This is one of those rhetorical question posts where I can’t give you an answer because I don’t know it myself.
How do you know when to give up on something and when to keep trying? If something doesn’t happen is it because God didn’t want it to?
I feel like in life there are certain situations where we tell people they need to keep going after something if they want it. We never tell someone to stop going after a job if they keep getting rejected from it. We may tell them to try for a different position or go a completely different route in attaining it. But as a whole, we never tell someone after they get passed over for a job that they are just meant to be jobless forever.
Then there are other times when it feels like the world is against you every time you try to do something so you feel like you need to give up and people seem to reconfirm those thoughts. They’ll tell you it just wasn’t meant to be or that if it was supposed to have happened it would have happened. That you should just give up and stop trying and accept things. (And for some reason, Christians will throw this around all the time with being single. Stop with the “gift of singleness”. Just stop.)
I’m sure there’s some logical explanation for this if I dig hard enough, which I’m not. It just sometimes feels confusing about when you need to just accept that things weren’t meant to be and when you shouldn’t.
I’m even talking about small things. Sometimes I wonder, if I missed a turn while driving even if I was paying very close attention, did I miss it for a reason?
Ok here’s a better example: One morning on my way to work I decided I needed coffee in order to make it through the day. There is only one Starbucks that’s directly on the way (meaning I don’t have to turn onto any side streets) so since I have a Starbucks card I decided to head there. Traffic was awful and I nearly missed the turn. That was sign number one. I finally get into the parking lot only to find out that there wasn’t a single space open in the entire lot. I circled three times and no one was getting out. Sign number two. Not wanting to be late for work, I finally resigned that I wasn’t going to be getting coffee that day and was already starting to feel grumpy. I turn back out and start heading to work. As I continue driving, I remember that there was a Dunkin Donuts also on the way and even though this meant I’d have to pay actual money, it’d be worth it this one time. I suddenly realize that I’m running short on time to get to work and it’s going to have to be a quick and snappy in and out of DD. I pull into the parking lot and am able to grab the last parking spot. Just as I’m heading out the car I realize the horrible truth (aka sign number three): I forgot my wallet and I don’t have any cash on me. Plus there’s the fact that my license is in my wallet so now I just screwed myself over because I was going to leave to go out of town right after work and I can’t do that now. Needless to say, I did not get my coffee that day.
Did this mean I wasn’t meant to get coffee that day? After three tries, I kept trying to go after it and it just didn’t work out. So I gave up. This did not mean that coffee was evil. I was able to get coffee the following week with no mishaps. Perhaps had I actually gotten the coffee that day, I might have died somehow. (Don’t ask, I have a very active imagination.) Though I have to admit, if I hadn’t tried to get coffee that morning, I may not have discovered that my wallet was missing until right as I got out of work (luckily I was able to go during my lunch break to retrieve it. Driving very slowly I might add) and that would have horrible trying to go back to retrieve it.
So there you go. God just did not want me to get coffee that day. No matter how much I tried to fight it, it wasn’t going to happen. During that whole process, I did discover something else that eventually helped me out in a way I wasn’t expecting.
I guess that’s just how life is. You want something. You keep trying for something. It’s not going to happen. But in the long run, you discover other things that you didn’t realize you needed.