Quit the idea that quitting is bad and give yourself time and space and grace to learn how to quit, what to quit and when to quit. Free yourself from the kind of faith that white knuckles onto the way things have always been done, from having the supposed right image and reputation. The kind of faith that justifies collateral damage with sayings of sacrifice and how the end justifies the means; the kind of faith that asks you to be something that you’re not in order to belong.
Quitting is just as much a spiritual practice as holding on is. Sometimes faith will ask you to quit something just like sometimes it will ask you to hold on to something. Wisdom is found in the space between both, in the tension of the two, in learning how to lean in and listen and test the signs to figure out which way to go. There’s an old saying: “When you’re tired, learn to rest and not quit.”
Unfortunately, this quote has turned into a manipulative tool most often used in the mouth of people of power that suggests you don’t know how to rest and that quitting is always wrong. And in my experience of its use, it is aimed at getting people to complete a task, a job, join a movement, donate money and time, which is fine and good and true, as long as it doesn’t require people to lose their soul in their process.
And in my experience, a task or job or movement or a donation of money and time that needs to manipulate you to do it, isn’t a place you can trust with your soul. Deconstruct this phrase and build it into something new. You are allowed to. You have the brain and the heart and the capacity to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t work for you and how to hold the tension of the space between the two.
When you’re tired, feeling over or even under whelmed, afraid that you’re close to burning out; when things aren’t working and you’re not making the headway you thought you would; when you get that little nudge in your stomach, in your chest, in your brain that things should and could be different; when life gets monotonous and you feel like you’re going round and round the mountain, and not actually going anywhere, lean in and listen.
Ask yourself if what you’re doing and the outcomes of that are aligned with your values. Evaluate, analyse, move, grow, become. If that means quitting, then quit, my friend. Quit good and hard and beautiful and true. Quit like you mean itand quit like your life and the world depends on it. Sometimes there’s not a holier thing you can do than let the dead leaves drop, leave behind the old and tired and too small ways, quitting the things that harm you so that you can be true.
Bell Hooks said: “All too often people believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget. In actuality, when we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm’s way.”
May you, dear one, have the courage to put yourself out of harm’s way, because yes, it takes courage to remove yourself from people and places that rely on you in a co-dependant, unhealthy way.May you have the grace to quit things and people that harm you so that you can be ‘you’, so that you can be true, so you can be healed. And may you walk free with your head held high, in grace and wonder, at the wild holiness of who God created you to be in the world that holds you.
Words of health and healing from Liz Melani, The Practice Co- This weekly series is called Learning To Quit. Mindful Prompt: Quitting is just as much a spiritual practice as holding on is and sometimes faith will ask you to quit something just like sometimes it will ask you to hold you onto something.