I love starting new projects. New ideas constantly flow to my head and I jump to start them.
I've often been told I never stop - I get an idea and I act on it. Especially when those ideas include getting to be creative and interact with others. Optimism overflows at the start of something new.
Then reality hits. What began as fun and exciting becomes hard work and sometimes even discouraging. Sometimes in my hurried starts in a fun new pursuit, I fail to look at the big picture though, and sometimes I fail to let God lead, waiting patiently for the next sign.
I become discouraged when I don't see results as quickly as my impatient heart expected, or when what I thought would be fun actually becomes tiresome. Perfectionist tendencies stifle my ability to move forward and I find myself contemplating throwing in the towel and picking a new venture. I think part of this is due to a lack of focus - there is so much that I want to do, so much that I want to try, that my thoughts are scattered all about. With so many ideas jam packed into my head at what seems like all times, it's challenging for me to focus on the work at hand, allowing God to lead at HIS pace.
Instead, I often let myself be pulled in a million different directions, dipping my toes in many waters, just because I can (or at least I think I can). This generally leaves me with a very long list of things to do with not enough time to do them, instead of focusing on the few things that GOD is calling me to focus my energy on.
This can be damaging to my relationships, too. Sometimes I feel that I fail to encourage Matt in his endeavors as well as I should because I'm so scattered with my own ideas and my own pursuits. Sometimes I notice that I fail to really be present in conversations because my mind is drifting to the next idea or task that I have committed to. Maybe I just have ADD.
While that may or may not be true, I think it highlights some important things that I must work on, nonetheless.
Finishing well requires focus and discipline, as well as humility. Humility to realize that:
1. I'm not a superhuman and can't do everything
2. I must focus on HIS VOICE and allow Him to lead in the work He calls me to take on (not just anything that feels fun on a whim)
This is key to living a life that is manageable and that reflects GOD's priorities for me. Try as I may, I can't manage my time or my work efficiently on my own. No matter how many checklists I keep, new endeavors I pursue, or ideas I may have, I cannot perfect my own work.
Jesus is the picture of focus and discipline, the key to finishing well. Think of His work. He came to this earth with the mission to save us. Despite the ache to get out of it, He said YES to God in choosing to be turned over to be crucified. But what if He hadn't finished?
He was tempted with the opportunity to "save Himself" and at any point He could have. But He didn't, He finished the work. You see, He had One big calling from the Father. The Father put Him on earth to fulfill the mission - the salvation of the world. But it wasn't easy - what sounds honorable and glorious in theory was hard, discouraging, exhausting, and downright painful to follow through on. But He did, reflecting the Father's priority to restore His people to unity with Him.
But isn't that the challenge? Finishing, and finishing well? It's easy to start, easy to say yes (see last post), but following through in the way of Christ, reflecting HIS priorities in our lives can be the challenge.
The Father perfected the work in Christ, and He does so in us. If you feel discouraged in the work you have started, or scattered with a million different things, fix your eyes on the cross.
He serves as the ultimate example, modeling perseverance, purpose, and selflessness in His work. Aren't these the characteristics we need in our own work - from menial tasks to big great projects that seem to never end.
Don't try to tackle everything at once, especially on your own. Ask Him to reflect what HIS priorities are for you and to complete the work He has started in you, perfecting it in the way of Christ Jesus.
Finishing well requires grace; finishing well requires Jesus from beginning to end.