Over the last few weeks I have walked through some of the darkest days of a friend’s career in sport. She had never failed at anything, but the last two seasons of her coaching career had been a constant nightmare.

My friend’s coaching staff had disintegrated, several key players had left the program and still others had been actively seeking her dismissal. All these factors led to great frustration and more than a little discouragement.

This coach battled through these factors and tried to right the ship, but its crash seemed inevitable. As we talked over coffee it was apparent that she was considering resigning her position. We talked over her options and I could see the pain on her face and I could hear it in her anguished voice. This felt like total failure and it was terribly hurtful.

A few days later, the severance package was negotiated and her resignation was announced. I grieved like someone had died. My friend took some time off to rest, recharge and to gain some focus for the future. I took some time to think about resignation.

Resignation looks to me like the exhaustion of physical, emotional and spiritual resources needed to accomplish a task or to fulfill a role of leadership. We resign from something when we’re completely spent and we’re bankrupt of the necessary capital for the daily grind.

This is a hard spot for those of us who play our hearts out. We refuse to quit or to give up, so resignation feels like total failure. It hurts us deeply and assaults our hearts. It’s almost like a moral failure to our souls and we feel shame at having lost the battle.

Here’s a word of encouragement from one who has resigned more than once in life, but has lived to tell the story. You can come back. You can do like my friend and wisely consider your options, form a plan of action, resign and then retool, refresh your heart and regain your focus for the future. There is no shame in resignation, only in cringing from the despair which barks at your heart’s door. Chase despair away with loving friends, wise counsel and then come back to play your heart out again.