Remember Why You Started

April 11, 2016


I was done. So done.

I was ready to quit.

No, I was going to quit.

My mind was made up: I’d do this another day—a day when it just felt better. Any day but today.

If I quit, I’ll feel like a failure, I told myself, puttering around my house, sweeping graham cracker crumbs from the bar area, tossing an empty juice container into the trash. But I’ll feel happier than I do now.

Out of restless habit, I grabbed my phone and mindlessly tapped the Instagram icon. The first post in my feed was black text against a white background: Remember why you started.

My pulse stuttered; my heart skipped a beat. It was almost as if God Himself was whispering the words into my spirit.

I flicked out of Instagram and shoved my phone into my pocket. Guilt weighted my chest. I was quitting, and I wasn’t meant to quit.

And then again, maybe the Instagram post was a coincidence.

I’ll do this some other time. Really.

The decision was made. I tried to swallow down the feeling that everything today was wrong, the knowledge that I was disregarding God’s voice—the awareness that I was a total failure. Or I would be, once I quit.

My phone rang in my pocket. It was my husband. “How are you today?” came the innocent query of a person with not a care in the world.

And I told him.

I told him how irritable I was–and for no apparent reason. I told him about how the silliest of trivialities were grating against my nerves this morning. I told him that I was weary—that I didn’t have the stamina today to push myself through what I needed to do. “Usually this isn’t such a big deal,” I said. “Today, I just can’t do it.”

After a pause, during which I’m pretty sure he was happily chowing down on a breakfast burrito, my husband said, “You know that probably means you need to do it today more than any other day, right?”

As if his words had triggered a rockslide, I felt my walls crumbling, the resistance I’d built against reason cascading to my feet. I’d expected him to tell me I was pushing myself too hard; I’d expected permission to give myself a break. Instead, my husband told me the truth: anything of  worth comes with a price tag.

Our conversation was short; my husband didn’t even tell me whatever he’d called to say. And he never knew it, but as we hung up, tears rolled down my cheeks—at first, because I now knew that I couldn’t—I wouldn’t—give up, and, like a spoiled child, I was pouting. But then, as I resigned myself to what I knew was best, humility wrapped itself around my softening heart like a blanket.

God cared about me! He could have let the day play out my way. He could have left me pandering to my flesh, wallowing in self-indulgence, and I never would have known what I’d missed.

But He didn’t.

Out of over seven billions souls on the earth, I should have been too insignificant to trifle with; God could have chosen not to interfere. Instead, not once, but twice, He sent a message: Remember why you started.

I did what I needed to do that day. I thought the satisfaction of knowing I’d persevered, that I’d made the right choice, would be my reward. But several days later, I experienced the powerful effects of my choice, and I knew: this was why I’d started.

I write this today because I know that one of you stands at the same crossroads. You have a choice to make. You know which is the right choice, but the right choice just seems like too much work: you’re so weary; you’re so done with it all.

God cares enough about you, out of all the seven-billion-plus souls on this earth, to interfere with your day. He wants to encourage you: Remember why you started.