Don’t get all hung up

Published 9:18 pm Wednesday, August 26, 2015

By Tonya S. Swindell

A poem called, “Don’t You Quit,” hung in a long and slender black frame on the wall of my college dorm room. It included these inspiring words:

“When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

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When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit —

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns;

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a fellow turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –

You may succeed with another blow….”

Now I’m teaching my children to try again. My friend, Marie, showed me how to talk with them about their behavior and tell them to try again if it fell short of my expectations.

They seemed to feel less anxious about making mistakes when I used that method, so I tried it on myself too, and now I feel less anxious about making mistakes.

In the past, it took me longer to try again, because I wouldn’t let myself off the hook by forgiving myself sooner. According to The Free, “let off the hook” means: “to allow someone to escape from a difficult situation….”

When I read those words, I envision standing in the corner of a room with the back of my shirt caught on a large, metal fishing hook that prevents my body from moving forward. Once I reach back with my hands and release my shirt from the grasping hook, I am able to walk forward.

The apostle Paul described what it looks like to move forward when he wrote: “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made” (Philippians 3:12-16, NLT).

Jesus allowed Himself to be hooked to the cross of Calvary so that I would be free and, “If the Son sets me free, I will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Now that I have Christ’s freedom, I can try again.

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School ( She can be reached at