It’s Tuesday again (already?!) and time to share thoughts on chapter ten of Jennifer Rothschild’s book, Self Talk, Soul Talk.





Chapter ten: Press On, March On, O My Soul

Who hasn’t felt like giving up?

Crumbs, who hasn’t actually done it at some point?

Once again, these words are timely for me.

Struggling with my job lately.

Last week, Jeff says, “Well, just quit, if you want to.”

This gave me pause. And also caused me to listen to the loud whine eminating from my mouth. (Did I sound that bad?)

How would it feel to quit?

I turned it around and around in my heart. Took a little nibble. Tried to taste. Chewed on it. Spat it out. Picked it up. Felt the weight of it in my hands.

And I knew it wouldn’t feel good.

Crumbs, I’m still burning with shame for quitting band in the fifth grade.

I don’t like to give up.

Because I have learned the hard way that making it through the tough stuff makes what’s on the other side all the sweeter.

Truth is, I don’t have permission from God to quit (but I think He’s really close to granting it :)). And that is what really counts. If I felt Him telling me it is time to go, I wouldn’t let the door hit me on the behind on the way out.

But I’m just not hearing that.

Darn it.

So how do we make it through these tough times when we feel God calling us to stay put?

That’s what this chapter is about.

Jennifer gives us some sound advice to speak Press On to our souls. She outlines some steps to “Practical Perseverence”.

First, she says, Turn Your Feelings Into Action. Let your feeling of being overwhelmed be a signal to start making small steps toward achieving your goal.

If any of you have ever read Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott, you understand this lesson. Ann tells the story of her brother putting off writing a report on birds until the last minute. The boy frantically asks his father, who is a writer, how he can ever possibly complete the report by the due date. His father wisely replies, “Bird, by bird, buddy. Bird by bird.”

Break it down. A little bit at a time. Slow and steady. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

You get the picture.

Next, Jennifer says, Affirm Your True Identity. Don’t let the struggle fill your self-talk with words of defeat that generalize to your identity. Jennifer says, “Remember, I am is not the same as I feel. Don’t let feelings define you; let who you are define your feelings”.

And who are we, friends?

We are daughters of The King.

The next two steps, Speak Truth to Your Soul and Exercise Discipline, are fairly self-explanatory.

We will get nowhere if we listen to lies based on feelings or refuse to do the work required for success.

I remember my freshman year of college. First semester, my car caught on fire, in which were all my newly purchased (and very expensive) school texts. The books did not burn up, but when the firemen came to extinguish the fire; my already heavy books were water-logged and swelled to amazing proportions. (I had many similar traumas all through college, but perhaps we’ll save those for another time?)

I could not afford to buy new books. I was going to have to make do.

My biology text was the most troublesome. Already huge, the book had swollen to three times its normal size. I laid it in the sun. I tried ironing the pages.

But it was still a heavy mass of charred and wrinkled words.

One day–after a particularly frustrating study session—I threw this boulder sized book up against the wall of my bedroom.

It shook the house.

My mom poked her head in to make sure I was okay.

When I expressed my aggravation, mom said, “Why don’t you quit?”

At this point, no one in my family had a college education. My sweet mother simply could not understand why I would put myself through so many struggles for something that seemed pointless to her.

Let’s just say that mom’s words opened my eyes in many ways.

If we want the victory, we have to do the work, Beloved. Sometimes there is no easy way to get the job done.

Just press on. March on, O my soul.

The prize is waiting.

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Comments

  1. says

    Lovely and thought provoking, Laura. I don’t like to quit…I REALLY don’t like to quit. But, when God says, “Quit”, it is sweet relief.
    And I love Anne Lamott! She is absolutely one of my favorite authors. My copy of Bird by Bird is so worn, but my very favorite is Traveling Mercies.

  2. says

    I always like how you summarize the chapters, and provide encouragement.

    Thanks! I hope things go better at your job. God provided this chapter at a time you needed it, too!

  3. says

    There was an article on the MSN homepage yesterday titled “Are You Stuck in Job Prison?”
    This article said that thirty percent of workers are dissatisfied in their current positions, according to the 2009 Job Forecast by CareerBuilder.com.
    It actually was a pretty good article.
    I’ll be keeping you in my prayers.
    It’s draining & takes a toll on you & the family when a person’s overwhelmed with their job.
    Your study sounds like a really good one. I always receive valuable information from your Tues. posts.
    Psalm 183:8 “He will perfect that which concerns you.” I have this verse marked and it has initials and dates of the times I’ve prayed it over loved ones & myself.
    Love ya Laura! Hope things get better soon.
    Valerie

  4. says

    you really have a gift! I look forward to coming here.

    I can’t imagine using a water logged text book! I’ll have to tell my daughter about that so she can appreciate her normal sized books. She has been known to throw a book (Great Expectations ninth grade in high school) put a dent in the wall.

    I got the book thank you so much! Beautiful is the word that comes to mind… and Full. I am enjoying it so much!

  5. says

    Sister,

    These words were meant for me. I am like, Lord, I’m listening. I’m pressing through, I’m obeying, while this hurts me, I will not hurt You. You have given me life and I will not allow another to take that LIFE from me.

    Thank you, oh thank you!

    Love,
    Yolanda

  6. says

    Bird by Bird. Oh, how I love that.

    Your post is wonderful. Just the encouragement I needed today.

    Pick up laundry. Bird.
    Wash hands again. Bird.
    Read that book again. Bird.

    The difference is, with the job of mommy, there is no “goal” … only faithful service. And faithful servant.
    Similar to our journey with God.
    But graciously, with Him, he has set a goal before us…

  7. says

    Can I just tell you how much I love you and your writing and how you just convey simple truths in the most GOD honoring way??

    Truly, Tessa (Cricket) and I want to meet you in person one day since we figured you couldn’t be that far away from where we are.

    ALSO, I forgot to tell you I felt totally led (Had to be GOD?) to give you and your book some blog publicity the other day. I haven’t even read it so I don’t know any other thing except..it had to be GOD.
    By the way..I do want to read it! 🙂
    Love and prayers,
    Teri

  8. says

    I am always so blessed when I visit here! I see I have lots of goodies to peruse before I travel on. Will pray for you in your time of decision. It was my experience 8 years ago this week, that He released me when it was no longer quitting, but, taking the next step for my and our family’s journey! For me it was a heart thing!

    One bird at a time, one bird at a time! I will always keep this thought! I LOVE it!

    Peace to you,
    Maria

  9. says

    Laura,
    Excellent! I haven’t had time to keep up with the readings from this book, but after your post I am going to pick it up again.

    Lot of food for thought.

  10. says

    Laura,
    You gave me a laugh when you said you were still upset over quitting band in the 5th grade. Glad I’m not the only one with that regret. Haha

    This was a wonderful post, I love the stories of your textbook, and how your mom just said quit. You kept on, and that was awesome.

    I went through a stage where I wanted to leave my job, and asked God to give me something different, but the answere was no, and I’m still there and loving in more than ever.

    Press On my friend.

    Love,
    Carol

  11. says

    And what a prize! Oh, I love visiting you… I so hope you are rid of the flu and feeling much better. Thank you for your prayers for me – right back at ya! I am finally free of the pain I’ve been experiencing, thank God. Just in the ‘take it steady stage’ now, and very very tired. Ah well, I feel home and hosed, and that’s great!

    I thought I was the only person on this Earth that said “crumbs”!!!;)

    I so felt for the “college Laura” after the car fire. How scary! And good on you for keeping on. I pray you get word over you job soon. Blessing to you! Naomi x

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