I’m a recovering perfectionist. I’m driven to achieve and please. And I have a few letters behind my name. Last year I was halfway to having a few more. And then I quit.
I withdrew. Closed the books. Never looked back. Oh, I didn’t say I was quitting at first. Stacy Averette is not a quitter. “I’m just taking a break” sounded so much better. But, in my heart I knew I was quitting.
I’ve never quit anything unless you count the 45 fad diets I’ve tried over the years. Everyone should start and quit a fad diet at least once in their lifetime don’t you think?
I need—no, I want—you to know why I quit.
Why I Quit
Before I tell you why I quit I need to tell you why I started.
I was searching for significance. I needed to feel like I was doing work that mattered. That I was making good use of my time and energy and resources and gifts (and all those letters behind my name). Really, I wanted to feel that I mattered.
I listened to the voices around me that said:
- “You should . . .”
- “You’d be really good at . . .”
- “Have you ever thought about . . .”
So I jumped in with both feet, embracing the challenge to prove myself once again.
And it just about killed me dead.
Not the work. I’m a smart, resourceful, hardworking, girl. Nothing but A’s for me. I was on my way and everyone was pleased.
It was the searching for significance in what would never satisfy my soul that was killing me. The jumping through hoops was easy and exhausting at the same time. I chased a worthy goal. One that was both noble and soul-killing.
I have no regrets. Really, I don’t. I met some wonderful people. I learned so much about a new field of study and I gained a new appreciation for those who do it so well. And I learned what I’m not supposed to be doing in this season of my life.
My focus narrowed. My purpose became clearer. My resolve to live—This. One. Life—the way He created me to live became stronger.
The challenge, the struggle, and the adversity of starting and quitting were tools He used to peel back the layers of my heart and reveal to me (‘cause He already knew) my heart’s desire and passion.
I’m doing it here. Right now.
It’s early. The cozy couch and coffee welcome me in my pj’s. No brush has seen my hair or my teeth, yet. The machines that clean dishes and clothes hum in the background but I see dust and a little dog hair on the floor. I’ll get to it later.
I am nurturing and encouraging. I am creating a home for my family and a home for you. One has walls where my people gather to be fed and loved. My days are filled with tasks that create space for them to rest and recreate. The home I create for you has no walls but my purpose is the same. You come here and my desire is to feed you words of life and love. This home is one where you can rest and re-create. We share burdens and recipes and funny stories.
But honestly, the creating doesn’t always feel significant enough. The nurturing and encouraging come with a price. For every “yes” there is “no” a hundred times. I am learning to be misunderstood. Often no one appreciates the art I create. Or so it seems. But The Artist sees. He knows me well and He appreciates. Like a mother cherishes the scribbles and stick figures and macaroni art of her very own flesh and blood the Father embraces the living soul He created as I display my own works of art.
So I quit searching for significance and started embracing my own.
I am significant because I am created in the image of The Significant One. The discovery that I matter happens when I listen to Him and hear His voice speaking and His heart beating.Tweet this
Significance is not found in letters or titles or achievements. There is nothing wrong with any of those things but they cannot make you more significant than you already are.
Why You Should Quit
Disclaimer #1: I am not telling you to quit anything. This is not a sign that you should quit your job, your educational endeavors, or heaven forbid, your marriage.
What I am telling you is that there is a voice behind you telling you the way that you should go. I am telling you to listen to His voice.
Your significance lies in Him.
Disclaimer #2: I am not telling you that everything you do in life will or should give you warm, fuzzy feelings all the time. I don’t always like where I am or what I do. There are times when it’s downright un-fun. But I know what makes me feel alive and I know the peace of abiding in Him when seasons change and callings shift.
If the thought of sitting on the couch early in the morning in your pj’s writing words for others to read makes you cringe, then, it’s probably not your thing. At one time it wasn’t mine either.
If where you are and what you do makes you come alive, if it’s what you think about and dream about when your mind is loose, then rejoice and live fully in your art.
If not, then maybe it’s time to listen to the Voice behind you. He knows the way that you should go and when you should go and how you should go. Listen to Him.
Lest you say, “I am no artist” then you must read The Artist’s Manifesto by Emily P. Freeman. Click on over right now. It’s a short poem in printable form and I promise you’ll see yourself in it. You might want to dig a little deeper and read her book, A Million Little Ways.
I’d love to hear from you. My door is always open. Leave a comment. Send me an email. Connect with me on Facebook. Let’s have a conversation about starting and quitting and listening to His voice.
As a bonus: If you’ve made it to the very end of this very long post I’d love to give you a chance to have your own copy of A Million Little Ways compliments of your long-winded friend. All you need to do is subscribe and leave a comment. If you’re already a subscriber, just leave a comment. I’d love to hear about the art you create (or the art you’d like to create)! I’ll randomly choose one winner to be announced Monday, July 13th.