Growing up, my dad had a strict “no quitting” rule. It didn’t matter how bad of an experience I was having with a sport, a team, or a hobby – quitting was not an option. If I signed up for it, I was expected to follow through with it.
It was okay to fail. It was okay to mess up. It was okay to make mistakes. But it was never okay to quit.
As I grew older, I began to understand that my dad was trying to teach me the importance of commitment and perseverance, but what I didn’t realize was just how much it would teach me about succeeding.
See, I always measured success by the level of my performance. If I thought I did good, it was a win. If I thought I did bad, it was a failure.
But performance isn’t always the best way to determine success or failure. In life, your performance is going to be all over the place. In fact, most of the time your performance is going to be all over the place. That’s the nature of it.
I think that’s why we’re given such strong instructions in Hebrews 12:1 to live with perseverance.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1
Somedays you won’t be the best spouse. Somedays you won’t be the best parent. Somedays you won’t be the best Christian. But every day, you are a child of God. Regardless of performance, regardless of your problems, God can still use you – so you must press on. You must finish the race.
The problem is that many of us allow the pain of our past to dictate our future. We allow the mistakes and mess ups in our life to become our, “The End.” We let one failure become the bookend of our life.’
There’s nothing you’ve done in the past and nothing you’re doing currently that’s considered too far from the grace of God. (Romans 5:20) There’s no expiration date and no limit. It works just as completely for the first time you’ve messed up as the 1000th. It’s that scandalous.
If I quit after a few times of failing as a husband, my wife would’ve lost her husband a long time ago. If I had quit after a few times of failing as a dad, my son would’ve lost his dad a long time. And if I had quit as a Christian after the first few times of failing, God would be pursuing me now – rather than using me.
The truth is, we are all going to fail in life. Failure is our common denominator. But when you choose to finish, despite failure… that’s when you succeed.