A Benediction

The Towel Step

We use the term "throwing in  the towel" to describe quitting in the middle of a project or dream. It is

to admit defeat or failure.  The etymology of the term is based on the literal meaning of throwing a towel into the ring in boxing as a way of admitting that the boxer just can't go on.

I would like to suggest an alternative: Keep your towel. Don't throw it in. Take some steps toward renewal of your depleted energy.

Someone out there is ready to quit. you are drained and empty, discouraged and tired, baten and bloody from the fight.

I know it is true. Prove me wrong and make me a happy man. Otherwise, listen to me: Don't give up.

I believe this: Someone is discouraged beyond their ability to muster enough energy to make even one phone call, write even one card, or even think about their goals.

You want to throw in the towel.

Instead of admitting defeat, make just one phone call - just one, or write a note, just one, or spend one minute, just one dreaming your dream.

When I was in college 33 or 34 years ago, there was a great Palestinian guy on my hall who spoke with enthusiasm and power every time he said anything at all.

One day, toward the end of our Sophomore year, knowing that we would not be dorm-mates again, he presented me with a gift.

"Mr. Sims. You are my friend. I give you this towel. It is from Palestine. Always keep it and remember me."

I have kept it all these years. It is torn and worn and threadbare, but I will not part with it. I will not throw it in. I never pampered it; I used it.  It reminds me of George and of friendship, and of a dream I have to visit the Holy Land.

It is just a towel, but even though I have not seem George again, I do not give up friends and I do not give up dreams.

I feel like it sometimes, but I don't do it. The towel is a reminder to me not to throw it in. Don't throw in your towel. Instead, change your pace, give yourself a break, refresh yourself, renew your energy, and keep on keeping on. There are dreams in your heart and friends cheering for you. Don't give up either one.

Here are some suggestions:

Step Back - Just a little. Slow down, take a break, take a day off, or something to give yourself a rest from your self-imposed pressure. catch up on sleep, family time, a novel, or something you seldom do. Step back, a little.

Step Forward - Make a faith statement because that is all you have right now. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is substantive in relation to hopes and evidential in relation to the invisible realities that are coming to pass and already are. When you step forward you rededicate yourself to your goals and recommit your life to God's guidance and care. You say, "No matter how i feel, i will press on. I will not throw in the towel. I believe it when I cannot touch it. My dream is real."

Step Up - Do something during your down time. Move up and make some progress by reading a book you have not had time to open. Perhaps it is an inspirational biography. Listen to some heart warming music. Have a long cup of bottomless coffee with a friend who lifts you up. Take a walk. you may think you are stepping backwards, but you are actually stepping up. spend some quality time with God in prayer, reflection, and journaling.

Step Down - Ask someone to cover some of your responsibilities that are usually necessary tasks, but that can be down by someone else for a day or two. Lose some control and oversight. Step down temporarily from these. Step down permanently from the position of Lord of your own life and give that place back to the One to whom it rightfully belongs, the one who can handle the responsibility and do the job: Jesus Christ.

Step Around - There are some things you can postpone or even avoid all together. If you will lay aside a few things you often deem "urgent," and just do what is vital to your dream, you will find that they are diminishing in importance as a day or two goes by. As you renew and refresh, step around them and do not be distracted or terrorized by them. Step around them.

Step Toward - Step toward your dream - just a little with a very simple task, call, or activity that will help you accomplish a little bit. Add steps as you feel refreshed and energized, but without pressure or guilt. as you do your business or ministry this way, consider adopting a guilt-free approach every day. Embrace an attitude that prompts you to work a little in your business each day without the compulsion to break everyone's records all at once.

The joy of a home based business is that you can do it in the cracks of your life, as you are doing other things, and in moments you might otherwise be wasting with busy work. You can do it without guilt because you are your own boss. You can do it in such a way as to make it fun, enjoyable, and personally enriching.

Whatever your goals, however, there are alternatives to throwing in the towel. With some pacing and refreshing, you can come back stronger than ever. With God's help, the dreams that he has planted in your heart can stay alive and the people that come alongside you as friends and partners can be a source of energy and inspiration to you.

Don't throw in the towel. Don't give up.

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