The stoic tower stood high with it’s whispering tales of grander days. It beckoned me inside to imagine the past with a hopeful view of the present. “Let’s climb it. It will be fun,” I persuaded my husband. We ventured into the great belly of the historic lighthouse and began the ascent on it’s spiral staircase. Yes, it was a trill for the first few stories. However, on step 157 my breath was short, and my heart was pounding but the steps continued. The anticipated view was no longer enticing. I. Was. Done.
Have you ever thought a goal would be attainable but it turned out to be harder than you imagined? Have you ever wanted to quit?
As I stood on the steps within the center of the lighthouse, I had a decision to make. I could continue on or I could give up. I wanted to abandon ship. I even imagined myself straddling the spiraling handrail for an effortless ride to the bottom. However, I knew the better choice would be to finish the upward climb. I had to find the motivation to keep moving in the right direction. Isn’t life that way sometimes? The steps towards your goal might be more intense than you originally thought. You may be tempted to quit. Sometimes, the path to the end can be long and exhausting. Sometimes we need a little motivation to keep moving. Can I give you some encouraging truths that are helping me? Here are four principles to encourage you to keep moving towards the goal.
Rest, but don’t quit. Permit yourself to pause, but don’t abandon the life-goals God has placed in your heart. Often when tempted to quit, if I will hit the pause button to rest first, I become rejuvenated and ready to re-engage. When I became tired on the endless staircase of the lighthouse, I had to catch my breath. After a few moments, I was ready to continue toward the goal. Life can be the same way. Once rested, difficulties seem smaller. Whatever goal you are tempted to abandon today, learn to rest instead of quitting. “God’s mercies are new every morning, and great is his faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:23 (NIV) Rest when you need to, but don’t give up.
I heard a quote recently that reads, it is ok, to not be ok. Just like on the stairwell, I had to tell myself that it was ok for me not to be ok, there are moments in life, when the same is true. Understand that when we permit ourselves ‘to not be ok, we realize it is ok.’ We are all just a hot mess anyway. Honestly, it is ok, to not be ok.
Embrace progress and let go of perfection. When perfection is the goal, we fail. When progress is the goal, it is attainable. It was best for me to catch my breath when needed. It was fine (though it hurt my pride) to let a few people past me on the stairwell. I must remember to embrace progress and let go of perfection. When I let go of perfection, I give myself the freedom to embrace each step, no matter how small or slow. My new goal is progress, not perfection.
Take the next step. For me to keep climbing towards my goal, I had to intentionally think of taking one step at a time. I was able to take one step . . . and one more, again and again, until I reached the top. I accomplished the goal by taking it one step at a time. Life is similar. We need to take the next step and hit repeat. Sometimes the complete picture is overwhelming. However, if I focus on each step at a time, victory will be achieved. Philippians 3:13 “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. ” (NIV)
Be encouraged for “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
I continued the climb. I finally came to the last turn and took the final step! The accomplishment was sweet, and the reward was breathtaking! It was worth every, difficult step. Friend, whatever goal you are working towards today, keep climbing! If you are trying to potty train your toddler, don’t give up. If you are seeking a new job, don’t quit. Maybe you are praying for a lost family member, don’t quit praying. I believe you will reap the benefits if you continue to move forward.
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV)
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Florida