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I Want to Quit Ministry

December 12, 2014

Do you ever wish God would appear in the flesh and tell you exactly what He wants you to do in a situation? I do.

Sometimes I wish He’d hand me a piece of paper with clear, step-by-step instructions written out and personalized for my specific circumstance. And then He’d stay for a little Q&A session where He’d tenderly answer all my questions with deep reassurances.

I guess some people would say that demonstrates my lack of faith. And maybe it does. Or maybe my heart just feels incredibly vulnerable with some decisions I have to make, and I desperately want to get it right.

I love the Lord so much.

I want to honor Him with my life.

But sometimes I feel Him stirring me to do something that’s terrifyingly opposite of what I want to do. Left to my own choosing, I want to take the safe, certain and comfortable route. And then Scriptures march right up to my limited perspective and challenge me to walk a path I’d never choose on my own.

This question forces my eyes to glance toward that path: More than anything else, do you want to follow God and live His message?

Or even more deeply: Do you love Jesus and want Him more than anything else?

It’s this question the resurrected Jesus asked Peter at a crucial crossroads in Peter’s life. And gracious, do I ever relate to Peter.

He’d been following Jesus for years.

Then things got hard, just like Jesus told the disciples they would. Jesus gave them the clear hope to hold onto:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33, NIV). But isn’t it hard when what you see with your physical eyes seems contrary to what you believe in your heart?

Problems beg us to forget God’s promises.

Peter denied Jesus because he feared the cost of following Him.

Then circumstances got really hard. Jesus was crucified and Peter took his eyes off that hard path of continuing in ministry. He went back to what felt safe, certain and comfortable … fishing.

Then Peter got one of those visits from Jesus I wish I could have. Resurrected Jesus appeared in the flesh and could not have made it any clearer what He wanted Peter to ponder. With one question, He ruined Peter’s justifications to stay safe.

“… Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’” (John 21:15).

Do you love me more than these?

We’ve all got our own “these.”

They are anything that make us look away from the less chosen path of following God with everything we’ve got.

So, back to my decision.

Last year, I wanted to quit ministry. Proverbs 31 Ministries had experienced tremendous growth and suddenly I felt enormous pressure that I wasn’t smart enough, capable enough or resourced enough to lead this ministry.

Everything was bigger, which made me feel like everything was scarier.

The staffing needs.

The budget.

The worries.

Gathering up my fears, I presented a strong case to the Lord to give this assignment to someone else and let me quietly slip away. I set my sights on what felt more comfortable and safe and certain.

But Jesus’ question ruined all my quitting plans: “Do you love me more than these … more than your fears … more than your desire to do something easier and less scary?”

So, here I stand, a girl with trembling hands wearing boots dusty from that uncommon path. I stand and proclaim, “Yes, Jesus, I love You more than these. I will live out the charge presented in Your Holy Word to, “Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching,” (2 Timothy 4:2, HCSB).

I realize your struggles and decisions might not look like mine, but whatever they are, my team at Proverbs 31 Ministries and I are committed to meeting you at your point of need with the Truth that points you to God’s best pathway for you.

I’m determined to persevere. But I’m also determined to recognize I can’t do this alone. Will you join us with your prayers and financial support? All donations go right back into the everyday operations and expansion efforts of the ministry.

It’s not easy to ask my friends for financial support but if each of my blog readers gave only $15 we’d meet our year-end goals and be able to do some exciting projects to reach the younger generation through technology next year. Certainly, if you’d like to participate in a bigger way, we’d so appreciate that as well.

I realized if I don’t ask, you won’t know Proverbs 31 Ministries depends on donations to do what we do each day, like:

  • Online Bible Studies
  • Encouragement for Today Devotions
  • Daily Radio Shows
  • Compel Training and She Speaks Conference to equip women in their calling
  • Resources (books, DVDs and audio teachings, etc.)
  • Speaker Team
  • And more!

I need your help and I thank you for letting me ask. Oh, how I wish we could have this conversation over coffee … maybe one day. I would love that. But for now, if you can join us, please click here for more information.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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  1. Melissa Wright

    Lysa, I gasped when I read the subject line of the email. I have been so encouraged through your honesty. I would not want to imagine not having the ebcouragement of you and your ministry team. I am not able to give much, but my prayer is that the Lord moves hearts to give so that so many others can bear fruit through your team. I am having my afternoon coffee while reading this so I suppose it’s almost like having coffee with you. I pray that you will be encouraged and strengthened to continue the life giving, soul saving work that you have been chosen to do. As your sister in Christ, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  2. Yavette Houston

    You’re Awesome! To God Be the Glory!! I’m glad you shared, now I realize that I am not the only one in ministry who has ever thought those same thoughts! God is Good!! Thank you for being transparent and sharing. I’m looking forward to giving towards HIS ministry, thanks for letting us know and asking for help. Be Blessed as You are a Blessing to many, Merry Christmas!
    We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! Without Him we can do nothing.

