Why It’s Ok to Quit


I take responsibility seriously. Probably too seriously. I can’t stand (Yes, read judgment here. I told you I don’t hide my sin.) when people say they’ll do something and then don’t follow through.

However, my commitment to responsibility has lead me down some roads I shouldn’t have traveled. Ok. That’s probably not true either. Guilt did it.

I have been filling positions out of guilt, not out of God’s calling, but because I feel “responsible” I am committed to doing them “right” until a replacement can be found. 

Do you see the fallacy in this thinking?

Somebody has to get the job done, I’m here, and I have at least the basic skill set needed. Fine. I’ll do it.

My husband says no one ever has to ask me to do something because I just volunteer. And then I volunteer everyone around me. 

I do this everywhere. Work, volunteer organizations, church, random places I happen to be.

Hello, my name is Carrie, and I’m addicted to volunteering for jobs that need filled regardless of God’s calling on my life.

You have no idea how much that hurt me to type it out. And no idea how many times I deleted it and retyped it.

Do you know that when you take an addiction for volunteering and add it to an overactive sense of responsibility what you get is trapped in endless situations that you NEVER should have entered to start with?

My last several posts have been about sabbatical. The hardest part of this sabbatical has been walking away from the responsibility and commitments that I had made.

Remember, I can’t stand it when people flake on commitment. If you signed on for a year, then by golly, you do it. Three years? Suck it up, sister, and plow on through.

As a result, I’ve really been beating myself up over this aspect of sabbatical. 

Did you read that there?

I’VE.

No one else has.

No one has put me down (at least that I know about), called me and insisted I fulfill my roles, quoted scripture insisting that I stay strong in the ministry, or shunned me publicly for leaving them in a bad spot. God has not convicted me in any way, shape, or form to pick up anything I laid down. My family has noticed positive changes.

So why have I struggled?

It’s not because I want it all back. It’s because I’ve judged others for doing the same thing. It’s because I feel guilty for other people having to pick up the pieces and go on. 

It’s because I didn’t think quitting was a Godly thing to do. 

You can’t just change your mind? Can you?

If you’ve ever done a read through the Bible in a year plan, you know where it starts. Genesis. Chris and I are attempting this together this year, and my morning reading has been speaking to me.

Sometimes quitting is a Godly thing to do.

Sometimes you have to start over.

I found myself reading Genesis 6 this week. I got to verse 3 and I had to reread it several times.

Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.” Genesis 6:3 NLT

I’m not going to lie. I kept reading this thinking, “God, you created these people with a plan, and then because of the choices you made changed your mind?!?! You can’t quit! You’re God!”

And then I read on to Noah and got to verse 13.

So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!” Genesis 6:12 NLT

And again, I was a bit frustrated. “For real?!?! You’re just going to quit! Up and change your mind about the ones made in Your image and wipe them out to start over? You aren’t allowed to change your mind! You made a decision now stick to it!”

And then it happened. 

If God Himself can start over, can seemingly change His mind, why can’t you? 

Why can’t you?

Do you need to change your mind about something? Let go of something? Walk away from something?

Why can’t you?

Change, my dear friends, may be hard, and at times, like in the Old Testament, may be harsh, but sometimes it is necessary.

photo credit: Auntie P via photopin cc

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31 responses to this post.

  1. I've been sharing with people for years that it is sometimes OK to quit. We tend to get it in our heads that quitting is bad. Not always. And sometimes it is the BEST thing we can do for ourselves and others around us.

    Reply

  2. Nicole,

    That is a great thing to share with people! We are always quoting things like “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” but we never stop to evaluate what it is that winners say NO to in order not to quit the things they succeed at!

    Quitting can be the best thing possible for many of us!

    Thank you so much for dropping by! I love to chat and welcome conversation any time!

    Reply

  3. Change happens. Yep. Sometimes you get to start over or at least activate a little pause. Good for you, Carrie. Sharing your story is also away of having that positive impact in the world.

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  4. Dawn,

    Thank you for joining the conversation! Change is a good thing. I'm actually, usually, a huge fan of change. But this season of my life has been about cutting off appendages. Ok, maybe not that drastic, but equally life-altering.

    I'm of the opinion that if I'm going through something, there is probably someone else in the same place, headed to the same place, or who has already fought the same battle. We're in this together. We should help each other along!

