I love a sense of completion. I will work myself past midnight to finish what I started, and it bugs me when I can’t.
Today, I’m letting go of my love for completion. But I’m not pretending it’s easy. God’s teaching me to welcome interruptions in my plans to make room for His divine purposes. He had some unexpected but very special assignments for me today. So, I didn’t get to finish what I started in the post I’d planned.
I’ll be posting it Friday. Also I’ll be announcing the winner from Monday’s “Getting & Staying Organized” girlfriend quest. And I’ll be sharing “Fridays Give-Away”! Today, I wanted to shaer part of a devotion that ties in perfectly with what we’ve been discussing. It’s by my good friend and Friday’s guest Glynnis Whitwer. At the end, I’ll tell you how to get another chance to win something over 100 of you wanted last week!
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…” Acts 20:24 (NIV)
My first instinct was to leave the clean, folded clothes on top of the dresser. Granted, my arms were filled with freshly laundered items, so it would have been difficult to open the drawer while balancing the stack. I had an excuse for leaving them on top. Didn’t I? Instead, I pushed past my instinct, took 30 more seconds, and placed the clothes neatly in the drawer.
This tendency to not complete a task happens with surprising regularity. I toss my bathrobe on the bed, drape jeans on the tub, and set the television remote on the nearest counter top. However, sometimes, when I’m a bit more self-aware, I take the few extra steps needed to actually finish the task.
Years ago, I realized my practice of stopping short of finishing what I started, led to a cluttered home and office. Back then, I had a multitude of unfinished tasks that I just lived with. It wasn’t all simple things like putting away clothes, but included larger tasks like leaving a wall half painted.
Starting a project is fun, and usually involves a burst of energy. Then, that energy wanes as I approach the finish line. Instead of pushing to complete the task, assignment or project with excellence, I lean towards settling for good enough. Unfortunately, when I settle for “good enough” consistently, I learn to live with mediocrity. And accepting mediocrity is far from where God wants me to be. You see, finishing what we start is more than a good organizational or home management skill. It’s also a spiritual discipline.
Interestingly, it’s actually been somewhat simple to address this issue. I admit the tendency within myself to settle, and I get firm with myself about it. Now, when I would prefer to leave the dryer full of clothes, or emails half typed, I say to myself, “Finish what you start.” I make a conscientious decision to finish the task at hand before I move on to something new. Obviously, there are some projects that require more effort, but this works on a lot of my issues.
I’m not sure of all the reasons for stopping short of finishing with excellence, but I do know the results. I end up with a bunch of unfulfilled commitments, open loops and shallow relationships. That’s a far cry from the life Jesus came to bring, which is full and abundant. Not a partial life, but one lived with pushing to the limits and exploring the outer reaches.
Maybe that seems a deep principle to pull from putting clothes in a drawer or a dirty bowl in the dishwasher. However, the discipline of finishing well is one that is woven through my life … or it’s not. So I guess I’ll take the extra step and actually hang up my robe. It’s one more stitch in this tapestry of finishing well that God is trying to create in my life.
Dear Lord, thank You for demonstrating finishing well through the life of Jesus. Please help me push through mediocrity in my life and explore the fullness You long to bring. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
© 2010 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Mine is organizing my messy places and not putting papers away. Also, my closet can get a little crazy when I don’t pick up my robe or my pj’s, or my sweat pants. Share yours and you’ll be entered along with the others from Monday’s post to win Karen’s book “The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized”, and some organizational pretties. See you back here on Friday!