During this journey, there have been so many times I’ve been tempted to quit. I can quit – I can quit anytime I want to. But I don’t because I do not believe that’s what God has for us.
I’ve shared before about how I’ve gone looking for women who understand, who have walked this journey, who are surviving intense struggles in their marriage. I’ve found a good number of women who have survived and who share out of the overflow of what they’ve learned. But I haven’t found many who are surviving – who are currently going through their own struggles. And that’s why I keep sharing.
Tonight, a tough reality – one that I’ve struggled with many times over the past 2 1/2 years:
You will want to quit.
I sometimes want to quit. I sometimes want to throw in the towel.
I was on Facebook the other day and this particular memory popped up. It was an article that shared the commencement address given to the class of 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin, by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven.
He shared 10 life lessons learned during his Navy SEAL training.
Can I be really honest here a minute?
Those general “keep on going” messages don’t work for me. Those “get up and try again tomorrow” messages just aren’t enough. Man, when I get stuck, when the enemy gets inside my head so much that I feel like I’m ready to quit, it takes a STRONG message to get me out. I’ve come back to this article multiple times
And that’s why I appreciated that article. Especially for items number 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10.
So, maybe you’re here because you’re ready to quit.
Let me share to you, and to myself, from the points that spoke to me out of that article.
Note: the numbers below match up to the points in the article, but I’m going to change the wording to fit from the perspective of marriage.
1. Find one thing that you can do each day and do it. Maybe it will be to make your bed, or to brush your hair. Perhaps you’ll choose to text a friend just to say, “Ok, I’m up.” Whatever you choose, do it. Do it today, tomorrow, and the next day. Keep doing it. It will be the one thing that you can do regularly and feel successful about. Eventually you’ll build on this one thing, but for today, choose just one thing that you will do daily.
Read Psalm 118:24
2. Share your story. You’ll need friends to help you make it through. I’m not suggesting you share your story with everyone – I know how impossible that is. But find a few friends. Take the risk and trust. Note: these friends do not have to be people you see regularly. The ones who pray the most for me, outside of family, do not even live in my state. Share when you need prayer, share specifics of how to pray. You’ll need this support.
Read Ecclesiastes 4:12
5. Life is going to feel unfair. It’s okay to feel that way. But then, dig deep. Use those moments that feel unfair to strengthen yourself. Choose to draw closer to God. And it’s okay if you need to have it out with God – believe me, He can take it. I’ve had times of yelling at God, explaining precisely how unfair the situation is. And then I go back to numbers 1 and 2, and figure out a way that I can use the situation to become stronger.
Read Isaiah 41:13
6. If you’re in, be all in. I’m not completely sure I fully understand the illustration used in the article – I’m not sure I can picture it correctly. But what I take from this point is that you’ve got to do things differently if you want a different outcome. So if you’re staying in your marriage even though you could get out, then sister, BE ALL IN.
Ready for this? No really – are you ready?
If you’re all in, take divorce off the table.
Let that sink in for a couple minutes. I struggle with that one. When I hurt, it’s so much easier to entertain thoughts of, “This isn’t my fault; I’ll throw out some hurtful words and remind him that I can leave if I want to.”
Can I just tell you – that only makes things worse in the long haul. Keep your mouth shut, even if you end up with scars on your tongue from biting it. Take divorce OFF the table and bite your tongue.
Read Genesis 2:24
8. Things will feel extremely dark at times. Sorry, that’s the honest truth – and it’s where I’ve been for the past week or two. Make use of your support system. Make sure you’ve done that one thing for the day (see point number one) – and that one thing is enough. Do not give up. This is where the enemy is really going to want to do some battle – he’s going to torment you. But you have the truth in your heart. Hold tight to that, no matter how dark things get. Hold Fast.
Read Hebrews 10:23
9. Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud. For this point, I’m borrowing the words right from the article. One of my favorite parts of History class was learning about the slaves – not because of the slavery, but because of their songs. Whether they sang to pass the time or to share information about how to escape is irrelevant to me. The point is that in despair, they chose to sing.
The same point is made about SEAL training: Mud flats, no sleep, hours in the cold wind, pressure to quit, just trying to survive…
Until one person decided to sing.
Friends, when one person decides to survive, do you know what happens? They shine the light for the next person. That second person will see that someone survived, and they’ll be strengthened to keep going.
10. Don’t ever ring the bell. Borrowing the words right from the article:
Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see.
All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims.
Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training.
Just ring the bell.
Friend, if you are here, if you’ve read through this whole post, if you’ve ever read any other posts…
If you are an email subscriber, if you have joined me on any form of social media…
If you’re searching for hope, believing that God still can redeem your marriage, your life…
THEN DON’T YOU DARE RING THAT BELL.
DO NOT THROW IN THE TOWEL.
I called my dad one time – I told him it was getting to be too hard; I didn’t know if I could keep going. He asked me one question that put it into perspective. He asked, “Is it too hard, or is it just really hard right now?” My answer was that it was just really hard right at that moment.
I’m willing to bet that it’s really hard for you right now, too. I hope that you have a plan for if it becomes too hard. But for right now, I’m guessing that it’s just really hard.
But I also know that you might need strong words to keep on going. Go read the article written by someone who survived Navy SEAL training. It doesn’t get any tougher than that, by worldly standards. And when we apply those kinds of tactics in our spiritual lives, the enemy knows he can’t win.
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And if you need just one more, watch this video. This is the kind of encouragement we need in our marriages, especially in the toughest, darkest times.
Friend, you keep on going.
And I will, too.