Last week I sent an email out to the CandidBelle community about not giving up. I woke up that morning and knew that was the message I needed to share. God placed it in my heart and I knew at least one person on my email list needed to receive that message that day. I was right.

After I sent the email, I received several emails from women–some I know and some I don’t–all thanking me for sending the email out, saying it was timely and exactly what they needed to hear. Their sentiments warmed my heart.

What Prompted the Email

I had big plans when the year started. I spent December planning for the new year, imagining all the great things that would happen. But when the clock struck midnight and January started, I realized that the challenges I faced in 2014 didn’t just disappear. As a matter of fact, a few new problems had the nerve to pop up –LOL. This thing called life sure is funny.

I’d love to tell you that I just took it all in, processed it and immediately made the best out of things, but that would be a lie and I am not about lying to my readers. The truth is I struggled. I experienced quite a few moments where I felt defeated and discouraged. So I did what any normal girl does when that happens. I started to consider the idea of giving up. I was mad at myself for even going there, but I am human.

Why I Didn’t Give Up

So why am I still here–still standing? Well, it’s actually rather simple. I came to my senses. Through reflection, prayer, rest, and conversations with the people I love most, I realized that giving up was some straight BS and it just could not be an option for me.

Whenever I am faced with any tough decision and I can’t decide which option is best, I ask myself one very important question: “Which of these options am I most likely to regret?” I hate the mere thought of regretting anything, so that simple question usually helps me make decisions with ease, even if the other option scares the sh*t out of me.

Should You Give Up Sometimes?

Not everything is worth holding on to, so you have to be able to have that real conversation with yourself. I think there are cases in life when you should just give up and walk away–like a crappy ass job, an abusive (mentally, emotionally or physically) partner, or any other situation that simply doesn’t add value to your life–immediate or long-term.

But when what you are pursuing is something that feeds your soul and makes you feel good even when it’s incredibly hard–well, I think those are the things worth holding on to. I think those are the things you may regret giving up. Even if the rewards aren’t immediate, only you can determine if the long-term rewards are worth the blood, sweat and tears you have to shed to get there. As far as I see it, giving up should only be an option when holding on hurts you and others.

Why Holding On is Important

If you don’t mind, let me share a pretty personal story. Recently I have been spending a lot of time cleaning and packing up my mom’s apartment because managing her health has become rather complicated and she needed to move into an assisted living facility. While cleaning I discovered a card indicating that my mom was once a member of some sort of national association related to film and animation. Another day I was digging through a box and I discovered a certificate indicating that my mom was licensed as a nursing assistant.

Finding those documents reminded me how quickly life passes by and how easy it is to begin pursuing a dream and then walk away because life just gets in the way. I am not certain what my mom’s biggest dream was, but I know that it certainly had nothing to do with her cleaning hotel rooms, which is what she ended up doing to provide for us and make sure we went to college. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother for every single sacrifice and I am eternally grateful for all of it–but I will always wonder if there could have been a way for her to do right by us without giving up on other things that mattered to her.

During conversations with her, I know that she feels like she gave up a lot, because pursuing everything while being a great mom often felt like too much. I respect her so much for that, but I also wish she had someone whispering in her ear, encouraging her to keep pushing because although doing so much would have been painfully hard, the reward would have been worth it.

How to Hold On

If you find yourself living on the corner of defeated and discouraged, and giving up actually seems like it may give you some peace of mind, promise me that you will do a few things before you walk away from your dream.

  • Be still. Meditation and prayer can help you block out all the noise in the world so you can determine what really lies in your heart.
  • Talk to the people you love. You don’t have to share it with everyone, but pick a few key people who understand the challenges you face and share your thoughts about possibly giving up. Their insight may encourage you to look at things differently.
  • Ask yourself the tough question. Will you regret it if you give up? If the answer is yes, please don’t. Stay the course and know that even in the darkest moments of your journey, you are still growing. And, like Oprah reminded me a few months ago in Washington, DC, no matter how dark it gets, the sun will always rise.

I hope this post serves you well, and if doesn’t speak to where you are in your life, take a moment to think about if someone else in your life might benefit from it. If you think that’s possible, please share.

Be blessed and encouraged.