This photo represents a whole lot of determination. Abigail had been itching to get her hands on Christmas decorations for weeks, and as the final ornaments were strategically placed, she jumped up and down shouting, “Can I put the star on top? Can I put the star on top?” As she looked up at David standing on a chair, ready to suspend her up in the air, she started to backtrack. “Daddy, you should just do it. I don’t think I really want to.”
But of course she DID want to. There was a decision to make: quit fear or hold on to it. Go for the top or stay firmly planted on the floor.
She quit fear.
Then she stretched for the top of that tree with all of the might and courage she should muster, and then she kept reaching, and kept reaching.
Several weeks ago, my friend Bob Goff posted a quote on Instagram that said, “It’s Thursday. Quit being who you were.” Bob has a habit of quitting things on Thursdays. Most of the time it’s small things, like biting his nails. Sometimes it’s big things, like a multi-decade career. The idea is simple: 1) Get rid of anything that doesn’t need to be in your life, and 2) Focus on who Christ is turning you into.
Here’s my most recent list of quits:
- Distraction when I’m talking to people I love.
- Phone obsession.
- Procrastination on taking care of my health and my body.
If only these were one-time-quits - as simple as deciding once instead of what feels like a million times (everyday). My old habits die hard, as in ridiculously slow painful deaths. One minute I’m 100% on board, and the next, I’ve fallen right back into step with what I quit. I suspect you might be with me on this, and in case you are concerned, we are in good company: Paul felt the same.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Bob’s Instagram post could have come from Paul. He spent a lot of time pleading with folks to quit being who they were, because when we meet Christ, He changes everything - our thinking, our doing, our being. But sometimes it’s easier to give in to who we were. Paul was well aquatinted with the struggle, thus his confession of not having all of this down, but he understood something important: keep forgetting what’s behind and keep pressing forward. Neither are one-and-done.
Since childhood, Paul was trained to find his value and righteousness in adherence to the law, in influence, and in prestige, so embracing grace and unmerited salvation from Christ required a major paradigm shift. I’m sure the temptation to be enough, do enough, and say enough crept in from time-to-time. I’m sure guilt chased him down more than once, after all, before Christ, Paul proudly persecuted and facilitated the death of Christians. He called himself the “chief of sinners” out of true humility because he saw his former life for what it really was. He was confident if God could make him new, He could make anyone new.
Paul had a lot to forget, to let go of, to leave behind, to quit, and so do we.
Abigail quit fear (at least long enough to hang a star). I keep quitting my habit of reaching for my phone every time I'm still. Let’s find the next handful of ways to quit being who we were so we can keep becoming the person Christ is turning us into.
Join the conversation by commenting below: What do you need to quit?