When I played football in high school and college, I would often hear the coaches yell at us, “Finish the drill!” That meant that we were not to stop until the whistle was blown. It meant, “Keep playing! Keep pushing yourself forward! Don’t quit and don’t give up!”
Years later that message came back to me in full force when I was in graduate school. I had no idea how difficult it was going to be. I did not realize the extent to which I would have to study, write papers, do research and other academic disciplines that would be so taxing on my brain.
One day when I was studying in the library, I noticed some professors unrolling a scroll. They were studying letters and words written in an ancient language which had been copied onto parchment leaves. (Scribes often would write on animal skins or parchment leaves in order to preserve the writings of the day.) I was so amazed at the level of scholarship that some of my professors possessed. It was truly a humbling experience to be around people who were so smart and skilled at their trade!
I remember being completely overwhelmed that day. I felt that I was totally out of my league and that caused me to be depressed. Tears ran down my cheeks because I felt like such a failure. I remember thinking to myself, “I will never be able to do anything like that! Why am I even in graduate school? This is so far over my head I ought to just quit, give up and go home. I am a complete failure!”
You know, sometimes things happen to us that we cannot explain and something happened to me that day that I will never forget. While I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself in a deep state of depression, I heard a voice speak to my heart. The voice said, “I did not make you for that!” I remember being confused about what I had just heard. But, as I sat there very quietly, I heard the voice again. “I did not create you for that. I created you to talk and encourage and entertain people. I designed those people to be scholars to do a different kind of work from you.” I cannot tell you how much that meant to me! Something went through my heart and mind at that moment that took me out of my depression and moved me into a place of encouragement. It caused me to realize that I did not need to give up and quit and go home.
I suddenly remember the words of my coaches, “Finish the drill!” I knew that meant, “Don’t quit; don’t give up! Even when things look dark and hopeless, keep trying; keep striving, keep straining, keep moving ahead, keep attempting to do things better and in time, there will be a turn. Things will get better.” You know what? It was true, in time things did get better. I realized that I did not have to major in areas of academic endeavors that did not fit my design. In essence I discovered I was not designed to be on the planning committee. I was designed to be on the welcoming committee!
Please don’t get me wrong; I am very, grateful for the scholars who devote their whole life to translating ancient scrolls into English so that we can have a better understanding of words that were written so long ago. I am also grateful for scientists who are committed to helping us learn more about medical advancement and technology and for others who spend their lives creating inventions that make life better for all of us. But, we would not have any of that if they had not finished the drill. It does not matter whether a person is a physician, a dentist, a researcher, a social worker, an educator, a business person, or any other profession; no one will ever become what they need to be or succeed in life until they “stick with the stuff” and finish the drill! I once read that someone asked Thomas Edison if he got discouraged after he has personally logged over two thousand experiments in his journal trying to invent what we now know as an incandescent light bulb. He said, “Absolutely not, because now I know for sure two thousand methods that will not work!” See what I mean? If he had not finished the drill we might all still be working by candlelight!
Whatever difficulty you are facing today, I want to remind you that it is too early to quit. Stay a little bit longer, work a little bit harder, grow a little bit more and learn a little bit more. All of those attitudes will help you to become a better person.
I’m glad I didn’t give up. I’m glad I didn’t quit. I’m glad I had coaches yelling at me earlier in life, telling me to finish the drill. It really is an important concept to grasp and even more important to do!
The next time you are ready to throw in the towel, say to yourself, “Finish the drill”. You will be the winner for it and in the long run, you will look back and be glad that you remained faithful and used self-discipline to help you to be the winner you were designed to be!
Tip: Finish the drill!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm