Don’t Give Up

Please don’t give up. I know you’re hurting. I know it’s hard. But please, don’t check out. Not yet.

Yes, I realize you have every reason to quit. Yes, I know you’d be totally justified in giving up. Your child has stage-four cancer. Your son was murdered in a home invasion. Your daughter died in a car accident on Interstate 65.

Your dad is dying of liver failure. Your girlfriend broke up with you because you’re both, quote, “going different directions.”

Your wife was diagnosed with glioblastoma. Your mother has pulmonary fibrosis. Your child is going blind. You have an auto-immune disease the doctors can’t figure out. You are a caregiver for your parents/sibling/spouse/family member.

Your foster child hates you. You are on a waiting list for a kidney. You are filing bankruptcy. You are in federal prison.

You are an addict in recovery; each day is an obstacle. Your teenage daughter is pregnant. Your dad has ALS. Your husband of 21 years decided he wanted a 23-year-old girl.

You are contemplating ending your own life; you even bought a handgun last week.

The circumstances don’t matter. What matters is that you’re a mess right now. A real mess. You don’t know where life is going. All you know is that you’re experiencing hard times.

Every day, life gets a little harder. Each morning, you awake waiting for life to reset itself, but it never does. And it’s so frustrating. Because this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, dammit.

What’s going on here? Why is everything so hard?

When you were a kid, nothing bad ever lasted. Suffering was always brief. You fell down and got a boo-boo, and after 48 hours, the boo-boo was healed. No big deal.

But these days nothing bad ever goes away quickly. Hard times just linger outside your front door. Bad things keep coming, like artillery from a celestial machine gun.

Your prayers remain unanswered, as though you’ve been praying to a block of steel.

After a while, you’ve grown disillusioned. You have started to believe the universe is merciless. If there is a God, He certainly doesn’t care about you. Ergo, God must be a lie. A stage farce. And anyone believing in God is, therefore, a freaking moron.

But you are wrong.

Listen, I am nobody. I have no accreditations. I am Joe Six-Pack from Alabama. I have no education. No pedigree. I drive a 23-year-old truck. I have no insight. I have no wisdom. I have no agenda. I am a man with one back surgery under his belt and an impressively crappy health insurance policy.

Moreover, I am not a big church guy. In fact, I rarely go to church unless someone’s getting married. I drink cheap beer. I play music in bars. I am a high-school dropout. I am no authority.

But I know one thing.

There is Something Up There. And this Something cares about you. This Great Being cares so much about you that He has been trying to get through to you.

In fact, He has been trying so hard to reach you that He has resorted to using the words of a horse’s ass (me).

This Great Something doesn’t care who you are, or what you believe, or who you vote for, or what lifestyle you lead, or how many tattoos you have. This Being is your Divine Parent, and parents love their kids no matter what.

Parents don’t care what kind of names you attach to them. Greek names, Jewish names, Latin names, European names, or American names. None of this matters. What matters is that you are loved. You will probably never know how loved you are.

But, oh. You are incredibly loved. You don’t know how important your life is.

You were designed by the creator of the solar system, the architect of Earth, the engineer of the Grand Canyon, the brains behind the Redwood Forest, the Great Plains, the Appalachians, Manhattan Island, and disco. You are His pride and joy.

No, I don’t know why you are suffering. I don’t know why hard times keep coming. I don’t know when the pain will end. But I know one thing: You will get through this.

This is not the end. Whatever is happening to you is happening for a reason. Someday, you’ll see. I swear.

But for now, please hold on. Please keep trying. Please keep praying. Please keep believing. And please, please, whatever you do…

Don’t give up.

67 comments

  1. Tanya - January 23, 2023 7:11 am

    Thankyou Mr. Sean

    Reply
  2. oldlibrariansshelf - January 23, 2023 7:49 am

    Thanks again, Sean. You are wise beyond your years.

    Reply
  3. Alexa - January 23, 2023 8:53 am

    Thank you, Sean.

    Reply
  4. PMc - January 23, 2023 9:04 am

    🙏♥️🌻😊🐕💫🦋💝🎆🐈💐🍺🏈🗽🌌
    Peace and Love from Birmingham and so many reasons not to give up! 🙏♥️

    Reply
  5. Leigh Amiot - January 23, 2023 9:05 am

    The imperfections of this earthly life help us to release it at the right time and go home to our Father in heaven where a promise will be delivered, a place specifically for us where relational difficulties with others will have fallen away, there is no more pain or sorrow, and most importantly we’ll be in the presence of God. Until then, your encouragement is just what we all need!

    Reply
  6. Joy Jacobs - January 23, 2023 10:59 am

    ❤️❤️

    Reply
  7. Kelly - January 23, 2023 11:19 am

    Amen!