    Reply

  5. Sabbatical. The word itself gives me a slight discomfort. And you know perhaps walking it through might be tougher. But I know a lot of friends who have done it and they are happy about it. They initially felt left out but now the sheer space they have found makes them very happy.

    You know thank you for writing this down, more for yourself though 🙂

    Richa

    Reply

  6. Richa,

    I think I first typed the word “sabbatical” in my December 2012 post called Chasing My Tail. At that point I discussed how uncomfortable that idea made me, and I was talking about something entirely different than what I stepped into this past fall.

    I have no idea how long this will last or where it is leading, but I am finding freedom that I've never known before. And the lessons? I think I needed some quiet to be able to hear.

    Thank you for stopping in to chat! I love to talk and welcome you any time!

    Reply

  7. I can relate to all of this. I too have been prone to over commitment in the past. You just do everything because you don't see anyone else available to do it. It also has to do with being a control freak. I mean, let's be honest, who could do it better? I am a firm believer that if you are going to do it, you better do it right – or – just get out of the way and I will.

    It took me a while to learn how to say “No.” I knew it was in my best interest and in the best interest of others. Plus, I realized that heaping it on was ruining what I wanted to do with my life. What I felt God wanted me to do with my life.

    I think if you commit to something – you do it. You don't quit.

    However…I think it is something entirely different to look up and realize that you have made a mistake. Admitting a mistake and changing course is different than quitting in my book.

    Does this make sense to anyone?

    Reply

  8. Ahhh! I love your rooster! Totally off topic! 😀 That's me!

    Third paragraph. Two sentences. Yep. That's always been my philosophy. I hold myself to it, and everyone else.

    Until now.

    That commitment? That sense of responsibility? It's been holding me back. It's become my idol. My sin.

    Absolutely makes sense! I am so glad you choose to stop in and join the conversation! Did you land here from UBC, BlogHer, or a G+ group? Please stop in to chat again!!!!!!

    Reply

  9. First – I love the song you put at the end. “Help Me Find It” has been the song I've turned to for the last year whenever I feel like I've lost the path I'm supposed to be on. It's kind of my personal reminder to pray… and, I sometimes use it as that prayer.

    Second – thank you so much for this post. You just put the pieces together on something that has been bothering me for over a year – something that has caused me to resent the actions of a good friend (and, at times, resent him). God bless you for writing and sharing this!

    Reply

  10. It is definitely okay to quit sometimes. You gotta take care of yourself!

    Reply

  11. Amen! One of the most important things I have learned this year is that it is ok to quit sometimes.

    Reply

  12. Brandi,

    Love Sidewalk Prophets, and LOVE this song!!! It might be getting shared on my blog frequently. 🙂

    I am so glad you were blessed by the words I felt impressed to share today. Sometimes I feel like I share too much of my personal life/devotional life on my blog, but comments like yours are exactly why I do it. If I'm going through it then someone else is, will be, or has been, and together we can do so much more!

    While I don't know your particular situation, I do know mine. Can I encourage you to reach out to your friend? Apologize if necessary, but perhaps just ask why they have/are doing the things they are doing. Sometimes we make drastic changes and it seems like no one at all notices. That can send the message that what we were doing wasn't needed/important and that no one cares or that everyone has jumped to the WRONG conclusion about what we have chose to do.

    I could be totally off base here, but I'm going to err on the side of a restored relationship!

    Please stop by and chat again!!! I love the company!

    Reply

  13. Sonya~How right you are! Sometimes we get so busy doing we forget to be a human being! If we let ourselves go, then there isn't someone to do for others!

    Please stop by and chat again!

    Reply

  14. Thanks for dropping in, Laura! This is a lesson that God has been trying to get through to me for several years. I think I'm finally starting to get the message. Sometimes I can be a little hard-headed. 😉

    I love to chat, so please stop by again!!!

    Reply

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    Reply

  16. BlogHer…and I will. Nice to meet you.

    Reply

  17. I think quit is negative; quit, drop out, give up. desert. Stop seems more positive; stop, pause, control, conclusion. Sometimes I stop doing something to make room for something better…I don't quit. Think positive!

    Reply

  18. Very nice to meet you! I believe I linked to your blog earlier today. I can't remember if I left a comment or not. I've been trying to read an comment a lot before school starts again and I feel like a slacker.

