By Crickett Keeth
Have you ever wanted to quit?
Several years ago, I climbed a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado with some friends. 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 wanted to stop.
After four hours of hard climbing, we reached a boulder field, and I was content to stay there. It wasn’t the summit, but it was good enough for me. My legs were cramping, my feet were bleeding, 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 doubted I would ever make it to the top. Yet 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.
Stay focused on the goal.
You’ve come too far to quit now.
Six hours after we began that climb, all of us made it to the summit of Mt. Shavino. It was a team effort. Without the strong helping the weak, several of us wouldn’t have made it. As I sat on the summit with my friends, gazing in awe at the beautiful mountains below, someone asked, “Was it worth it?” Yes! Every pain, every blister, every gasp for air.
But I almost gave up before getting there. I tried convincing myself:
This is good enough. I don’t need to go any further.
I’ve seen enough.
It’s not worth the pain and effort.
Thankfully, my friends wouldn’t let me quit. 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 taking the easy path and settling for less than His best. I don’t want to quit before getting to His destination for me even though the journey is hard and painful at times.
Last summer I was ready to quit the publishing journey. For ten years I had pursued finding a publisher for my Bible studies, but each opportunity ended with a no. Every year I’d attend a writers’ conference, hoping that would be the year to get a yes, but I faced rejection after rejection.
I didn’t want to go to another writers’ conference. Why face more rejections and go through the pain again? It’s not worth it.
I almost quit, but God wouldn’t let me. He used Carol Kent’s encouraging words, “Come back to Speak Up next year” to keep me going on this journey. I reluctantly went to this conference last summer, expecting the same results. But this time God gave me a yes! On June 4, Moody will release my Bible study on prayer, On Bended Knee: Praying Like Prophets, Warriors, and Kings. If I had quit pursuing what I believed God was calling me to, I would have missed this opportunity.
Maybe you’re thinking about quitting your journey to publish or speak, even though you believe God has called you to do this. 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 (NASB95): “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 keep going. The result is worth it.