I am a person who likes to read. I usually have two or three books going at the same time and more stacked nearby waiting to be read. However, I have a problem: I don’t always finish the books. Something always gets in the way. It seems I get about ½ way through a book and we start a new bible study or life gets really busy or sometimes I lose interest when something better comes along. Are you like this? I admit it: I AM A QUITTER. I start things and can’t seem to get them finished. I can also be a procrastinator or start something and wonder why I agreed to do it. What are you thinking about quitting? What have you quit, given up on? Is it something small like a project, book, or bible study? Or is it something big like your marriage, your job, or your New Year’s goals? Did you even set a New Year’s goal? Have you already quit? Well, I recently read a book called A WOMAN WHO DOESN’T QUIT: 5 Habits From the Book of Ruth by Nicki Koziarz.
Yes, I read the whole book. You can’t stop reading when you are trying to find out the habits of a person who doesn’t quit. There are several reasons why I read the book, but here are two of the biggest: (1) I could relate to the title. We have already discussed that I can be a quitter and I can procrastinate; (2) The book of Ruth is one of my favorite books in the Bible. Who can pass up a love story when you are single and still waiting on your Boaz. However, one thing I do know about Ruth – she was not a quitter! In fact, Ruth over-excelled. What can Ruth teach us all about not quitting? This I had to learn.
If you are not familiar with the story of Ruth. Stop right now and grab your Bible and read the book of Ruth in the Old Testament. Or better yet go to www.Biblegateway.com and read it on-line. It is a very short book with only 4 chapters. But WAIT! Don’t be a quitter and forget to come back and read the rest of this post.
Now back to the book, Nicki gives 5 habits we should apply to our lives. You will need to read the book to learn the habits. Yeah, I know the easy way is for me to tell you, but that doesn’t accomplish our goal – to finish what we start. In the book she uses practical applications combined with Biblical truth to make her points. It is an easy read. What I liked the best is that each point has a current relevant example from Nicki’s own life and in the next chapter she uses the story of Ruth of make the same point, contrasting someone prone to quit with Ruth, one who didn’t quit.
Nicki was convicted by the verse in Luke 16:10 when she wrote the book:
He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much.
Some quotes from the book that really stuck me were:
“A committed woman learns to choose what she wants most over what she wants now.” (i.e. set goals, don’t think you have to have everything now)
What is important to you? What is important to God?
“Thoughts become words. Words become actions. Actions become reality.” This is so true!
“Refinement becomes redemption when we fulfill our responsibility to wait in expectation for the Redeemer to carry out HIS plans.”
Are you in a time of refinement? Romans 8:18 says: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” Where does your dependency rest during times of refinement, on yourself or God?
“Living under the covering of God means we are asking God to ‘see over’ our lives.”
Am I open to the movement of God in my life? How can I share what I have not experienced? Am I living under God’s covering? Am I open to him “overseeing” my life?
One of the excuses I usually use to either to quit on my commitment or not do to something is “I don’t feel like it.” Do you use this excuse too? Well Nicki convicted me on this. Just remember these are Nicki words not mine: (1) “Commitment has nothing to do with feelings; (2) My defeat comes from my thought and actions.” Wow! She continues on with “We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can control our reactions.” Isn’t this so true in life. We are always reacting with our feelings. We let our feelings take over allowing bitterness and anger to build up when things don’t go our way, or when something happens to us over which we have no control. How about when someone else doesn’t fulfil their commitment. How do you react? Do you get mad or angry, or become bitter?
The Bible has a lot to say about bitterness and anger and how it can affect our lives.
Job 10:1 “I am disgusted with my life. I will give vent to my complaint and speak in the bitterness of my soul.”
Acts 8:23 “For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by wickedness.”
Ephesians 4:31 “Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice.”
Hebrew 12:15 “Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and defiling many.”
Proverbs 14:16 “A wise person is cautious and turns from evil, but a fool is easily angered and is careless.”
Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but one slow to anger calms strife
James 1:19-20 “My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.”
I am the only one that can control my reactions. I want my actions, reactions, and feelings to reflect my commitment as a follower of Jesus Christ.
I have had Philippians 4:11 posted on my desk for many years.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.”
So the next time you can’t make a commitment to do something, are thinking about quitting on something you have commit to do, feel like procrastinating or letting your feelings control you, or are showing apathy. Ask yourself, Why? Why are you quitting? Why are you reacting this way? Why are you anger at that person? Take a really hard look at why you are making these decisions. Appreciate what you have and give it some time and prayer before you react. Are you acting as the world would have you act? Or are you fulfilling your commitment to do what God has called you to do even when you don’t feel like it? Do you jump into a commitment due to the pressure of others? Are you allowing yourself to become defeated when you don’t commit, spiraling down into a world of defeat so you don’t even try? Don’t be a quitter. Be a Ruth.
Ruth committed to going with Naomi. She fulfilled her commitment even when things around her looked bleak. She could have let feelings keep her back, but she moved ahead in faith. She didn’t allow anger and bitterness at her situation to keep her from going out and finding food, working tirelessly. Ruth was not in the ideal situation but she kept herself open to God working in her life. She stayed the task even when Naomi gave her some crazy things to do. She met the needs of others around her even when she didn’t have much herself. She kept moving forward in faith that she could accomplish what she started. She learned to be content with the life she was given which allowed her life and situation to improve as well as Naomi’s. And in the end, God approved and gave her a husband and child.
So grab Nicki’s book and read it for yourself. Let God speak to you. Don’t live in defeat as a quitter. Excel in the commitments where God has planted you. As you read: Let your thoughts become words, your words become actions, and your actions become reality. Think in the long-term not in immediate gratification. Remember: “Refinement becomes redemption when we fulfill our responsibility to wait in expectation for the Redeemer to carry out HIS plans.”