A woman standing in front of a computer

How I Curb the Urge to Quit

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.

woman in despair with head on desk in office setting

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.

Self talk

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!



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  1. Sunny O'Neil says:

    I second what everyone else is saying. Thank you for reminding me that the most important job we do is helping others and ourselves. It encourages me to remember what makes life meaningful.

  2. Grace says:

    Mary, you are actually the only email that I look forward to reading almost every day. And I have encouraged all my family and friends to your website as well. So many ideas about so many things with encouragement and uplifting words. We’re in this together and I fell that you really care. Thank you!!

  3. Janice says:

    I’ve been following you for years! I even have articles I cut out from Women’s Day or Good Housekeeping, long before you began writing your newsletter and books. So I’m really glad you don’t succumb to those feelings of quitting. Your loyal readers appreciate your efforts. I personally know how difficult writing is, so thanks and keep up the good work!

  4. Sally says:

    Mary, PLEASE don’t quit-i’ve been following you since Focus on the Family days in the 1980’s. We’ve also just celebrated 50 years of marriage and I continue to struggle with my spending addiction. The pandemic has been good in a way that I stopped frivolous buying-but the FOOD charges became outrageous! How much extra food and paper goods do we REALLY need??!! Mary, I still need help! Please keep pointing us in healthy directions and following the Master.

    • We have exactly the same story. Wentmto Costco and bought $750 worth of groceries for the says:

      Eve been married 55 years and like others I’m still overspending
      I tell everyone about my dear friend,everyday cheapskate. Just love everyday, a new tip to start the day.

  5. Terry says:

    Thank you Mary for everything you do and everything I’ve learned from you. You have blessed and encouraged me, especially in these discouraging times. Only God knows the extent of our influence. I know you know this.

    • Sandy C says:

      Praise God for people like you that show know matter what age,we can apply the knowledge that you have experienced to people like me (77) and benefit from it and pass it on! God’s Blessings

  6. marcia west says:

    You are a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father that’s choosing to serve her fellowman. There is no greater service than serving your brothers and sisters. We all thank you!

  7. cheryl says:

    When the day does come I pray that God will have you “train up” another woman to continue this work. It is so IMPORTANT!!! I have grown so much from all your insight and I know my family has been blessed by it too. The times we are living in know seem more uncertain than ever but the bottom line is everyday is uncertain. We can always count on God to be there with us the WHOLE time!
    LOVE Ya!

  8. Denise Holton says:

    Mary, you are the best! For many, internet has answers. My go to for answers is always you!! You guide me in so many ways. Thank you SO much for all you do❤️

  9. Bev says:

    Thank you for all the work you continue to do to help us! You would be amazed to know how often it’s just what was perfect timed!

  10. Kari says:

    Mary, your work is SO valuable! A godly woman who mentors others to serve their families by getting finances and money issues under control is what this world needs. Keep marching, Sister in Christ!

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