Is God Telling Me To Quit?

This is a very common question that is asked by people who either have received injuries or have stressful circumstances occurring, especially on a steady basis.  Then, they begin to doubt their vocation or calling in life.  We have all faced this from time to time when things are not going according to our plans.  People will often say:  " I guess that God is telling me to quit barrel racing."  

I am often asked to pray with this person or to pray for them.  My first question to them is always…."How much time have you spent in prayer seeking the answers?"  Most of the time, their answer is:  "none." 

Lets look at some of the ways that God leads and directs our lives.  I hope that this will clear up some of your questions.  These are some no-brainers, because they are clearly spelled out to us in the Bible.  When our mind is enlightened and our heart surrendered, the way becomes very clear.  Even in times of change, there will still be a recognizable peace that comes only from God.  God is not a Father who whacks us over the head and then says, "Figure out what that was for!"   He is a loving Father who desires only one thing from us and that for us to become like His son.  He will use anything that comes into our lives to transform us into the image of Christ.  He will NOT cause things to happen to us, but He will use them to our good.

When  I first accepted Christ,  I wondered what I was supposed to do to serve Him.  I went to a very wise pastor who showed me a passage from Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. (BIBLE)                    1 Corinthians 7 gives us clear instructions.  Read the whole chapter and get the whole context of what Paul is saying.  Verse 20 states:  "Usually a person should keep on with the work he was doing when God called him."   Paul sums it up in verse 24 saying:  "So, whatever situation a person is in when he becomes a Christian, let him stay there, for now the Lord is there to help him."     Do not struggle with the issue of changing vocations unless you are in an immoral situation.  If God wants you to change, you will receive a calling that is hard to miss. 

When the way gets difficult and you become confused, ask for wisdom.  James chapter one is where you will find these instructions.  Verse 2-8 states: Is your life full of difficulties and temptations?  Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, and don't try to squirm out of your problems.  For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.  If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him.  But, when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is tossed about by the wind and every decision you then make will be uncertain as you turn first this way, and then that.  If you don't ask with faith that he will answer, don't expect the Lord to give you any solid answer. 

Lets look at a conditional promise that has a prerequisite action required of us to know the will of God for our lives.   Romans 12 1-2 tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice which means we make a conscious decision to live a holy, dedicated and well pleasing life and be in reasonable service and spiritual worship.  Then it gives us a warning that we should not be conformed to the world and its superficial customs, but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds and receive new ideals and new attitudes so that we may know what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God for you.    God's job is to transform us, but our job is to read His Word and put it into application in our lives.  As we strive to do this, His will for our lives becomes clear. However, many people want to know His will apart from the prerequisites, and blame God for everything that happens.   

A Christian has the leading of the Holy Spirit to guide them.  However, if we choose to live a life that is not sexually moral, then that leading is clouded.  1 Thessalonians 4 tells us the hard facts of sexual immorality.  This is something being ignored by many of our young and old alike in this day.  It states: "Now we beg you - yes, we demand of you in the name of the Lord Jesus - that you live more and more closely to the ideal.  For God wants you to be holy and pure, and to keep clear of all sexual sin so that each of you will marry in holiness and honor - not in lustful passion as the heathen do, in their ignorance of God and his ways."  Verse 8 states: "If anyone refuses to live by these rules he is not disobeying the rules of men but of God who gave his Holy Spirit to you."

How can we hear the will of God for our lives when we choose to live apart from His instructions?  The answer is that we cannot live a life of disobedience and expect to hear the leading of the Holy Spirit.

God never leads you contrary to His Word.  I have people tell me that God led them to a Psychic or that God led them to a the perfect man and then tell me that the man was already married.   It is so important that you know what the Basic Instructions are.  You cannot build your life upon principles that you do not know.  To know the ways of God, we must read His Word, pray and learn to listen quietly, fellowship with His people and allow yourself to be transformed.

When I was going through two shoulder surgeries in three years, I had ample opportunities to wonder if God was telling me it was time to quit.  On the last procedure, I had 8 hours a day in a mechanical therapy chair to think and pray and listen.  I used the re-coop time after the first surgery to write a book.  During the down time after the second procedure I had time to start a web site.

It was a time to examine the desires of my heart.  Did I still want to barrel race?  God tells us that if we delight ourselves in Him that He will give us the desires of our heart.  (Psalms 37:4)  I still had a great desire to train young horses and teach people.  Since I still had that desire, the motivation was there to go through the pain of therapy required  to get back where I could do those two things. 

Ask yourself if the desire to get back where you want to be is strong enough to override the pain of getting there.   If the desire is no longer there, then you need to take a look at that and I bet that you will feel another desire rising in you.  Remember that when a door shuts, another one always opens.  Perhaps there is something else that you would enjoy doing that would be used by God to bless the lives of others.  Leave no room in your life for bitterness and self-pity.  They will only drag you down.  You will not be a blessing to yourself or to anyone else. 

God leads us in many ways.  The better you get to know Him, the clearer it will become to you.  If you feel that you have not been aware of or attentive to His instructions or that you have been living openly in sin, all you have to do is repent, turn, and start now to be obedient.  God's nature is to instantly forgive us, wash us clean and help us live our lives for Him. 

There is a time in every life when we will hang up our saddles and go on to other things.  God's grace will prepare each of us for that time and I feel that we will know when that time is.  It won't be the same for any two of us.  God works with each of individually.  I am so thankful for His grace. 

(Click pictures to enlarge)

Sonny and Johnny Suttle 2001

Sonny Suttle and Waves 2001

I want to take this opportunity to Congratulate Sonny Suttle on winning his first saddle at age 78! I hope my readers will be encouraged by Sonny's story.

Sonny has been a horseman all his life. At age 5, he had a rodeo act. By age 15, he was a jockey and a calf roper. He has trained and ridden some fine horses for many years. He hauled his children to shows and rodeos. Both of his children grew up to be successful horse folks too!

I have known Sonny and Johnny since about 1965. I asked them to share their story on my web site because I am always getting questions from people wondering at what age they should wind their barrel racing careers down.

Sonny has lived in Oklahoma all his life. He has lived in Duncan for over 40 years on the same property. Johnny had a bout with cancer and came back to Duncan to be with his mother and father. Johnny breaks and trains racing colts and after he became healthy again, they had horses coming in and out again. They acquired Able Native alias "Jimmy Wayne" and Sonny began riding him while Johnny was training the race colts. They didn't have any barrels, but there were some round bales upright and Sonny started to play with Jimmy Wayne turning around the round hay bales. They both tell me that they did not premeditate the plan to get into the barrel racing industry. Sonny just started having fun with the horse and decided to start entering some races. They learned as they went.

The next thing Sonny did was to lose 40 pounds. He got himself fit along with the horse. They started having success at the barrel races. They went to races at distances where could be home each night by 11:00 or so. The farthest barrel race they entered was Ft. Smith. It wasn't long before Jimmy Wayne caught the eye of Jo Lynn Alexander from Morana, Arizona and they purchased him. That is not the end of this story. Sonny and Johnny were at work training their next two horses. By the beginning of 2001, Sonny was competing on two new horses: Waves by Special Leader and an Easy Jet mare, and Sixth Vision by Streakin Six. He rode these two horses to become the 2-D champion of the Central 4-D barrel races.

Not bad for a guy who began his barrel racing career at age 73. Congratulations Sonny! Congratulations Johnny. It is a blessing to watch you two. Sonny used to haul Johnny around, and now the tables are turned and Johnny hauls Sonny. Keep on having fun and being an encouragement to all!

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Last modified: January 05, 2014