There comes a time when quitting is the only option that makes sense.
As one who advocates for winning and staying the course, it may seem odd that I am imploring you to be open to quitting. Truthfully, I would love to scream from the mountaintop for you to “Get up and keep going!” In most cases, this attitude of perseverance and determination is required. However, lately I realized that some of the greatest lessons come from your willingness to let go. Your greatest victory in this season may be your ability to move on from what is no longer fruitful. Recently, Netflix and Hulu released a documentary that highlighted the Fyre Festival and its demise. These documentaries follow the rise and fall of Billy MacFarland’s “luxury festival.” Working alongside top social media advertiser and organizers, Billy created a buzz around what was believed to be the music event of the year. Consumers spent thousands for the promises of a private jet, divine cuisines, villas, and the opportunity to party with top influencers. Instead, hundred of fans arrived to Fyre fest to be greeted with cheese sandwiches, soaking-wet hurricane tents, and no recording artists.
The festival was an epic fail. Even more so, all the signs were present that the festival would be unsuccessful months before. From a lack of funds, to poor timing, to money mismanagement, it was obvious that MacFarland’s event would be a bust. Yet, he continued to move forward with selfish ambition and greed propelling every step of the way. Anyone watching the films on the festival couldn’t help but cringe in frustration. It was clear, sometimes it’s more acceptable to give up than to continue barreling towards defeat. While watching the documentaries, the Lord began to speak to me the importance of recognizing when its time to move on from an idea. Giving up is not always a sign of defeat.
At times God may be sending numerous signs to move on, we just may be too stubborn, determined, or wrongly motivated to heed his voice. Here are five clues that it’s time for a change in your actions. 1.) Going forth requires you to be dishonest. If you have to lie, cheat, steal or do anything that goes against the word of God or even basic “good” it is likely that you may be better suited to step back from your desire. If you have to compromise your integrity to obtain the dream, you will have to compromise it to maintain it. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. Luke 16:10 2.) You don’t have peace. Restless nights, a sinking feeling and a constant worrying may be a sign that God wants you to no longer move forward. One saying that has helped me, “let peace be your guide.” Although the enemy will try to send irritation and doubt, there are times when the unsettling is the Holy Spirit warning you to stop! Prayer for wisdom can help you to discern what God is speaking. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people-Psalm 85:8a
3.) Your motivation is impure.
When things are going wrong with the plan, it’s important to pause and ask yourself “why.” Why are you determined complete the task? Is your hope to gain money or quick success? Is there a person you are silently competing against that you don’t want to see you fail? The motivation behind your actions could be what’s halting your progress. Ultimately, your desire should be to honor God and live out your life’s purpose while doing so. When we choose to make status, riches, pride, or comparison our driving forces, we are setting our own self up for failure Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
4.) Wise counsel suggests for you to stop. One interesting thing about Fyre Fest is that there were plenty of people warning Billy MacFarland to stop the event. Industry leaders and his own staff sent emails and interrupted meanings to let him know it simply couldn’t happen. However, he pushed on, disregarding the warnings. Seeking wise counsel is biblical and a safe guard. In an ideal world, when you are vulnerable enough to share your plans with those who are wise, you are at a great advantage. Their accountability and ability to see things from a non-biased and unemotional standpoint will help you to determine your next move.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22
5.) Other people will be negatively impacted by your choice to move forward.
If your plan causes other people physical or emotional harm it may be time to reconsider. When God is telling you to do something, it is unlikely that it will lead a trail of victims behind. Surely, there will be times when you may not have the full support of family and friends. However, this is very different from doing something that you causes harm. Perhaps your irritation over the plan has caused you to be explosive to your children or many people will lose money because of your plan. Whatever the case may be, it is important that we count the costs of everyone involved.
With these five clues in mind, you can be certain that you will find beauty in letting go. I have come to learn that not all thing are bad, they just may not be properly planned or necessary in the moment. There should be no harm or shame in stepping back, praying, and regrouping. When we do so, we remind ourselves that God is ultimately in charge and we want Him to take the lead.
We must trust Him every step of the way in our lives, even if it means a change of our plans.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
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