At times, the temptation to quit was buried deep inside. Nevertheless, it was there.
Maybe you’ve been tempted to quit as a church leader. Perhaps you’ve been tempted to quit “full-time” ministry. Or, perhaps the temptation to quit has become even more intense. You feel discouraged in your role as husband/wife or dad/mom. Maybe you’ve been tempted to quit any sense of church life.
The following are times when the temptation to quit can become particularly intense. At such times, you may find yourself very vulnerable to the idea of quitting:
Intense periods of financial stress. You wonder how your finances will work out. You think about this night and day. You are struggling to just get by. At times you may feel as if you are way over your head financially.
Temptations related to money, sex, or power. Temptation within can be subtle and at other times, very intense. Sometimes there seem to be seasons of temptation in which you may wonder if you are losing your mind or even your faith. In fact, you may wonder, “How can I really be a godly person and yet struggle with temptation this intense?”
Deep concerns and even disappointment with family. It is 2 a.m. on a Saturday. You can’t sleep. Your teenage daughter is staying overnight at a friend’s house. You wonder what is going on. After all, you are very uneasy about the guy she is dating. Meanwhile, your oldest child, your son, is away at college. Lately, you have been disappointed with a few decisions he has made. You are very concerned about his relationship with God. Raising your children has been much more difficult than you anticipated.
Feelings of loneliness and isolation. Many, many church leaders feel alone. Many ministers feel isolated. When men and women feel isolated and alone, temptation can be intense. With little (or no) accountability and few (if any) real friends nearby, temptation can feel like a promise of relief instead of the door to even more problems.
Times of intense criticism. Sometimes church leaders go through periods of intense criticism. Yes, this comes with the territory. However, this can be particularly hurtful when it involves the betrayal of friends or attacks on one’s family.
What should you do when tempted to quit?
1. Talk with a godly person, who is not a part of your family or church system, whom you trust. Be honest about what is going on in your life. I have done this on a number of occasions and found these conversations and the perspective gained to be very helpful.
2. Attempt to identify what is going on in your life that may be contributing to this. The temptation to quit may actually be symptomatic of something deeper.
3. Pray. Know that God’s presence within you, his Holy Spirit, is more powerful than any struggle you may be dealing with. I have found that God will provide strength to get through tough times.
What have you found helpful when you were tempted to quit?