You Have My Permission

Two things you need to know about me before I start telling you this story: 1 – I am gullible. 2 – I follow through with my commitments. Some may say that I am loyal to a fault.

Last week, my family visited the happiest place on earth! (Not the place with the oversized mouse.) We spent the week at OBX (The Outer Banks). I’m always amazed at how many people have never heard of this beautiful place. You may remember it from all of those Nicholas Sparks love stories. When I close my eyes, I can hear the salty waves, see the spacious beaches, and feel the warm sunshine.

I know some prefer Destin, Daytona, or Myrtle, but OBX has always been my favorite. We find a house right on the beach, where we can sip our coffee in our PJs from our deck. We can watch the dolphins and the sunrise. And the beach is never crowded! Seriously, we were there over a major beach-going holiday, and because we had a house, our backyard extended all the way to the ocean. It was practically a private beach!

My favorite things to do on the beach include reading, journaling, and watercolor painting. (Big shocker, right?!) I probably pack more books and journals than I do clothes.

On the drive to the beach, I finished reading a book that was only a 3-star rating in my opinion, so I couldn’t wait to plop down on the sand and pull out a new one that might be a 4- or 5-star.

As I started reading, chapter 1 sucked me in! This was it! A good read! How could it not be? I found this book in the Christian nonfiction section. The forward was by an author I respect. I got it on sale! And just look at that ocean view!

Chapter 2 quoted some of my favorite scripture, but something wasn’t sitting right as I read. (Here’s where my loyalty issues come in.) I was already committed to reading this book. I bought this book. I was invested! How could I stop reading after chapter 2?

On to chapter 3! As I was reading chapter 3, I found my gullible self believing some of the words I was reading. Basically, the chapter was all about “following your heart.”

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV)

I know better! After all, I wrote Work, Identity, and Joy and Beee Yourself…or Maybe Not. But, I couldn’t stop reading. I was too invested, right?!

Dear friend, let me tell you what I need people to tell me sometimes. It’s OK to quit.

I don’t know why I need permission sometimes to quit things, even when I know they are not good. I have a dear friend who was struggling with quitting a practice she had with her family. As she was telling me all the reasons she didn’t want to continue, I remember telling her it was OK to quit. Side note: I had no investment or connection, so it was easy for me to say the words, “It’s OK to stop.” It has been interesting how my simple words gave her the freedom she needed to let go. She still gives me “credit” for giving her permission to quit, which always makes me smile.

Maybe this is a good place to pause and ask yourself, “What do I need to quit?”

I’ve been doing a chronological read of the Bible this year. (If you are interested, you can join me here.) As I’m getting through the kings right now, I’m finding that their failure seems to revolve around pride and idols. Every time a king almost had the makings of a “good” king, he stumbled as he failed to quit worshipping the idols and baals. With the pressure of those around them and a healthy dose of pride, quitting was impossible. Their inability to quit didn’t just impact their own relationship with the Lord, but all of God’s chosen people.

Shew! That’s heavy!

But, it’s also got me thinking. Is my “loyalty” just a form of pride? Am I really any different than some of those kings? I started this story with struggling to quit reading a simple book, but are there other things I need to quit? Sounds like I need to spend some time in my journal and praying.
For now, I did close that book after chapter 3. The old Sunday school song “Be careful little eyes what you see” was running through my head, and I just couldn’t keep reading and letting those non-truths seep into my thinking.
So what did I do on the beach? Watercolor, of course!

Let’s journal:

  • Are there things you know you need to quit?
  • Name them.
  • Why are you struggling to quit? If it’s pride, spend some time confessing.
  • Take your thoughts and feelings to the Lord in prayer.


SAKURA Koi Pocket Field Watercolor Kit

Linden Art Watercolor Journal (This journal is slightly different from the one shown, but has similar size/paper.)





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