One thing we can always count on when August rolls around with football is that players will quit. It’s unfortunate, but it’s as easy to count on as injuries and sunsets. Over the eighteen seasons, Ordell and I have experienced together there hasn’t been a season without a quitter, but over the past few years, the themes on quitting have become so redundant sentences can be finished. So here are a few thoughts on things I suggest you consider before you quit.
There is integrity in following through. Specifically for a college athlete, when you said yes to playing a sport you told a coach who’s job depends on bringing in recruits that you would come to college and play the sport. You made this decision, in all likelihood, with the council of your parents or mentor or both. Your parents have spent time and money bringing you to college and have made plans to come back and see you compete. Now, you may not be starting, but there are many other athletes who have made the same commitment you have. Just because you don’t start on the first day does not mean you should quit. Coaches depend on athletes following through with their commitment. Teammates also depend on this. Being a person of your word is a valuable attribute that translates into being a great co-worker and spouse.
God doesn’t change his mind quickly. The top reason I’ve heard for students quitting anything whether a job, sport or relationship is a version of God told me to. The confusing thing is that they also say this about having made the commitment in the first place. Here’s an example:
Player: I’ve been praying about it I feel like I hear God telling me to quit.
Coach: Well, when you signed your letter of intent you said you prayed about it and felt that God was telling you to come play. What’s changed?
Player: It’s just that if I was playing it would be different, but I’m not. I would rather spend time with my girlfriend if I can’t play.
This may sound like a joke, but I promise, it’s not. I’m not saying God doesn’t ever call us to move forward from scenarios. I’m not saying he doesn’t care about our decisions. I’m simply saying you need to check your true reasons for wanting to quit, and maybe leave God out of it…or really consider his words about quitting.
God never told someone to quit when things got hard. So, if you flip through scripture God put his followers in hard situations ALL.THE.TIME. The Israelites seemed to make a habit of trying to quit to the extent that they were willing to head back into slavery instead of heading into the unknown. Read Exodus 13-16 for a few examples, but mainly, anytime something didn’t happen the way the Israelites thought it should happen they grumbled and say “If only we had died in Egypt” or something like that. It didn’t matter that God had given them their freedom and had consistently revealed himself as stronger than anyone they had ever been around. Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale because he tried to quit being a prophet. There is more, plenty more I want to say on this, but I need to move on.
If you do quit, honesty is the best policy. So, let’s say you decide you have no choice, you need to quit. Tell the person whom you have made a promise to that you are changing your desire to fulfill the pledge. Don’t bring your parents into it, or the person you are dating. Don’t blame your boss. Simply explain you are done.
There is a time to walk away. The reality is that sometimes we need to move on. People quit jobs or transfer colleges all the time. The reality is that’s a part of life. BUT, the middle of the season is not that time. Twenty-four hours after your parents drop you off at college is not that time. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot. If you need to uproot, you need to do so.
The thing about quitting is it happens. Sometimes God does call us to move forward which causes us to have to say goodbye to something else. Sometimes we don’t want to quit, other times we are relieved about it. Regardless, consider these points when making the decision to stay or go. Someone else’s job might depend on it.