by Crickett Keeth
Have you ever wanted to quit?
Several years ago, I climbed a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado with a group from my church. After only 45 minutes, I was ready to quit, but my climbing buddies wouldn’t let me. They kept spurring me on and wouldn’t listen to my reasons why I couldn’t keep going.
After four hours of hard climbing, we reached a boulder field, and I was content to stay there. In my mind, it wasn’t the summit, but it was good enough. My legs were cramping, my feet were bleeding from blisters, and I was gasping for air in the high altitude. I was satisfied to sit on the side of the mountain while my friends went on to the summit. But they wouldn’t let me quit.
I kept going but had serious doubts I would ever make it to the top. But, every time I wanted to quit, someone would come alongside me and give words of encouragement.
Just put one foot in front of the other.
One small step at a time.
Eat an apple.
Stay focused on the end result.
You’ve come too far to quit now.
Six hours after we began that climb, all of us arrived at our destination on the summit of Mt. Shavino. It was a team effort. Without the strong helping the weak, several of us wouldn’t have made it to the top.
As I sat on the summit with my friends, I was in awe as I gazed at the beautiful mountains below. Was it worth it? Yes! Every pain, every blister, every gasp for air.
But I almost gave up before the destination. I tried convincing myself:
This is good enough.
I’ve seen enough, I don’t have to go to the top.
It’s not worth the pain and effort.
It’s ok to play it safe and not take any risks.
Thankfully, my friends wouldn’t let me settle for less and sit on the side of the mountain while they experienced the full beauty of that mountaintop.
This situation reminds me of the Christian life. It gets tough, and I don’t want God to stretch me. I’m hurting, tired, and I don’t want to take any risks. It’s easier to stay where I am instead of pushing through the challenges and pain and pressing ahead to what God has in store for me.
I’m glad I didn’t settle for the side of the mountain instead of the magnificent view at the top. In the same way, I don’t want to miss all God has for me by settling for less than His best and the easy path. I don’t want to quit before I get to His destination for me.
This summer I was ready to quit. Over the past ten years, I’ve pursued finding a publisher for my Bible studies, but I always fell short. Every year I’d attend a writers’ conference, hoping this would be the year to get a yes. But, instead, I faced rejection after rejection.
I didn’t want to go to another writers’ conference. I’d just face more rejections, and it wasn’t worth the time, money, and effort. Why put myself through the pain again?
I almost quit, but God wouldn’t let me. And I’m so glad He kept pushing me forward. This year, I attended another conference, expecting the same results. But, this time God gave me a yes! I’ll be working with Moody to publish my Bible study on prayer. If I had quit pursuing what I believed God was calling me to, I would have missed the blessing.
Maybe you’re thinking about quitting something—a marriage, a job, a pursuit of something you feel called to do. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Keep going. Surround yourself with “climbing buddies” to encourage you along the way.
As Paul said in Philippians 3:14: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Let’s spur one another on to finish well. The end result is worth it.
Crickett Keeth is the Women’s Ministry Director at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she writes and teaches the women’s Bible studies. She is the author of several published Bible studies, including The Gift of Rest and Sumatra with the Seven Churches (co-authored with Sandra Glahn). Crickett was on staff with Cru for ten years and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching regularly at her own church, she also speaks at women’s conferences and retreats. She offers free resources for discipleship and encourages others in their own walk with God through her website at www.crickettkeeth.com. You can also connect with Crickett on Facebook and Twitter.