Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Finishing

I'm not great at finishing what I've started.

This includes closing dresser doors I've opened, reading to the end of books, and following-through on goals. Little things, big things, and in-between things. Mostly on a personal level. When the going gets tough, I don't always get going. How long have I been working on reading Jesus For President? And I really like that book! I don't know that I've EVER finished a devotional. (Fiction, however, I always finish. Quickly. Go figure.) There are times I knew I should get on track with regular times with God, and then let it fall by the wayside after a few weeks. And I hated every moment of running, so the mini-marathon fell by the wayside in January. Sigh.

I'm not proud of this characteristic of mine, and it rears its ugly head more than I'd like it to. This struggle reminds me of this verse, and makes me thankful for what follows:

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

And follow-through just happens to be one of those things God is really working on in my life. Remember when I talked about really wanting to get out of my rut and grow in my faith? I think finishing and following through on things directly relate to ideas of goodness, self-control, and perseverance. Some ingredients for growth.

I've heard that goodness (at least in 2 Peter) has a connotation of excellence. As in, the kind that athletes and musicians have. The kind that comes from practice and discipline and doing something (that may not be so exciting) over and over again. I'm bad at that. I usually find something else to do.

Self-control? Denying myself something good or exciting (for something better)? Like sitting down to watch American Idol instead of spending time alone with God? Or grabbing a snack instead of my running shoes? Yes, I could use an extra dose. Or ten.

And of course, the most obvious choice, perseverance. I don't have a lot of it. Not when it comes to unimportant things like shutting closet doors (yes mom, I still struggle with this!) or finishing books or even running. Or important things, like devotional times.

I think the practice of perseverance is one of things I may not immediately see the benefits of. At least in some areas. I mean, reading to the end of a certain book isn't a huge deal. Nor is cleaning the kitchen right after I bake muffins. But consistently making a point to follow-through in life's little areas may prove very worthwhile down the road when I need perseverance in friendships or my marriage or when my walk with the Lord becomes painful or difficult.



So where do I start?

My gracious heavenly Father hasn't convicted me of too much off the bat, thankfully. But He has laid on my heart to finish the Beth Moore Bible study I started in January. I had to miss several sessions for vacation and work, and I fell behind. My church group has long since finished it, and dang it, I'm going to finish too. I'm actually on the last week in the workbook. Such a good feeling. And the thing is, I'm learning and growing through those daily studies. I really enjoy them. I'm also tracking nicely on Jesus for President. And when we get to Michigan, I'm going to lace up those sneakers. Anyone know of a good 5K to run this summer or fall in Michigan? Julie, want to find one together?

6 comments:

Lynn said...

Thanks for sharing this piece of your heart. I hate running. Before. During. After....I have no desire to do any kind of race now or in the foreseeable future. Congratulations on conquering your dislike for running and setting a goal for a 5K.

All those little things...cleaning up the kitchen, closing closet doors, making the bed....they really add up in a day!

Erika said...

You are quite a woman, Jess. Very transparent, honest, and real. I completely understand, starting is so easy, but finishing well - that's through the grace of God alone for some of us. Be encouraged, my friend. You're not alone!

p + j + g buurstra said...

YES, YES, and YES! I'll start doing some research!

Dave and Jenni said...

It can be so difficult to stay on track with something when distractions *appear* so much more enticing. If you think about it, Paul continually talked about "finishing the race set before him," which always made me wonder if he ever struggled with the same thing. All this to say, that as long as you stay open to hearing God's voice, He will accomplish His work in you!

p + j + g buurstra said...

Check this out:

http://www.runnersworld.com/cda/racelocation/1,7912,s6-239-283-284-0-0-0-0-MI,00.html

Oops, it didn't come up as a link, sorry. But check it out, it's a list of 5k runs in Michian, or at least a partial list.

I don't know my Michigan geography well enough to know where most of these are. But let's either pick one with a cool name (so we get a cool looking t-shirt!) or one is a cool city so at least while I'm dying I'll have a nice view or something. ;)

Short Stop said...

This was a great post, Jessica. It spoke right to me, as I struggle with finishing things, too. Some the same, some different. But, I love what you wrote here, especially the part about goodness and excellence.

Great post!