    Reply
  8. Susan Hatfield - January 23, 2023 11:50 am

    Thank you for this, this early Monday morning. I have to go and have my heart shocked to see if it will get back into rhythm and I’m afraid.
    I know God is looking after me, he always has. I just hope that today he will decide that my daughter and my grand babies need a Grandma in their life still and that I will be better for having this done.
    You message hit home this morning.
    Thank you again. From the bottom of my heart.

    Reply
    • Krista - January 23, 2023 6:01 pm

      Praying for you, Susan.

      Reply
  9. Tony M. - January 23, 2023 12:12 pm

    👍🏽

    Reply
  10. Sandra J Stapulionis - January 23, 2023 12:21 pm

    God: I love you and you are mine
    Don’t Quit by Edgar Guest

    Reply
  11. lesliehanson411hotmailcom - January 23, 2023 12:22 pm

    Never, ever give up = there really will be a light at the end of which ever tunnel you feel trapped in and you really will be stronger than you could ever believe!

    Reply
  12. Anne Arthur - January 23, 2023 12:33 pm

    The truth! Don’t give up. Never give up.
    Thanks, Sean.

    Reply
  13. Jan - January 23, 2023 12:49 pm

    Read your column everyday. Enjoy your writing. Many times you have me wondering is he a Christ follower? Yes, I believe you are but many times it seems you come short of a full commitment.. Today in you column you wrote about this something or someone up there….it is the Lord God Almghty. Why are you afraid to name him and claim him. Someday every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. You are blessed and are a blessing. May you continue to be heard/read around the world💕

    Reply
    • Susie - January 23, 2023 3:47 pm

      Jan, at least Sean shows he is THINKING. He is a person, thankfully, who can think for himself…..without believing everything someone tells him. He questions, he surmises, he ponders, he is curious…..and…… AGAIN…. HE THINKS. He is a person, obviously, who can think for himself. Why?? Because not only does he have a brain, he has been taught to use it. Who knows? Perhaps, he believes like others, at least to some degree, that DOUBT IS NOT THE OPPOSITE OF FAITH. DOUBT IS FIRST COUSIN TO FAITH. THE OPPOSITE OF FAITH IS CERTAINTY. THAT’S where the brain (along with critical-thinking skills) comes in.

      Reply
  14. Yo - January 23, 2023 12:50 pm

    A message needed by so many-thank you, Sean

    Reply
  15. RW - January 23, 2023 12:58 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, I know God cares, like the saying goes the trials we go through will either make us bitter or better … its up to us how we respond

    Reply
  16. Karen - January 23, 2023 1:11 pm

    Thank you! I needed to read that today

    Reply
  17. Gayle Bailey - January 23, 2023 1:38 pm

    Thanks. I needed that!

    Reply
  18. Linda Lewis - January 23, 2023 1:50 pm

    This is a very inspiring message. It touched my heart. Please keep these messages coming. My son died by suicide. It broke my heart. He was 22, and he died 28 years ago. My heart still hurts.

    Reply
  19. Rhonda Dickinson - January 23, 2023 1:51 pm

    Needed this today as my only living sister is facing cancer surgery at noon. Thank you for your inspiring writings.

    Reply
  20. Jocelyn - January 23, 2023 1:57 pm

    This too shall pass. Thanks for today’s message Sean. I needed it.

    Reply
  21. Cheryl W. - January 23, 2023 2:07 pm

    Beautiful. To quote a wise person from sometime in my life, “You will get through this. Not above, around or under, but through.”

    Reply
  22. Mike Sellers - January 23, 2023 2:07 pm

    Wonderful thoughts and writing. Absolutely wonderful.

    Reply
  23. Trent - January 23, 2023 2:14 pm

    Romans 5:3-5: 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

    Reply
  24. steveleachman - January 23, 2023 2:22 pm

    Sean you’re speaking to many with problems they think they can’t solve. Thank you so much for your wisdom. You personally know the pain, anger and suffering suicide brings to those left behind. People say nothing good comes from suicide but you’ve proven great wisdom comes from one suicide survivor. Keep encouraging those with depression to seek help. Keeping writing to suicide survivors that life will get better. It takes Jesus’ help and time. Maybe decades, but it life does get better if you allow it. Again Thank You.

    Reply
  25. Jocelyn E Piccone - January 23, 2023 2:32 pm

    This too shall pass…..

    Reply
  26. Deacon Nick - January 23, 2023 2:32 pm

    The Being Up There loves you so much, He sent His only Son to die JUST FOR YOU, to bring you home.

