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Starting at the Finish Line: Relationships and Quitting

May 4, 2014

I wrote this on Friday night, May 2nd and was not able to post it until tonight, Saturday May 3rd.

I find myself at the beach again: 

House with a View

House with a View

This time a bit further north, in Sandbridge, Virginia.  Coming back from vacation last week, mentally I was still in vacation mode.  It took both Monday and Tuesday to get back into the swing of things, and before I knew it, the week was over.  The Elementary Supervisor and I took our first through fifth graders on a field trip to Agecroft today, in Richmond, Virginia, and that was fun.

Agecroft

Agecroft

I left straight from there to drive down to Sandbridge, for the women’s retreat that my church, Common Ground, is holding.  I have been so excited about this weekend since I first heard about it from the ladies in my small group several months back.  What first piqued my interest about the weekend was how powerful our group leaders said it was for their faith, and then they said it was held at the beach … no more needed to be said. I find myself out of Fredericksburg yet again, and very tired.

I’m tired of the stress that comes with my job, I’m tired of trying to be everyone to everybody, I’m tired of working (yes, I know I just had a vacation, but come on, I work 50-60 hours a week), I’m tired of running (training is getting tiresome … two weeks until the big race), I’m tired of hearing bad news, I’m tired of being tired (earlier this week leaving work my boss just looked at me and goes, “You just look terribly exhausted” … that is not something you want to hear immediately after a restful vacation …) and I’m tired of not seeing an end to things …

… But what is an end to things?  For me, it’s having a finish line.  I like having a finish line and a goal.  I like being told explicitly what to do, how to do it, and then going to do it.  I am a task-oriented person who thrives on projects and tasks that can be completed.  Unfortunately, life isn’t just a task to be completed.  It is a vibrant melange of human interaction that winds it’s way through different places and elements.  Life isn’t a list.  And often what seems like a finish line is usually a starting line.

The theme for our retreat this weekend is, “When Quitting Seems Like an Option.”  I have never thought that quitting is option.  I never quit.  I say I’ll do something and I follow through.  I thought quitting was leaving something that you should be doing, or a task that needed to be completed.  But several times in the last three years, after graduating college, nothing seemed straight forward anymore.  Everything I knew was gone, not because I had quit it, but because life moves on … I didn’t have an assigned job, I didn’t have a boyfriend, I didn’t have obligations.  So I over-committed and tried a lot of things: at one point I think I had four or five jobs, I was volunteering, playing gigs, hanging out with college friends, going on trips, attending a 5,000 member church, and trying to figure out who I was.  I thought that I had figured out what I was about in college, but I really hadn’t.  It’s taken about three years for me to realize this: life is about relationships, not commitment (commitment meaning job, task, etc … not ‘being committed’).  Commitments (tasks, jobs, roles we play …) can be quit (somewhat) easily, relationships (usually) can’t.  I think it is when we are faced with whether or not to quit a relationship (in any context) that we face the biggest challenges.

I have had to ‘quit’ a few unhealthy relationships in the past couple years (friendships, romantic relationships, and otherwise), and it has been some of the most challenging times I have gone through.  I don’t think anything can prepare a person for quitting a relationship (friendship, dating, etc).

Quitting jobs or volunteer positions that I have had have been nothing compared to the quitting of those toxic relationships.  A few people have asked me ‘how I’m doing now that I’m not leading Young Life,’ which I genuinely appreciate, but honestly, I feel fine: the important relationships that I formed in Young Life are still in tact.  The girls whose lives I entered and the leaders I led with are still in my life.  The relationships are still there.  I never quit the relationship, I quit the role I was in.  I didn’t quit being who I am: a relational person who only wants to point those around her to her true source of Hope.

That said … This weekend, I want to recognize what role ‘quitting’ has played in my life, and realize that God has never quit on me … I have always had hope, and that hope has always come from God, whether or not I have acknowledged it.

Here’s to a weekend of sun, fun, and nunning it up, this time at the beach:

Sandbridge

Sandbridge

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