I wouldn’t tell just anyone what I’m about to tell you—and only because we’re like family. At least several times a week I want to quit. Seriously. The thought crosses my mind, and not when things are going great. It’s when I face a challenge: a tough writing assignment, a book deadline, an early morning interview, or a snarky message in my inbox.
The temptation to quit is a recurring theme. And if the voices in my head don’t give me enough trouble, the voices in the culture finish the job. “Quit already! There are so many others with fresher voices better able to reach the younger generation. You deserve a break! Take it easy on yourself, go and enjoy your life.”
This is nothing new. I’ve been dealing with the urge to quit for a long time. I can anticipate its arrival. And because of that, I’ve learned ways to deal with it before it drives me to the brink of resignation.
I talk back. Forcefully—with confidence and conviction. I ask myself: Why are you doing this? There are so many other jobs you could be doing that would require less work and less time!
My answer changes frequently. Some days I do this because it brings me a lot of joy and I get to be my own boss. Now and then, I conclude I’m doing this because even though I do work 50 to 60 hours a week, every week, I still enjoy tremendous freedom to choose how and where I put in those hours.
But most of the time, the response is quick, easy, and I’m back on track in no time. It’s because of you. And me. Without you and all of the people who make up this audience, there would be nothing to quit. You’re the reason. And I am the reason, too. I need this as much—if not more—as anyone! It’s my maintenance, my financial sobriety. The work I do every day keeps me on the wagon, out of debt and moving forward.
What I do here every day of my life is the hardest work I have ever done in my life. I can’t say that I’ve done a lot of other jobs, but I once was a process server, serving subpoenas in civil lawsuits to people who absolutely did not want to be served. At night in really bad neighborhoods.
I once had a roster of 52 piano students to whom I gave 30-minute private lessons each week—while at the same time I had two babies under the age of 3. I’ve been more than happily married for 50 years to the same guy, and yes that, too, is hard work.
But this daily gig? While challenging, the benefits are greater than anyone could ever imagine. You are what keeps me on my personal straight and narrow path—this journey to financial freedom. It is truly the best program any recovering overspending addict could hope to have.
Ever feel like you’re almost to the end of your rope and you just cannot hang on another minute? You’re not alone. Everyone goes through seasons of self-defeat, pain, and anguish.
It’s no wonder that we feel that way. What with the economy, the current state of unemployment and rising prices—to say nothing of global uncertainty and rumors of economic collapse in daily headlines—it really is enough to make you want to pull the covers up over your head and sleep until everything gets better.
Just so you know, that is not an option. Instead, here are three proactive steps you can take that will give you the courage to keep going:
1. Verbalize how you feel
I would caution against making this a public dissertation. Write it journal style where you can keep it private.. Tell God how you feel. Say that you are angry and bitter or that you’re afraid to face the day. However you choose, find a way to pour out your heart. It is cleansing to get it all out because that helps to release swirling negative thoughts. While your situation may not change, the way you feel about it will.
2. Accept help from others
You really do not have to go through this by yourself. Once you determine where you are stuck, seek out help. If you are struggling with credit card debt, for example, go to NFCC.org to find a certified credit counseling organization in your area. Make the call. Ask for help. If it’s a medical situation where you cannot afford the cost of meds, reach out for help. Simply asking for help is going to guide you to resources you may not know exists.
3. Choose joy
Even when you are at the end of your rope, you still possess something very valuable: Your attitude. You can choose your thoughts. You can default to pain, fear, and anguish or you can proactively choose joy. You can focus on all that you do not have and all the stuff that’s coming at you, of you can choose to rise above that and focus on what you do have—even if that is just the air that you breathe. Embrace it. Choose to think only about things that are lovely, true, and pure.
I do not personally know anyone who has a perfect life. On the contrary, we’re all on this journey and the road can get rocky from time to time. I’ve come to realize that what I’ve been through can either beat me down and make me bitter, or I can choose for my experiences to make the difference in someone else’s life.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for your loyalty, commitment, and diligence in living below your means and affirming the power of discovering new ways to save time and money every day!