Sometimes giving up is not failure

I am recovering from three weeks of ill-in-bed. But this week I’m trying back-to-work-as-usual. This week I’m determined.

I went into school this morning and took a breakfast revision class. It was worth it, the kids have worked so hard and I like them so much. They needed to see their regular teacher on the morning before an important exam and I liked seeing them. Hard working, sweet kids. I took them some orange juice and donuts and Danish pastries.

I had thirty PowerPoint slides on ‘maximising your marks’. These are all my top tips on how to do extremely well in a Religious Studies exam: a Bible quote you can use to pep up almost any answer, five responses a religious believer is almost bound to make to any given situation, what to do if you are asked your opinion and you just don’t have one etc. etc.

I was finished by 9.15 and off to my church job. Work really shouldn’t be this much fun. I love my job! Today it was time spent with people I love and their tinies. God at work in people’s lives and I get to join in. Coffee, lunch, chatting, laughing, some sadness and struggles, lots of joy. I got home and I was TIRED. Dog tired and nearly asleep. So I texted Andy,

‘Day going well but feeling I can’t go on without a nap. Shall I resist or surrender?”




The to-do list said ‘press on ‘ but my body said ‘sleep’. I am conscience driven (guilty conscience driven?): letters to write, phone calls to make, praying, reading, planning, organising, meals, housework, kids. No time to rest. Keep going.

But does success always look like an obstacle overcome, a pain threshold raised, a new strategy implemented, smarter and harder, the extra mile? Is success forever saying, ‘Knock me down and I’ll get up again. Discouragement only serve to make me stronger’. What if you knocked me down and I just didn’t get up? What if I fell and just lay there, forever. What if following one discouragement after another I just threw in the towel and walked away never to return?

  • Sometimes giving up is not a failure. Sometimes giving up is a success in disguise
  • Sometimes giving up is the full stop that gives pause for the new sentence to be written
  • Sometimes giving up is the sleep at the end of a long night of tears and when you wake the next day you wake to joy
  • Sometimes giving up is curtains to something that has been plain bad
  • Sometimes a thing gets too hard (like staying awake) and its just time to quit (have a sleep)

So I had a nap. It was GOOD.

And I’d like to thank Jen Hatmaker who said,

“Girl, sometimes the juice just ain’t worth the squeeze”

And I’m going to be learning a little bit more about saying ‘No’ to things that drain and ‘yes’ to things at give life. I’m going to work my hardest, persevere, go above and beyond whilst the battles on, but when the battles over (or over for me) walk away without looking back.

And how will I know when to stay and when to go? In the words of Jen Hatmaker,

What is the tipping point? There is no formula here and I can’t give one. This requires honest self-evaluation, safe and wise counselors, the close leadership of the Holy Spirit, a sobering assessment of reality. Ask, “Is the juice worth the squeeze here?” and sometimes it is. You might discover signs of life and possibility rising up through the efforts, or the task at hand is simply too worthy to abandon, regardless. There may be necessary work left to do, and it’s too soon to assess. Or maybe the Spirit holds you in place for unclear reasons, which you may or may not ever know, but you will find peace in obedience and continue to listen for marching orders.

And now I thinking there might be some other dilemmas where habit is telling me push on but it might be better to just walk away.

Jen Hatmaker blogs at,


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