Give Up or God-Up TRACIE MILES
Give Up or God-Up TRACIE MILES “Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.” 2 Corinthians 4:1 (NLT) Problems kept piling up — many of which I had no power or resources to resolve. I was perpetually living in survival mode and found myself simply spent. One morning, after another set of seemingly hopeless issues reared their ugly heads, tears began to roll. I let out a heavy sigh and in a quivering voice spoke out loud, “God, I literally don’t think I can take anymore.” Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’re a single parent, like me, and financial worries coupled with the emotional weight of parenting and being alone feels overwhelming ... Maybe you try to live frugally, yet money never seems to stretch far enough … Maybe you’re unhappy at your job, but no other opportunities have arisen … Maybe your heart longs for a husband, but you’re tired of the dating game … Maybe you feel unloved or betrayed by someone close to you, and nothing seems to improve no matter how hard you pray … Maybe your circumstances feel out-of-control and change seems hopeless … The day I said “I can’t take this anymore,” I felt like giving up. Maybe you’ve felt that way, too. But upon uttering those words and admitting my weakness, I felt a nudge to my spirit. I knew I needed to focus on God instead of my circumstances and worries. I needed to refocus on what He had done in my life, rather than what He had not yet done. I needed to believe instead of doubt Him, and place my trust in the only One who actually could fix things. As I intentionally adjusted my focus, hope and peace slowly returned. Faith alone helped me to God-up instead of give up. Not because I had the strength to do so, but because I had God’s strength within me which pushed me forward in faith, just like the apostle Paul. In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul encouraged the church at Corinth not to give up. He reminded the people they each held a treasure in their heart — the spirit of God — which was the sole reason they could persevere when they felt like quitting in the face of adversities, especially when it came to defending the gospel. Second Corinthians 4:1 says, “Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.” We see proof that although he stumbled, Paul consistently focused on God. The “new way” he referenced meant we don’t have to follow endless laws like in the Old Testament, because we have His spirit within us since Jesus died on the cross. Instead, we can enjoy the gifts of grace, mercy, hope and strength. We read throughout Scripture that every time Paul wanted to give up, he chose to God-up instead. He chose to depend on God’s power and strength instead of his own. Paul’s faith equipped and inspired him to keep going to God, despite earthly, common-sense reasons to quit. Over his lifetime, Paul suffered greatly: He was imprisoned, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, chased mercilessly by enemies, and lived fearfully in caves. He suffered mental and spiritual exhaustion in addition to physical pain, hunger, thirst and difficult living conditions. That’s enough to make anyone want to give up! Yet despite his weakest moments, he never did. The choices Paul made each day to God-up instead of give up filled him with strength and perseverance he could have never found on his own. Maybe for reasons only you and God know, you’ve found yourself saying “I can’t take anymore,” too. Maybe giving up hope about that difficult situation, problem or relationship seems easier than hanging on to it. It’s okay. Everyone struggles with those thoughts and feelings at times. But like Paul, the moment we catch ourselves feeling that way we can choose to give up or God-up. We can let our thoughts and feelings deplete us of strength, hope and joy, or we can lean fully into God and ask for Him to carry us in our weakest moments. When we God-up, instead of give up, God will always show up. Lord, I’m tired. And I really do secretly want to give up. Please fill my heart with peace. Help me see You at work in the situations in my life and trust You are in control. Replace my hopelessness with happiness in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. TRUTH FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” REFLECT AND RESPOND: What situation do I feel I just can’t take anymore? Have I asked God for the strength to persevere or do I feel like caving in to the temptation to give up instead? How might my life change if I began to God-up today?