    Reply
  27. Marilyn - January 23, 2023 2:39 pm

    “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
    “I love you with an everlasting love.”
    Your Savior God

    God cannot lie!

    Reply
  28. Teri Kruljac - January 23, 2023 2:41 pm

    Thank you, Sean. I look forward to your emails every day. They often make me laugh, usually make me cry, often both. Thanks for sharing your humanity with us and reminding me that being human is a beautiful and sometimes painful thing. God bless you!

    Reply
  29. Karen - January 23, 2023 2:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing such wisdom. 💖

    Reply
  30. Suellen - January 23, 2023 2:57 pm

    The title of this piece popped up on my e-mail this morning tears sprang to my eyes and I quickly scrolled away. I’ve only just now been able to bring myself to read it. I’m disabled caring for a husband who had a stroke and an adult handicapped daughter. Every Sunday my adult handicapped son comes over and spends the night. I hurt my hip in November and it’s been two months of hardly being able to walk, pain, and little sleep. Coming back from Walmart yesterday I burst out sobbing because, you know, being in the car is the only time I’m alone and able to let it out. I cried over and over “God! I can’t do this any more!” “Abba, Father, Help me!” After a few minutes I realized I needed to stop concentrating on the pain and pray for strength. Was it that small still voice? Thank you for lifting us up every morning. You’re helping more people than you know.

    Reply
    • Nancy Grinstead - January 23, 2023 5:22 pm

      Suellen, sending strength prayers to you. Hopefully you can contact a church group so someone can come one hour a day so you can relax your mind.
      Prayers

      Reply
    • Tim - January 23, 2023 9:48 pm

      Are you familiar with Project Semicolon, Sean?
      When a writer gets to a place where they could finish a sentence, but they still have more to say, the insert a semicolon.
      This project has saved my life in more than one occasion.
      Many have gotten semicolon tattoos to either show their support for suicide prevention or because they are a survivor of suicide attempts.
      I have one on my forearm that I can always see, too remind me that ‘my story isn’t over’.
      Thank you for this post.
      Every word written to remind us that we still have a purpose, is a word that may save a life.
      Peace to you my friend.

      Reply
  31. David Britnell - January 23, 2023 3:01 pm

    Thank you Sean. We all needed that!

    Reply
  32. Mimi - January 23, 2023 3:21 pm

    You have a prophetic voice, with the biggest heart. Bless you

    Reply
  33. Sue D. Kay - January 23, 2023 3:22 pm

    ♥️♥️♥️

    Reply
  34. Stacey - January 23, 2023 3:34 pm

    😔 So many hurting people in our world today! Yes, if they would look up and not down. I can’t even imagine the pain people go through. This life is temporary and fleeting. Good words Sean, good words!♥️

    Reply
  35. Patricia Gibson - January 23, 2023 3:36 pm

    God give them all strength 🙏❤️

    Reply
  36. Sarah Katherine Gomm - January 23, 2023 3:40 pm

    Again, left with goosebumps Sean. Your writing is fantasique and that’s all I have to say.

    Reply
  37. rdo333 - January 23, 2023 3:54 pm

    Great advice

    Reply
  38. cajebay - January 23, 2023 3:55 pm

    Amen, Sean, Amen!

    Reply
  39. Pete Foley - January 23, 2023 4:13 pm

    One of your absolute best, Sean … and that’s hard to say because all your columns are strong.

    Reply
  40. sjhl7 - January 23, 2023 5:06 pm

    Amen!

    Reply
  41. Jackie Logan - January 23, 2023 5:11 pm

    Holy WOW🙏🏻

    Reply
  42. Teresa Barrentine - January 23, 2023 5:22 pm

    I started a blog a few years back as therapy for some things I was going through. Ironically the tithe of my blog is “I Didn’t Give Up”. Todays message really spoke to me. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  43. Lanie Lueth - January 23, 2023 5:39 pm

    God is good and He is working through you to bring others to Him! Keep the words coming; they are good ones!!

    Reply
  44. Barbarann Beckett - January 23, 2023 6:26 pm

    Thank you for the encouragement!

    Reply
  45. Marilyn Jordan - January 23, 2023 6:26 pm

    Sean, Birmingham has so many beautiful old churches in the area where y’all now live. You would be blessed by attending. With your many talents, you would be a great addition to the congregation. God bless.

