Are You a Chew Toy?


It requires no effort to look at the broken mess of your latest attempts and to decide that you are a loser. It requires no skill, takes no strength, and uses no calories to lie flat on your back and say, “to hell with it.” Walking away, throwing in the towel, deciding that it’s no longer worth it is the simplest thing. Admitting that it was a stupid idea, taking all your marbles, and trudging off home is always the least you can do. Discouragement is the chew toy level on the game of life.

But how do you know when you should just give up? How do you know you’re not being a fool to keep on in a task that everyone knows is hopeless? Why continue the heartache? Why beat yourself bloody? You know it can’t be done, so why keep on?


As an author, these are the thoughts you will have to face regularly. Of course, they are the thoughts that are common to humanity—that everyone has to ask themselves. The student struggling to keep up in class, the new recruit in boot camp, the young woman struggling to learn a new dance step, the athlete trying to improve his time, the pitcher struggling to get his curve ball to work, the accountant pulling his hair out trying to find the discrepancy, the law student taking the BAR once again, the actor still waiting tables, waiting for another audition, the unemployed pounding the pavement and getting pounded for another fifteen weeks. Every day, we face the spot between the rock and the hard place and every day we have to decide: is it worth it?

As you consider the question, just remember always: the easy choice is to give up.

Is easy what you really want? Is your goal no longer desirable? Is it worth the cost or not?

Did you know the job was tough when you took it?

Really—what do you want?

If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5)

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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