By Travis Turner
This is my favorite quote of all time from Winston Churchill. It is said that this was the entirety of a speech given at a graduation ceremony. Whether or not this speech actually happened is irrelevant. The content is to be absorbed and used as fuel for our perseverance. Giving up should never be an option.
I remember the night I found out that I was a quitter. Carol and I had a serious disagreement over something small, as per usual. Things would get heated between us, I would try to correct her thinking, and she would attempt to expose my ever growing anger. In those days I did not last long in these encounters, and this night was no different. In my frustration, I changed into gym clothes, took a basketball and headed to the nearby park to relieve my tension. This had become a consistent habit of mine. I would flee the house and get to the basketball court and dare anyone to guard me. I was no great player, just an angry man wanting to get physical and hope someone would fight me.
After a couple of sweaty games, my team had lost and we were sitting out waiting for another turn. As I sat there, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me “You are such a quitter”. I shot back with indignation “No, I am not, I have never quit in my life. I played my entire senior year of college with a torn ACL and a herniated disk in my back, I never quit. I spent three years on the scout team, I never quit. I almost flunked out of school, I never quit. My body hurts so badly right now, yet I continue to play. You would have to stab me to death to get me off this court. What do you mean, I’m a quitter?” The Holy Spirit said back to me “You quit on Carol. You ALWAYS quit on her. You can last three hours on the basketball court, but you can’t last 10 minutes where it matters.” I sat there is stunned silence; tears started to roll down my face, my teammates must have thought I had lost my mind. I grabbed my ball and headed home. This encounter would forever change my perspective.
I wish I could tell you that I have not struggled with quitting since. In reality, it just changed my focus. The same dogged determination that made me a successful athlete could be used to help me resolve conflicts at home.