Why Leaders Quit

February 22, 2010 - Mac Lake - Leadership
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Are there days you just want to quit?  Quitting occupied my thinking most Monday’s when I was a senior pastor.  Everyday there are leaders who’ve responded to God’s calling that find themselves tempted to give up.  For one reason or another they leave a job, abandon a project, walk out on a vision, ditch a  dream or give up on a goal.  The thing that once stirred passion in their soul somehow became a burden, a chore or an anxiety they could no longer endure.  

Quitting isn’t always a bad thing, in fact there are times it’s the wise thing to do.  But other times a leader finds himself in a dangerous place spiritually, emotionally or physically where he feels he just can’t go forward.  Elijah reached this point in 1 Kings 19 when Jezzabel was seeking to take his life.  He said, “I have had enough Lord take my life.” 1 Kings 19:4.  He had hit a quitting point.

So why do we sometimes find ourselves tempted to quit?  There are lots of possibilities….

  • We get… tired, discouraged, criticized, opposition
  • We run out of…time, money, opportunity, resources
  • We lose… support, confidence, faith, passion, vision

Regardless of what got us to that point the fact is we find ourselves in a place where we’ve lost hope.  So how do we reduce the temptation to quit?

  • Get rest – An angel came to Elijah in his depressed state and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” (1 Kings 19:7).  When a leader is physically drained he becomes emotionally weak and finds it easier to give up.  Get rest, eat right and exercise and you will regain the energy to keep going.  A wise leader pauses regularly to rebuild his reserves.
  • Get Perspective –   Elijah moaned that he was the only righteous one left and was feeling isolated and abandoned.  So God told him, “Go out and stand before me on the mountain.” 1 Kings 19:11  It was there God spoke to him and gave him a whole new perspective. Most of the time when we’re tempted to quit we’re looking at our situation from a wrong perspective.  It’s easy to find ourselves looking through the lens of discouragement or criticism.  Instead we must discover God’s perspective on our situation.
  • Get a Fresh Direction – God spoke to Elijah and gave him instructions for what was next, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. 16 Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet.”  1 Kings 19:15-16.  Sometimes simply getting clarity on our next step is all we need to gain the strength to move forward.
  • Get Support – God directed Elijah to find Elisha and anoint him as his understudy.  “So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat…then he went with Elijah as his assistant.” 1Kings 19:19,21.  When discouraged it’s essential that we surround ourselves with others who’s faith is strong.  Leaning on someone else in times of discouragement is a sign of wisdom, not weakness.

What helps you push through quitting points?

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Mac Lake

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5 responses to Why Leaders Quit

  1. Great post. To me it’s THE “monday morning encouragement”. The day every pastor will quit his job for one week. 😉 Thanks a lot!

  2. Learning something new or reviewing something already known daily helps keep me fresh. I am either inspired or irritated by what I learn but either way it encourages me in the vision and desire to continue the work.

  3. Great stuff! Thanks for posting! Although I know that God is always with me no matter where I am, I informed our congregation yesterday that I am taking a week off in mid-March to do some fasting and praying and to be alone with God.

  4. Hey Rick, I will be praying for you as you seek the heart of God. Galatians 6:9

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