I have never seen myself as a quitter. I rode my book without training wheels. But you know, I think, there are other areas in my life where I might be a quitter.
For the last six summers, I have attended a continuing education event in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. My first summer, some of the locals offered to take us on a “family friendly” hike. I decided to go on that hike, but little did I realize how “family friendly” was not the same to me. Half way through that hike, I thought I was going to die (I might have been a little dramatic!) I seriously didn’t think I was going to be able to finish that hike, but I seriously kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Yet maybe in my own ways, I was ready and willing to turn around and just quit. Then I was convicted by Annie F. Downs when she wrote: “I could already see that in my little bit of walking the trails, the suffering has made me persevere, my character (my strength) had grown, and I had hope to keep going. God was showing me in nature, and in my body, what has always been true in my spirit if I would choose to see it that way. He was literally changing me from the inside out (Looking for Lovely, P. 166).”
God is indeed changing me and you from the inside out. I want to be a woman who both perseveres and clings to grace. In the words of Annie Downs, I want to be a woman who is marked by grace and perseverance as partners (Looking for Lovely, P. 167)”
Taking that first step and doing the things that are hard, we are no longer quitters. We will be people who take a few steps rather than no steps at all. “I just had to keep showing up, even when it hurt or felt hard or wasn’t AT ALL what I wanted to do (Looking for Lovely, P. 39)”
As I prepare to be a step taker rather than a quitter, I want to share some of my fave quotes from Annie’s latest book. I could share so many but I’ll limit them to a few today.
“The things you want, the things you love, the things that make you cry, and the things that make you laugh, and the things that make you more angry than you thought you could be–it’s a rare combination. In fact, it’s a one-of-a-kind combination. Because God made you that way. On purpose. Your looks. Your loves. Your losses. They are you (Looking for Lovely, P. 44)
“My ability to feel the depths of something good was strengthened by my choice to feel the depths of pain (Looking for Lovely, P. 75).”
“And what I’m almost too afraid to think about, if I’m being honest with you, is what this means for the tears I’ve cried over my singleness. Because…THEY HAVE BEEN CRIED AND WILL BE CRIED AGAIN. How can something dwarf the heartache and loneliness I’ve felt my whole adult life? How can that be? I question if it can, to be honest. That’s just the truth of what I feel. I love my life and I’m so grateful for all I have, but it certainly isn’t the kind of joy that makes the tears seem tiny (Looking for Lovely, P. 83).”
“Your people remind you of the goodness of God and remind you of what it means to finish (Looking for Lovely, P. 143).”