    Reply

  19. Thanks for dropping in, Patricia! Quit probably is negative. I'm a bit of a realist. I tell things like they are, which quite frequently gets me in trouble! 😉

    I gladly welcome positive thinking and reminders that I should do a little more of it! Please stop by to chat any time!!!

    Reply

  20. I also have issues with stubbornness and never wanting to quit even when a situation is harming me and people around me. When hubby and I decided to sell everything and move to the Caribbean, I was scared. But it was the best decision we ever made and we are where we are today because of it.

    Reply

  21. Great post, Carrie Ann! I especially love the image. I could really relate to the over-responsibility tendencies – I tend to take on my responsibilities and everyone else's too. I did have to quit a blog recently that was going nowhere so that I could allow myself to start again…I have learned that failure isn't fatal.

    Reply

  22. Thanks for this wisdom! God will be glorified regardless of the choices we make, but when He gives you a calling, He does it for a reason. I hope (pray) that I am able to hear and follow His calling no matter what -I- feel like I should be doing.

    Reply

  23. Carrie,

    Personally, I get more out of blog posts when they are personal. Those which are specifically educational (and read like a text book)… I usually stop reading. It's the same with writing – I write from a personal place. If I try to do otherwise, it just doesn't work. I bore myself 🙂

    As for my situation, the friend is a pastor who got a call in another state. For the past year, I've felt he just quit my church… he'd been making some good changes in bringing the people together and making it a warm, welcoming place… and then he left. Dropped his responsibilities. We're still close… but I'd been mad at him still about this. After reading your post, I emailed him and apologized. Your post made me realize that he was following God. God told him to quit… that he was needed elsewhere.

    Reply

  24. Sounds like the old saying “too much Martha and not enough Mary.” I have a tendency to be the same way — at home, at work and at church. Sometimes, we need to give ourselves a breather and just sit back and spend time basking in the presence of our Savior.

    Reply

  25. Awesome step in faith! I have found that making gestures of forgiveness, especially when the receiver may not know it's needed, brings great freedom to my spirit. Restores my fellowship with God. And helps me understand others better.

    Enjoy your Sunday! Looks like no church for us due to snow. 😦

    Reply

  26. Dorothy, thank you for dropping in to chat! You are so right. Prayer, listening, and following is a very scriptural way to live our lives in His will!

    Please come back to chat any time!!!!

    Reply

  27. Jacob, Yes, I too suffer from that tendenancy. In the past I have supposedly taken a breather or two, but in hindsight? No, I'm just not much of a do nothing kinda girl.

    God finally used a situation to stop me. To make me question. And I decided to take a step back and re-evaluate. Hardest. Thing.

    Seeing I should have done it a long time ago, though.

    Please come back to chat any time!

    Reply

  28. How can I say this…been there, done that, got the T-shirt…addicted to volunteering and then insisting everyone around me should do it to? OH DO I RELATE TO THIS! Until the past few years. I've learned to back out. I have learned to enjoy the peace and let God tell me when to get involved.
    Thank you for the confirmation it is okay to be at peace and be okay with where God places you.

    Reply

  29. Thanks for dropping in, Lynda! The Caribbean! With snow day #2 (3 if you count Sunday) coming up for me tomorrow, I'm craving some sand and sun!!! I've often said I'd like to just pick up and move. Far. My husband not so much. I imagine it would be much harder than I anticipate, and not quite as bad as he imagines!

    Reply

  30. Valerie,

    I'm so glad someone noticed my image! Thank you for mentioning it. I thought it was perfect!

    So is “failure isn't fatal”. Sometimes we have to go through a season of pruning so that the growth that is left can grow stronger and healthier. It may seem painful in the season, but in the spring it blooms forth in beauty!

    Thank you for joining the conversation! Please stop in to chat again!

    Reply

  31. Margaret,

    Oh, that darn t-shirt collection! I have one for almost everything I volunteer for. Quite the collection I've amassed! 😉

    I'm glad you found confirmation from God that being at rest is just as important as being at work. God ordained rest when He created the world and yet some of us seem to think that being idle (ever) is a sin. I'm talking about myself there. There is a time, and it should be there on a regular basis, to sit and learn while at rest.

    Reply

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