Don’t give up – grow up
Life’s inevitable reversals sometimes fill us with defeatist thoughts: “I have failed yet again. Maybe I should just give up”.
At such times, Gita wisdom can free us by pointing out that we are labouring under unnecessarily narrow definitions of success and failure. When things work according to our plans, we consider that to be success; when things don’t work according to our plans, we consider that to be failure. When our plans fail repeatedly, we often get frustrated and dejected, and start thinking of giving up.
Gita wisdom broadens our definitions of success and failure by underscoring that we are spiritual beings and that our ultimate success is to attain eternal life by growing up spiritually. Spiritual growth essentially means growth in our faith that Krishna is our greatest well-wisher and that he is, as the Bhagavad-gita (09.10) asserts, overseeing the world.
Faith grows by both human choice and divine grace. When we are about to give up due to material failures, we have a special opportunity to grow in faith by exerting our human choice and thereby attracting divine grace. Let’s see how.
Amidst reversals, all of us can make the choice of putting faith in Krishna by not getting disheartened and by continuing to serve him as much as our capacities and circumstances allow. When we thus persevere with faith, we will in due course of time discover that he has arranged things for our ultimate good in a way far better than our best plans. This inconceivable arrangement and our realization of that arrangement comprise the divine grace that further boosts our faith and accelerates our spiritual growth.
Thus, when we utilize the power of faith, reversals will no longer remain causes to give up, but will become opportunities to grow up.