Finishing What I Started

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!

*******************************************************Why You Should Hang Up Your Robe

“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.

Do you have a need for completion? Do you ever have a hard time finishing what you started? If so, what derails you? What are the most common things you leave undone?

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!

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.


  1. I am a new follower, and I think for me stopping short is I tell myself lack of time, I'm too busy, there are so many other things that have to be done. But I end up with lots of things that aren't done all the way or aren't done well. But I don't want my children to learn this little habit. I know I have to set the example for them and encourage them to finish and finish well–and everyone will be much happier I am sure. Even if it means some things on my to do list don't get done, the things that do will be DONE!

    Jenny Rose Creatively Loving Kids

  2. Hi Jenny Rose, welcome to our little corner of the world. I'm so glad to have you along! I have been letting that happen around my house more than normal and then so many things are left undone. And I feel like i am coming undone. A mom's work is never all the way complete. But having small pockets of completion is really good for us, and our kiddos! This devotion spoke so much to me.Glad you shared your thoughts!

  3. I am thankful for these posts as I need motivation to bring discipline into my life, especially for the day-to-day things. I either work on one project until completed – at the expense of all else — or I go in circles working at many jobs but not finishing any. Or I just get overwhelmed thinking about where to start. My prayer and devotional time is affected by this lack of discipline as well.
    Thanks for the encouragement to make some changes!

  4. I'm a crafty person. I have sewing projects, quilting projects, and embroidery projects started, and do finish so much of what I start. I don't finish everything though, and it gets messy, as well as expensive (with the money invested not going to bless someone). I'm working on improving at this, but it is hard work.

  5. Mary Tullila says:

    I find that my mind & soul can be as cluttered as the clutter left undone around me. They feed off each other. On days where my depression runs deep…clutter looks like mountains & feels like a valley. Spirit fed energy to renew the soul helps me to unclutter my surroundings. 7 years after suicide loss.. I'm on the race to declutter BIGTIME the pain that led to this clutter. I'm making headway. Isaiah 61:1-3….BEAUTY from ashes & for me that includes the trash, the clutter and the pain. A garment of praise from a decluttering mind lol.

    Great post today.. I really enjoyed it.

    Bee Blessed!

  6. count me in…

  7. I can't seem to get anything complety done…I seem to lack motivation or something. Housework, bible study, kid's activities at church–you name it! I don't know why–I really need to work on this area in my life though.

  8. It takes me about a month to unpack my suitcase once I've returned from a trip. I take out what I need for the week: toiletries and put the dirty clothes in the hamper. But then I'lI let the suitcase sit on the floor or closet with a few items left to unpack. A few days later, it's covered with my robe, my pajamas or whatever else I was too lazy to put away that day. Glynnis' post spoke wonders to me about being disciplined to complete these small tasks completely.

    I think that today I'll go unpack the suitcase from my last trip. I got back August 30th and the suitcase is still on the floor!

  9. My problem is that I don´t put things away after I use them…then I have a 5 and a 2 year old who follow in my footsteps. Things get so unorganized that I could spend days working on it and it still wouldn´t be better. Thanks for sharing this post…I will definitely be working on it!!

  10. Papers, papers, papers. I got them all in piles yesterday, got my files reader and my label maker loader..nope, got distracted and haven't finished. Story of my life. So very sad and disappointed in myself.

  11. I have 8 kids and distractions happen to me all the time. My biggest issue is mail, junk mail, bills, etc. I end up leaving them on the edge of a table, on the kitchen counter, or my husband hands them to me in the middle of something and I never find them again. I really need to get my file cabinet organized and designate a specific location for the mail when it comes in the door.
    I appreciate the reminder! Discipline! Discipline! Discipline!
    Katherine in Idaho 🙂

  12. My closet is a mess and so are my kids rooms with clothes everywhere. I try and try to give away things and organize but it seems the piles get bigger. I have to keep trying!

  13. I have to admit, it makes me feel better to hear other women struggling with some of the same issues. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one with a 3' pile of junk mail/bills sitting on the kitchen table or the suitcase still sitting in the bedroom from my trip 2 weeks ago.

