When Is It Time To Quit?

Today on Facebook, Dani Johnson asked the question, that if you hate your job, is it time to quit or stick it out? Why? I’ve been thinking about this all day.

Simple enough question, and I can give you a quick answer… but if you pause to consider your response, you’ll find it is a deeper question and requires a deeper response.

You can find the question on her Facebook page, which has received about 100 comments, by going to her Facebook page.

The easy answer is to immediately say “quit.” Life is too short. Follow your passion. Follow your heart. Follow your dream.

The deeper answer may still be that answer – to quit, but it is a complicated answer that begs you to answer, “It depends.”

It Depends On What?

It depends on quitting or sticking it out on several things:

1) When life is more than just you. If I was single, the answer would potentially be easier. I have a wife, 3 kids, a mortgage, a church, extended family, and other bills and responsibilities that I committed myself to support. Some days and some seasons, may feel like the Valley of the Shadow of Death. But, we don’t build houses in that valley. We travel through it on our way to green pastures and higher mountain tops.

2) When your job is more than you. If I quit, it affects the lives of others who are depending upon me to be there. This is usually the case when your job is not just you. It’s a bigger business. Also, you don’t want those under you to just quit because they had a bad day or week. Sometimes character is at stake here.

3) When God has a greater good. I have quit when I should have stayed, and stayed when I should have quit. I think we can all say that. One of my seminary professors once told our class that when you feel like quitting, go ahead and write your resignation letter. Then, stick it away in your desk. After a month, get it back out and see if it needs to be edited. Then stick it back in your desk. After another month, if you still feel like quitting, then find a trusted friend or mentor and share your letter with them. Pray with them for a month, and see where God leads.

Many times we’ll find that we find a greater good, a greater purpose, but we can only find this by sticking with it. Sometimes after a few months, the feeling of quitting gets pushed aside by a renewed focus and vision.

Ruts and Reality

Let me get more personal and reflect on the last 7 months. Three months ago I lost my mother. My wife lost her aunt. My good friend lost his 10-year old daughter to cancer.  My aunt passed away a month ago. My good friend died about 2 weeks ago from stroke complications. Today, I spent time in the hospital with my best friend who had a cardiac event of some kind. A stress test tomorrow may reveal a heart attack.

Yes, it sure makes you think and reflect. Whew… have I been reflecting!

The reality – we all get in ruts. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes life is just heavy on our shoulders.

I do not believe one bit that God has given us gifts and talents to waste away in meaningless work. I believe that where our gifts and talents meet the needs of the world, that is where God wants us.

I believe it is utterly and totally selfish to say, I want to follow my heart, dreams, or passion – when it is not a dream or passion that God has planted in your heart. Maybe, just maybe, we ought to take my professor’s advice and take a breath for a month or two, pray, seek God, pray with a friend, and follow Him.

I believe that God does grant the desires of our heart (Psalm 20:4; 37:4), but motive and intention are critical here.

So, the reality – yes life is too short to waste it in meaninglessness. I was reminded of that again today in the hospital, as I have been reminded all year long. Maybe it’s time I evaluate what my gifts are, what my talents are, and where those can meet the needs of those around me, I will discover where God wants me. And if I am where God wants me, then the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7).

And that is what my heart’s desire is.

So, do I quit or stick it out?

I know my answer.

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