Geri spent fourteen years pondering the eight I Quits. Then we spent almost two years writing the book, excavating the biblical foundations and complexity of the material. We spent quite a bit of time reflecting on our journeys with these truths, looking at how they have become so intricately interwoven with our walks with Christ. This past week (Jan. 9, 2011) we began an 8 week sermon series at New Life to expand on these truths.We see I Quit as only an introduction to something much larger and far-reaching — on all levels (for leaders, pastors, communities,parents, singles, marriages, etc). They are essential if we are going to truly lead our churches to become life-transforming communities for Christ. The problem is so vast that there is no other way. Enjoy this recently published article from the Washington Post.
“I quit!” I told my husband. “I’m leaving our church. This no longer brings me life. It brings me death.” And my husband was the pastor! Those words launched me into a journey of profound spirituality that I refused to continue living, pretending everything was “fine.” It happened on January 2nd on year, and was actually much more than a New Year’s resolution (e.g. “I will go to the gym three times a week” or “I will take a class at a community college”). Something broke inside me when I finally said, “No more.” It was a determination to quit those things that were damaging to my soul, freeing me up to choose ways of being that were authentic and rooted in love. Not only would I be changed, but my marriage, family and community also transformed in unimaginable ways. That one decision has evolved over the years into eight “I Quit” resolutions, which I’m urging others to consider as a far more expansive and life-changing resolution for the 2011 New Year: 1. I will quit being afraid of what others think. I will not say “yes” when I really want to say “no” because I’m afraid someone will be angry, sad or disappointed. I will speak up when I disagree or prefer something different, no longer ignoring my own values. Who I am “on stage” before others will be the same person I am “off stage” when I am by myself. 2. I will quit lying. I will become brutally honest with myself, especially with my own thoughts and feelings. I will declare my truth to others, not fearing what they think. That truth can be as simple as “I don’t want to eat at that restaurant,” or as difficult as, “I was hurt by your comment.” Speaking the truth respectfully and clearly is one of the most significant ways I can respect myself and others. 3. I will quit dying to the wrong things. I will not put things most important, like self-care, at the mercy of things least important, like always putting others before myself. I will actively pursue a day of rest and I will no longer set aside activities or relationships that cause my soul to feel fully alive (e.g. music, dance, art, the outdoors, travel). 4. I will quit denying sadness, anger and fear. Many of us live inhuman lives because we believe inhuman rules like “Don’t be sad”, “It’s bad to be angry”, or “You’re weak if you’re afraid.” I will allow myself to feel all these feelings, treating them as “guests” sent to teach me something. I will neither put them in the driver’s seat and let them control me, nor will I ignore them by stuffing them in the trunk. 5. I will quit blaming. As a human being made in God’s image, I recognize that no one is responsible for my life and happiness but me. I will take responsibility to choose my own life and help others do the same. I can’t change others, but I can change myself. 6. I will quit overfunctioning. I will quit doing for others what they can and should do for themselves. I will stop perpetuating their immaturity or my false sense of indispensability, seeking courage and wisdom in doing so. 7. I will quit faulty thinking. I will not assume I know what others are thinking without checking it out with them. I won’t jump to negative interpretations without having all the data. And I will not believe the falsehood that things will never change. 8. I will quit living someone else’s life. I will embrace the unique life God has given me, paying attention to my very personal rhythms for waking, sleeping, playing and working. I will set appropriate boundaries around everything that breathes, letting go of other people’s agenda for my life. And I will follow what is important to me. May you be courageous this new year to live divided no more, discovering the Spirit’s power that yearns to break into your life and birth that which is good, true and beautiful. Remember, if you don’t embrace your one, unrepeatable life, it won’t get lived. Geri Scazzero is the author of the recently released I Quit: Stop Pretending Everything is Fine and Change Your Life (Zondervan, 2010). She lives in Queens, New York City.