Jon Acuff’s “Quitter” is a must-read. My favorite chapter centered around what Acuff calls “hinge moments.” These are the times in life “when you are planning to do something standard and normal, something you’ve done many times before, like turn a key in the ignition. And then seemingly out of nowhere, something, a small detail usually, hinges you in a different direction” (541).
Acuff shares a list of helpful questions to ask during such moments:
* What do I love enough to do for free?
* What do I do that causes time to feel different?
* What do I enjoy doing regardless of the opinions of other people?
* If only your life changed, would that be enough?
* Are there any patterns in the things you like doing? (603-604).
He also draws an interestingly sharp contrast between the stories of Cinderella and King David. He writes, “It’s a sweet story, but it’s also incredibly quick and and easy. Cinderella may have spent years laboring under an evil stepmother, but after her hinge moment, things happen for her almost instantly” (1484).
Was that the case for another such underdog? The Bible reads, “When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’ Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.’ And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.’ And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him, for this is he.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah” (1 Samuel 16:6-13, ESV).
He went back to Ramah? Acuff suggests, “Regardless of being anointed as the king, he immediately returned to the solitary life of sheep and big skies and big dreams, with oil on his head but a simple staff in his hand. It would be years before he’d ascend to the throne. He didn’t hit main stage right away” (1498).
Are we willing to wait? Are we willing to work?
I remember a conversation that I had recently with my lead pastor, David Brakke, about true success. He encouraged me to define success on every venture that I take. He advised me to make sure that my idea of “success” is more about obedience and less about expectation.
This was a timely read indeed.