Race to the Start or to the Finish?

Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8 NLT



How many people set out to train for a long-distance run only to get to race day, do their pre-race warm-ups, take their place at the starting line, make it across the starting line, then throw both arms straight up in the air while shouting, “YES! I started the race!”, and then step off the course and go home?

Yeah. I don’t know one person who has ever done that. 

As a matter of fact, my left hip was completely out of place the last half of the first half-marathon I completed. That pain didn’t matter at the time. I was going to FINISH the course. I had trained for it. I had raised money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for it. By golly, if cancer patients could fight through the pain to the finish, I could fight through the pain to the finish.



We don’t get to celebrate starting the race unless we actually finish it.  Tweet: We don’t get to celebrate starting the race unless we actually finish it. @ultrablog @blogboost @MyOneWord

Last year I tried something new instead of setting a long list of New Year’s Resolutions I knew I’d give up on before January was even over. Instead of resolutions, I chose SEEK as My One Word for 2014. You can read about that here.

I’ve been thinking and praying about 2015’s word since the end of October, but the signs were obviously all around me. In full color in a couple cases. Let me explain.

I am one of the best starters you’ll ever meet. I pour hours of time and preparation into planning everything. Events, daily schedules, lesson plans, how to get everything and anything done. 

I am a list maker. I make lists about lists. 

I can motivate and encourage other people to get involved, get on board, and buy in to the plan. I can build the dream of one into a team of 30 pretty quickly. I breathe energy and life into the plan.

Kickoff events are amazing for me. I love to gather groups of people and introduce them to something they had no idea they were passionate about until that moment. I love to experience the charge that fills God’s people when the Holy Spirit comes rushing in. 
If you want help getting something off the ground, call me. I know where my strengths lie. 

If you want something to continue long-term at that same level of intensity, well, you better hope a few of those 30 people we enrolled in your dream will come behind and be the kind of people who want the behind the scenes, take care of the necessary daily details, kind of people. 

I’m the plan and perform kind of people. I’m not so much the cut out, decorate, run copies, call and invite, bring the snacks, count the offering, take attendance kind of people. 

Want me to counsel someone on the spot? Sure. Want me to be in a drama. Sure. Want me to put together your curriculum? Sure.

Want me to buy, sort, prepare, make samples, etc. for your weekly craft? Um, probably not going to happen. Want me to do follow-up with people in attendance last week? Maybe one week, but not on a regular basis.

Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 2 Corinthians 8:11


It’s not just activities and events.

Painting my bedroom walls? I tested that new color out with gusto and excitement! Watching paint dry was FUN! Seven months later one and one-thirds of my bedroom walls are gray. The rest of them ore still half orange and half dark leather treatment. 



Kitchen cabinets? Also still two colors. Years later.

The extra room I started cleaning out this summer to make the music studio? Still has boxes labeled “TRASH” that need to be hauled out, “DONATE” that need to go, and has yet again been filled full with new stuff that we just don’t know what to do with. Not that I ever finished going through the old stuff.



Ministry plans? Same way. Job dreams? Same way. Hobbies? Same way.

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus–the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. Acts 20:24 NLT


I am an amazing starter. I need to become a finisher. So, my one word for 2015 is FINISH. I must be faithful with what I have before God can trust me with anymore. I can’t wait to see what God can FINISH through me this year, and what he can help me to get FINISHED.

So, did you choose a word for 2015? I’d love to hear what you chose! I’d also love to have some accountability partners to check in with throughout the year. Please leave me a comment if you are participating!


   

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14 comments

  • Wow! I think my word for the year needs to be finish, too. Like you, I am a suitable helper to many people but when it comes to finishing what I start… Well… Be encouraged. I hope you finish your projects. This year I plan to finish some that I started and start some new ones and actually finish them. Prayerfully! Love this blog!

  • Carrie Ann, Let me start by saying that I am sitting right next to you with a whole pile of unfinished lists, plans for kitchen projects sitting in the corner, buckets of paint waiting to be used. the only thing I ever finish is a good book. And now my daily blog. But I even have unfinished ones of those. So I totally get you. Good luck! I hope you FINISH your goals and your painting. Snarky Momma

  • I am totally with you. I always have such energy at the start of a project and then never get to that finish line. I need to add “reaching the finish line”. I feel that I am so excited to start the ultimate blog challenge but I am worried that after a week I will lose all desire to keep the momentum flowing! Good luck passing through your finish lines!

  • I think starting is so much easier than finishing for so many of us. I hate to say it, but as a crocheter, I have so many WIPs (works in progress) in my closet, and some of them date back – well, let’s just say, into the last century, that I perhaps should just give them to someone who can complete and use them! My word for this year is DIFFERENT – maybe this year I’ll FINISH some of those projects. Good luck with your word, and Happy New Year. Alana

    • Alana, I’m a crocheter, too, and I have lots of those WIPs, but I have an excuse in that I had hand surgery this year. However, I’m not exactly rushing back to them now that I’m healed. That’s one thing I have to do, especially since my word this year is CREATE. I like your word, too.

  • HMMM… I tried to preview my post before publishing it and it disappeared!

    However, my word for the year is CHANGE, which goes hand in hand with your word. Either way, I’ll be better off at the end of the year if I stick to one and challenge myself every day!

  • I’ve found that temporary bursts of pursing your dream is also effective. You want to do something, so you start working on it. You quick. Some months later, you want to do it again. You continue it. You quick. Repeat process until one day, you decide, Yes, I want to do ___. Normally it would take years of diligence, but you’ve work on it enough times that you’re not close enough to the end to see it.

    It’s not the most efficient way to achieve a goal, it’s a good way to maintain a lifelong goal you struggle focusing on.

  • You’re right… finishing is so important, and it is much easier to start than to finish. Not sure what one word I would choose for this year, as there are so many…. I do want to be more of a finisher athough I do pretty well, I think… my problem is having WAY TOO many irons in the fire, but not sure how I would put that into one word. 🙂 Thank you for the thought provoking post.

  • My word is JOY. I chose it after laying in the hospital the week after Christmas completely burnt out and sick from not taking care of me. As I lay there, certain people managed to call and steal what little joy I had left. It occurred to me that unless I want my children to remember a stressed out burnt out mama then I better do something. It saddened me to realize too that without joy I was ineffective for Jesus. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

    Maybe finishing the hundreds of projects I have laying around will bring me joy too. 😛

  • I am not always good at finishing, either–I’ve been working on a novel draft for over ten years. But the word I chose this year is CREATE, and for me that constitutes a process rather than a product, so my emphasis is on continuing and growth rather than finishing, although I do hope to have some finished projects by the end of the year. (I can’t believe you finished a race with a dislocated hip! That’s really commitment!) Races are one thing I do finish, even if I have to walk part of the way, and I’m always proud of myself no matter what my time is. Anyway, I think accountability partners are a great idea, so count me in.

  • Yes starting is easier than finishing- but the joy you experience when you finish is priceless.

  • I haven’t gotten a word for this year. My month of January is my time to. Reflect and look forward. Finish sounds like a great, inspiring word. Sometimes my issue is with starting. I put off things I don’t think I can finish. (This is not to say that I don’t have unfinished projects–I certainly do.) I procrastinate. Maybe that is a reason I wait until January to plan the new year. 😉
    May God give you wisdom and grace as you live out “finish” this year.

  • I can so relate as I am a starter too. Thus, I think it’s an excellent and wise word you chose. May you have a productive ‘finishing’ year! 😉 <3

  • I can relate to this – I have several projects that need to be finished, because I know I will feel a whole lot better when then are. Thanks for the inspiration, and hope you have a great 2015!