    Reply
  46. Margaret Moore - January 23, 2023 7:02 pm

    Oh but you DO have wisdom and insight. Never think that you don’t,

    Reply
  47. Jean McCrady - January 23, 2023 7:13 pm

    Sean, the very next thing I read after your Don’t Give Up message was this (I wish every person you addressed could read the following “response” that I’ve copied and pasted here):Broken 💔

    “I was in Dollar Tree last night, and there was a lady and two kids behind me in the LONG line. One was a big kid, and the other one was a toddler. The bigger one had a pack of glow sticks, and the toddler was screaming for them. The Mom opened the pack and gave him one, which stopped his tears.
    He walked around with it smiling, smilingthen the bigger boy took it, and the toddler started screaming again.
    Just as the Mom was about to fuss, the older child bent the glow stick and handed it back to the toddler.
    As we walked outside at the same time, the toddler noticed that the stick was now glowing; and his brother said, “I had to break it so that you could get the full effect from it.”
    I almost ran because l could hear God saying to me, “I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfill your purpose.”
    That precious child was happy just swinging that “unbroken” glow stick around in the air because he didn’t understand what it was created to do – which was “glow.”
    There are some people who will be content just “being,” but some of us are chosen… we have to be “broken.”
    We have to get sick. We have to lose a job. We go through a divorce. We have to bury our spouse, parents, best friend, or our child … In those moments of desperation, We were broken. But… when the breaking is done, then we will be able to see the reason for which we were created.
    So when you see us glowing, just know that we have been broken.”

    Reply
    • Jeannette - January 24, 2023 1:49 am

      To Jean McCrady…loved your message.

      Reply
  48. Roma Walsh - January 23, 2023 7:41 pm

    God Bless you for all your wisdom & you have it in ‘sapdes’! God Bless You!!! Bambelela (never give up!)

    Reply
  49. chrismarelbaxter - January 23, 2023 8:12 pm

    Jesus, what a beautiful name it is.

    Reply
  50. Helen De Prima - January 23, 2023 8:41 pm

    I’m not big on celebrities, but I treasure an autographed photo of myself with rodeo legend Ty Murray. He wrote “Never weaken!” That photo looks at me every day and keeps me moving forward even when moving at all hurts. Thanks, Ty!

    Reply
  51. Gayle Wilson - January 23, 2023 9:38 pm

    In thinking that you have no wisdom and insight, you expounded wisdom and insight into what you wrote. Thank you again and again.

    Reply
  52. Scott B Hamil - January 23, 2023 11:36 pm

    Just the right message at the right time!

    Reply
  53. Jeannette - January 24, 2023 1:59 am

    We/I need this reminder each day. Thank you!

    Reply
  54. Kim - January 24, 2023 3:05 am

    Wow. Hit the nail on the head today. Thanks.

    Reply
  55. Peggy - January 24, 2023 3:54 am

    Amen!!!

    Reply
  56. Steve McCaleb - January 24, 2023 3:56 am

    That’s the strangest explanation of God I’ve ever heard. It’s also the best. I hope you know what a blessing you are. May the Good Lord bless and keep you and yours.

    Reply
  57. Bruce Crittenden - January 24, 2023 4:54 am

    Whoa! Slow down there big guy. Let’s not go blaming God for disco. I love you brother. Good message. And for anyone reading Sean’s message listen to Glen Campbell’s “Try a little Kindness.”

    Reply
  58. cordell - January 24, 2023 12:54 pm

    Amen, never ever give up. God loves you.

    Reply
  59. George Robert Leach - January 26, 2023 4:57 am

    I’ve given up a lot during my 74 years. I faced death in Viet-Nam. Lots of other times I have been “let go” to spend a summer looking for a new job. Jobs have never dropped in my lap. No matter how much I’ve liked a jod they have disappeared, even in Viet-Nam.
    I’m glad you wrote this essay. It is nice to know that someone out there is aware that everyone isn’t able to find the job they desire or keep something they want or have the best support system ever.

    Please keep up the good work. It would be nice if you could take on those who don’t care or support others.

    Thank you for writing to me, Robert

    Reply
  60. Cheryl Tsuchiyama - January 28, 2023 1:17 pm

    Sean, thank you for your blog. I am so inspired by your words and look forward to it every day.
    Cheryl

    Reply
  61. Anne Trawick - February 3, 2023 12:01 pm

    As you know, I’ve been a fan of yours a long time. Long enough to enjoy your stuff so much that I got you up to Donalsonville to speak to our Woman’s Club and paid most of your honorarium out of my own pocket. Long enough to have bought five tickets to your Grand Ol Opry show March 24. I read you almost every day. All that is to say this: this may be one of the most important pieces you’ve ever done. Love, Anne

    Reply
  62. Karla Meier - February 3, 2023 3:55 pm

    I am sharing this with my son – his gf left him with the three kids, then took the kids when school started. He has lost the house he was renting and is living in a camper. He tells me he thinks of suicide often but hasn’t done it because he knows I will be a wreck. Thanks for writing this!! God Bless you!

    Reply

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