  3. KimJunker

    I nearly was in tears when I read the subject line. Your devotions have helped and strengthned me many times. Quite often I read your devotion, and it’s like you are speaking right to me in a friendly conversation, just when I need it most. Thank you for being open and honest, that’s true strength. Though this last year has been difficult for you, please realize the blessings you are providing to so many more people. I pray you find strength, wisdom and encouragement daily to help grow your wonderful ministry. Thank you for all your hard work!

  4. Rosie Bachand

    Lyza this is a decision that you talk about being a “good and good” choice. i would miss your ministry (i’m sort of new to it) but when you list the parts that you carry out as above, you can get pretty overwhelmed. is there some “middle ground”? i always believe there’s more than two choices. you might get some more “good” out of that. i always get irritated with my husband when i ask for help and he quotes a verse to me. i want to know what words of my own to say to God. so that’s when i just have to give it up. i always wondered how you managed to do the ministry (huge) writing (huge) family (huge) and yourself (huge) and keep your talk with god (huger). you may need to take a bite of the elephant. i also don’t like it when people i don’t know give me advice. So Sorry.

  5. Sandy

    Gracias por see tan autentica!!! 🙂

  6. Melanie SCR Hilliger

    I have clicked the whole article trying to donate to Proverbs 31 Ministries (this is NOT the first time, either) and the website does not go any further; it is like I am clicking just to click. I just called and left a message concerning the inability to donate – I am sure that I am not the only one TRYING to donate!!! Of course, there is ALWAYS ‘operator error’ to justify; I WANT to donate, PLEASE help me……………

  7. Jan Morikone

    I just read this tonight and thought it fit with what you are going through.

    “To wait patiently, to trust when everything looks dark, is the lesson that the leaders in God’s work need to learn. Heaven will not fail them in their day of adversity. Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on God. . . .

    Trials will come, but go forward. This will strengthen your faith and fit you for service. The records of sacred history are written, not merely that we may read and wonder, but that the same faith which wrought in God’s servants of old may work in us.-Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, pp. 174, 175.

  8. ck

    I understand. Thank you for being transparent. I am not nearly grounded in the Word as you are. My teenagers have not been reared in a home full of God’s Word. I struggle with my failures in light of His teachings on a daily basis. And I want to give up, lock my doors and never emerge from my home, but I don’t. I continue to pray that God will bring Godly friends and mentors into my children’s lives since I am lacking in the area. Especially hard since my daughter is starting college in the fall and I know the temptations she will encounter on a big college campus.
    Although I am unable to donate at this time, I pray for you and your ministry as it helps people like me

  9. lisa cross

    I am soooooo glad you did not quit . I have learned
    So much from you and your experiences in the past
    Year that know God had you write the blogs , provide the devotions and influence of proverbs 31 ministries because he knew I would be at some of the same places this year that you and others have been. It has inspired me and encouraged me so many times when I just wanted to throw in the towel .Thank you for your transparency and honesty and for doing what you do .. You may never know how much it means to me and others but we are cheering you on as I know you are cheering us on also . 😉

  10. Susan

    Soooo circling the drain lately. I’m so grateful for your posts. Just now at 44 trying to link a path with God. It’s tough. I cry, bawl actually at church. But I won’t stop going. It’s strengthening me. It’s so powerful . More powerful than my pain.

  11. Amanda Brandon

    Lysa, thank you for sharing this! I want you to know that your ministry brought me closer to Christ. Your devotions inspired me to start studying the Bible. Your ministry inspired me to start a blog about faith. I’m part of that younger generation (on the older side of it) and so appreciate the resources your ministry provides. I’ll be supporting you this year with a donation as s thank you for helping me see His light.

  12. Charles

    Lysa U no your calling an he is alway’s faithful. If he lead’s you to it he will get you through it. Never doubt, when it come’s you have no ideal how many seed’s you plant or water. God give’s the increase an we grow with the dares. Your work has great inspiration with the women an it lift’s me up to read the teacher’s work for women. Your so real

  13. Karen Brownell

    I’m so glad you didn’t quit, Lysa! I have only recently found you and your encouraging writings. Now, in this season of a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Here, in the middle of chemotherapy treatments, of wondering what lies ahead. I have been so encouraged, and so directed toward the heart of God! Thank you for hearing God to continue, if only so that I could experience hope and peace. God has used your words because they echo His heart. May God richly bless you and meet every need.

  14. Mandy Volpe

    YES! It is hard to do what we are called to, especially when it seems bigger than ourselves or doesn’t make since. I struggle with that doubt all the time so I am glad you blogged about it. Thank you for your authenticity!

