trying, living, giving – for in the very act of giving we are most like Christ, in serving we embody who he is.