Ever love something, even something you might be real good at, but want to give up? Quit? Not “feel” it anymore?
That’s been the story of Piper, my 11-year old martial arts, junior black belt competitor, a few months into 2020 (and COVID), and this gifted young lady lost motivation to pursue her passion. Up to that point she had enjoyed the sport. She looked forward to her classes at the dojo. She engaged the competition with zeal and desired to keep growing. As the days and weeks went on, the struggle for her to show up, participate and keep going increased.
•Do we teach grit and push through the feelings?
•Do we let her give up and soothe her feelings without solving them?
•Do we allow her to take a break? Knowing full well returning to this sport may be harder later and at 11-years-old she doesn't fully know what she needs.
If these feel like questions you have asked your self even at 31 years old, SAME. Guiding my child through giving up was actually a good lesson on guiding myself. The answer became all of the above. How we arrived there are three things I'm sharing here with you today. I believe these will help you and the people you are guiding through giving up.
Journal the feelings:
Feelings are to be soothed not solved. That's fact. How we sit with them and hold them determines how we are able to move through them, so they actually empower good decisions instead of keeping us stuck in a process. We asked Piper to journal everything she was thinking and feeling. Finding language to actually communicate audibly to another human can be hard as an adult. But when given a pen and paper and some space, we often become more aware and can express what's going on in the depths of our heart. Come to find out Piper was not clear on a decision, but she was clear on what she felt.
"Right now, martial arts isn't fun. But I really don't want to quit something I have worked hard at. And I don't want to give up on something that could be good for me in the future." ~Piper
This awareness is half the battle. Understanding this enabled a next step. It also allowed Piper space to be seen and heard without jumping into some lecture on determination. It's important to give space for ourselves and others to "feel" and not be denied the privilege of being honest so we don't deny or suppress but move through to forward.
Seek help outside of yourself:
We set up a meeting with Piper's Sensei. We weren't looking to him to lecture her or even for an answer. But we wanted Piper to talk to someone outside of us. A third party perspective is always a good idea when it's trusted wise council. This person had been in her life for the past five years, knew her potential and had guided many young people before her. It also required a new level of vulnerability for our daughter. She expressed not wanting to talk to him, afraid she might cry. That brought another layer of great awareness as we cannot make decisions or shrink back from doing something for our growth because we are afraid. Vulnerability with ourselves and others is key to connection and growth at every age and stage of this life.
She didn't love everything he said. That's good. It challenged her beliefs. It caused her to think bigger and dig deeper to what she was allowing drive her decisions. Then he gave her options. Every wise counselor or good coach should do this. He laid it out on the line and invited her to take one next step. This allowed for what was next in her process. Lingering in "I don't know" was now moved to I choose to do this.
I think that's the big misconception about "I don't know" or even "waiting." Indecision is actually decision. I'm not saying you have absolute clarity on the bigger picture while you wait. But how you process, who you surround yourself with, and what you do in the waiting is actually driving you in a direction, whether you are aware of it or not. Thus, number three.
Don't give up in the valley:
After all was said and done, Piper didn't quit. She had a set back for sure. She took a step back. But she didn't quit. And here we are almost a year later and Piper has made a comeback. She placed third in all three categories she competed in this past weekend. But the medal wasn't even what I was proud of. It was that she showed up, she gave her best, she had fun and she actually cared AGAIN. She left the tournament so proud of herself. Proud that she gave it all. Proud that she cared. Proud that she placed. Proud that she came back.
How often I'm tempted to abandon something good just before it turns into great.
The Apostle Paul encourages us this way in Galatians 6:9,
"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up."
There's a prize waiting just ahead for you. There is a medal with your name on it. It's less about the gold, silver or bronze, but the pride that will rise up inside of you, the fun you will have and the dreams you will achieve. There's victory coming your way. And even though some days simply beg to be quit, don't do it. There's blessing around the bend that can only be yours if you refuse to give up.
I'd love to be part of your continued journey and pursuit of your dreams. If you are ready to overcome fear and develop the grit and determination to pursue you passions to fulfill God's purpose---The Significant Life Group is for you. It begins May 11 and you can register here today.