Fall seven times, stand up eight. – Japanese Proverb
The temptation to quit is strongest the day before you realize your heart’s desire. The enemy of your soul waits patiently and then whispers the words he knows will persuade you to give up: You don’t deserve it. You can’t possibly achieve it. So, why bother?
You listen. Nod in agreement and then raise the white flag to signal defeat. This is when the disappointment strikes you. The sudden blow takes your breath away. You fall to your knees trying to recover. The enemy of your soul gloats for a moment and then leaves you in your frustration.
The noise of the white flag flapping in the wind is one of the loneliest sounds you will ever hear.
That was then. This is now.
It doesn’t matter how many times you have given up; what matters is how you will respond the next time doubt surfaces. And what matters most is learning how to take down the white flag for good.
There have been plenty of times when I raised the white flag. The enemy of my soul has taken advantage of my fear and exposed my doubt more than once. I wish I didn’t quit the high school baseball team; I wish I didn’t give up on going to medical school and I wish I didn’t stop writing the book that I know is inside of me.
But that was then. This is now.
You do have the power to take down the white flag. The following are choices you can make whenever the enemy of your soul begins whispering its lie:
You are stronger than you think.
Anything worth having is worth fighting for – no matter how long it takes. Know you do have the strength, the resolve, to confront any challenge and to learn from the setbacks you encounter along the way.
Anything is possible.
Why not you and why not now? When an idea is placed in your mind, it is put there for good reason. Honor it. Pursue it. Recognize you have been charged with the responsibility of seeing the idea come to life. When you do, the impossible will be made possible.
Understand your limits.
You can only do so much in a day, week, month or year. Realize there’s no stopwatch on you. Your time and attention will be diverted to other responsibilities. They do not go away simply because you are pursuing a new dream. Understand in your humanness you do have limits. Rather than being discouraged by these limits, celebrate them. These limits are reminders of the rich, full life you already have.
Ask for help.
You are not alone. When doubt begins to takeover, turn to family, friends and other confidants to receive the support you need. I have never witnessed someone not receiving help when it is requested.
Make a difference.
The achievement of your dream will make a difference. Use this fact as motivation when the whispering grows louder. Your purpose, your mission, is uniquely yours. You were created to make a difference like no else can.
You deserve happiness.
If pursuing your dream, and then achieving it, brings you happiness, then know this: You deserve to be happy. No one is doling out happiness – it’s available for all.
Just a heartbeat away.
Your arrival to the place you want to be is just a heartbeat away. You will know you are getting closer when the urge to quit becomes glaringly tempting. Push back with your newfound power. Claim what belongs to you and honor it by never turning away again.
One step everyday.
Rather than measuring where you think you should be, measure where you once were compared to where you are today. Realize that getting to your dream is about taking one step each day. The steps don’t have to be measured in feet or yards; inches will do.
Ignore negative talk.
Not everyone will be an encourager. When you come across these people, understand their negative comments define who they are; their comments don’t define who you are.
Be the inspiration.
You touch people in ways you may never know. Your positive attitude, your relentless pursuit of a dream and your ability to ignore the malicious whispering and focus on the goal at hand is admirable. People are watching you. They are inspired by your extraordinary actions even if you consider them to be ordinary.
The next time the enemy of your soul whispers the lie, stay strong in your faith. Practice replacing the lie with the truth. The truth speaks the words to persuade you to never give up. The truth says:
You are worthy to receive your heart’s desire. You can achieve it. Go be the person you were created to be. Take down the white flag. Raise hope for all to see. Listen to your new flag flapping in the wind and be nourished by its sound.