5 Questions to Ask Before You Quit

I was a junior at the University of North Texas when I decided to quit. quit.jpg

I was tired of school. I was working late nights at United Parcel Service. I went to bed each evening about 2:00 am and then got up in time for my 8:00 am class the next morning. My grades were not good and I was exhausted. I decided I was going to quit college. I thought about some people I knew who were not college graduates and yet seemed to be doing well.

One day, I skipped classes and drove to Dallas, determined to find something else to do with my life. First, I interviewed at a school that trained radio announcers. The interviewer told me how difficult it was to break into a major market like the Dallas-Fort Worth area. (I think I had in mind replacing my favorite announcer on the Dallas station I listened to!)

Next, I interviewed with the Dallas Police Department. My interviewer was a Dallas police sergeant. He was African-American, in his late 50s, much gray hair, and was smoking a pipe. He asked me about college. I told him that I was a junior at North Texas and that I was going to quit. He looked at me in this fatherly way and said, “Son, why don’t you just finish school. Then if you are still interested, come back and see me.”

His words were important. I decided to stay in school. I am grateful for this very wise police sergeant.

Through the years, I’ve tried to handle my uncertainties, my frustrations, and my need for direction in a much different manner. I have sought the counsel of people who have helped me think through various decisions. I am grateful for those who have shared their wisdom.

Before you quit your ministry, your job, or even your marriage, consider the following:

1. Have I sought and received the counsel of wise and godly people?

2. Does this decision have to be made today?

3. Does quitting really solve a significant problem? In other words, does this action solve a problem (it may) or will it actually serve to create new problems?

4. Have I talked through my possible action with those who will be directly affected? In other words, have I talked with those who will be directly impacted by my decision?

5. Have I spent sufficient time in prayer regarding this decision? Did I decide and then ask God to bless my decision or did I seek God’s wisdom first?



What has been helpful to you in making a decision that involved quitting? Is there a particular question you have found to be valuable in the process?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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9 thoughts on “5 Questions to Ask Before You Quit

  1. These are very good questions, Jim. This one is certainly implied in all five, but it might not hurt to ask it directly: What is my plan? – and then applying all five questions to that one. I know from experience that quitting without a plan, expecting spouse or parents or whomever to take up your slack, is not a good plan.

  2. I’ve been in the position of “quitting” and having others “quit” on me. Of the two, “quitting” is definitely more about walking away from more than a ministry, a job or a relationship. Retrospection on those choices has always revealed there was something about self that I didn’t want to acknowledge or deal with or let God transform.

    But God is in the transforming business and one thing you have to take with you when you quit is yourself. The question about that is when you are going to face yourself and yield to the transforming work God can do in about any place, any time and any relationship. One can truly have peace, joy and love in the midst of any human experiences.

    By the way, your questions are good ones and I really didn’t examine these very carefully until the current season of my life. Thanks for sharing them.

    The employment I have now is not my perfect preference, but it’s a “pretty good fit” for my talents and calling. It’s also a great place to continue Christian character formation with both an adequate environment of support and a set of personal frustrations that challenge me to choose the Christ way in the midst of them.

    However, the same could have been just as true in numerous other seasons and settings of life. It took me a quite a few years to understand this, so it sure helps for a person to be humble and patient. Most of the time, I think quitting is a reaction from impatience with God’s timetable and ways rather than hopelessness.

    • Dean, I’m glad you left your comment. Sounds like you have experience with this one. I like what you said in your first paragraph regarding this being more about something going on with the self or in one’s relationship with God.