Let’s Finish This Thing!

6 Mar

My church is in the middle of a campaign to buy the building where its services are held. It’s a massive endeavor beyond anything I can imagine doing in my own personal life. But watching the process of an organization mobilize together around a massive goal has been inspiring. While I know God can do wonders, I’m also seeing that people can too, particularly in the name of God.  

During the campaign, the pastor shared a passage from 2 Corinithians 8: 10-20, in which Paul encourages his fellow Christians to complete their mission of spreading Christianity throughout the world, part of which will require money/offerings. Quoting from “The Message”, Paul says, “So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it.” Or in the pastor’s paraphrasing, “Let’s finish this thing!” 

Well, this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about that line, “Let’s finish this thing!” as it applies to my personal life (vs. something bigger or more noble than me). And it became clear that there are a few goals, (even dreams) that I have not completed or brought to full fruition. Projects I have invested time, energy and in some cases years towards but then let grind to a halt because I don’t know how to “finish the thing(s).” So, I wrote “Let’s finish this thing!” on a piece of paper and taped it to my bathroom mirror where I can see it daily. 

So I’ve been thinking about this concept and my own behavior. By nature, I am not a quitter, nor undisciplined. I very often finish what I start and when I say I’ll do something, I most often do. However, I also have a lot of different interests and tend to follow impulses. I try to track what “thing” has the strongest energy at any given time and then ride its wave. This has many advantages and is synonymous with creativity. Nonetheless, I also get bored easily and tend to have my fingers in many pies. The danger of this is in becoming a “jack of all trades, master of none.” 

How does one finish something without becoming too goal oriented? Too invested in the outcome without learning from or enjoying the journey? And how does one muster the faith, energy and resources required to complete big projects that go beyond one’s scope of immediate influence (like trying to buy a building for example – or whatever big thing people have to contend with). For me, these are the true challenges. 

The other day I was having dinner with a friend of mine and he said to me, “Lise, ever since I’ve known you, you are so about the journey. You even go to a church called Journey.” This wasn’t a complement or a criticism. Just an observation. He continued, “Now, me. I’m all about the goal. If I had a church, it would be called ‘Destination.'” 

There is value to the destination as well. But getting there – those final stretches in the race, can be so tedious. For example, I find the act of writing a draft of something – fabulous. Editing it, writing query letters for publication or citing references DULL, DULL, DULL, particularly after already working long hours at a day job. So I stop. I love movies and writing them but then stop there because the thought of selling a script or raising money to produce a film stops me in my tracks. In more intimate endeavors, I’ve ended relationships or ran from them because the journey was just too ROCKY and the idea of a destination too TERRIFYING. So, my motto this week is LET’S FINISH THIS THING. Whatever the “thing” is.

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