This month I am meditating on the idea of godly quitting, a theology of non-endurance. I want to embrace the word “stop” or “quit” so that I live my life more intentionally only saying “yes” to that which is wise, godly and good. Why such a push for non-endurance? I believe quitting teaches us in ways endurance can not.
I find I often don’t do what I want to do, however. I say I want to “quit” the patterns that beset me which hinder my god-ward life, and yet – I keep on doing what I have always done.
I think the Apostle Paul understands my problem. He said in Romans 7:15, I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do. I do understand that Paul is pontificating about the nature of sin that is innate in all of us; we have a bent toward making sinful choices. However, I believe this principle goes beyond sinful choices to mistakes we make which, if we aren’t careful, can lead to sin or at least, potential disaster.
My Great Aunt Vi had something to say about this. Aunty Vi died in her 90s, and as I spent time with her in her later years, she often reminded me that God numbers the moments of our lives. “Don’t waste them!” she said. “You steal from God when you take a moment He has given you and you live it unwisely.” I was a young Mom at the time; she challenged me to look at the why behind my choices. She was a godly woman who when I said, “I should do this or that”; she would say, “And…why should you?” For this question alone, Thank You, Aunty Vi!
I want to live an Aunty Vi life. I don’t want to say “yes” because of a “should” that is more self-serving than God-glorifying. If my “should” is out of a false sense of projected guilt, a fear of potential conflict, or the belief I can’t handle the fall-out of whatever my “no” may mean, then my “yes” must be examined, for none of these are good and godly reasons to say “yes”.
It comes down to this – “Should I or Should I Not?” that is the question! I am going to make a commitment to myself that the next time I hear myself say “should”, I will slow down and ask myself, “Really? Should I? Maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t?”
Confession time – I have tried to end this post creating a list of tips of how we can wisely discern our “should nots”. And do you know what I have come up with? Nada! And do you know why? Because discerning our “should nots” is not a list. It’s going to take the self-discipline of self-examination, consideration of any biblical or theological implications, and thinking through the possible consequences to myself and others. We “should” be prayerful in all these things as scripture dictates and of course, call a friend who can give us perspective, and hopefully chocolate, as we figure this out.
Discovering my “should nots” is going to take intentionality on my part – but I think you’ll agree, I should not give up on my “should nots”.
Blessings to you, dear reader. May you find and relish your “should nots”. Elizabeth