  14. Gina, I am all about making others feel better by sharing my weakness and letting them know I struggle, too. We all do and we can help each other break free from self-criticsm by being real about our struggles, praying for and encouraging one another. Praying for you and each woman that left a comment here. Like I always say, I love having you guys along!

  15. Mine is also just not completing whatever I'm doing… folding the towels I just took out of the dryer and putting them away…..ironing all of my husbands work shirts so I don't have to iron one every morning…..I could go on and on…..

    I am almost done with my guest room…'s been a long three years in my family of illnesses and deaths. The last year of taking care of my Mom before she passed was one of many undone things… schedule revolved around her needs. I have been in a fog since she passed in Feb. but have gotten some peace since working on the bedroom. I have peace when I stay connected to Jesus and that peace transcends into being able to get things accomplished which leads to more peace. I have a way to go before I am back on track but I know that I will get done what has to be done and what I don't will be there. Gee….I have been rambling…….see, even my thoughts need organization. Thanks for the chance to win.
    Brenda Schiesser

  16. My problem is keeping up on things. My hubby and I can have the house looking great, but it only stays that way for a couple of days. Something will come up, or we'll be gone, and all of a sudden the piles have started again! I could use some help and direction. Before I had kids, I could keep my office exceptionally clean and organized, but that just doesn't happen at home.

  17. I am definitely PAPER challenged! I open the mail and throw the junk away, but then I don't know what to do with the rest. So it piles up in a stack with the most important at the top. Then I forget what is in the pile. As the pile grows, my apprehension of spending hours to dig through it and sort it keeps me from touching anything below the top inch.

  18. Be sure to leave your email so I can let you know if you win. To avoid spam, type it out like this

    renee at proverbs31 dot org

  19. I'm guilty of starting a project and then seeing another that I decide should take precedence and moving on before I finish the first! One of my biggest enemies is my pile (and piles) of my children's school papers. I hate to part with them, and I always think I will go through them and scan the best to make a photobook; but, I never move it to the top of my list to make it happen. Meanwhile, last year's papers are under my hutch and this year's have starting piling up the counter.

  20. Hi Renee,
    I am a new follower of your blog and have been loving it! My main "undone" spot besides the never-ending paper clutter on the counter is the car. I am usually carrying my son into our house along with groceries or a stroller and leave behind an empty cup, food trash, extra clothes I took along in-case, or old coupons and receipts. When I get back in my car I realize how much it drives me crazy 🙂 I really need to do better about cleaning out the car each time I leave it until it drives me so crazy that I spend 2 hours once a month cleaning up 🙂 Thanks again for your encouragement and I look forward to reading your blog in the future! Blessings to you!

  21. My stumbling block that I give the Lord and have taken back so many time is our finances. My disorganization is to set aside bills when they come in the mail. I have a pile on top of the microwave. I will wait until the last possible minute to pay a bill. I fret over our limited resources and feel like I am constantly juggling bills. I am praying that I leave this at His feet once and for all.

  22. Here's my email to go with my comment above…
    brendaschiesser @

    I hope this makes my entry valid.

  23. I could really relate to the devotional. In fact, my cleaning supplies bucket is still sitting in my bathroom from where I didn't get the bathroom completely cleaned. I loved reading all the comments and seeing that this is a common struggle.

  24. Right now, I am having a hard time finishing the cleaning and organization of the inside of my car. I have done some on it, but I definitely need to do more on it. I appreciate your posting of "Finishing What I Started". I want to finish what I start in every area of my life. I so want to finish this race well and receive the prize for the high calling in Christ. Thanks for your help!

  25. So glad I am not the only one who has the issue of not finishing what she starts!! This is a real issue for me in just about every area of my life…cleaning, bible study, reading, bills, emails…all left half done!! Thank you for the inspiration to push myself to finish what I have started. Growing up is a hard thing. But I know that with God's help I can put one foot in front of the other and finish the tasks He has set before me…even the mundane of cleaning the bathrooms!!

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