What to Do When You Feel Like Giving Up

You know those red “Break Glass In Case of Emergency” boxes you see in movie theaters or office buildings? That box is there as a last resort if you can’t handle the emergency yourself and need a way out. 

Some of us in ministry are staring down that figurative “red emergency box” right now, wondering if it’s time to call it quits and give up.

You need out.

You want to break the glass.

We understand—being a pastor can be challenging.

There’s pressure.

Pressure to grow your church. To be the model spouse and perfect parent. To know all the answers and do all the things.

There’s frustration.

Frustration when families only come to church once a month. When people lack a desire to read God’s Word. When Christians care more about themselves than the world God has called them to love.

Don’t Break the Glass

But before you break the glass, let’s take a look at scripture. Specifically, 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your work is never in vain if it is in the Lord.

Let’s back up a few verses. Before we get to verse 58, Paul describes what will happen to our bodies when we die: death will be swallowed up and Jesus will have ultimate victory. He wins. And through Jesus, we win.

That’s when Paul continues his thoughts in verse 58 with “therefore.” Therefore, because of the victory Jesus has already won, we are to be steadfast and immovable in our work.

Even though we face pressures. Even though we are frustrated. We don’t break the glass. We don’t give up.

Why? Because our future victory outweighs our current emergency.

Even though we don’t always see fruit, trust that your work is never in vain if it is in the Lord.

If God has called you to lead a church or team, stay planted and run the race He’s laid out for you.

5 Ways to Avoid Breaking the Glass

Turn a panicked desire to break the glass into a chance to grow and thrive:

  1. Talk about it. Find someone you trust and have an honest conversation with him or her. If you don’t have a trusted friend or mentor to process with, consider a professional counselor. The bottom line: don’t make the decision to quit in isolation. Things always look harder when we look at them alone. Bring people alongside you to help you decide your next steps.
  2. Reflect and pray. Often times, our compulsion to quit stems from insecurity or an issue we’re facing. Take time to identify the root cause of your feeling to throw in the towel, and go to God in prayer. Ask Him for direction and clarity. Ask Him to heal the places where you feel deficient.
  3. Memorize God’s Word. Find a verse that focuses on persevering and commit it to memory. Acts 20:24, 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, Galatians 6:9, Hebrews 12:1, and James 1:2-4 are great options.
  4. Take a break. Vacation alone will not solve this issue. But, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, a break will give you some time to clear your head and your emotions while you put together a long-term plan to avoid burnout and stay in the game.
  5. Bring in reinforcements. Many leaders hit the point of tapping out because they’re trying to handle too much. Look at what you personally handle and ask yourself what you can give away to other team members or empower a volunteer to do.

And always remember: the Open Network is a place where you can grow stronger as a leader, so if we can help with sermon prep, kids lessons, or any other free resource—we’re here for you.

What you do matters in this life and beyond. Stay the course, run your race, and don’t break the glass!

FOMO is real, so don’t take chances.

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