Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I'm A Quitter

Most people who know me know that I'm ordinary. I've never accomplished much. I never earned some huge achievement, gleaned much public recognition, been very many places, or been noteworthy. I'm merely average. I don't drive a distinctive car. I cruise in a mini van. I don't live in a gated community. I have a nice, average house. I was average at softball - too scared of failing to move up. I was mediocre at basketball, feeling proud of myself for getting to start 1 game and play the first quarter. That was an accomplishment for me.... in 6th grade. I was never in the "in" crowd. Not someone people would look at and say "Isn't she beautiful" or "I'd love to look like her." Not me. I'm average. Average when I ran track. Average when I played the trumpet in band. An average pianist. An average singer. What can I say? I'm average.

What you might not also know is that I'm a quitter. I quit softball because I didn't like the coach telling me how to hold the bat and I didn't like sitting on the bench, although I liked it better than the idea of being on the field in front of people. I quit basketball because it wasn't my cup of tea, although I could play for hours outside my house just shooting hoops. I quit piano lessons even though it's my favorite thing to do because I wanted to play the trumpet - that is, until I didn't want to play it anymore. And then I quit it too.

I ran track when I was a sophomore in high school. It was good for me. I was out of shape and undisciplined (much like now, to my dismay). I lost 33 lbs the first year - not sure if it was from all the running or because I was such a nervous wreck before each track meet that I literally threw up at every single one of them. After that, I wanted to quit it too. But my dad, being much wiser, began to see a pattern in me. That I'm a quitter. I quit everything up until then and this was final: I wasn't allowed to quit track. So I ran my junior year and earned the most improved award. Whoo hoo. Now that's an accomplishment, right? Hardly, but it did spark a little flame in my heart that said, hanging in there pays off. I still have that plaque, as insignificant as it really is, yet in some weird, round-about way, it's not as insignificant as I think.

Shortly after that, I started piano lessons again to brush up for my brother's wedding. Between that and the leftover nerve pills from track, I made it. And I fulfilled my promise to my dad to one day take piano lessons again. Then I did 4 more weddings all by myself, and amazingly, I made it through those too! And without nerve pills!

I wish I could say that ended my quitting streak. But it didn't. Once I got in college, I found myself facing the same thing. Faced with full classes, registering was near impossible. Upon being advised to just take random classes, I found myself quitting again. Not on college, just on that college. I transferred to another local, private Christian college, where I got my first taste of Christian counseling. It was here that I discovered that Christian counseling was what I really wanted to do. I was only there a semester until I transferred colleges again - this time because I was married and following my husband.

I spent the next 3 years getting a secular counseling degree. Then decided to quit again. I hadn't made any real connections with people and I just didn't like college. Who cared about grad school? I certainly didn't.... But that wasn't true. I wanted another degree. Shoot, I needed another degree if I ever wanted to have a job. And after being told it was likely we'd never have children on our own, I decided that immersing myself in a career was my best bet. So, off to grad school I went.

And before I could even really get started, I already started trying to quit. When asked what area of counseling I wanted to go into, I chose Psych Testing. Not because I had any interest in sitting around all day giving IQ tests and the like, but rather because I was too afraid of sitting in front of someone who would look to me for help. I didn't want any part in that. But God had His hand in it and He spoke so clearly to me one day that I couldn't ignore Him. I couldn't quit on myself, because He never quits on me. The next week, I went and changed my major to Mental Health Counseling.

When pitted face to face with unprofessing professors, it was then that I found that soft, echoing voice that renewed in me a desire for Christian counseling. But it wasn't possible, at least that's what they told me. No one wanted what I wanted to offer. But I persevered and made it... and better yet, made friends and connections that I still have.

After graduating with my 2nd degree, a friend of mine told me about a Biblical counseling class being offered at his church. I signed up and drove over 2 hours once a week, for 3 months. This class forever changed how I view counseling. I had spent 7 years learning how to lead people away from Jesus, instead of to Him. And in 3 months time, I knew I could never be content doing secular counseling. It was shortly after that that I was offered the counseling job at our church and I absolutely couldn't have asked for anything better. It's amazing how God can use a quitter for His glory. And that's just what He's done.

Now here I am a wife and mother of two toddlers. And if I'm honest, there are days I just want to quit. Days that there are so many things I want to fix about myself that I just throw the towel in and say "Forget it. It's no use." Days that I'm tired of changing diapers and wiping noses, doing the laundry and the dishes. Days that I think if I have to break up one more argument or repeat myself for the 86th time that it'll do me in. Days that I'm tired of hoping only to be let down - hoping for restoration for my parents (which God has marvelously done), for myself, for the people that I work with. Yet God whispers "You're merely the planter. I'm the harvester". Days that I don't want to work on my marriage, work on myself, work with my kids. I just want to quit. Quitting easy. It's easier than looking ahead, running the race, and daily picking up my cross. It's just easier to quit. But I don't.

I persevere. I persevere in part because my dad loved me enough to teach me what hanging in there means. I persevere because I made a commitment. And I persevere because God made me a promise. Imagine that! He said "And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Gal 6:9). In due season I will reap. Me. IF, I don't faint.

So on days that I feel like quitting and packing it all up, I remind myself of this verse. Because holding on to His promises is the only way for me, a quitter, to stop quitting.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this one Phebbs. I am so proud of the person you have become.

    Lova ya,
    Amanda Bishop