  15. Isha

    Thanks so much for writing this honest post Lysa. I read the daily devotional on Proverbs 31 this afternoon and tears came to my eyes, I am not set aside- I am set apart in my community to love and lead a different lifestyle. A lifestyle called to public ministry and over the past few weeks I’ve wanted to quit. It’s not the most convenient thing for a woman in her mid 20s and lives in one of the biggest/ prominent cities in the world but I’m in awe of God. Reading the article above has given me courage and strength, that the mothers of the Faith struggle to step out and so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. God is faithful and sufficient and I thank Him for bringing your ministry into my life in this season. Your posts about your daughters pierce my heart as my mother doesn’t know The Lord Jesus but I’m gleaning wisdom about what a mother who knows The Lord says, does and prays about. Thank you thank you and have a beautiful Christmas!

  16. Lisa Pulliam

    Oh yes, Lysa, I know that feeling of wanting to quit. Sometimes it feels like being a barista at Starbuck’s would be so much easier . . . except I know that burning passion on the inside of my heart, nestled deep within my soul won’t go away even I’m focused on only making a latte. Thanks for the biblical reminders to not quit the calling God puts on our hearts, and to not go forward alone, either. I appreciate you and P31, and I’m off to make my donation now.

  17. J Fay

    Hi Lysa,

    I’m not an eloquent writer. I just know how much the P31 community means to me. My family and friends constantly hear me say, I love those P31 Gals!

    It’s hard to be a girl with a heart to serve. It gets exhausting and messy, yet you always find a way to share a biblical approach that gives hope. I’m praying for your beautiful soul to be refreshed daily.

    Thank you for all that you do and the encouragement you bring. Especially, thank you for your honesty. I don’t know why we feel we can’t ask for help, when really we are surrounded by others who want to love us, support us and stand by us. I struggle with this area. Why do we wait until we’re exhausted and ready to give up?

    I wish I had a better word to express my gratitude. “Thank you” seems like such a little phrase to encompass the joy and encouragement you and your team bring to others.

    You are amazing and I thank you for all that you’ve done and continue to do, wherever God leads you, you are a Blessing to those around you.

  18. Brianne Banning

    Oh Lysa, you spoke again to me today! God has spread my wings in huge ways and there are some days I want to curl them back up. When God shows me some of His grand design in my ministry to children with cancer I freak out and think ‘that is too big for me’! That’s just it…it is too big for me, but not for HIM, the one who sent me on this mission to bring hope to sick children. Thank you for sharing your feeling and now I know I am not alone.

  19. Sunny Cain

    Although I am late to reading this, I can so relate to wanting to quit. I have been in a season like that myself; chasing hard after God’s purposes and the calling He placed on my life, and yet feeling stuck even though I’ve been faithful. All that has me wanting to quit…(I’m a female pastor on staff at a great church in NV, and also chasing after a dream God planted in my heart.). I am taking it day by day and moment by moment, but goodness sakes, sometimes quitting seems easier..and it probably is. Quitting is Easy, carrying out our destiny is uncomfortable, painful, and sometimes overwhelming. Easy is not Best:). I realize you know that, but sometimes the reminder is worth it. God delights in you Lysa! He doesn’t just love you, He delights in you! Psalm 18 guarantees it! Blessings to you and your team. Praying for favor, an enlarged territory, and that your heart would continue to stay in a posture of obedience, as He strengthens you in the moments you want to throw in the towel.

  20. missy

    Thank you so much for your ministry!! This was an inspirational read for me personally. I have recently started a blog after following my heart. It is completely out of my comfort zone, but I’m hoping to bless others, my family and myself along the way. It is women like you who inspire us to follow our hearts, even when our brain says no!!!!!

  21. Charles Crutcher

    Lysa, thank you for your words. I’m not sure you will ever read this, but I do think you do some amazing things for God because you love him. That shines through.

    If you would say a prayer for me, I started writing in 2010 because God asked me to. I’m very discouraged. While I do this because God asked me to, I admit that I get discouraged because our readership doesn’t grow, and only a handful of people ever even comment on the anything me and others write on our group site (there are other bloggers on the site as well).

    I guess I’m wondering if I should be doing this anymore. I heard you went through some serious resistance to even be where you are today, so I thought maybe you could say a prayer for me? I’m either writing for God for my own benefit (to work out some of my own issues), or I’m spinning my wheels, because we have now been at it for 3 years and it just hasn’t happened.

    I guess I wonder if this is the end for me. Maybe my writing isn’t very inspiring or hitting the readers. I know if we are trusted in the little things God will give us more. I know I’m not supposed to just do this for man, but it would be like a painter whose work never sees the light of day in order for others to see it. When we create, we hope others will see its beauty, or leave inspired to create on their own, maybe influence them to bring something good into the world. In the past 5 years, I have blogged and even finished a first book which seems it will never see the light of day.

    Again, thank you for your words that inspire and for following where God leads you. And thank you for any prayers you can send my way. I’m just very discouraged.


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