The half done cross stitch in the bag in the attic. The pie safe that I refinished 25 years ago that still has the bottom doors off. The yellow paint on the wall over the top of my cabinets in my otherwise white kitchen. The photo albums that look great from 1988 – 1993 and the shoeboxes full of pictures after that. With embarrassment I admit one of my deep, dark secrets – I have a problem finishing what I start!
In my defense, I have finished the big things – I never started a degree that I didn’t finish or a class for that matter, and I rarely stop in the middle of a book, unless it is just awful. It’s the little things that tend to fall by the wayside.
I did not realize my problem until a few years ago when I started counting up the half-way projects around my house (there are more!). I blame it on the ADD I now realize I have had all my life – Keith and Adam diagnosed me many years ago – since I do get easily distracted and bored with things, but that is not an excuse. Not following through is a bad habit that I am making an effort to change.
During my early morning run with my friends the other day, I had this on my mind, and the verse, “I have finished the race” from 2 Timothy kept going through my head. I realized how much running has taught me about getting things done! When I start out to do a training run of 4 miles and finish, that sense of accomplishment carries over to other areas of my life. I find myself using the same “self-talk” I use when running to finish up something like cleaning the bathroom – “10 minutes more and you will be done,” “You can do this!”, Just keep moving”. Running has taught me to persevere.
I am trying to develop a different mindset. When I feel myself starting to drop off in the middle of some project, either at my job or at home, I start reminding myself that I need to “Get’r done”. Just like in a race when I tell myself that I can do it, I keep on going. Just a little further – no matter if it is cleaning out a closet, weeding the garden, or sending notes. Keep going!
Sometimes I want to quit trying as a Christian – I get discouraged and frankly lazy and don’t read my devotionals or take time to pray. Paul says in Galatians 5:7 – “You were running a good race – who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” In other words, why are you not finishing? Are you allowing someone or something to distract you?
In this marathon we call life, I need to keep my focus on the finish line. The King James Version of the Bible has a wonderful old fashioned word for perseverance – steadfastness. I want to have that. I want to hang on until my job here is done, even if it is no longer fun or enjoyable. I don’t want to look back on my life and regret the unfinished work. I want to get that finisher’s crown.