I want to quit.
Sure, Daddy didn’t raise no quitter, but this has been a long time coming. I don’t just want to quit. I need to quit. But instead I’ve stayed the course.
And the thing is, I’m not getting where I want to go. It’s so easy to accept the normal and to keep doing what you’ve always done. Because it’s comfortable. Familiar. Easy.
I want to quit. And maybe you do, too.
So maybe there is strength to be found in confession. And maybe by throwing it out there into the crowded void of the interwebs there is relief and resolve to be had. So here’s it is, the roster of my desired capitulation:
I want to quit…defining success by arbitrary numbers or levels.
The number on the scale. The number on my paycheck. The “next level” of academic or professional success. They don’t tell the whole story. It’s like looking through a keyhole and thinking you’ve got the panorama. They’re numbers; they’re not me. These numbers are so incomplete. And besides, there’s always another level or someone with a better number. So even when I do reach these goals, it’s never what I expected. Numbers are never fulfilling, always feel hollow. There’s got to be more.
I want to quit…being a victim.
Too often I act like I don’t have a choice. Like my actions or attitudes are dictated by the circumstances I find myself in. Like others’ actions dictate my own. The truth I know is that there’s always a choice. I control the way I respond. In fact, that’s the only thing I can control because everything else is an illusion. I’m tired of acting as if others have power over me. As if my ability to be love and grace and peace and patience is found anywhere but inside myself. I am not a victim; I am powerful.
I want to quit…saying “yes” all the time.
You read that right. I want to say “yes” way more often. But saying “yes” often feels so right. But too many times I say it for the wrong reasons. Because I want to fulfill others’ expectations. Because I so badly want others to think well of me. Because I desire to fit into their boxes. Sometimes “no” is the right answer. Sometimes it’s the healthiest thing to say.
I want to quit…waiting for the reward.
I don’t want to only feel good about myself when others acknowledge my work. I want to feel good about my own efforts regardless of the reaction of anyone else. Because I’m the one who has to live with it. Everyone else moves on quickly. Even their complements are swiftly forgotten. I’m the one obsesses and pores over each criticism and pat on the back. I want to receive feedback without giving it undo authority. I want the work to be its own reward.
I want to quit…avoiding things because I’m afraid.
“Failure” isn’t usually failure. A missed mark is not time wasted. But I live in fear of not succeeding. Why do I do that? Everyone who has a great story has failure as part of their journey. I’m not sure why I think it won’t be the same for me. So I want to step up to the plate without fear of striking out. Because the worst thing I can do is not try. In fact, maybe I could benefit from falling on my face every now and then. Humility doesn’t come naturally — it’s learned. And a misstep is not always a step backward. I want to live with bravery and not fear. I want to keep going.
I want to stop pursuing “success.” I want to be good at my craft.
And that means quitting some things so I can pick up something much better.
I pray you do the same.