On Giving Up, Not Giving In

This morning

I stepped out of my comfortable bed and into a hot shower.

Ate my breakfast. Drank some coffee. Fed the cats.

All fine. Then

I went upstairs. And in my brain a switch flicked.

I started thinking about the things I needed to do.

This week.  This month. Christmas.  Next year.  The year after. The thoughts gathered speed, tumbling and spilling beyond my reach.


And yet – not enough. After all, I need things to do.  Fill the time.  Make it – make me – count.

A scheduling problem: that’s all.  So fix it.

I started again. In my mind, I made lists.  I tidied, sorted, straightened, cleaned. Order, order, order. That’s better.

I sat down. Stood up. Opened the wardrobe.  Closed it again.

The day ahead roared and I shrank from its teeth.

Think of the lists.

I stood up.

Got dressed –

and got dressed –

and got dressed.

Each outfit worse than the last.

The problem, I realised, was how I looked.  Ugly. Pick the right jumper. That’ll fix you.

Stick to the lists.

But instead of hemming me in, they unravelled me.

And the more I tried to take control, the more frenzied I became.

Self-sufficiency and busyness;  fuss and self-reliance…I’m finished before I’ve even begun.


Before the lists. Before the wardrobe.  Before the planning and the emails and the missed calls.

In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength (Isaiah 30:15).


Now the day begins.




6 thoughts on “On Giving Up, Not Giving In

  1. Great post. My mind is so often racing just like you describe and I’m really trying to find that place of calm just to ‘be’ with God for a few minutes before tackling the pile of jobs before me. Today’s snatched moment happened after I’d dropped the kids at school and had another difficult encounter with a parent who doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge that her child is actually seriously upsetting mine by the way she’s trying to control her. So then I found my mind racing about that – and struggling to know what to do. I too found a scripture in Isaiah that quietened my soul – I love the way you’ve just put it out there to speak for itself. Works powerfully!

  2. This is really interesting Emma. I find myself usually much more in trouble when I don’t do anything. I remember many times the story of David who fell in sin when he stayed comfortable at home. I get emotionally tired quicly and I need often private time to recover. But I found often in my life that working hard helped me through in very difficult moments. When I was ready to give up thinking it doesn’t worth going the next mile, getting up against every desire changed my attitude. So, the work therapy helped me. But maybe my mentality is different, coming from a country where nobody will get benefit for depression. My thoughts are not against what you wrote, I just wanted to share my experiences. xx

  3. thanks paul – i have written the verse down that you quoted – see you at mount pleasant baptist church on saturday

  4. Claire that sounds like a monster of a day: hope today is a little calmer. Thanks for pointing me back to Isaiah: even better than coffee and cornflakes!

  5. Hi Kinga: that’s a brilliant point. ‘Repentance’ or ‘heart change’ looks different for all of us I think: which means it can’t be systematised. For me (at the minute), it’s about stopping and giving up control- but for someone else (or me at another time) it might be the very opposite. As you’ve highlighted, there are cultural differences too: and a danger of lying down under thoughts that need to be fought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *